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 made this for my brother’s birthday. He’s a chef and it’s intimidating to cook for him. He requested a key lime pie for his birthday dessert and I am an amateur baker at best. I researched recipes and I was encouraged by the reviews saying that even picky key lime pie aficionados enjoyed this pie. I couldn’t find key limes, so this recipe stood out because I did want to use fresh lime juice. I used 10 fresh limes (they were not super juicy, but we bought them at the local farmer’s market) and the juice of 3 small Clementines to make a total of 1 cup of juice. I also added about 2 tbsp (an extra tbsp) of finely grated lime zest to punch up the flavor. I used a 9-inch springform pan & for the crust, I added an extra tbsp or so of butter (the crust was a little too sandy to form without the extra tbsp of butter). I had some leftover filling after adding the filling to the top of the crust, but, the filling is tasty & is excellent when used in a granola parfait (try Coast to Coast Granola) with berries. I baked essentially as directed, but did not add the whipped topping as my brother doesn’t like sweet desserts and this was going to be transported. I added the sweeter juice of the Clementines to even out the tartness without the whipped topping. Even without the topping, my awesome, but picky foodie brother LOVED the pie. So much so that he wants me to make it for him again this weekend. Thank you, Jenn. I’m trying it with key limes and oranges tomorrow as that’s what I picked up at the market this time. I am so thrilled to have this go-to recipe that I know even discerning palates will like. 🙂

    • — Jordan on April 9, 2021
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  • Such an incredible recipe! Didn’t change a thing!! It’s so light and delicious. Made this for Easter and it was just wonderful! Everyone loved it!

    • — Jenna G on April 6, 2021
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  • This is an excellent Key Lime Pie! In fact my husband who has been in Florida and eating Key Lime Pies since 1966 says this is his “new favorite” of all Key Lime pies eaten! Needless to say I printed the recipe to have on hand! I, since from Florida, did use Key Limes, but after squeezing a whole bag went to the Persian Limes to make 3/4 cup, (whole bag of Key Limes made a little over 1/2 cup.) It is delicious! If you like Key Lime Pie you should love this!

    • — Pam on April 6, 2021
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  • Light and delicious and so easy to make. Made for Easter and everyone raved about it! Used whole fat Greek yogurt and the consistency was really nice and firm.

    • — Jennifer on April 5, 2021
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  • I just made this pie for Easter and it was sooooo good and such a big hit. Super easy to follow hence the fact that I’m only 15. Totally recommend as a nice spring/summer party staple.

    • — AJP on April 5, 2021
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  • Ok. I have never made Key Lime Pie, even though my husband loves it. To my credit, a good friend of ours, claimed it as her specialty, so I never had to try. LOL! All things change during a year when you can get together with others, so why not? I made it Easter (actually the day before and refrigerated overnight) exactly as the recipe states and it was PHENOMENAL!! My husband said it was the best he ever tasted. The texture was fabulous and it was beautiful and super easy to make. Everyone loved it. Thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful recipes.

    • — Jennifer on April 5, 2021
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    • PS- I used regular limes, Whole Milk Greek Yogurt and stored in fridge with filling in pie shell overnight. 🙂

      • — Jennifer on April 5, 2021
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  • I’ve always wanted to try making a key lime pie and this recipe was a hit!! I used 2 – 300ml. Canadian size condensed milk which was fine. Thankyou for this crowd pleasing recipe 👍🏻😋
    Wish I could add the picture!!

    • — Lin Owen on April 4, 2021
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  • I made this pie for Easter and it came out so amazingly delicious! Really easy too! I switched out the Greek yogurt for whole fat sour cream and it was perfect. I also added a bit more lime juice than the recipe recommend I highly recommend this and will be making it again

    • — Trisha on April 4, 2021
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  • This pie is so delicious and so easy to make! I made it today for Easter Sunday lunch at my parents.’ Do NOT change anything. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!

    • — Marie on April 4, 2021
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  • Simple and delicious. We all loved it!

    • — Mindy Lee on April 3, 2021
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  • I just make this today. I followed the instructions to the t. Instant success. Gone in 10 minutes! Next time will double the recipe to another one for the next day.

    • — Gerry on April 3, 2021
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  • How do I store the crust overnight before making the pie filling? Refrigerator? Covered at room temp? Thank you!

    • — Megan on April 3, 2021
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    • I’d store it in the fridge. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2021
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  • I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for Easter. I’ve heard a suggestion to top a key lime pie with a thin layer of sour cream before adding the whipped cream. Do you think that would be good… I’m afraid to try and ruin it.

