Key Lime Pie

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

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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 missing a slice.

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 in a pie pan.

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.

Key Lime pie missing a slice.

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

  • Could I substitute sour cream for the greek yogurt?

    • — Amalea on June 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure, that will work – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Could I use crushed Biscoff cookies instead of Graham Crackers for the crust?

    • — Wendy Fair on June 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I have made this pie before, it was a big hit! Would this recipe also work making key lime pie bars instead of pie? Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!

    B. Stone

    • — B. Stone on June 13, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi, Glad you like this! Unfortunately, I don’t think it would translate to bars well as I’m concerned that the filling wouldn’t be firm enough – sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • What degrees do you bake it at and also how much yogurt and condensed milk or where can I find that info

    • — Kaylyn on June 12, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kaylyn, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions above. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • This was a BIG hit! Everyone said it was the best they had ever tasted. They are an experienced crew too!

    • — Carolyn Cole on June 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’m making this for the first time today. And I have more pie filling than I do pie. However, I tasted the filling before cooking it and it taste fabulous. I strongly suspect that this will turn out just fine. However, I was wondering if I can refrigerate the leftover pie filling and use it to make some mini Keylime pies? How long will it keep in the refrigerator do you think? Ps The pop-up ads on your site are almost intolerable these days I have to say. It’s taken me about 15 minutes to put in this message.

    • — Judy on June 1, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, the leftover filling should last nicely for 2 to 3 days. And I’m sorry about the pop-ups being so intrusive! I will let my ad network know so they can look into it.

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2024
      • Reply
    • I agree Judy – I almost gave up copying/pasting into a Word doc to save the recipe! But I am so grateful for all the comments/suggestions before I make this for Father’s Day. Will report back!

      • — Elizabeth Bell-Perkins on June 9, 2024
      • Reply
  • This was my first time making key lime pie. The recipe was simple and I got such a wonderful response from my co-workers that I just wanted to thank you!!

    • — Raghav on May 30, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe turned out perfectly. For those who thought it wasn’t tart enough, don’t skimp on the lime zest! And the recipe perfectly fills a standard pie plate (not the small ones that come with premade graham cracker crust). It set perfectly, looked gorgeous, and I would change nothing.

    • — Susan on May 27, 2024
    • Reply
  • Brilliant recipe. I was a little hesitant about the omission of eggs, but the texture of the filling was a creamy delight. I used almost a cup of lime juice (10 limes) because I like a strong citrus flavor, but I followed the remainder of the recipe as written. Another winner, Jenn!

    • — Robyn on May 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • How would you adjust this for having actual key limes? I love the idea of using yogurt – but worry a direct translation to the same amount of key lime might be too intense? I’ll probably wing it before I get a response so wish me luck! 🙂

    • — Kaylyn Carpenter on May 24, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kaylyn, Key limes will be fine here with no modifications. Hope you enjoy! (If you already made it, I hope it came out nicely.😊)

      • — Jenn on May 28, 2024
      • Reply
  • I have made this pie before and I loved it! I’d like to try and make it for Key Lime Pie in a Jar!!
    Do you think it would work? Perhaps I would cut the recipe in half and would only want like 4 8-11 ounce jars.
    What do you think?! Any adjustments?

    • — Tammy Marcellino on May 23, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Tammy, I’ve never done it, but a reader commented that she has. This is what she said: I divided this recipe into 11 four oz Mason Jars. Crust used about 1.5 T per jar; baked as directed; used about 4 oz. of filling (2 muffin scoops) per jar; baked for 11 mins. Will dollop with the whipped cream at serving time.
      Hope you find it helpful!

      • — Jenn on May 24, 2024
      • Reply
  • Everyone loved it! It was incredible!!

    • — Carrie on May 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • Has anyone used lemons instead of limes to make a lemon pie? I love this recipe so much, I was thinking making one of each!

    • — Mallory on May 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Did you try the lemon pie idea?! I was thinking about doing it as well.

      • — Donnie on May 23, 2024
      • Reply
  • Damn…this looks outstanding!!!

    • — jim on May 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • Mmmmm…. Delicious! My husband absolutely loved it!

    • — Lynn W on May 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • I started making this pie last summer. Somehow, it became the most requested pie of the year! It even brought a crazy high price at a bake sale fund raiser where 2 people were competing for it! Thanks again Jenn, your recipes are always the best!

    • — Jane S. on May 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great key lime pie! Thanks, Jenn, for this recipe. I made it a day in advance minus the topping. Baked the crust an extra couple of minutes which prevented it from getting soggy while not too hard. I did use an extra tablespoon of butter with the crust. Added the topping the day of. Huge hit with everyone!

    • — Diane on May 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe is a hit made it twice now everyone loves it nice and refreshing on a hot day

    • — Rich on May 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • This has become my go-to recipe for quite some time!!!!
    It is the best and sooooo easy to make!

    • — Bob L on May 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • Will this recipe work to make bars instead of a pie? If no, how should I adjust it?

    • — Mike G. on May 11, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Mike, I don’t think this would translate well as I’m concerned that the filling wouldn’t be firm enough – sorry! If I come across a recipe for key lime bars that looks worthwhile, I’ll email you with it.

      • — Jenn on May 13, 2024
      • Reply
  • “Best Key Lime Pie ever” from several friends that used to winter in Key West FL every year and their children!!

    Will keep this recipe!

    • — Jean Dumm on May 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’d like to make this recipe for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Am I able to make the crust and filling ahead of time (today, Friday), and then assemble and bake on Sunday?

