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)

You May Also Like

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

  • Planning on making this today with sweetened condensed coconut milk and vegan sour cream, since my daughter is gluten free and dairy free. Have you ever made it this way with success? Hoping it’s as amazing as all the reviews have said, even with these changes in major components.

    • Hi Becky, I can’t say I’ve made it with those ingredients so I don’t have any wisdom to share – I’m sorry! Please report back after you make it — I’m sure readers would love to hear how it turns out with these alternatives! 🙂

    • Any luck with this? Would love to “veganize” for my daughter!

  • Absolutely delicious and super easy to make! Everyone devoured it! I can always count on Jenn’s recipes to be the best!

  • scrumptious delumptious 😊😋 made it yesterday for my family and we all loved it.

  • I made this for my boss’s birthday. I can’t believe it was so easy yet such a great hit with everybody. As another reviewer suggested, I used the coconut cream pie base – which is now my new favourite base. I had leftover filling so threw it into premade tart shells and gave it to my tenants. They keep requesting more. I will definately be making this again soon. Thank you!!!

  • Key Lime Pie is my family’s all time favorite pie and they loved this recipe. They said it is hard to stop eating it because it is so good.

    Jenn, they asked me though if they could freeze it?

    • Hi JE, while I don’t think this is the kind of pie that I’d suggest making ahead and freezing for future use, if you have leftovers, you may be able to get away with freezing them. Please keep in mind I haven’t frozen it myself. (And I’m glad to hear the family enjoyed it!)

  • This came out PERFECTLY! Might be the best dessert I’ve ever made and it was a huge hit! Super easy to follow too. I will say I made the mistake of assuming 12 graham crackers would equal the exact amount i needed for the crust but it was a little too much so i had to melt an extra tbs of butter to make them moist enough for the crust but other than that there isn’t anything I’d change! I better invest in a juicer because I will be making this again and again!

  • So delicious!! First time trying homemade key lime pie and I’m so glad I found this recipe! Easy to follow, minimal ingredients, and very tasty. Thanks for this great recipe!

  • My husband said this is the best recipe he has had that is homemade and as close to the pie he had in key west as they come. Definitely a keeper recipe and I am so grateful to have found this. Thank you Jenn so much for sharing this!

  • Can I use sour cream in place of Greek yogurt? I just substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream in a sour cream raisin pie and that exchange worked great!

    • Sure, Phyllis, sour cream will work here. Enjoy!

  • This is an absolutely delicious and simple dessert. I actually prefer it without the whipped cream because I love the pure tartness of the lime. Question: I’m planning to make it again and unfortunately the grocery shopper in my house bought regular whole milk yogurt, rather than Greek yogurt. Since I can’t run to the store to get more, would you recommend using the nonfat Greek yogurt I have, straining the regular yogurt, or some other option? (I suppose I could wait until we go back to the store, but those limes are burning a hole in my pocket!🤗) thank you!

    • So glad you like this! You can use regular yogurt but should strain it first. Sour cream or crème fraîche would also work here. Hope that helps!

      • Can you leave out the sugar in the crust given that graham crackers are already fairly sweet? This looks like a wonderful recipe but we’re trying to reduce sugar consumption here!

        • Hi Charlotte, I wouldn’t completely omit it, but you could cut the brown sugar in the crust by a few tablespoons. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

  • I love this key lime pie (and so did everyone else in my family). It’s a little rich caloriewise, but offers a nice blend of tartness and sweetness–simply delicious. If you’re good with megingues, I would substitute one for the whipping cream to cut back on the richness. I’m a terrible mergingue-maker, though, so the cream is definitely easier for me and it presents beautifully with the lime slices and zest.

    Every recipe that I have tried of Jenn Segal’s (both online and from her book) has been pitch perfect. I just love what she does with food! Her interplay of spices, aromas, and textures produces fabulous results…every time.

    I have a nice pumpkin pound cake in the oven right now (p. 269 in her book).

    Bravo, Jenn. And thank you 🙂

    Jennifer Hutchison

    • — Jennifer Hutchison
    • Reply
    • ❤️

    • I made this pie yesterday; my husband said it’s the best pie I’ve made in 40 years! I added an extra 8 ounces of Greek yogurt, and an extra 1/4 cup of lime juice to cut the sweetness of the condensed milk. It came out perfect in every way! Thank you Jenn for your clear, easy to follow recipes, and inspiration! I love your cookbook, it’s one of my prized possessions. 🤩🌻🥰💖

  • Can I replace the limes with lemons?

    • Hi Dawn, I’ve never made it with lemons but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • I just started baking and this is the first key lime pie I have ever made and I was nervous. it turned out perfect and everyone is begging for another one.

    I love the simple easy to follow recipes on Once Upon a Chef.

