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No-Churn Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

5 stars based on 39 votes

key lime pie ice cream

Delighted with the success of an ultra-creamy no-churn cheesecake ice cream I developed for my upcoming cookbook, I’ve been playing around with other no-churn ice cream flavors. This key lime pie version is my favorite thus far: it has all the bright lime flavor of key lime pie — even the crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust — and it’s a cinch to make. There’s no temperamental custard base to make and chill, no ice cream machine to fiddle with, and no pulling the ice cream out of the freezer every 30 minutes to beat out the crystals. You start by making the 3-ingredient crust (easy!), then you beat the ice cream ingredients together, layer the mixture with the crust in a loaf pan, and pop it in the freezer. The next day you have a creamy, dreamy key lime treat that tastes far better than anything you could buy at the store.

Note that I use regular limes instead of key limes to make this ice cream. Key limes are challenging to find, and regular limes work just as well. (And you always want to avoid bracingly tart, artificial-tasting bottled key lime juice!)

Begin by making the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Using a spoon first and then your fingers, mix until evenly combined, making sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

Press the crust into an even 1/4-inch layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until golden around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes.

Let cool, then use a spoon to break into chunks.

Set the crust aside while you make the filling. To start, zest and juice the limes. (Be sure to zest them first as it’s near impossible to do once they are juiced.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and creamy, about 1 minute.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the heavy cream, lime zest, lime juice and salt.

And beat until evenly combined, about 30 seconds.

Arrange half of the crust evenly over the bottom of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.

Pour the ice cream mixture over top.

Then cover with the remaining crust crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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No-Churn Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 8 hours to freeze

Ingredients

For the "Crust"

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, from 8 whole crackers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • Pinch salt

For the Ice Cream

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 packed tablespoon finely grated key lime zest, from about 3 limes
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 3 limes
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Using a spoon first and then your fingers, mix until evenly combined, making sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Press the crust into an even 1/4-inch layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then use a spoon to break into chunks.
  3. Make the Ice Cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, lime zest, lime juice and salt, and beat until evenly combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Assemble: Arrange half of the crust crumbles evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Pour the ice cream mixture over top, then cover with the remaining crust crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: About 1 cup
  • Calories: 542
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59 g
  • Sugar: 50 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 342 mg
  • Cholesterol: 98 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    AMAZING! Served this last night for a Girl’s Night get-together and was a perfect cool, sweet treat on a hot July night!

    I ended up putting this in a glass 8×8 baking dish and it firmed up beautifully in about half the time.

    - Jules on July 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So delicious! I used neufchatel, fat free sweetened condensed milk and 1% milk. It was so creamy and decadent, no one realized how many calories were removed! Thank you for another keeper!

    - Tammy on July 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the BEST dessert recipr I’ve tried in a long time – I have made it 4 times in the past month. Everybody loves it!! Q: What would be a good substitute for the graham crumble? I love it but have a friend that won’t ear anything graham. Thanks Jen!

    - Lin Asnong on July 8, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Lin, So glad you like the ice cream! You could try a shortbread crumble — or just keep the graham cracker crust separate from the ice cream and serve it as a topping.

      - Jenn on July 9, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious! Looking forward to other no-churn recipes and your cookbook. Thank you for adding to our key lime pie addiction.

    - S.P.Borthwick on July 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this with no substitutions or changes and we loved it. The ice cream is silken and packed with refreshing lime flavor. We will definitely make this again, and again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    - Jim Bolton on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is seriously yummy. I made as written with the exception of using bottled Manhattan Key Lime Juice instead of using regular limes, but I did use their zest. (I love that sour taste) we will make this often. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Sammy Pineau on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this again for my Fourth of July party in London. Everyone loved it . I think my daughter even e mailed you for more ideas she loved it so much.

    - LeeAnn on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Very refreshing summer dessert.

    - Sue on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious. My daughter was visiting and she is crazy about key lime pie. Made this instead and she really liked it. Just a tip….there is a product called Mrs. Biddle’s key lime juice that you can order online. I am very fussy but this is the real McCoy.

    - Sally K. on July 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn! Really, really love this recipe! I wanted to use it as a base no churn ice cream recipe, but would like to add chocolate (and also some other bits….brownie pieces, chocolate chips, caramel, that kind of thing). Are there any adjustments I would need to make to do this? Thank you!!

    - Louise on July 4, 2017 Reply
    • Glad you liked it, Louise! I think you could definitely add some bits into the ice cream, but because I think the combination would be a little odd with the key lime flavoring, I will email you a recipe that I think would be better suited to what you want to do.

