No-Churn Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

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This no-churn key lime pie ice cream has all the bright lime flavor of the pie — even the crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust — and is a cinch to make.

key lime pie ice cream

Delighted with the success of an ultra-creamy no-churn cheesecake ice cream I developed for my cookbook, I’ve been playing around with other no-churn ice cream flavors. This key lime pie ice cream is my favorite thus far: it has all the bright lime flavor of key lime pie — even the crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust — and it’s a cinch to make.

There’s no temperamental custard base to make and chill, no ice cream machine to fiddle with, and no pulling the ice cream out of the freezer every 30 minutes to beat out the crystals. You start by making the 3-ingredient crust (easy!), then you beat the ice cream ingredients together, layer the mixture with the crust in a loaf pan, and pop it in the freezer. The next day you have a creamy, dreamy key lime treat that tastes far better than anything you could buy at the store.

What you’ll need To Make Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

ingredients for key lime pie ice cream

I use regular limes instead of key limes to make this ice cream. Key limes are challenging to find, and regular limes work just as well. (And you always want to avoid bracingly tart, artificial-tasting bottled key lime juice!)

How To Make Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt in mixing bowl.

Begin by making the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Using a spoon first and then your fingers, mix until evenly combined, making sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

Crust ingredients mixed together in bowl.

Press the crust into an even 1/4-inch layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Crust pressed into a freeform layer on baking sheet.

Bake until golden around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes.

breaking baked graham cracker crust into chunks

Let cool, then use a spoon to break into chunks.

finished chunks of crust

Set the crust aside while you make the filling. To start, zest and juice the limes. (Be sure to zest them first as it’s near impossible to do once they are juiced.)

zesting and juicing limes

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and creamy, about 1 minute.

beating cream cheese in mixing bowl

Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

adding sweetened condensed milk to mixing bowl

Add the heavy cream, lime zest, lime juice and salt.

adding lime

And beat until evenly combined, about 30 seconds.

beating cream cheese mixture until smooth

Arrange half of the crust evenly over the bottom of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.

creating layer of crust in loaf pan

Pour the ice cream mixture over top.

adding ice cream layer to loaf pan

Then cover with the remaining crust crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

adding final crust layer

Enjoy!

scooping frozen ice cream from loaf pan

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No-Churn Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

This no-churn key lime pie ice cream has all the bright lime flavor of the pie — even the crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust — and is a cinch to make.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 8 hours to freeze

Ingredients

For the "Crust"

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, from 8 whole crackers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • Pinch salt

For the Ice Cream

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 packed tablespoon finely grated lime zest, from about 3 limes
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 3 limes
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Using a spoon first and then your fingers, mix until evenly combined, making sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Press the crust into an even ¼-inch layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then use a spoon to break into chunks.
  3. Make the Ice Cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, lime zest, lime juice and salt, and beat until evenly combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Assemble: Arrange half of the crust crumbles evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Pour the ice cream mixture over top, then cover with the remaining crust crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until completely firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: About 1 cup
  • Calories: 542
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59 g
  • Sugar: 50 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 342 mg
  • Cholesterol: 98 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

  • My son said that this was the best dessert I ever made!

    • — Pearl on June 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • What a fantastic recipe. It has a bit of wiggle room too. I used a 10 ounce (300ml) can of sweetened condensed milk (i struggled to find a larger can) and 1/2 cup whipping cream to make it a bit less cloying. I was also short a lime so I added two drops of Doterra lime oil which really enhanced the lime taste. This recipe is a crowd pleaser!

    • — Emmie on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made your no-churn ice cream last night and just sampled and omg, it’s simply delicious! Perfect for this 100 degree temp expected today in Chicago. Thanks for another fantastic recipe😋😋

    • — Debra on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe and your recipe for cheesecake bars for Father’s Day. Both so easy and delicious. They are both keeper recipes. Thanks!

    • — Laura on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Really delicious and so easy to make – was a hit at Father’s Day!

    • — KC on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • I was actually considering making the no churn cheesecake version from your book just as this recipe appeared in my inbox. I made it for guests and it was a huge success! It’s creamy and beautifully tart with great texture from the graham crust chunks throughout. The only issue is that the volume of sweetened condensed milk is awkward in that it doesn’t match the volume of the can I can get but since I have good luck freezing excess in mason jars, I plan to make sure I have the exact amount needed to top up my can waiting in the freezer. I will make this one again for sure (and I do plan to try the cheesecake version as well based on how good this one is 🙂

    • — Allie on June 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m lactose intolerant. I can buy lactose-free cream cheese, but can you suggest any workable substitutions for the heavy cream and the condensed milk? I love all things lime.