    • So very simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. I had to go out of town the next day and didn’t want to waste, so I popped about half the pie in the freezer. After several weeks, I thawed the pie overnight. Crust wasn’t quite as crisp, but it was still very tasty.

  • Every Friday I make lunch for our employees and this delicious, easy-to-make pie has shown up two different times to rave reviews! When your book came out, I gave every one of our 20 employees a copy for their birthdays. I remind them that this amazing recipe is available to them, but so far, I am the reigning Key Lime Pie Queen, and I am happy to wear the crown. Thanks, Jenn.

    • 🙂
      Thanks so much for gifting the cookbook to all your employees!!

  • So far every recipe that I’ve tried from your cookbook has been spot on. This is the first Key Lime pie I’ve ever made and by far the best I have ever had.

  • If I grabbed greek yogurt from the store and realized it has skim milk, how will it effect this recipe? Thank you, this looks great and I don’t want to mess it up!

    • Technically it will work, but won’t be as good. 🙂

      • Can I use key lime Greek yogurt in place of plain? It just happens to be what I have.

        • — Joan on June 11, 2024
        • Reply
        • Hi Joan, while you can get away with it, it will introduce more sugar to the filling. You could compensate for that by using a tad more lime juice and/or reducing the sugar a bit in the crust. Please LMK how it turns out!

          • — Jenn on June 12, 2024
          • Reply
  • Without a doubt THE best Key Lime Pie recipe I’ve ever found. Or made. Perfectly delicious. Thank you once again, Jenn, for a wonderful recipe.

  • Delicious! I made this twice in individual jars to take to potluck dinner parties. So easy, everyone loved it and they looked so cute not to mention much easier than cutting and plating a pie.

  • Hi Jenn, I am curious on how does this filling set? Is it something similar to lemon posset where acidity from the citrus works to thicken the mixture?

    I am thinking of making an icebox cake with this filling – alternating layers of Graham cracker cookies and the filling, and then baking until set. Any thoughts?

    PS: we love your recipes!

    • Hi Preethi, I’m not certain of the science behind the filling thickening, but it definitely does thicken up here. For the most predictable results, I’d actually stick with the pie version of the recipe. Sorry!

      • Thanks for the reply!

  • Once again a solid wonderful recipe! Jenn, you are the best!
    And I was happy to read it was in your cookbook cause I like having that at my fingertips!

    Easy to make and so delicious! I couldn’t find graham crackers at the dollar store so I bought cheap pecan cookies instead because they aren’t very sweet. Other than that I made as the recipe was written and I thought the cookie crust was excellent, but too sweet so next time I will put less sugar in the crust if I use cookies.

    I ate another piece two days later and it was even better than the first time and believe it or not the crust was not soggy!! 🙂

    YAY, thank you for another good one!

  • I’ve made this 4 times now….. the last one for my husband’s birthday per his request. After using a store-bought crust, I decided to try the recipe crust and found it to be both better tasting and easy to do. Everyone loves the pie. You will, too.

  • This is so much better than my previous recipe that used bottled key lime juice. It’s absolutely perfect – creamy and delicious with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I’ve made it 4 times over the summer and it’s gotten rave reviews from all. Thanks so much 🙂

  • I made this pie for a dinner party and it exceeded my expectations! My husband, who doesn’t like key lime pie, raved about it. I confess I was inspired by your coconut cream pie, so I added 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut to the crust and loved the results. The crust baked up nicely and was so easy to cut (I haven’t had good results with graham cracker crusts.) I will be making this again – thanks for another winner, Jenn!

  • I made this for a large family party that had many other desserts, and this was the first one to disappear. It looks great, it tastes great, and it’s easy to make. Once again, a dish that I always thought would be daunting turned out to be simple thanks to your recipes.

    • 🙂 Glad everyone enjoyed!

  • Hi Jenn, I’ve made your Key Lime Pie to rave reviews each time. My only problem is each slice leaves part of its crust on the bottom of the pan. I read your note about making the crust and the pie on the same day, which I do, so that’s not the problem. Plus the crust has enough butter in it to grease the pan. I welcome your suggestions on how to serve a complete slice of pie with all of its yummy crust.

    • Hmm, that’s strange, Karen! What type of pie pan are you using?

      • I guess that it’s ceramic. It looks a lot like the one in your photo. Red on the outside, white interior.

        • As long as you’re using a good pie server and getting it under the crust, the only thing I can think of is that maybe you’re pressing the crumbs too firmly into the pan. Next time, I’d try just patting it a little more lightly and see if that helps.

  • OMG! This is beyond great. You might be tempted to buy a pre made graham cracker crust but don’t. This crust is amazing. I think it is because she uses brown sugar instead of regular sugar.
    This pie is outstanding and I wouldn’t change a thing and will be making over and over. Thank you Jenn.