    • — Rachael Feeney on May 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on May 10, 2024
      • Reply
    • Everyone LOVED this pie and requested the recipe! It’s a keeper for sure! Thank you!

      • — Cindy J on May 11, 2024
      • Reply
  • Fantastic thank you!!

    • — Traci on May 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • Excellent mild tart-sweet taste of lime, with a glossy and firm texture. It’s taste was complemented with the sweet buttery flavour of crust. It was an easy recipe and one that is now in the rotation.

    • — Joe on May 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was a truly delicious pie with a wonderfully smooth texture. Everyone loved it and came back for more. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Danni on May 2, 2024
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe. Can you freeze this and defrost for later use?

    • — Dunia Pasternak on April 22, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! 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 April 22, 2024
      • Reply
    • This is the worst recipe i have ever followed. Never again

      • — Robert on May 1, 2024
      • Reply
      • And why is it the worst?

        • — DJ on May 3, 2024
        • Reply
      • It’s a shame when someone posts a negative review without any sort of explanation as to why. Why bother? How is simply stating it was the worst recipe ever supposed to be helpful? Was it too sweet in your opinion? Did it not set up? Was it not “lime-y” enough? Did you follow instructions exactly, or are you actually reviewing your own version with modifications? Or did you post a review on the wrong recipe? Or????

        • — Rene on May 3, 2024
        • Reply
  • As someone who’s lactose intolerant to some extent, and prefers desserts not-too-sweet, using 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk felt extreme to me. So I added less sweetened condensed milk (~1.5 cans) and more greek yogurt (~1.5 cups), and the pie turned out perfect!

    The filling set really well: firm but still smooth and creamy. I think having more greek yogurt guarantees it won’t get too runny. It was still considerably sweet, so I don’t think it would disappoint anyone with a sweet tooth. I might even consider doing 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 2 cups greek yogurt next time, just to make the flavor more delicate. I used 10 fresh key limes, and was only able to get 1/2 cup of juice out of them – but I think it was more than sufficiently tart!

    • — Lucy W on April 17, 2024
    • Reply
    • Thanks for the tip. I also felt the sugar content was too much (personal preference) but everything else was excellent. I’ll try adding more unsweetened yogurt instead of the extra can of sweetened condensed milk. I considered substituting evaporated milk but I think that would have altered the texture, not good.

      • — Dr. I on May 11, 2024
      • Reply
  • So good! We added some extra lime juice and zest and used a gluten-free crust. It was a hit! The consistency is amazing, and the whipped cream was perfect for piping as decoration!

    • — Kendra on April 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • My SIL loves Key Lime Pie, so I made this during a recent visit. This pie is quick and easy to put together. It’s absolutely delicious and has a wonderful consistency. I made the recipe exactly as written (I used 5% Plain Greek Yogurt and the full amount of lime zest). However, I only ended up only getting 1/2 c. of lime juice from my limes, so I added 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice to make up the difference. I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good without all lime, but everyone loved it. Will definitely make again.

    • — Stephanie on April 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is a great recipe! The pie turned out delicious.

    • — Rachel on April 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve never made any pie before, let alone a key lime pie. I didn’t even know you were supposed to use eggs. But it’s my husband’s favorite, so I looked up a recipe to use and landed on this. Came out absolutely perfectly the first time, and I even used vanilla Greek yogurt instead of plain on accident. I added a little of the lime juice to the whipped cream mixture but this is amazing and incredibly beginner friendly … thank you !! My husband is born and raised Floridian and we’ve been to the keys many times.. this is delicious ❣️

    • — Asia on April 2, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve used this recipe three times with rave results including winning a pie contest at work using it. Although I manage pretty well in the kitchen, I am by far a professional. Easy to make and tastes great! Thank you.

    • — Richard on April 2, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this as written. 5 stars. Made the day before. The crust didn’t get soggy, though I used a store bought graham cracker crust. So good topped with real whipped cream. My son who initially turned his nose up had 2 slices!! Would love to try with real key limes someday.

    • — Jan on March 31, 2024
    • Reply
    • And just I don’t see eggs listed on the ingredient list or the instructions. But I see comments where people said they didn’t know they were supposed to use eggs? Can someone help me are we supposed to use eggs in this recipe? It’s not on the ingredients list

      • — Christina on April 15, 2024
      • Reply
      • Hi Christina, no eggs are necessary for the recipe. 😊

        • — Jenn on April 15, 2024
        • Reply
      • If I only have one can of condensed milk, can I substitute for something else?

        • — Amanda on May 26, 2024
        • Reply
        • Hi Amanda, I’d stick with all sweetened condensed milk here for the most predictable results. Sorry!

          • — Jenn on May 28, 2024
          • Reply
        • One person said they used 1 can condensed milk and 2 cups yogurt so it was not so sweet if that helps.

          • — Angie on June 9, 2024
          • Reply
  • How long does the pie keep in the fridge?

    • — Mel on March 31, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Mel, you can make both the crust and the filling a day ahead, but filling should be added on the day of serving, otherwise, the crust will get soggy.

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2024
      • Reply
  • If I am making the pie 1 day ahead, should I still pour the filling into the crust and bake?

    • — Elissa Paredes on March 30, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yes 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2024
      • Reply
  • Do you recommend making the topping 1 day ahead along with the filling and crust or making the topping the day of?

    • — Elissa Paredes on March 30, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Elissa, Ideally, I would make it the day of.

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, do you know if this recipe would still work the same with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of regular?

    • — Morgan on March 29, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Morgan — it won’t be as creamy, but it will work. 😊

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2024
      • Reply

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