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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.

Key Lime Pie

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


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


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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  • This pie was exceptional! My husband of 30 years has always wanted key lime pie for his birthday and I always made it for him – from scratch. Not my favorite task but I don’t deny him much because I love him mad and its only once a year. My pies were always made with the little tiny key limes or if I couldn’t find the key limes, I used the bottled key lime juice (not bad but not great). I never thought about using regular limes. My recipe also called for incorporating eggs and I always made an Oreo crust (really good flavors together). I got the recipe from a restaurant in Coconut Grove, Florida and its been a good recipe. But! I tried this one and it was a hit! We both really loved it. I will always make this recipe from now on. Thank you for making my life sweeter and easier.

    • — Kelly on October 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipe is just so phenomenal! I have made it a number of times and still surprise myself with how enjoyable it is.
    This time we made it as individual lime pie cups for a baptism lunch. I subbed melted coconut butter instead of real butter into the crumb layer and gently toasted it all in the oven. Packed that into each glass, then added the lime filling, then – without baking it further – topped it all with whipped cream and a crispy coconut roll in each. Beautiful and delicious!
    Thank you, as always, Chef Jenn!

    • — Emm on September 22, 2023
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  • I made this for a small dinner party and everyone loved it. I did not make the topping, as it seems to take away the true tangy lime deliciousness. Be sure to let it set before serving to maintain the shape. Enjoy!

    • — kristy on September 22, 2023
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  • The pie was good but my topping was runny. I put it in the freezer and mixed it again and it was a little better. Overall, the pie had good flavor but wasn’t the prettiest. I’m not sure what I did wrong on the topping. I started out with key limes but after sweezing an entire bag I only got about 1/4 of a cup so I got regular limes for the rest. This pie would’ve been quick had I gotten just regular limes like the recipe called for.

    • — Erin Singleterry on September 21, 2023
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  • I have never made key lime pie and only had it once or twice and it was never tart enough for me. I made this recipe and the only change I made was, I used nonfat plain yogurt that I already had and it was absolutely delicious! One of the best if not the best pie I’ve ever had!!!

    Thank you!

    • — L.R. on September 10, 2023
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  • I have fresh Key Lime juice…have you tried that? Is it better with the Persian limes?

    • — Dave on September 9, 2023
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    • Hi Dave, Either will work well so use the fresh Key lime juice if you have it. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 10, 2023
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      • Jenn, I love this recipe! I found this through a search about 5yrs ago, and ever since my husband requests it for his birthday. It is a labor of love making it, but it is SO worth it! Better than any restaurant key lime pie!

        • — Nicole on September 24, 2023
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  • Hello! Can you make this in a springform pan?

    • — JohnM on September 6, 2023
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    • Sure, John. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2023
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    • Great question, JohnM. Thanks for asking!

      • — Linda on October 1, 2023
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  • AMAZING!!! This pie was so easy and SOOOO good! I made exactly as written and will not change a thing. Thank you for a new family favorite!!

    • — Cindi Green on September 4, 2023
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  • Would it be okay to omit the brown sugar from the crust? I find graham crackers plenty sweet on their own and was wondering if I can omit the brown sugar do I need to add more butter as a binder? Thank you!

    • — SK on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi SK, it’s omit the omit the sugar in the crust with bo other adjustments. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2023
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  • Wow! This pie is delicious! The whole family loved this and thought it was purchased at a bake shop. Thank you for this recipe. I will be making it again!

    • — Sandra Wheatley on September 3, 2023
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  • Thank you for this recipe. It was a big success and other than the lime squeezing, it was a very easy to follow and execute recipe. Three thumbs up!

    • — Sally on August 29, 2023
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  • This is the best Key Lime Pie ever! Anytime I have a dinner party or am invited over, everyone wants this pie.
    I would like to know how to modify the recipe for a meringue topping. Whipped cream is delicious but I also love meringue.

    • — Lynn on August 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lynn, 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 August 30, 2023
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      • That makes sense, thank you for replying.

