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Key Lime Pie

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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.

Similar to coconut cream pie and lemon meringue pie, key lime pie can be made with a graham cracker/cookie crust or a traditional pie crust. I always opt for a graham cracker crust because it’s quick to prepare. Plus, why fuss with finicky pie dough when a graham cracker crust tastes so good?

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

  • 1½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
  • ⅓ 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
  • ¾ 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 (deep-dish) 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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Comments

  • This was really easy to put together but unfortunately it was a bit too sweet for me and overpowered all the flavours. It didn’t have the balance of tart, sweet and sour.

    • — Allison on December 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • I just realized I read the recipe wrong and I only added 1/4cup of lime….. so with that said it probably would have tasted good with the right amount.

      • — Allison on December 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • I don’t cook, let alone bake. I was forced to make this because someone gave me 12 limes and I hated the idea of letting them rot. I made 2 (one for them and one for my family).

    Thank God that life gave me limes, because everyone loved the taste of this pie! Thanks to this recipe, everyone is extremely surprised and impressed with my cooking skills, which is a double-edged sword. Still, I hope they don’t have expectations of me now to make yummy things because I really don’t want to cook or bake more than I have to.

    • — nofuss.exe on December 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Pie turned out amazing. It makes more than what can fit in a standard sized pie crust, but that was fine with us-we ate the filling while our pie was in the refrigerator🤣. If you’re pregnant and have sweet and sour cravings, this is the recipe for you!

    • — Kate on December 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • The most disgusting key lime pie I’ve ever made. It was so sickly sweet and far too rich. There was not enough acidity to balance out all the sweetness, put a little more effort in and make a true classic key lime pie, your efforts will be rewarded.

    • — Claire on November 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Lol you clearly made it wrong. I’ve made this exact recipe 3 times in a row because it’s so good we can live without it. If you can’t bake get outta the kitchen!

      • — Sarah on December 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi this looks delicious. Any way to make this dairy free?

    • — Chaya Kurz on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Chaya, based on the amount of dairy it has, I’m not confident that it would turn out well with dairy-free alternatives. I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Oh my gosh… this pie. It left two of my friends without words haha it was so good! I even substituted lime once and a lemon juice. It is amazing and easy. My go to citrus pie recipe now! I want to do an orange next ❤

    • — Tawnyna Kokx on November 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • I never leave comments on anything, but I have to for this pie. It was SO SO SO good!!! I made it for Thanksgiving and it was the first pie to go. I’ve already had requests to make another one. Absolutely amazing!

    • — Madi on November 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Absolutely the best pie recipe ever retrieved online. Superb directions and taste. It’s all in there.

      • — Jg on November 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Lovely, tart lime flavor and creamy texture. The homemade Graham cracker crust is a must and the whipped topping was perfect. I made this for Thanksgiving and my brother in law went back for seconds AND took a slice home! My husband loved it. I will definitely make this again. Followed the recipe and instructions as written. Easy as pie!

    • — Carrie Parks on November 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Only added 14oz of condensed milk and tasted just fine, if I added more I feel like it’d be too sweet, turned out really good!

    • — Diana on November 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • I just made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was everybody favorite. It was SOOO good. You won’t be disappointed.

    • — Angie on November 24, 2022
    • Reply

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