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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

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 is the best!!! I’ve been making this for a while now and everyone raves about it. I was wondering if I can make this into mini cheesecakes. Are the baking times the same and are the ingredient amounts the same? Thank you so much for an amazing recipe!

    • — Carla on February 26, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Carla, So glad you like this! I haven’t tried it but think you could make this into smaller individual ones. I’d keep the temperature the same; bake time is likely to be less but not sure by how much as it depends on the size of your minis so just keep a close eye on them. Also, the ingredient amounts depend on how many minis you plan to make. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 27, 2024
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn,

        If I use muffin tins/cups, what do you think the ingredient amounts and bake times would be? Thank you!

        • — Carla on February 28, 2024
        • Reply
        • Hi Carla, I haven’t done it, so I’m not 100% sure. One other reader said the following about using a muffin tin: I used muffin liners in pan, and cut the baking time in half. Hope you find that helpful!

          • — Jenn on February 28, 2024
          • Reply
  • Sorry, it’s NOT a Key Lime Pie. It’s a lime pie. The whole POINT of a Key Lime Pie is that it IS, as you put it, “bracingly tart.” So this pie cannot taste “every bit as authentic as the real deal.” And BTW, I live in northern Virginia and we get authentic key limes at my local market two or three times a year. Because the vast majority of them come from Mexico – not south Florida. I just squeezed a pound of them today to get 8 ounces of fresh key lime juice to make “the real deal.”

    • — Ken Springer on February 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • I followed the recipe as stated and got approval from every family member! In case anyone is wondering about alternatives: I struggled to find low fat Greek yogurt so I used fat-free, and the filling still turned out great. I also didn’t want to use graham crackers, so I used a mix of digestive oat cookies and butter cookies, and all worked out.

    • — FW on February 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Fabulous recipe! Made exactly as written and wouldn’t change a thing. Family loved it.

    • — Pamularia on February 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing recipe, thank you so much, it turned out amazing 😘👏

    • — Martina on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe as stated. It was fabulous. Everyone loved it. By far the best key lime pie we ever ate and we have chased them through the keys! With comments about how this recipe did not turn out well I can only say it wasn’t followed correctly. You must use the right Greek yogurt, not low fat, not fat free. After mixing it was almost set up before it even went in the oven for 15 minutes! Will do again, and again. Thank you!!! Delicious!

    • — Arleen Pizzuto on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe looked so easy that I was a bit skeptical. It turned out to be fabulous and got 5 *’s from all of my guests. I will definitely be making it again. Thanks, Jenn.

    • — Janet Jacobson on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hello. Can this pie be frozen?

    • — barbara Kiss on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I’ve never frozen this and wouldn’t think it was a great candidate for freezing, but a few people have mentioned that they have, and have been happy with the results when thawed. Keep in mind though that the crust will not stay crisp if the filling sits inside it (either in the freezer or the fridge). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe today and I was skeptical at first but WOW – this recipe is delicious and simple! The directions were so easy to follow and everything went exactly as expected. This is definitely a recipe I am saving for the future!

    • — Britney Terry on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made it, loved it. It was a big hit and everyone at the party agreed!

    • — Jamie on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • My Key lime pie loving step-dad loves when I make this for his birthday. I’ve made this recipe twice now, and it’s simple and easy. I shouldn’t have added the juice and rind of one extra lime, and it was a little too tart for the rest if us, even with the cream on top, but he loved it. I grated and juiced the limes 3 days prior, which was a time-saver, except the colour had yellowed on the rind and the decorative slices I placed on top, which didn’tlook so great. So leave the decoration until the day, or the day before.
    The base unfortunately was soggy. Not sure how to change that from happening.
    (Couldn’t see the option to upload a photo)

    • — Sandy Donnell on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, glad your step dad enjoyed it but sorry that the crust was soggy. I believe the answer to this is no, as you mentioned, juicing the limes and refrigerating the lime juice a few days ahead, but did you happen to assemble the pie ahead of time?

      • — Jenn on February 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • Holy moly this pie is so good! And so easy! I wasn’t sure what it would taste like because it was so easy but this is a 10/10!

    • — Samantha Gonzalez on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is by far the best & easiest key lime pie recipe. (I even used a pre made 10” graham crust). I used 5% fat Greek yogurt, the zest of 1 lime for filling & about 6-7 regular limes for the 3/4 cup juice. My family is loving this recipe. It set up just fine baking as directed.

    • — Beth on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have never made nor ever eaten key lime pie. I made this for a work colleague as it is his favorite dessert. I was told by 2 people that it is the best key lime pie they have ever had! It was soooo good! This recipe is a keeper – made just as directed, however added the filling on a Wednesday night and it was not eaten until Friday and still delicious! Thank you!

    • — Anne O'Neill on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Would it be okay to use gluten free graham crackers in this recipe?

    • — Barb F on January 30, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2024
      • Reply
  • Can I use 4% vanilla Greek yogurt?

