Easy Key Lime Pie
This quick and simple key lime pie recipe starts with a graham cracker crust and has a filling consisting of egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice & zest. Topped with fresh whipped cream and a lime twist garnish, it’s a super refreshing pie that tastes like the tropics and is a must-make this summer!
Seven years ago, on my 32nd birthday, I was sitting at a restaurant in south Florida that was situated on the water. It was an open-air restaurant, and a warm breeze blew as my husband and I ate our way through conch fritters and coconut shrimp while sipping mojitos.
When faced with the all-important decision of what to order for dessert, I was paralyzed with indecision. There was a triple layer chocolate cake which, if you know me, would normally be my instant go-to. But there was also key lime pie. Homemade key lime pie. The restaurant’s name was Old Key Lime House. There was little doubt that I HAD to order the key lime pie, especially since I had NEVER eaten key lime pie (what?!).
One bite in and I was a convert. I vowed then and there to eat (and make!) more key lime pie. And also to spend more birthdays soaking up the warm Florida breeze.
If you love crazy easy recipes that are light and refreshing, this pie is for you!
How to Make Key Lime Pie
After eating it for the first time, I was convinced that the key lime filling was an elaborate curd/custard that would need to be painstakingly cooked on the stove, and then baked in the oven. Not so!
- Prepare the Filling: Whisk together the lime zest, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice, then set it aside to thicken.
- Make the Graham Cracker Crust: Stir together my favorite graham cracker crust, press it into the pie plate, and bake it briefly, then let it cool to room temperature.
- Bake the Pie: Once the crust cools, pour the thickened filling into it and bake until it mostly set, but still jiggles a bit.
- Chill Out! After the pie cools to room temperature, it needs to be refrigerated for at least a few hours. This pie tastes best chills and it helps the filling to finish setting up properly.
The History of Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie dates back to the late 1800’s in Key West, Florida. At the time, modern refrigeration wasn’t available, so fresh milk wasn’t a common commodity. Instead, canned milk was widely used. As a result, this incredibly easy pie came to be.
Believe it or not, up until recently, this was a purely no-bake pie. The combination of the lime juice with the egg yolks and condensed milk creates a chemical reaction that causes the mixture to thicken all on its own (the acid causes the proteins in the yolks and milk to bond together).
Nowadays, due to concerns over raw eggs, the pie is baked, which actually creates a much better filling consistency since it sets wonderfully and is less droopy than its unbaked counterpart.
Key lime pies can be made with a meringue topping (more traditional) or a whipped cream topping (more modern). I am a whipped cream girl all the way, so there was no question which way I was going here, but feel free to customize based on your personal preferences.
You might not be soaking up the warm Florida breeze this summer, but this pie will deliver a taste of the tropics right to your own backyard. This is too easy a recipe not to crank out multiple times this summer!
Looking for more key lime recipes? Try my No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie Bars.
Watch the Recipe Video:
More Fantastic Summer Pies!
There’s a whole summer ahead of us, let yours be full of delicious, refreshing pies!
- Strawberry Pretzel Ice Cream Pie
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Nectarine and Honey Slab Pie
- The Best Blueberry Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Lover’s Pie
Two years ago: Red, White & Blue Stained Glass Jello Stars
Three years ago: The Baked Brownie
Six years ago: Toasted Almond Fudge Ripple Ice Cream
Seven years ago: Coconut Cream Pie
Key Lime Pie
For the Lime Filling:
- 4 teaspoons grated key lime zest
- 4 egg yolks
- 14 ounces (396.89 ml) sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup (121 ml) fresh key lime juice
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 2 cups (9) graham cracker crumbs, (approximately 14 full graham crackers)
- ⅓ cup (2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
- ½ cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch salt
For the Whipped Cream Topping:
- 1½ cups (357 ml) heavy cream, chilled
- ½ cup (60 g) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the Filling: Whisk the lime zest and egg yolks together in a medium bowl for 2 minutes. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, then the lime juice. Set aside at room temperature to thicken while you prepare the crust.
- Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt, ensuring no lumps of brown sugar remain. Drizzle the melted butter over the graham cracker mixture and toss to combine with a fork, ensuring that the mixture is evenly moistened. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate, and pack tightly using the back of a measuring cup. Bake for 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Once the crust has cooled to room temperature, pour the lime filling into the crust. Bake until the center is set, yet still wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes. Return the pie to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 3 hours. (At this point, the pie can be covered directly with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
- Make the Whipped Cream: Using an electric mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. At this point, add the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Decoratively pipe the whipped cream over the filling or spread the whipped cream evenly with a spatula. Garnish with lime slices, if desired, and serve. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Key limes are more acidic than regular limes, which makes them tarter and much more aromatic. Key limes can be hard to find in some supermarkets, so if you can’t locate them, use bottled key lime juice.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in May 2012; updated in June 2019 with new photos and an improved crust recipe.