    • — karina on March 31, 2021
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    • Honestly, this is so good as is, I wouldn’t mess with it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2021
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    • I am about to make this pie for Easter. I found key limes would I still use the same amount of lime juice or will it be too tart with key limes?

      • — Jo on April 2, 2021
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      • Hi Jo, Key limes will be fine here with no modifications. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

        • — Jenn on April 2, 2021
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  • So tasty! I got lazy and made this with a pre made crust. The filling and topping were delicious. Next time I will make my own crust too. Thinking of trying a lower sugar option– Have you ever made it with unsweetened condensed milk?

    • — Bree on March 30, 2021
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    • Glad you liked it! I’ve never tried it with unsweetened condensed milk and not sure I’d recommend it. If you want to make it less sweet, you could use a tad more lime juice, omit the sugar from the whipped cream topping, and reduce the sugar a bit in the crust. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2021
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  • oh my god…. this is so good

    • — Lea on March 27, 2021
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  • I also wanted to say the crust was wonderful the next day , it sort of softened , I think I like it better the next day.

    • — char on March 27, 2021
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  • I just took this out of the oven and it looks delicious ! thanks for sharing !
    I was wondering if I put the whipped cream on for dessert will that be okay the next day for leftovers ?? thanks

    • — char on March 26, 2021
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    • Sure, it should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2021
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      • This is delicious !!! Thanks !! I want to make it a little more tart though. More lime juice and zest okay ??
        Thanks

        • — char on March 27, 2021
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        • Glad you liked it! Yes, a bit more lime juice and zest should be fine.

          • — Jenn on March 28, 2021
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  • This was so delicious, tasted great, and was easier than any key lime pie I have ever made! We loved this, and my seven year old son was able to help make it! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • — Vicki on March 17, 2021
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  • I’m going to be making this this week, but I don’t have an electric hand mixer. Do you think it would be okay to use regular whipped cream instead of the whipped topping?

    • — Bridget on March 16, 2021
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    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2021
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  • Made this for my wife last night on here birthday. It was fabulous!! My daughter helped, the instructions are easy to follow. We did add a little vanilla extract to the topping. Will definitely make this again!

    • — Brian Johnson on March 16, 2021
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  • I could not believe how delicious this pie came out!! Such a simple recipe too 🙂 my whole family could not stop talking about how good it was

    • — Julia on March 15, 2021
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  • Turned out really nice. Thank you.

    • — Ryan on March 14, 2021
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  • I made this pie today for my family and it is delicious. I made it exactly as it’s written and it was perfect! Thank you!

    • — Mommydoc27012 on March 14, 2021
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  • Wow, made first time for wife, who is Picky on key lime pie. This was the best ever!! As I tasted filling I did squeeze a few more limes to my taste. Ended up about a cup worth. You won’t be disappointed.
    Thanks

    • — Uncle Bill on March 14, 2021
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  • Made this with bottled key lime juice and homemade yogurt.. Spectacular!

    Do you think this will work with freshly squeezed orange juice?

    • — Kelly on March 14, 2021
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    • Glad you liked it! Unfortunately, I don’t think this will work with OJ — sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 15, 2021
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  • This was so delicious and perfect! Thank you!

    • — Kara on March 6, 2021
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  • I am about to make this for the 3rd time this week! The first attempt was a disaster (I tried to make my own sweetened condensed milk from evaporated milk and didn’t let it cool enough before filling). But! If you follow the directions and make it directly as the recipe is written, it is PERFECT. I made 6 small individual serving pies and cooked them for about 12 minutes.

    • — OopsWhatDidIForget on February 27, 2021
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  • This is an awesome recipe! Made this for my husband. Key lime pie is his favorite. This was the best one he has had. Another never-fail recipe. The best website ever! And the cookbook is fantastic!!

    • — M on February 22, 2021
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  • Delicious pie! And so easy. I added extra lime zest to the custard mixture to make it more lime-y. The only way this could have been better for my tastes personally was if it were slightly more tart…maybe I’ll try reducing a larger quantity of lime juice into a more concentrated liquid next time. Oh, and I also used gluten free graham cracker crumbs and the crust still came out amazing, so all my GF friends out there are set 🙂

    • — Claire on February 21, 2021
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  • Can you freeze this pie? Sounds like a great recipe. Thanks.

    • — Cathy on February 21, 2021
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    • Hi Cathy, I don’t think this is the kind of thing that I’d suggest making ahead and freezing, but if you have leftovers, you may be able to get away with freezing them (please keep in mind I haven’t frozen it myself).

