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.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

From my cookbook, this Key lime pie is a longtime family favorite. I use ordinary supermarket limes to make it because, unless you live in the Florida Keys, Key limes are near impossible to find. And furthermore, they’re so tiny that you’d need to juice at least twenty of them for this recipe. No thank you!

Regular limes make an exceptional key lime pie, and are a much better alternative to bracingly tart Key lime juice. This pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

Heads up: with no eggs, it may be hard to believe that this pie will set but — have faith — it will.

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.

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.

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. (Be sure to zest the limes before you juice them, as it’s very hard to do afterward.)
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.

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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

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

  • Serving size: 10
  • 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 also made this with one can fat free condensed milk and one with the regular. Everyone loved it. I live in Florida and everyone raves about the Key Lime Pie from Publix’s, but everyone I served this to thought this was better. Nice and creamy and not as sickening sweet as some that I have had. I real winner!

    • — Mikey on June 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this a few days ago, and it was a huge success. It’s the first time I’ve made key lime pie without eggs, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my old recipe! Your approach using Greek yogurt is a real win—the filling is still creamy but lighter and fresher tasting than other lime pies I’ve made. The few leftover pieces have held up in the fridge very well. A perfect start to summer!

    • — Danni on June 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe on Father’s Day. It was delicious! I plan to make this Key lime pie again this weekend. This is my favorite site for recipes. The directions are so clear and easy to follow!

    • — Marna on June 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Def recommend! My husband requested this for Father’s Day and it did not disappoint!! Tart, but not too much so and the crust was DELICIOUS. Finished it in 2 days! The family gets so excited when I tell them I’m trying a new recipe of yours! As always, thank you for sharing!!

    • — Beth C. on June 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • AMAZING RECIPE! I used gluten free Graham crackers and the crust was still delicious. I made 2 mistakes as I did not thoroughly read the recipe before cooking. I made the pie ( except for whipped topping ) the day before serving and baked the pie 30 minutes instead of 15. The amazing thing is the pie was still delicious and got raving reviews. I can’t wait to try the right way the next time.😊 Best key lime pie recipe ever and I have made many of recipes.

    • — Karen on June 17, 2019
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  • I made this for friends visiting from Florida as it has been our treat after an evening of playing cards. It is easy to make and received rave reviews from everyone!! I love that regular limes are recommended!! EVERY recipe I have made has been just perfect – they are all company worthy!

    • — Barbara on June 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, A nephew gave me your cookbook a few months ago after visiting for a long weekend and enjoying all the meals I made from your amazing recipes. As a ardent follower of your work, I was thrilled to dive right into your book. Since then, I made this recipe three times and each time folks have told me it’s the best key lime pie they’ve ever had. My husband says that after eating your key lime pie as well as your baked salmon with honey mustard, he’s been spoiled from trying any other. Thank you for making me a happy cook!

    • — Karen on June 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on June 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this pie today, and it was easy and excellent. I used one can of fat free eagle brand sweetened condensed milk and one regular, and I couldn’t tell the difference in taste. I will definitely make this pie again. I love all the recipes from this site.

    • — Carol F on June 16, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is one of the first recipes I made from your book and my family has requested it again and again. It’s on the menu for Father’s Day tomorrow, and I am making the coconut cream pie too! xo

    • — Erica on June 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • So easy to make and it was a hit

    • — Elly Chinnaswamy on June 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Some key lime pies are tart and some are sweet. Which camp does your recipe fall into?

    P.S. I LOVE your website! You truly have no fail recipes!

    • — Angela on June 15, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Angela, So glad you like the recipes! I think this one is right in the middle but if I had to pick, I’d say it’s a bit more on the sweet side.

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2019
      • Reply
      • Jenn, you were right. It is perfect! The right combo of sweet and tart. Best key lime pie ever!

        • — Angela on June 17, 2019
        • Reply
  • A definite hit! I made this last Thanksgiving and this critical review was received, “Why didn’t you make two?” Since it was a hit then, it was also included for the dessert in the dinner club I belong to – A different group, same results, another hit!

    • — GrandBob on June 13, 2019
    • Reply
  • I love your recipes, I have made many. I want to try this key lime pie recipe. My daughter, age 30, swears that Greek yogurt does not agree with her stomach. Can I use a plain yogurt that isn’t Greek?

    • — Julie warshauer on June 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, So glad you like the recipes! I think you could use regular yogurt but should strain it first because it’s not as thick as Greek yogurt. Sour cream or crème fraîche would also work here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2019
      • Reply

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