[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]
This is hands down the best key lime pie recipe. I’ve been using it for several years, and it always turns out great. Sometimes I get lazy and use premade crusts, and if I’m in a hurry, I use bottled key lime juice and leave out the zest. It’s still phenomenal, although the original recipe is best! I’m making two key lime pies for Easter tomorrow and can’t wait to dig in! I can’t thank you enough, Michelle, for your lovely blog and recipes. :)
This is my favorite key lime pie recipe! Always a winner, no matter the occasion! 👍 Just finished making it for Thanksgiving dinner!
Made this last night for a bbq with friends and they LOVED it! Sung your praises, of course, as my go-to for recipes 😊. Thanks!
Can I use lemons in place of the limes?
your measurements are totally wrong:
⅓ cup (2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
½ cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter. Neither has cups equal to tablespoons, and they don’t even agree with each other: 5 tablespoons is more than twice 2 tablespoons, so 1/2 cups should be more than twice 1/3 cup!!!
If I wanted to make this a couple days in advance, how would you recommend I do that? Could I make the filling and keep it in the fridge unbaked a day or two prior?
I LOVE this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing!
The recipe for the crust states 1/2 c = 5 tablespoons of butter. A stick of butter states it is 1/2c and is 8 tablespoons. Could you please clarify?
Can you use heavy whipping cream instead. Of condensed milk
Hi Tammy, Unfortunately, that won’t work in this particular recipe.
This recipe rocked! Got inspired to make it after finding a rare bag of key limes at the little grocery store here in Montana. How could I not! Found this recipe and gave it a try. Didn’t change any proportions or anything and it was perfect for me. Was going to share some with the neighbors but we ended up eating it all ourselves 🤩
We love the Key Lime House. Whenever we visit Lantana we eat there and hubs gets a whole pie to take back to our hotel room. I can’t wait to try your recipe!
I haven’t made this recipe, persay, but it’s my recipe as well so I know it’s good. My tweek on it is the second layer. Only difference is adding cream cheese, leaving out the yolks. Once I cool the first layer about an hour, I add the second layer. I add ONE drop of green food coloring. And of course, the whipped cream! I will tell you this, and I’m boasting!, my pie is better than the one I started out to create. My sister and I went to another restaurant and after talking to the owner, she said she’d pay me to make one. We tried her pie and it wasnt anything to talk about. So I’m thinking your pie is delicious! I look forward to seeing your recipes. We rarely make peanut butter pies; we made so many we got sick of them! They’re so good!!! My mother won ribbons at the local fair every year with my recipe! Have a good day!
No Friday things?
It’s hilarious that this is titled the way it is, and that the author rhapsodizes about the origin story pie that was likely authentic, only to suggest not using Key Limes and picturing the final product with green limes.
This is an excellent recipe. So easy to make and everyone loves it. I double the filling and make the crust in a deep dish pie pan. I cook it longer and it makes a thicker filling and thus I can serve more people as you only need a thin slice of pie. Works great.
I am not sure what is going on with the measurements of some of the ingredients. They are very conflicting, like 1/3 cup of brown sugar is NOT equivalent to 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup of butter is 8 tablespoons not 5. Looked like a nice recipe until I saw this. Someone needs to go back to school.
There is no need to be mean. Everyone makes mistakes.
I have made this recipe for years and only noticed the discrepancy today, so I wonder if it is a recent change/mistake. This time I used 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) and it turned out fine.
Ouch, that’s a little aggressive, Donna.
14 fluid ounces or 14 oz. net weight? They sell the condensed sweetened milk in 14 oz. net weight cans. Could be a big difference.
This was great! I’ve been making the same recipe yearly for my husband for Father’s day or his bday but it was quite sweet and I wasn’t as much a fan. I tried this one – this will be out go-to from now on! Thanks!
This is THE BEST Key Lime Pie recipe. I’ve been searching for years! Taste like Key West pies. I’m so happy to add this recipe to my list of favorites 💖
Excellent! Every year for the holidays I come back to this recipe and every year the key lime pie is my family’s favorite! Thank you!