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2021
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  • My husband is a tough critic and he gave this recipe 5 stars. It was incredibly easy (I’d consider it a ‘cheater’ recipe but that’s okay sometimes!). I’ve made many key lime pies and lemon meringue pies in my day and I was very skeptical that the filling would not set up without the help of egg yolks or gelatin. I’m still shocked but the filling set up beautifully. How can this be?? This, despite the fact that I used two Canadian-sized cans (10 oz) of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (After I made this, I read that this was an issue in the lemon meringue pie filling not setting up in the recipe on your site). I left it overnight and the crust was not soggy at all. I used only 5 limes to yield 3/4 cup of juice…my limes must have been juicy! A definite keeper recipe on my roster! Thank you as always Jenn for your amazing and easy recipes!

    • — Naomi on February 20, 2021
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  • Will the key lime pie still work with just one can of condensed milk? Or is there a recipe for the lactose intolerant?

    • — Russell on February 19, 2021
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    • Hi Russell, One reader commented that she used one can of sweetened condensed milk and one can of sweetened condensed coconut milk. She didn’t report back so I’m not sure how it turned out, but you could give it a try. (Please keep in mind that I haven’t tried it this way. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!)

      • — Jenn on February 19, 2021
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  • Perfect!

    • — Bina Indelicato on February 17, 2021
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  • Key lime pie is my husband’s favorite dessert. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and I might eat it all before he does! This recipe is simple, and amazing!! I used Non-fat yogurt, and I added some lime zest and 1 Tsp. vanilla extract to the whipped cream topping. So happy I stumbled on this recipe page to find the perfect dessert!!

    • — Keri on February 15, 2021
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  • I made this for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. He said each bite was better than the one before and was very impressed. So thanks for that. 😉

    • — Kelly on February 14, 2021
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  • I made this for my my husband, a pie lover, for his 50th Birthday. He simply stated this was the “best pie ever.” Extremely high praise. Note, I used key limes for the filling and Persian limes for the topping. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • — D Michelle on February 13, 2021
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  • This is an amazing recipe. The pie is very close if not better than the real thing. I am a former Florida resident so I have consumed my fair share of Key Lime Pie. I was skeptical, but this recipe delivers!! The brown sugar crust is amazing. You have to try this!!

    • — Michelle Renelt on February 12, 2021
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  • This really is the best! And so easy. I have been scared to attempt a key lime pie but this is almost foul proof! It’s soooo delicious and I could eat the entire pie myself. The recipe mentions the crust gets soggy if you make it the day before, but wanted to mention it was absolutely buttery and delicious, not soggy for us. We overate at dinner for my husbands birthday and didn’t have room for the pie: I was bummed because so thought it would be soggy the next day. It wasn’t at all!!

    • — Abby on February 12, 2021
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  • Delicious! Everyone loved it! Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Carol on February 8, 2021
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  • This is a delicious key lime pie. I used Chobani Key lime Greek yogurt instead of plain Greek yogurt to give it a bit more “limeyness”! I also used low fat condensed milk. Very light, and very limey which we like- not so sweet like other recipes. Easy to make and was devoured by my family!

    • — Diane on February 6, 2021
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  • This key lime pie recipe was so easy and delicious! It’s the middle of “winter” in San Diego and my Mexican lime tree was loaded. Other than using them in margaritas and fruit salads I was curious what else to use them for and I came across this recipe. My whole family loved it and we’ll definitely make it again!

    • — Celeste on February 4, 2021
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  • I turned my mom on to the Once Upon a Chef website after making and enjoying so many recipes here, and boy am I glad I did! I recently went back to work about 7 months ago, and my sweet mom decided to make dinner for my family once a week to help out. She made this pie for us one night and it has been a hit since. My husband’s favorite pie is key lime, and this recipe gets his approval every time. It’s better than we have had in some restaurants!

    • — Shaynee on February 2, 2021
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  • I prefer key lime pie with meringue instead of whipped cream. Could I use the meringue recipe from your lemon pie on this one?

    • — Nancy Bathurst on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Nancy, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’m afraid that the filling in the pie would get overbaked when the meringue gets baked. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2021
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      • Hi Jenn,
        I am loving your recipes, thankyou!
        Will this Key Lime Pie work in a removable bottom flan tin?
        Kerry

        • — Kerry Trefry on February 14, 2021
        • Reply
        • So glad you like the recipes! And yes, I think that pan should work. 🙂

          • — Jenn on February 15, 2021
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          • Can you use sour cream if I don’t have Greek yogurt?

            • — Allison on February 26, 2021
          • Sure, Allison — it should work.

            • — Jenn on February 27, 2021
  • Key Lime is my husband’s favorite pie, and this one was a winner.

    • — Allise de Smet on January 30, 2021
    • Reply

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