      - Jenn on July 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was an AMAZING dessert. Followed it exactly and turned out to be beyond delish. Can’t wait to try it with other citrus flavors, like lemon as well!

    - robbie on July 3, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night in preparation for tonight’s block party. I just took a taste and my only regret is that I didn’t make a double or triple batch. This recipe is perfection!! I’ll be making this all summer long!! Thanks for an amazing recipe, as usual.

    - Alex on July 1, 2017 Reply
    • Nice timing….I’m making this tomorrow and may just make a double batch! Thanks!

      - Robin on July 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this and it was great. I will make it often. thanks for the recipe,

    - dianne baughcum on June 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this as a trial run for dinner with friends next week. First time I’ve ever tried a “no churn” ice cream because I am not a fan of sweetened condensed milk. Used regular lime for zest and Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice. This was so fantastic, I’ll definitely be making it often (with fresh juice), and will try other “no churn” recipes. Thanks for all your “never fail” recipes!

    - Vicki on June 29, 2017 Reply
  • Thanks for another awesome looking recipe! I’m trying to find a substitute for the cream cheese though. Do you think I could double up on condensed milk or try something else? Love this blog and can’t wait for your cook book!
    Carrie

    - Carrie on June 27, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Carrie, unfortunately, doubling the sweetened condensed milk wouldn’t work here. I don’t think there’s really a comparable substitute for the cream cheese– sorry!

      - Jenn on June 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made the ice cream for dinner guests last night. In fact, the whole menu was from your website and everything was a hit! Thank you for a great website. I am going to make the ice cream again next week. Will this recipe work if I want to make 12 individual servings? Or, would I need to double recipe? Thanks!

    - Shelly on June 26, 2017 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the meal, Shelly! If you want to make 12 individual servings of this, I would suggest doubling the recipe.

      - Jenn on June 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    What an amazing recipe. I could not believe how easy this recipe was and to be honest the use of brown sugar in the graham crackers was beyond delicious. I could snack on just that. As for the ice cream I was impatient and didn’t let it warm up enough to scoop so I did what another review said and just sliced it from the loaf to make a dessert very much like Frozen Key Lime pie from the Barefoot Contessa but much simpler. Will definitely will make this again and again and again…………

    - Sandy D. on June 24, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Father’s Day and it did not disappoint! My husband loves key lime pie and I thought this would be a good substitute. He loved every bite. I used key limes (juice them with a garlic press) and since they are sold in 1#bags here, had leftover limes to make a another batch today. I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and was delicious with great texture.

    - Peggy on June 24, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    hi all – tried this for father’s day with meyer lemon juice instead of lime… was still yummy!!! i did add a bit more lemon juice (approx 1 TBL) because after tasting the mixture before freezing, it didn’t seem quite “tart” enough but pretty sure that’s just my personal taste :-) love love LOVE the idea of making them little personal pies… on my list for next time!

    - pam on June 23, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is perfect as is. I used key limes because I actually found some at the grocery store; though I believe regular limes would have been as good. The resulting dessert was creamy deliciousness!! I think I’m going to try other fruits as they come into season.

    - Kary Chiles on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Hi Jenn, my husband loves this ice cream! But he said it tasted more like frozen pie than ice cream cus I guess the cream cheese texture. Is it a bit hard to scoop using regular spoon cus of the frozen cream cheese? I’m not a fan of cream cheese, so when I tasted it, I tasted more cream cheese than ice cream. Is the texture supposed to be like that?

    - Serena on June 22, 2017 Reply
    • The texture should definitely be closer to ice cream than cream cheese. I’m wondering if because you’re not crazy about cream cheese, that perhaps it stood out more to you?

      - Jenn on June 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for Father’s Day and it was wonderful! I am not a fan of sweetened condensed milk, but every recipe of yours I have made has turned out great so I trusted I would not be disappointed. I was not –
    this was excellent! Thank you for another great recipe.

    - Carol on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Had my daughter help make this a few days ago- easy instructions-made no changes. This was a hit with the whole family! Very rich, creamy, great lime taste. Will be making again soon

    - Alicia on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this recipe and used individual ramekins…. great make ahead summer dessert for a dinner party…. needs to sit out approximately 10 min before serving so it’s not frozen solid.

    - Nancy Rose on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I can’t wait to try this recipe…I would love to use some kind of small glass jars/cups that can withstand the freezer temps…what would you recommend? Yes, I’m the one whose pyrex dish exploded in the oven on Thanksgiving….don’t want glasses cracking in my freezer too!!! Using the muffin tins is a good idea too. Thanks.