Hi everyone, I have to say just one thing: delicious!.
I do recommend this pie since all my family ate it almost everything of it.
This was seriously so delicious! It was a huge hit at our family get together! Thank you for sharing!!
This is the first pie I’ve ever made (coincidentally, also on my 32nd birthday!) and it’s flawless and amazing. I got a little too tired from juicing key limes, so I used just under 1/2 cup of key lime juice (and added half a teaspoon more of key lime zest), and it was great. I’m so happy and rejuvenated by this recipe! Thank you!
Try juicing your key limes by using a garlic press. It works great and saves time.
Oh my goodness, thank you!!
Made this pie a couple weeks ago and have been fantasizing about it ever since. It was amazing! So simple to make too, besides trying to zest those tiny thin-skinned limes lol. Thanks for the great recipe!
Authentic or not (who cares!?) this recipe came out great! Definitely too much crust mix for a 9-inch pan, maybe used two-thirds. Filling was perfectly tart and smooth and cooked perfectly according to directions. YUM!
Odd. Recipe call for Key limes but all the photos have Persian limes in them lol
You recipe is incredible! I had to use real limes instead of key limes, and I opted for a meringue topping, but otherwise I made it exactly as described. I could make this over and over again! Thank you!
Now this looks good but is not authentic key lime pie. It should be known that key limes are yellow not green and key lime pies don’t have peelings in it. I live in Florida and visited key west often. On top of this I was a pastry chef for 20 years. Substitute key lime juice and omit the peelings from recipe. Your off.
As a pastry chef you should know that every recipe is best when you make it your own, no one else’s. I for one would hate to look up “recipe for key lime pie” and have 30+ results showing me the same exact recipe. Obviously there are only so many ways a key lime pie can be made..
Also, she may have not had the option to get key limes, so what? Not everyone has that luxury. Sometimes in life using what you have on hand is the best option. Maybe she was showing the reader that either limes can be used so people don’t feel as though they can’t make it because they don’t have a certain ingredient.. That’s just silly. It’s just a recipe not culinary boot camp.
This crust was way too thick. I would put it in a 10 inch pie plate next time and then make 1 1/2 of the filling portion of the recipe. The crust to filling ratio is quite poor. The pie itself tastes good.
This one is my hubby’s favorite key lime pie recipe. I’ve made it many times, thank you!!
Recently I’ve been seeing recipes that also call for sour cream, which I’ve never included in my recipe. Thoughts?
Love key lime pie Michelle, will try it. Thanks
I am a life long Floridian. Growing up, we always went to the Keys for vacation. On the way down, we would stop at a place called Dave and Mary’s (which is no longer there) for lunch and a piece of key lime pie. I love key lime pie! I buy key limes in the grocery store and make my favorite pie
Thanks for the great recipes!
I went to the Keys for the first time in July, every day we had Key lime pie or a Key lime colada. I feel in love, but I noticed everyone made their pie a little different. A few weeks after coming home, I found Key limes in my local grocery store and my niece and I made the pie for the first time. It turned out delicious. I loved how the crust was sweet and the filling tart. The hardest part was juicing all those limes. I can’t wait to make it again.
They have key lime juice on Amazon. You have to use a little more. Nellie and Joe’s, famous key west lime juice.
My husband and I moved to South Florida in 1984. During our first or second year of living there, an article on the origin of Key Lime Pie appeared in The News And Sun Sentinel Sunday paper. The article pointed out that the Key Lime Pie originated in Key West, Florida. At that time, there were no such things as Graham Crackers. Therefore, the original crust was a pastry crust!! Why don’t you include those facts when you write recipes and call them “original Key Lime Pie” recipes? And, why don’t you include one using the original pastry crust?
I think you’re mistaken; graham cracker crust is thought to be the original crust. “In 1898, the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) brought the Graham cracker to mass production, but it would take a few decades and the emergence of The Pie King before the crumbs took a starring role in Key lime pie.” Source: https://keysweekly.com/42/lustful-urges-and-the-original-key-lime-pie-crust/
I’m sharing this as I am also from South Florida and my family has been making key lime pie since the 1930s.
I am Floridian…born and raised, as was my dad . We had a key lime tree in the backyard so key lime pie was a regular treat. Pastry crust and merengue was all we knew…mom wouldn’t think of wasting egg whites! I make the same now…friends and family LOVE it. The pastry and merengue balance the sweetness of the filling perfectly!. Try it to see if you agree !
Best key lime recipe! Easy, quick, and delicious!
