Key Lime Pie

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Made with ordinary limes, this “Key lime” pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

I use Persian limes, otherwise known as ordinary supermarket limes, to make my “Key lime” pie. Unless you live in the Florida Keys, key limes are near impossible to find. Furthermore, they’re so tiny that you’d need to juice at least twenty of them for this recipe. No thank you! Ordinary limes make an exceptional Key lime pie, and they are a much better alternative to bracingly tart bottled Key lime juice. This pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

What You’ll Need To Make Key Lime Pie

ingredients for key lime pie

  • You’ll need 8 to 10 limes total for this recipe. Choose plump limes that give a little when you squeeze them; they will be easier to juice. You should get about 2 tablespoons of juice from each lime. Be sure to zest the limes before you squeeze the juice from them, as it’s near impossible to do afterward.
  • Sweetened condensed milk is canned milk from which water has been removed, and sugar has been added. Be sure not to confuse it with evaporated milk, which is usually sold right alongside.
  • With no eggs, it may be hard to believe that this pie will set, but have faith — it will.

How To Make Key Lime Pie

Step 1: Make The Crust

brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs and butter in mixing bowl

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined.

mixed graham cracker crust in mixing bowl

Using your fingers and the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in deep-dish pie pan. The crust should be about 1/4-in thick. (Hint: do the sides first.)

pressing the graham cracker crust into pie pan

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Then let the crust cool a bit while you make the filling.

baked crust

Step 2: Make the Filling

Begin by zesting the limes.
zesting the limes

It’s best to use a rasp grater, which is a long, skinny tool that works well for grating hard cheeses and zesting citrus.
juicing the limesJuice the limes using a citrus reamer, then combine the juice with the sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, and lime zest.

yogurt, lime juice, lime zest, and condensed milk in mixing bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked key lime pie filling in mixing bowl

Pour the filling into the cooked graham cracker crust.

key lime pie filling poured into crust

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost set.

cooked key lime pie

Let the pie cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.

Step 3: Make the Topping

whipping cream in mixer

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters), beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until medium peaks form. (Alternatively, the cream can be beaten by hand with a whisk.) Top the chilled pie with whipped cream and decorate with lime slices and zest.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Key Lime Pie

Made with ordinary limes, this “Key lime” pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes, plus at least 3 hours to chill

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • Two 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice

For the Topping

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 8 to 10 thin lime slices

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter; stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined. Using your fingers and the bottom of a glass or dry measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 1.5-inch pie pan. The crust should be about ¼-inch thick. (Tip: do the sides first.)
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let the crust cool on a wire rack.

For the Filling

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour the thick mixture into the warm graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set; it should wobble a bit. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.

For the Topping

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until medium peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream. Decorate with the lime zest and lime slices. Store the pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Slice the pie into wedges, wiping your knife clean between slices, and serve cold.
  2. Make-Ahead Instructions: You can make the crust a day ahead of time, but the filling should be added on the day of serving, otherwise the crust will get soggy.
  3. Note: The nutritional information was calculated using 2% Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Calories: 481
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Sugar: 54 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 183 mg
  • Cholesterol: 76 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi! I am planning on using this recipe after seeing the amazing reviews. I have a question:
    Should I put the toppings then chill for 3 hours? or Chill it for 3 hours first, then put the toppings on?

    Thanks!

    • — Sammi Kwan on January 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sammi, Put the toppings after you’ve chilled the pie for 3 hours. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • I’ve been baking a lot since thanksgiving. Stumbled upon this recipe and thought I’d give it a try. During a quick run to Aldi’s I figured I’d pick up the ingredients. After all, if the pie didn’t taste good because it was made of inexpensive ingredients, well… that would be a good thing. Right?!

    I opted for cool whip and a store bought pie crust (again From ALDI).

    I worried once I started to make it. How could a pie made of 4 simple ingredients taste good. NO EGG?! No sugar?! Not good, I thought. For a second, I assumed that Jen prepared
    What the heck—let’s do it!

    The end result was TROUBLE! If this pie was made with cheap cool whip and Pie crust—HOW delicious must the REAL DEAL, homemade crust and topping TASTE?!

    Don’t second guess this one, folks. This one is a keeper. It’s incredibly rich and light, at the same time. Trust me… I’m trying so hard not to have a second slice (right now ;). I’d like to save it for later).

    DO…DO…DO…make this pie! (Now, sadly working on my second slice).