    - Wendy Schoenburg on June 21, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Wendy, yes, avoiding another kitchen disaster would be good! I didn’t know off-hand which jars would be freezer safe, so I took a peek at Amazon and found a bunch of options here. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on June 21, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This looks fantastic. Can’t wait to try.

    - Jeremy Scheck on June 21, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    How long does the ice cream last in the freezer? I made it and it’s great but made so much so I’m wondering how long it will last in my freezer? Thanks!

    - Nicaela on June 20, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Nicaela, Covered, it will keep for a few weeks. Glad you like it!

      - Jenn on June 21, 2017 Reply
  • If you only have a KA Stand mixer, do you use the whisk or the flat beater?

    - David on June 20, 2017 Reply
    • I think I’d probably go with the whisk. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just brilliant! Everyone loved this desert. Quick and yummy.

    - Lora Tchekoratova on June 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn
    I live in the UK and honey graham crackers are very hard to find, is there a equivalent biscuit or cracker I could use, I don’t want to spoil the recipe
    By the way I am loving all your recipes, they are sooooo good

    - Neil Middleton on June 20, 2017 Reply
    • Glad you like the recipes, Neil! I believe that digestive biscuits would be a reasonable substitute for graham crackers. I’d love to hear how they turn out with them!

      - Jenn on June 20, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jenn
        The ice cream is totally gorgeous and the digestive biscuits are a lovely compliment
        Thank you
        Neil

        - Neil Middleton on June 24, 2017 Reply
    • I used digestive biscuits. I made it last night . My daughter texted me this morning saying it was so good she dreamt about it

      - Leeann on June 22, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thank you Leeann

        - Neil Middleton on June 24, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    The recipe was a big hit. It is really rich, have you tried a lighter version like with less cream cheese and milk instead of cream?

    - Annik on June 20, 2017 Reply
    • Glad you liked it, Annik! I haven’t tried it with less cream cheese or milk in place of the cream. I think it will work– it just won’t taste as rich/creamy.

      - Jenn on June 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh this was soooo good! Bravo! I can not believe how easy it was and how absolutely delicious.
    It was a hot and humid day, and w no AC, I decided not to bake the crumbs. I just put them in the freezer while I made the ice cream and presto! It worked out well. Thank you!

    - Michelle Sweeney on June 19, 2017 Reply
  • Key Lime Pie ice cream is a staple from my adolescence in Miami, I can’t wait to try your recipe. Your photos are gorgeous!

    - Britt | Sweet Tea & Thyme on June 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    WOW! I pre-portioned these into lined muffin tins (paper liner, graham cracker crumbles, ice cream, more graham crumbles) covered them, and froze them overnight. I pulled the trays out about 10 minutes before serving, peeled off the liners, and served each individual portion on a small dish with the tiniest of homemade whipped cream dollops on top. They looked like miniature pies! The flavor is superb; the perfect closing to the barbecue lunch we just had. And it’s an easy to make recipe to boot! You are a gift, Ms. Segal! Thank you for another fantastic recipe. (I had another serving idea–I bet this recipe could be prepared, frozen, and served in 4 oz. canning jelly jars…even less mess than my muffin tins!)

    - I-Rod on June 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this yesterday as I prepared for a visit from our 18 year old grandson, and got rave reviews from him (and hubby) tonight. It’s really delicious and the crust sets it apart and it is all misleadingly easy to make. We will definitely enjoy this again! It was set up a little hard and while trying to decide whether to wait for softening I grabbed a big meat fork and stuck it in one end and lifted the entire dessert out without losing any crumbs, as they were frozen into the ice cream. That made it easy to place the entire dessert on a cutting board, slice it quickly and serve the slices. An unusual presentation for ice cream, but not for a “frozen dessert.” We didn’t finish it tonight, so I used the big fork to lift the remainder right back into the pan. Super simple and quick! Thank you for this delicious recipe, Jenn!

    - Judy on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for our 3x celebration this weekend of birthday, anniversary, and Father’s Day. Amazingly easy to make and SO delicious! Thanks for this keeper recipe, Jenn.

    - Lin Asnong on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn,

    This recipe sounds amazing and I cannot wait to try it! I have never made a no-churn ice cream before, but now that summer is here I’ve been researching methods and just wanted to ask about your thoughts, with your culinary background…..I’ve noticed that a few recipes have suggested to whip the heavy cream separately and then fold it into the rest of the mixture prior to freezing. I was just wondering if you’ve ever tried this or what your thoughts are on whether this would have much effect on the overall texture of the ice cream?