It was very easy to make. Hubby LOVED IT!! Although, I did cheat and bought a pre-made graham cracker crust.
Yes I did it came out amazing but I could not finf any key limes or key lime juice, so I used lime juice, I used a little more and it was great…
If you have Amazon they have it on there. I bought a three pack and use it for key lime cheesecake.
We found this a bit too tart. Recommend reducing the zest. Also the crust stuck to the pan when I tried to slice and crumbled into fine dust. Maybe there was something I should have done but didn’t.
Great pie and key limes can be found in Walmart
Hello! This looks like a great recipe- just clarifying that it is heavy cream we use for the whipped cream or heavy whipping cream? Thanks!
Hi Katherine, I think either would work!
We used to live close by the Old Key Lime House and set there often. I sure do miss the delicious Conch Fritters, Coconut Shrimp and Key Lime Pie. You have inspired me to make a Key Lime Pie tomorrow. Sadly no fresh Key Limes, but Publix does sell bottled Key Lime juice. Thanks for the recipe. I will let you know how it turns out.
I am so happy to have found this recipe! I made it for the 4th of July weekend, and it turned out perfect! I used a shortbread crust instead of graham cracker, since I needed to avoid soybean oil (friend with allergies), but the key lime filling was the star of the show. Perfect balance of sweet and tart!
Thank you for this super easy recipe! I love key-lime pie and this will be my go to recipe for when I get my crazy cravings. No one in my family knows a recipe for this pie, so I was thrilled to try these simple ingredients. I used regular limes due to key-limes not being available in my region. I also added a hint of my favorite vanilla extract. I absolutely loved adding the zest to this pie, it’s adds a very warm and crisp flavor. My mom absolutely loved it as well! Thanks and keep sharing awesome recipes for us baking addicts! Much love! <3
I haa as ge made this twice now and it’s a real winner! Love the bite of lime. I also like the little change up of using brien sugar in the crust vs just white super. It’s just a hint, but I can tell. Perfect for summer- love it!
Great easy to make recipe with super flavor. For those who say this is no authentic because of this or that should understand the term less is more. essentially 3 ingredients make one of the best fillings I’ve ever had and the added zest takes it to another level.
I live in a fairly humid hot climate. It seems to take at least 25 minutes to even get the center to stop sloshing around. Today with the humidity at 95%, even the sides didn’t want to set. Is this common?
Can you do this recipe as tarts? How long would you bake the crust and then how long for the tarts?
Can you freeze this pie and eat it like a frozen treat?
Yes, you definitely can!
my only issues were not having enough eggs, so i did 2 yolks and 1 full egg. I also thin i over whipped the topping, but my husband deemed the keylime pie his favorite dessert to date, which I think it kind of a big deal! @cjsvices
I have been to the Old Key Lime House a few times and also love the Key Lime Pie. The food is good also. I go every time I am visiting in Florida.
I 😍. The recipe is very easy and delicious 😋. Thank you for the recipe.
Limes are not key limes! Key limes when ripe and ready to use are yellow. Authentic Key lime pie does not have zest in filling.
Thoughts on adding nuts to the crust? How much? 1/2 cup macadamia maybe?
Sounds delicious!! That sounds about right, just make sure they’re ground or really finely chopped.
Thank you! What about toasted coconut as well?
That sounds amazing!!!
Just made this with a gingersnap cookie crust – it is amazing! Thank you!
Can you make this with lemon juice?
Sure, it will just have a different flavor!
I just bought a house that has a key lime tree in the backyard. I found this recipe and have made it several times. I have gotten so many compliments. Several people have said “this is the best key lime pie I have ever had, and I’m a key lime pie snob!” Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe.
A key lime pie that uses lime juice in substitute for actual juiced key limes certainly shouldn’t begin its title with authentic. This would be the opposite of an authentic key lime pie recipe. Maybe “Simple spin on key lime pie” would be more accurate.
Double the recipe and made it into bars in a large cake pan. They were amazing!!! Love this simple recipe. The most work is zesty those tiny lines:) worth all the work!
Thank you for this fantastic recipe. What I don’t understand about your critics and comments is the old adage if you don’t have something nice to say……why cant people just read the recipe, try it and either have a nice comment or just not make it again?? It seems to me there all kinds of different ways to make Key Lime Pie and this recipe is outstanding in my humble opinion. So thank you for your recipe and Merry Christmas. One more thing, when people ask about how many limes make this amount or how many cups of this and that?? People either figure it out or google it or don’t bake if you cannot figure it out………….Trail & Error!!
