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.

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 recipe was one of my favorites! I’m wondering if I made these as mini pies, how long I would bake it for?

    • — Nicole on July 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, So glad you like it! For minis, the bake time is likely to be less but not sure by how much as it depends on the size of your tarts so just keep a close eye on them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this yesterday for our 4th of July party. Everyone raved! I did make a change to the whipped cream (I’m a huge fan of stabilizing whipped cream with mascarpone and I really needed to as the home I was bringing the pie to was pretty warm). I also added two extra tablespoons butter to the crust recipe but that’s just because I’m a hedonist. It would’ve been delicious without I’m sure. Anyway, the filling tasted perfect, set up beautifully, and everyone couldn’t say enough good things. I wished there had been enough to sneak a second piece because boy, was it good!!

    • — Malia on July 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Brought this to a 4th of July party – everyone raved about. My first time making key lime pie and it was very straightforward compared to other recipes I found. Definitely going to make this again and try other recipes from Jenn Segal!

    • — Lindsey on July 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • I tried this recipe for the first time this weekend and everyone loved it! My friend said it was one of the best pies he had ever eaten. Will do it again!

    • — Lysanne B. Roberge on July 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • This pie is SO GOOD! I made two of them for a Beach Bash we had this past weekend. WOW! It was so easy and it was the hit of the party. I didn’t read the part about making the pie part the day of the event until it was too late. LOL And I had already prepared the pie to serve the next day. It mentioned that making it a day before would make for a soggy crust. Mine wasn’t soggy, maybe a little moist but still had a crunch and was delicious! Everyone raved about the pie and asked for the recipe. :). THANK YOU!

    • — Jan on June 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made the key lime pie for my husband on Father’s Day. I followed your recipe, except I used key lime Greek yogurt and added just a touch of vanilla flavoring to the filling. The pie came out perfect. My husband and friends loved it. Thank you!

    • — Cindy P on June 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this per the recipe. It was very good, but seemed a bit too sweet for me. Is there a modification that would make it a bit less sweet?

    • — Patty C on June 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Patty, 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 June 24, 2022
      • Reply
  • I didn’t even think I liked key lime until I made this for Father’s Day. We used our own crust recipe, so no comments there—but the filling texture and flavor is to die for. This is the real deal you guys.

    We could only find actual key limes, and juicing and zesting that many little guys is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Can’t wait to try it the easy way, we’re thrilled at how trivial the rest is.

    • — Will on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have tried tons of recipes for Key Lime Pie like my husband had as a teenager. Finally, I don’t have to try any more. It is perfect.

    • — Mary Alice on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this pie for Father’s day! We had Church in the morning so I made it the night before. The crust was perfect, not soggy at all! Family is full of food critics — they mainly enjoyed it. However, some thought it would be best without the cream on top… I thought it was amazing as is!

    • — Joslyn M. on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe! Only change I’d make is to add more butter to rhe crust. First attempt following rhe recipe exactly was super dry and crumbly. The filling is absolutely delicious. My husband has requested this pie now twice since I found your recipe last week! Def a keeper!

    • — Jacqui on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Love this pie. Have made it twice and both times the crust doesn’t hold its shape. It basically crumbles. What would solve this problem? More butter?

    Thanks,
    Phyllis

    • — Phyllis on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Phyllis, The crust is a little crumbly by nature, but it should hold together. Adding more butter should help. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Love love love this recipe! Have made it successfully many times. Most recently made it with a bargain sweetened condensed milk and it was so watery that it soaked the crust. Lesson learned! Thought I’d pass it along.

    • — LTLisa on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this for my husbands birthday, as his favorite is key lime, and it was as a HIT. perfectly balanced with sweet and tart. also such a simple to follow recipe, my 6 year old easily assisted.

    • — Amanda on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • This is OMG sooo good. Nice and lite and the crust was crispy… just delicious.

      • — Pat on June 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • I tried this recipe and LOVED it. I was wondering if you thought there might be a way to make theis into a key lime pie in a jar…even though its a baked recipe. I really like how this recipe uses greek yogurt. Thoughts?

    • — Amanda on June 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! I’m sorry, but I don’t think there’s a way to adapt it to a jar. I think you’d have the best luck using a recipe that’s specifically intended for that.

      • — Jenn on June 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • Everyone loves it! And it’s easy to make (well I spent more time decorating the cake)

    I used biscoff as the base and skipped the sugar. You have to add extra butter to compensate for that.

    • — Michelle on June 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Amazing and very easy to make. Perfect mid-day summer alternative to ice cream. I am no cook, but I like cooking when the time and mood are right. Made this for my mom – she loved it! It’s not too sweet and very fragrant. Followed the recipe except that I only had 3 limes on my hands and had to add some bottled lime juice (Badia) to get 3/4 cup. Came out perfect. Thank you so much, Jenn!

    • — Valerie on June 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the best key lime pie I’ve made! I used nonfat Greek yogurt and it was amazing!
    Thank you for the recipe 😊

    • — Holly on June 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello, I made this last weekend for some friends and It was fantastic. Copied the recipe for her. I’m on my 2nd try just for us. Thanks so much! We love it!

    • — Sherrie on June 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for my son’s birthday and it will definitely be a repeat. Wow! Not difficult and SO delicious. Thank you for another winner!

    • — Miranda on June 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this pie and I made it so quickly. My family loved it too, even my mom who doesn’t like lime but I also made it in lemon and we still loved it. This is a great recipe

    • — Jennafer on June 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe several times now, and it is freaking awesome. The first time I made it, on a whim I put the excess filling in the freezer and oh my god, it is soooo good. It sets up in the freezer kinda halfway between an ice cream and a sorbet. I then immediately cut up and froze the whole pie. I like it better frozen. Since then I’ve played around with the recipe a bit. I add more zest, because I like it zingy. I’ve also frozen the filling, and then used graham crackers to make little ice cream sandwiches. (If you try this I recommend you plan on making only as many as you can eat within a day or two, the graham crackers start to get soggy after that).
    Overall a super simple, fun recipe!

    • — Lisa on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • I used coconut condensed milk instead of regular condensed milk and it still came out lovely. Also made a gluten-free crust from oats, so the recipe can be successfully adjusted for intolerances. This is a keeper!

    • — Ilze Hattingh on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best. Pie. Ever. And I’m lactose intolerant – which says something.

    • — Megan on May 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe yesterday with a ready made graham cracker crust and I used lime flavoured Greek yogurt. It was delicious!

    • — Gail on May 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Just take Lactaid and enjoy all the dairy you want! That’s what I do. 🙂

      • — Grace on July 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • this is my go to key lime pie!!! I follow the exact instructions and it is awesome!!!!!

    • — charity cla on May 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • used the Nellie & Joe’s lime juice. Everyone thought it was fabulous, best they had ever had! thanks for sharing the recipe

    • — Linda on May 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was amazing, I live in South Florida so I was able to use key limes, and it definitely made a difference. Quick and easy, everyone loved it! Thank you so much.

    • — Erin on May 15, 2022
    • Reply

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