  • This recipe is delicious; the only complaint I received was that it is VERY sweet. At first I was offended with my family and then I realized they were right. Is there a way to reduce sugar that will produce a nice pie result? Maybe playing with the ratio of sweetened condensed milk and whole milk Greek yogurt? What are your thoughts, Jenn?

    • Hi Kristin, you could cut the brown sugar in the crust by a few tablespoons and the confectioners’ sugar in the whipped topping back to 1 Tbsp. I wouldn’t, however, mess with the ratios of the filling; not sure how that will impact the recipe. Hope that helps!

      • Thank you Jenn I think those would be the easiest items to adjust as well.

      • Kristen and Jenn, I added an extra 1/4 cup lime juice, and an extra 8 oz. of Greek yogurt, as the filling was too sweet for my taste. It was a perfect blend of tart/sweet, and the texture of the pie was perfect. I did not change the cooking time or temp. 😋👏🏼

        • Good to know, Meg — thanks for the follow-up! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn, I am modifying this recipe a bit – using the crust from your coconut cream pie (love that crust!). I’ve made the crust and baked. I’m doing the filling now – recipe says bake again to set the filling, will this make the crust to hard/dry to eat?
    I should have read the recipe closer before I decided to modify!!
    thanks

    • Hi Noni, It’s such a short bake time; I think it will be fine. 🙂

      • They worked out perfectly!

  • Thank you sooo much for this recipe. Everyone I have served this pie to, especially the men, have said that it’s the best pie they have ever eaten, and to please give their wives the recipe. 😍

  • AWESOME! For me it’s the best Lime Pie recipe I know. And Key Lime Pie in general is my favorite… Simply love it… Jenn, thanks for this wonderful recipe!

    • — Harald Robatzek
    • Reply
  • I am new to your website and tried your Key Lime Pie on July 4th. People thought it was the best they have ever had! It was such a huge hit I made it again last night with similar results. I have shared your website with several people since then. Thanks so much!

  • I made this two weeks ago when my son came to visit. Huge success! And without eggs, who knew yogurt would work! I plan to make it tomorrow but with lemons since we have a million. Should I make any other changes?

    • — Linda Stettler
    • Reply
    • No other changes necessary, Linda. I’d love to know how it turns out. 🙂

  • Can I make mini pies?

    • Sure! I’d love to hear how they turn out in miniature form. 🙂

    • I’ve made this twice now- and it’s so tasty. A hit with my family. It’s a keeper 😊

  • I’m hoping to make this over the 4th of July weekend. Would it work to use bottled key lime juice instead of squeezing all those limes? Thanks.

    • I wouldn’t recommend it, Emily — sorry!

      • What about bottled key lime juice?

        • — Kerrieleavitt@gmail.com
        • Reply
        • You’ll get much better results with the fresh limes, so I wouldn’t recommend it – sorry!

  • I made this pie last week and it turned out picture perfect! It looked as pretty as any Keylime pie I’ve ever seen and tasted as good. Everybody loved it. It was easy and I will be making this one again.

  • Hi Jen,

    Do I need to spray/grease the pie dish before adding the graham cracker mixture? Thanks Jen

    • Hi Janelle, It is not necessary to grease the pan. Hope you enjoy the pie!

  • Anyway this can be doubled and made in a 9×13 or should I stick to the original recipe in a pie pan??

    • I haven’t tried that, Adriana, but I think it should work. Baking time may be a little different so keep a close eye on it. Hope you enjoy!

    • Did you have success doubling the recipe for a 9×13 pan? If so, what changes to the baking time did you need to make?

      • I made this in a 9 x 13 today with great success! I did 1.5 x the recipe and cooked the filling just 2 minutes longer than the recipe said (because I wasn’t sure exactly what it was supposed to look like coming out of the oven) and it came out perfectly! Sliced it into squares and it was a huge hit with the family 🙂

        • Good to know, Adriana — thanks for reporting back — I’m sure others will find it helpful!

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Hi Jenn,
      Can I make pie the day before or will the filling dry out?
      Thanks.

      • Yes, Cheryl, You can make the crust and the filling a day ahead of time, but store them separately. (The filling should be added on the day of serving, otherwise, the crust will get soggy.) Hope that helps!

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • So easy to make and it was a hit

    • — Elly Chinnaswamy
    • 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!

    • 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, you were right. It is perfect! The right combo of sweet and tart. Best key lime pie ever!

  • 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!

  • 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
    • 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!

      • I have made this recipe so many times for different occasions (usually when the weather turns warm). This is a hit every time! People love this recipe. It is so easy to make and freezes well if you are lucky enough to have left overs.

    • I did. It worked fine.

      • — Lee-Ann Strelzow
      • Reply
      • I’ve never made, or eaten key lime pie before. It’s something my husband really enjoys, so I decided to give it a try.
        It was very simple to throw together, and the pie is currently chilling in the fridge.
        I did taste the filling and it was SO GOOD!
        Thank you for the great recipe.

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