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

  • I live in HI and I have lots of limes in my yard.. I stumbled on this recipe which has enormously good reviews. I will make my pie today using this recipe. But one thing worries me is the amount of sweetened condensed milk ( I don’t like my lime pie to be so sweet). Is this something to worry about? I do not plan to make a whip cream topping so I cannot cut on the sugar there. Let me know.thanks

    • — mar on October 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mar, I don’t find this to be too sweet but some readers have commented that they have cut back on the sweetness by using a tad more lime juice and reducing the sugar a bit in the crust. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on October 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • There’s so many fabulous reviews to sift through that this question may have already been asked! I see you use the Persian lines but I have a key lime tree that is bursting with fruit and want to make good use of them. Do any of the lime measurements change if I use key limes? I’m not to knowledgeable in that area. Thanks!

    • — Christina Crawford on October 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Christina, You can use the key limes without any adjustments to the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was absolutely diviiiiine!!! With Fall here, Trader Joes is not selling our favorite key lime pie anymore. I’m not much of a baker but I decided to give this recipe a go and it was 1. not very difficult 2. phenomenal. 11/10 recommend & we didnt modify a thing. Best key lime pie I’ve ever had.

    • — Ameena on October 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Incredible! Better than the best bakery or restaurant can offer!

    • — Diana on October 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made key lime pies before and was skeptical that this recipe would taste like key lime pie. I did not do a side-by-side comparison, but regardless, this was excellent. We really liked the creaminess versus using sour cream. And using Persian limes made the recipe far easier to prepare. I use a garlic press to juice limes, and juicing Persian limes versus Key limes is significantly quicker. (I did not need the number of limes suggested in the recipe, but the extra ones I put to good use in cocktails.) I used a pre-made crust, which made preparation even easier. I have made graham cracker crusts before but always had trouble with the sides and evenness of the crust. Perhaps due to the premade crust, I did not find the crust to be soggy the next day(s), and the lime flavor became significantly more intense. On the day I made it, although the texture was good, I, and the rest of my family, wished the lime flavor was more intense. We liked it much better then next two days.

    • — Brian J Hostetler on September 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just made this and it is really good. I am wondering if a meringue topping can be successfully put on top of this recipe?

    • — Genie on September 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! I wouldn’t recommend a meringue topping here as I’m afraid that the filling in the pie would get overbaked when the meringue gets baked. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Tastes good and easy too. Made it for a dinner party and everyone commented positively. My only issue was with the number of limes the recipe stated would be needed for 3/4 C of lime juice. I thought it seemed excessive but I bought eight. I used four. The only thing I did was to roll each lime on my counter prior to juicing it to make it easier to extract the juice.

    • — Candice on September 6, 2021
    • Reply

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