About how many key limes make a half cup?
Hi Ash, You need about 10 to 12 key limes. Enjoy!
I got 4 limes and 3 lemons in the discount bin at my super market and thought I should make something good with them before setting upon key lime pie. I’ve always loved key lime pie and have never made one, unlike homemade lemon meringue, which can’t even be compared to the stuff you buy in a box. Okay my pie wasn’t made with key limes and so isn’t a true key lime pie and it was made with “discount” limes but there’s nothing discount about this pie. It’s fantastic and easy to make. This is your third recipe I’ve tried and loved (cibatta and vanilla cupcakes being other 2). You’re a great baker and I’m an average one who nevertheless loves to bake and tries to bake something hopefully good every weekend.
Someone linked me to this article since it was for Old Key Lime House. I have been there several times and each time we always get the key lime pie and their crab cakes–which are incredible. When I was there the first time, I took pictures of the pie recipe they said they use and I find that it is different from what you have printed. I would attach the photo if there was a link to do so as I’m happy to share that recipe.
I also realized that this is not the Old Key Lime House recipe, so I am not sure why it is mentioned in the preface, It’s confusing. I don’t remember how I figured out that this recipe is not The Old Key Lime House’s, but I googled theirs and made it, and it is not the best. I am experimenting and have 4 different recipes, and going to narrow it down to the best one, and the Old Key Lime House Recipe is my least favorite. It has too much liquid, so the pie does not set in 25 minutes as the recipe states and it is also too sweet. The recipe in this article sounds better. I have not tried it yet. So far I have made 3 different Key Lime Pies and I am going to delete the Old Key Lime House recipe because the others were much better. Now I am looking forward to trying this one.
I have not made this recipe from Old Key Lime House so I cannot say whether or not that I like it. All I can say is that the ones we have had while at their restaurant were incredible! I’m trying to stay away from sweets for a while so it may be some time before I can actually try any recipe.
Many are saying this this is not a true Key Lime Pie assuming that the filling is not made with Key Lime Juice. The recipe clearly states that Key Limes or Key Lime Juice is required, so this is a true Key Lime Pie. Maybe Persian Limes are used for the photoshoot and for the garnish, but if the pie is made according to the recipe , then it is a true Key Lime Pie.
I love this article with the history and facts. My observation is that a big mention was made about The Old Key Lime House recipe, yet this recipe is not the Old Key Lime House recipe. Maybe the mention was just reference to the author’s first time experiencing Key Lime Pie, but it took me by surprise that it was not the same recipe that inspired their Key Lime Pie quest and this article.
i would love to make this key lime pie for thanksgiving 2019 , once i juice the limes should i stain them? thank you
If you have seeds in there, then strain, otherwise no, there is no need!
The recipe is good, but those aren’t key limes. Ripe key limes are yellow, It will change the taste of the pie significantly if you use Persian limes as you state very well and the pie will be bitter if using a green key lime…..anyway, the most important part of a Key Lime Pie is missing from your picture….A small yellow round lime.
My Key Limes are green. Maybe they are not ripe, as I have heard that all limes are ripe when they are green, no matter what variety. But you are right, the limes in the pic are Persian Limes. It is apparent by the size. My green Key Limes are definitely Key Limes; they are the size of large walnuts.
I live in South Africa where Graham Crackers are not available. What can be used as a substitute?
Thanks for all the great recipes.
Any other type of cracker or cookie that you might use for a crust would work!
Digestives are a good substitute.
To be authentic, you must use Key Lime juice. It really does make a difference. You can find Key Lime juice in a bottle in some grocery stores or order it on Amazon. You can get a 3 pack of Nellie & Joe Key West Lime Juice – 16 oz for just $12.99 which is a bargain!
Hi Mary, Yes, of course! I discuss the differences between key limes and regular limes in the post above and have linked to the bottled key lime juice (I think it’s the same 3-pack you reference) in the recipe notes.
Best made with Key Lime juice! My brother lives in Florida and has a Key Lime tree in his back yard. It produces tons of the little limes. He freezes the juice in 1/2 cup measures so he can make pies. Each year, he brings a huge bag of Key Limes to squeeze to make pies for Christmas dinner dessert. 💚
What a fantastic gift!!
AHHA! Now I have a reason to make the graham cracker crust from Tuesday’s post. And I happen to have a bottle of key lime juice and honey grahams in the pantry. How neatly is that coming together?! And since it’s raining, what better way to spend a rainy day than baking? This pie looks delicious!