    My mother made me aware of your blog earlier this year, and since then I’ve been enjoying your recipes on a weekly basis. Congratulations on the upcoming publishing of your cookbook, and thank you so much for sharing all of your culinary wisdom and expertise :)

    - Alissa on June 17, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Alissa, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! I’ve tried many no-churn ice cream recipes and usually find the texture to be off — too icy, too foamy, etc — but this recipe makes a really thick and creamy ice cream. And there’s such a small amount of cream in the recipe, it really doesn’t make any difference if you whip it or not (and yes, I’ve tried it!).

      - Jenn on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Simply delicious! Decided to use individual cups vs loaf pan for ease of serving and portion control. Love your recipes! Many thanks

    - Sonya on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hooray! Ice cream for breakfast. We couldn’t wait any longer to try this. Wow! Is it good! Another prize winning recipe and as usual, it’s foolproof. Thanks for another great recipe Jenn!

    - Jim on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Used mexican limes, small but well worth it. They come very close to the flavor of key limes in Florida. I made this for my M.I.L and Hubs. It was a total hit and delicious! A keeper. Thaw a little.

    - Lucciana on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • Hey Jenn, do the limes have to be the “key” variety, or will regular limes do just as well for this recipe?

    - Alan Cronson on June 16, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Alan, I actually use regular limes for this recipe (and all key lime pie recipes). Key limes are near impossible to find (at least where I live) and the recipe works just as well with regular limes.

      - Jenn on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Super easy and yummy! Thanks for the recipe. Look forward to trying more. :)

    - Tammy Rambo on June 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a great alternative to making a key lime pie and its half the work. It’s refreshing, creamy, and delicious. In fact, I’m invited to a Father’s Day barbecue this weekend, and I will make another one to bring with me!

    Another home run, Jenn!

    - Valerie on June 16, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Will the ice cream be the same if I don’t make the crust so gluten-free family members can enjoy it?

    We love your recipes!
    Barbara

    - Barbara on June 16, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Barbara, It’s delicious both with and without the crust. You could always make the crust and just serve it on the side for those who want to add some crumbles on top.

      - Jenn on June 16, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Barbara – Have you ever tried the Pamela’s brand of honey grahams? I used them to make a pie crust for my future daughter-in-law who can’t eat gluten, and it turned out great. Even though it seems you can make this recipe without the crust layer, I think it would be better with that added texture and flavor. Let us know if you make that modification and how it turns out! – Alison

      - Alison on June 16, 2017 Reply
      • Good to know – thanks, Alison!

        - Jenn on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn – Could I use lemons instead of limes if I want a creamy lemon ice cream?

    - Jamie Robinson on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Yes, definitely. Pls lmk how it turns out!

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    This looks delicious. Would like to make it for Father’s Day. Is there anyway I could decrease fat content without compromising the flavor/quality? I was thinking low fat cream cheese or light cream instead of heavy cream. Would recipe still work? We are of a ‘certain age’ and watching cholesterol. Thanks,
    Mary

    - Mary on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Mary, It might not be quite as creamy, but I think those changes would work here. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • I’m gonna try this with the Nellie’s and Joe’s key lime juice, as was mentioned. This is with the lemon juice and I just saw it today at my local Wal Mart super center for $2.49. It is the star ingredient of Peppy’s Key Lime pie which is an absolutely delicious recipe I found on line.
    Can’t wait to try with this recipe!

    - Kerry on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • Will make it for Father’s Day.
    Could you make an ice cream pie by baking the graham cracker crust in a pie pan, cooling, adding the ice cream mix and then freezing?

    - Susie on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Susie, Yes, that will work.

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • Can I take 8 regular honey graham crackers and crush them up? I don’t seem to have the graham cracker crumbles in my grocery story.

    - Anjli on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Anjli – that’ll work fine.

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • Have you tried Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice? It’s not the fake stuff – it is real key lime from Key West and tastes fantastic.

    - Beth on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • I haven’t tried it, Beth, but will keep an eye out for it.

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn, would this work using a springform or deep dish pie plate?

    - Carla on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Yes Carla – any container will work. Please lmk how it turns out!

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply
  • I presume a glass loaf pan would work just fine too, is that correct?

    Thanks!

    - CJ on June 15, 2017 Reply
    • Yep – any container will work. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 15, 2017 Reply

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