    • — Pearl on June 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Pearl, a number of readers have commented that when they need a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream, they’ve used Rich’s non-dairy coffee creamer (frozen) or Trader Joe’s unflavored non-dairy creamer. You could try coconut cream in place of the sweetened condensed milk. All that said, because this has so much dairy in it, I’m not confident that it will translate well to a non-dairy version.

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • Jenn…you have single-handedly ended my moratorium against making “no churn” ice cream-like desserts, ever again. Until yesterday I have never found anything that was as satisfying as a cooked custard style ice cream. I saw your recipe yesterday morning, and begrudgingly thought I’d give it a go….one more time. Why would I do this? Well, that would be due to your unique keen eye for what works. I made half of the recipe, and formed individual ramekins. Now that I am team “no churn”, my brain is working overtime to create variations….my first will be to sub the lime zest with Orange zest….and instead of the lime juice, I will use an orange liqueur….this will raise the freezing point, and an even softer texture will be had. Big thanks for what you’ve created….and shared!

    • — Jeff Winett on June 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Do you think this would work with individual muffin tins? Thanks for your response!

    • — Amy Baker on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe last night and let it freeze overnight. I just tried it and it was amazing! My partner loved it too!! A local ice cream shop did a limited edition lime pie ice cream that was amazing. When they finished it, I was so sad! I often crave it but couldn’t get it. So finding this recipe was like receiving a gift! It’s amazing!!! Highly recommend and so easy as I had never made ice cream before. I wonder if you can do different flavours while sticking with the base recipe?

    • — Megs on April 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed this and you were able to scratch that Key lime pie ice cream itch! 🙂
      You could certainly work with the base ingredients and try playing around with the flavors. I have a number of other ice cream and yogurt recipes if you want to check them out (some of them require an ice cream machine).

      • — Jenn on May 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen: I have a question about a similar recipe from your first cookbook – the no-churn cheesecake ice cream. I’ve made this today (November 30th) but don’t plan on serving until December 25. You say it will keep for a few weeks in the freezer … is three and a half weeks too long? I just don’t want to take any chances. Tastes delicious before freezing by the way.

    • — Amaris on November 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Amaris, that timeframe should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello! Hope all is well with you and your band of ingrates who dare to question your next Chicken masterpiece. Just have a quick question, in the days of 2021 and you know what, I would like to bring this to share with neighbors, but probably wouldn’t want to have a communal source everyone would serve themselves from. Do you know if freezing individual portions in clear plastic disposable 8oz (or larger kind of wine style) stemless cups would work? Thank you!!

    • — Shannon C on August 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • 🙂
      Yes, Shannon, I think that would be fine. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on August 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, wondering if you think there’s any leeway on the 8 hour freeze time before this is ready for serving? This weekend I was planning to make this as small individual cakes (divided across 15 muffin tray slots), do you think I could get away with freezing for say 3-4 hours because they’re smaller in size? Thanks again for this gorgeous recipe, I think I might try your Best-ever Key lime pie next for comparison!

    • — Melissa on July 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Melissa, I think it would work but I’d err on the side of 4 hours. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Jenn, you’re the best 😊

        • — Melissa on July 7, 2021
        • Reply
  • Jenn, if I did not want to make the crust (trying to not turn on my oven) would this work with a crumbled purchased graham cracker crust?

    • — Rosanne on June 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Rosanne, I think that would work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on June 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Wow…this was DELICIOUS. I followed the recipe except I only had light brown sugar, substituting it 1:1 was fine, but I can see how dark would produce superior color and depth of flavor. I tasted the mixture before freezing and felt it could be a tad less sweet, so I added another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and it was perfect. Next time I will just use 1/2 cup to start. It is realllly rich. I was worried the loaf pan wouldn’t be enough for 6, but it was and probably could have even served 8.

    • — Emily H. on June 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes. Looking forward to making this one. Is it possible to substitute mascarpone for the cream cheese?
    (I preordered your new cookbook and am so excited for it!)
    Thank you for the quality and dedication that you put into all you do.

    • — S on June 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes and thanks for your support with the book! 💗
      I haven’t tried this with mascarpone so I can’t guarantee how it will come out, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Do you use normal everday limes or key limes? Has anyone used bottled keylime juice?