    • — Molly Koecher on January 27, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on January 29, 2024
      • Reply
  • When you live in Mexico 5 months of the year and have too many limes in the fridge (and all margarita’d out), what to do but make Key Lime Pie!
    I only made half of the recipe because I didn’t want any left over. I made them in individual portions by putting it in a muffin tin. Half a recipe made 8 individual portions. I baked them for 10 min and they were perfectly set up. They came out of the tins really easily, no issues at all.
    I made it word for word and they turned out luscious and rave reviews for this host. Will be my go to recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

    • — Julie on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • My mom was given this recipe and has made it so many times and we all freak over how yummy it is. So I tried making it myself for a dinner party & everyone loved it. I would say this is the best key lime pie I’ve ever had.

    • — Charlotte on January 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this pie for our vacation homeowner community’s annual welcome back party.
    It was such a huge success that several Floridians tracked me down to say it was their favorite Key Lime pie of all time. I followed the recipe exactly except I used prepared whipped topping instead of whipping the cream myself due to concerns that homemade version might droop in the heat. Use a fancy pie dish and add lime twists like in the photo to add visual pizzazz. My go-to recipe now.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • — Marilynn on January 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • I had a great experience with this recipe! The crust recipe was a little looser than I am used to. I convinced myself it was going to fall apart dramatically when I went to serve the pie, but it didn’t! That being said, in the future I’d probs put a tad bit more butter just to be on the safe side haha. Also, after I put the pie in the oven I noticed a lot of comments from people who had issues getting this pie to set. Commence second bout of anxiety haha. I did leave my pie in a bit longer than 15 minutes (maybe 20?). It still wobbled when I took it out, and it set beautifully once cooled. I used Fage 5% for the greek yogurt, and otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. Quite an easy recipe overall, and it tasted delicious. Thanks!

    • — Chad on January 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious!! I got to the filling and realized I had regular whole milk yogurt, not Greek. So I tried adding about 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch, and baked the pie a couple minutes extra, and it set perfectly. So good with the graham cracker crust and whipped topping!!! Will definitely make this again. Thank you!

    • — Kerri on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this pie several years ago for my husband on his birthday, and he has requested it every year since. It is delicious and always sets perfectly for me. Since I’m kind of lazy about doing dishes, I tend to eyeball quantities rather than truly measure them out, so the recipe must be somewhat forgiving. I wonder if the folks it isn’t setting for aren’t using the right kind of yogurt, or maybe confusing sweetened condensed milk with evaporated milk.

    • — Kim on January 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Excellent Recipe. I used full fat (5%) Fage Greek Yogurt. Pie set beautifully after 15 minutes in the oven. My guests loved this pie and I will definitely be making it again.

    • — Linda on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
    • How much yogurt do you use ?

      • — Lucille Casey on January 24, 2024
      • Reply
      • You’ll need 1 cup/240 g.

        • — Jenn on January 24, 2024
        • Reply
  • Ok i made it accidentally with 0% MF Greek yogurt and was worried it would not set( based on some comments)…i let it sit in fridge over night and it was firm and tasty

    • — Lorraine on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great recipe, I got a lot of compliments making it just as described (I added whipped cream on top instead of making my own though). When I was making it, the graham cracker crust was quite crumbly to deal with, but it was manageable and tasted great after baking & filling. The filling was perfect consistency, lovely lime flavor, great sweetness. There was a ton of filling… it almost made a huge mess spilling over so just a warning that the amounts made with this recipe are a bit much for a typical pie tin, even though they taste great (a good excuse to just eat the filling right there and then).
    Would definitely make again 🙂 Make sure you chill it for a long time, before serving.

    • — Alex on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Terrible recipe! Does not set! Should have known without eggs! Had to throw away as it was lime pudding! Do not trust this recipe!

    • — Hector on December 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi. I am going to make this fantastic recipe for a 3rd time in just a couple of weeks. I am wondering, how far in advance can I prepare the crust? Last time I made it one day ahead; can I make it 2-3 days in advance?

    Thank you for a wonderful, most delicious recipe.

    • — Janet Snyder on December 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet, I think you can get away with 2 to 3 days ahead. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • This does not set properly, and it doesn’t taste very good as a pudding either. It is a waste of time, money, and ingredients.

    • — Ben on December 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi, would I be able to make this dessert into mini pies, and if so, would the temperature still be the same? Thanks.

    • — Simone on December 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes—but the cook time might be slightly shorter. I’d love to know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • If using a regular crust (not graham), would you slightly underbake it before adding the pie filling and going back in the oven?

    • — CS on December 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi CS, I’d follow the blind baking instructions on the package.

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can someone please tell me how this pie filling sets without eggs, cornstarch or gelatin?

    • — Wanda on December 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Wanda, I wish I could explain the science behind it, but it works. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2023
      • Reply
    • The acid from the limes and dairy in the yogurt. Its like making cheese🙂

      • — Aubrey on December 25, 2023
      • Reply
    • It’s similar to making Mexican apple salad. The lime plus cream plus yogurt creates a thick mayonnaise consistency .

      • — Val on January 10, 2024
      • Reply
  • The best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted. My husband has never been a fan of key lime pie, but I made this one…first key lime pie attempt…and he said “save that recipe cause its the best dessert you’ve ever made.” And I bake a lot!

    • — Donna on December 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • This pie is phenomenal! I wouldn’t change a thing except brew a fresh cup to enjoy it with 🙂

    • — Angela on December 13, 2023
    • Reply

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