    • — Kristy on January 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • So incredibly simple and delicious! We loved it. It was my first time making key lime pie and it turned out well. Thank you for the recipe and great tips. (I over bought the number of limes so we might have to try again in a few days. 😉

    • — Mama M on January 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best recipe ever for key lime pie!
    I had Fage 7 oz. Plain 5% Greek yogurt so I used 2T. 4% fat sour cream to come up with the 8oz.
    Worked wonderfully!
    And I used 2 keebler large premade Graham pie crusts…which are nice to cut down on the time involved.

    • — Linda M Schommer on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made two key lime pies for my son’s 23rd birthday, this one and and another similar recipe that uses sour cream instead of yogurt. Both were delicious but this recipe was the winner and will be my go-to key lime pie recipe from now on! It was incredibly tasty and surprisingly easy! I did use bottled key lime juice, which made it even easier. And although I made whipped cream, I found that it didn’t need it as the pie & crust were sufficiently sweet on their own. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I’m looking forward to trying many more recipes on this site!

    Side note: When searching for key lime juice online, the most common brand that comes up is Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice. This is not key lime juice, it is regular lime juice that apparently comes from Key West and contains preservatives. It comes in a clear plastic bottle. However, they also make Nellie & Joe’s 100% Key Lime Juice, which IS key lime juice and comes in a green glass bottle. It’s a bit pricier and harder to find. This is the juice I used in my pies and it was fabulous. I just thought I would point that out since the labeling is very misleading!

    • — Megan on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Found this recipe by googling & decided to make it based on its 5-star rating. Wow! My 1st key lime pie & family not only loved the flavor but was impressed with look of whipped cream & lime slice garnishes. Was tempted by comments about excessive sweetness to reduce the sugar where you recommended but glad I didn’t. Been traveling to Florida annually for last 10 years & become a key lime pie aficionado so I know this deserves it’s 5-star internet rating!

    • — Darice on January 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best Key lime pie recipe.

    • — Angela on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this recipe! It is amazing! The pie came out perfectly and everyone loved it! This is totally a keeper!

    • — Ana Gonzalez on January 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can regular yogurt be substituted for greek yogurt

    • — Donna on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, I’d stick with Greek yogurt here for the best results.

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can this be made with No Fat Yogurt?

    • — ROBERT TURNER on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • While technically it will work, I think you’ll get a richer filling using at least 2%. Please LMK how it turns out if you use nonfat yogurt!

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was excellent! I followed this recipe exactly and it turned out wonderful. My family is begging me to make another!

    • — Cindy T on December 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • I find it’s the rare recipe that turns out really well on my first pass, but this one did. However, I did make a few changes before making it, after reading quite a few comments about it being too sweet, which I realize is very much a personal taste issue. I reduced the sugar in the crust to 1/2 cup, increased the yogurt to 1 1/2 cups and the lime juice to 1 cup for the filling, and reduced the sugar in the whipping cream to 1 Tb. The added filling meant I had to use one of my slightly deeper pie dishes, and I slightly increased the baking time for the filling to 18 minutes. It was a big hit, with a good balance of sweet and tart, according to my “customers”.

    • — Dan Clark on December 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn! This is the BEST Key Lime pie recipe…my mother in law claimed to hate KLP but after a bite of this she requested I bring one to our next family gathering!! That being said, we aren’t seeing family for the holidays so I was going to make one to drop off for her. Can this be made and frozen for a week or two?? Thanks in advance! Happy holidays 😊

    • — Beth on December 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Beth, so glad you like this and changed your mother-in-law‘s mind about Key lime pie! I’ve never frozen this before but don’t think I would recommend it – sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe – I have made it many times and always comes out perfect. I was wondering if I could make this recipe with lemons instead of limes. Do you think that would work?

    • — Gabriella on December 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! I’ve never made this with lemons but a few readers have commented that they have and have been happy with the results. Hope you enjoy if you try it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2020
      • Reply
  • ***Perfect Key Lime Pie Recipe***

    This was the first pie I’ve ever made and it turned out a hit thanks to your experience and sharing this excellent recipe with others. Thank you for doing so!. The entire family really enjoyed the flavor. The tartness of the lime and sweetness are well balanced. Definitely saving this recipe and will recommend to my friends and look forward to trying other recipes you have.

    • — Sandeep Shah on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, Can I do this receipe in small pie dish like, 4.5 inch instead of 9? And should I then just cut all amounts by 4? Thank you! Moni

    • — Moni Moon on November 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, if my math is correct, I think cutting all the ingredients by 4 would be appropriate. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 19, 2020
      • Reply
      • This was a hit! Totally amazing! Thank you sooooo much!

        • — Ana Gonzalez on January 1, 2021
        • Reply

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