        • — Lynn on August 30, 2023
        • Reply
        • Alternately you can make the meringue and use a kitchen torch to Brown the tops. You don’t have to bake it that way

          • — Massagemom on September 8, 2023
          • Reply
    • I made it, added my little twist, and quickly realized that this pie is perfection!!!

      • — Melanie Turner on September 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • So I had never made Keylime pie before, and it wasn’t my favorite dessert but I had a request for it. The recipe called for 8 to 10 normal limes for the recipe. I wanted to double the recipe so I bought about 20 limes. Just be cautious because I guess Minor a good size limes and I ended up having enough limes for a double recipe plus about nine extra left over! No big deal I just use the leftover limes to make a third pie! Lol. As I stated before Keylime pie is not my favorite but I have to admit the end result was pretty darn delicious. Everyone that tried it stated they loved it. It’s a great recipe and although I ended up with extra lines, if you follow the recipe, it works perfectly.

    • — Daniel on August 25, 2023
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  • I brought this tonight to a dinner party and it was amazing! Would not change a thing.

    • — Rosanne on August 20, 2023
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  • Incredibly delicious mistake you ought to try too!!!
    We accidentally used regular whole fat yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, thus it would not thicken while blending. In an effort to save the pie we added a few egg yolks, but it still would not thicken upon blending. So, to the freezer it went AND….MADE THE MOST DELICIOUS, FIRM YET CREAMY, DREAMY ICE CREAM!!! At first we added the whipped cream on top of the ice cream but then decided to lightly, gently, partially mix it into the ice cream to freeze along with it. AMAZING!! Key lime pie ice cream in a cone for the big win!! You should give this a try!! No crust or crumbs this time around but maybe next time!

    (BTW- Yes we’ve made the pie before, quite successfully, and it’s a favorite around here.
    We do like ours a little more tart so we add citric acid powder to the filling, a little at a time, according to taste.)

    • — SaraAnne on August 19, 2023
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  • I’ve got to stop making this pie! But everyone loves it! Delicious!

    • — beth doherty on August 18, 2023
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  • Loved this Key Lime Pie. Restaurant quality. One of the best I ever had. Loved by all and definitely 5 stars 🌟 Thank you for sharing.

    • — Paula H. on August 17, 2023
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  • This pie was awesome. Restaurant quality. One of the best Key Lime Pies I have had. Thanks for sharing. Without a doubt 5 stars.

    • — Paula H. on August 16, 2023
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  • Hello – Currently making this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. I made the crust today. Should I leave the crust at room temperature or refrigerate? Thanks in advance!

    • — Janelle on August 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Janelle, If I make the crust ahead, I always put it in the fridge, but it should be fine on the counter. Happy birthday to your husband! 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi. I made the key lime pie for my neighbor’s birthday. She was originally from Florida. The recipe had great, easy to follow instructions. The pie is “outstanding”!!! So delicious. My neighbor now wants this to be an annual tradition! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • — Joan Hurley on August 8, 2023
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  • Hi. I live in Spain so graham crackers aren’t easily available. Are there other types of ground cookies that would make a good crust? Thanks!

    • — Robin on August 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Robin, can you find digestive biscuits in Spain? If so, those would work nicely.

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2023
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    • Hi Robin…you can use Galletas Maria in Spain too.

      • — Dalgis on August 29, 2023
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  • Hi Jenn. Great key lime pie and I’ve been making them for 40 yrs. now with egg yolks. Made one without crust, perfect slice every time.

    • — Gale Aldred on August 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this for my husbands birthday since it’s his favorite dessert. We both loved it! I did try to make individual-sized pies (to freeze some), which ended up being more work than it was worth. Next time I’ll make it in a regular pie pan and cut extra slices for freezing.

    • — Kim on August 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely Delicious! First time I’ve ever made key lime pie! Given what some others had said, I greased the glass pie plate and I added another tablespoon or so of butter to the graham cracker crumbs. I also added a couple of tablespoons of vanilla pudding powder to the whipped cream to stabilize it (and so it STAYS whipped!). So easy to make!

    • — Elizabeth Starr on August 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Omg, so delicious! Followed the recipe to the letter. My guests had two slices each!

    • — Nancy Oliver on August 5, 2023
    • Reply

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