    • — Jane on June 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi June, I use normal limes for this (and I’d recommend staying away from the bottled version). Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on June 17, 2021
      • Reply
    • I used nellie joe key lime juice and it was fantastic

      • — amara on January 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • I am so excited to make this recipe!! Question about the sweetened condensed milk – The recipe says “1 14oz can” but a typical can is 10oz and the picture showing ingredients looks like just a single, smaller 10oz can. Is it supposed to be “1 10oz can” or is it in fact 14oz that’s needed?

    • — Angela on April 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Angela, It is hard to tell from the photo, but it is definitely a 14-oz can. I know in some places, like Canada, sweetened condensed milk is sold in 10-oz cans, but you need 14 ounces for this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 23, 2021
      • Reply
      • From Canada here – I think we figured out that the 14 oz American can is equivalent to the standard Eagle Brand 10 oz Canadian can. It’s just that the American one includes the weight of the can itself and in Canada, the weight refers to the amount of product in the can (See comments on your regular Key Lime Pie recipe – I use the same # of cans as you suggest and it works out perfectly).

        • — Naomi on June 17, 2022
        • Reply
  • Awesome! So easy and a new family favorite!

    • — Angela on April 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Awesome!!! Most incredible dessert ever. I love citrus and this did not disappoint. Took it for Easter and received rave reviews. The creaminess was custard-like and the topping knocked it out of the park. Will be making this many more times. Thank you for this recipe.

    • — Christine Rabidoux on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • I made this recipe for our Bible study group after tasting Christy’s. She is right! Everyone raved about it! Thanks!

      • — Angela on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • I LOVED this Key Lime Ice cream!! It was very rich and sweet, like another reviewer said. But not too much imo. But I’m wondering Jenn, IF a bit more heavy cream added, would tone that sweetness down?? As I give that more thought, I’m having ME another serving, thank YOU very much!!! Keep’m coming Jenn!

    • — Gigi B on February 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! I think you could add a few additional tablespoons of heavy cream without a problem.

      • — Jenn on February 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Key lime is my absolute favorite and this doesn’t disappoint! Love this!

    • — Jacqueline Ricard on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my go-to recipe for summertime when I’m serving Mexican or tropical and I want a refreshing finale. Love that it’s made ahead and so refreshing but the best is all the scraping sounds of guests going for that last bit of flavor in the bowl. Rich enough that the serving size is perfect but with wow.

    • — Leigh Aaron-Leary on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • I was looking for a different dessert and was excited to try this recipe. It was AMAZING! Easy to prepare and delicious.

    • — Rich on December 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • This key lime pie no churn ice cream recipe is simply AMAZING!

    • — Kelly on October 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing recipe!! I even substituted reduced fat cream cheese and it was still awesome.

    • — Marilynn Massaro on October 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is absolutely incredible. I’m not an ice cream lover, but I like lime in anything and this was a huge hit. My whole family loved it and my daughter asked if we could have it every day, it’s that good!

    • — Lesley on September 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made it for the first time. Absolutely amazing!

    • — LLOYD YODER on August 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could I double this and make in a pie pan?

    • — Kristy on August 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kristy, I don’t think you’ll have enough room in the pie pan to double this. You could try making 1.5 times the recipe.

      • — Jenn on August 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Oh my, this is amazing. Absolutely delicious.

    Followed the recipe exactly, but whisked it by hand (didn’t have a mixer available) and it was perfect.

    • — KJ on August 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is one of those desserts you bring to a gathering and people think it’s fancy and you worked hard (let them)! It is that good. I am not a fan of store-bought ice cream, so this is a wonderful alternative. The texture is lovely and the lime flavor really shines through.

    • — Jessi on July 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Wow, this is really good! Very nice balance between sweet and tart. I love key lime anything and this definitely satisfied my key lime sweet tooth even though I used the regular limes as suggested.

    • — Deborah L Morris on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Oh wow, easy, delicious… fabulous all in one am tempted to adapt the recipe to coconut, or maybe ginger!

    • — Mary on July 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is just outstanding and most important, so easy to assemble. Seriously, this stuff is creamy, with zesty lime and graham cracker crust. Mouth watering just typing this review. Thanks for another tasty recipe! Sissy

    • — Sissy on July 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • this was easy and yummy!

    • — Ariella Lena Gastel on July 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • We loved this recipe! The crunch of the crust pieces on the top and bottom really add to the key lime pie feel. You get the great taste with so much less work! We used lemon juice rather than lime (had a ton of juice after making a batch of limoncello with the zest) and it worked great. Added a bit more juice to make up for the lack of zest and it still worked perfectly. Loved it and will definitely make again – thanks!

    • — Linda on June 28, 2020
    • Reply

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