Yesssss, perfect excuse!
This looks great! I’m thinking Italian meringue for the topping.
I’m a native Floridian. I practically grew up in the Keys. My family used to go there for vacations. We had a small boat, and my brother, cousin and I would spend the day in the boat fishing, and just running around in Florida Bay. We used to get our key lime pie at May & Dave’s. Not sure it’s there anymore. I was in the keys on a friend’s boat recently, and there is still quite a bit of damage from hurricane Irma. I know my beloved Keys will make a come back. I make key lime pie quite often , and will be giving your recipe a try.
Unfortunately, this isn’t actually authentic Key lime pie. The limes you buy in the grocery store are Persian limes – they are bigger than Key limes (3 or 4 times bigger), and the juice is more bitter. Real Key limes are TINY (about the size of a medium walnut) and don’t travel well. They are rarely seen outside of South Florida. This looks like a very traditional recipe, and the way most people would make it. I’m sure it will be delicious, but it isn’t *KEY* lime pie unless you use bottled Key lime juice (or can get some real Key limes).
I live in Florida and the most famous key lime pies here have merengue for the topping, not whipped cream. (made from saved egg whites from the filling) Then you bake it all at once. One very famous restaurant in Key West (a Hemingway favorite) has a mile high Key Lime pie that is literally 0ver 8 inches of delicious merengue on top of the pie. Here is a pic (if allowed)
So don’t throw away those egg whites and make a merengue. Otherwise this recipe is about as authentic as it gets and absolutely delicious.
Awesome mile-high pie pic. I never saw anything like that.
I love this recipe. I usually use Persian limes and it comes out great. I recommend starting the crust first and doing the filling while it’s baking. It only takes 5 min to mix the filling so by the time the crust bakes and cools to room temp the filling has thickened. I’ve had success freezing the pies without whipped cream then thawing them in the refrigerator. I make fresh whipped cream as needed.
My boyfriend and I went to his sisters house yesterday for Fathers Day. She made a key lime pie, and my boyfriend was so excited to try it as that is his favorite pie. Sadly, it was not that great. The filling was more like a runny pudding. I knew at that moment Id find the perfect recipe here on your page. I’m going to make this and surprise my boyfriend with it this week!
My questions is; how many key limes do you need to squeeze to equal the 1/2 cup? I found a bag of them at the store but not sure if I should grab two.
Thanks in advance!
Aww how sweet of you! 1 pound of key limes (or 10-15, depending on how fresh and “juicy” they are) should be enough to get you 1/2 cup of juice. Enjoy! :)
I made this pie. It is DELICIOUS, EASY TO MAKE, I WILL MAKE IT AGAIN. The only thing I hanged was making the crust with Biscoff cookies instead of graham crackers. My husband does not like graham cracker crusts so I always substitute. Thanks for another no fail recipe.
attempting my first key lime pie….any tweaks since you posted this is 2012? Still a favorite in your house?
Hi Carolyn, No tweaks, this is fabulous!
My 15 year old daughter just made this. It is unbelievable!!!
Just took mine out of the oven!! I cannot wait to eat it. I will use the whipped cream, its so easy to make, thanks to YOU!! Love your recipes.
This Brown Eyed Baker is not kidding around! I fell upon her/his? Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe recently and found it to be absolutely that. Impressed, I knew just where to go a few weeks later when I was searching for a Key Lie Pie recipe, something I had made before with lack luster results. Again, I was rewarded with a stellar recipe. I consider myself a bit of a Key Lime Pie connoisseur. It has to be VERY tart, the consistency had to be firm but silkily smooth and the graham cracker crust has to be juuuuuust right. This recipe provides all three and was outstanding. My one comment is that the 9 inch pie pan seemed to be too big. You can even see in the pictures provided, the crust extends way too far above the filling because there is not enough filling to fill up the 9 inch pan. Next time, I will use an 8 inch pan!
Made this pie at Thanksgiving this year. It was great! Thanks for the good detail/instructions, it was easy to follow.
Would I have to make any changes if I make it in a 8in pie pan???
Hi Jenn, Yes, you would need to increase the baking time.
Hi Michelle. I LOVED the flavor of the key lime :) It completely gives a tangy sensation but too much so that you squint your eyes and stick your tongue out! That was one of the cons, but sadly, the condensed milk, in my opinion, was too overpowering and made the pie not light and creamy. The pie wasn’t too sweet but the texture wasn’t amazing. Maybe some cream or milk might improve it. Thanks anyways! -Jenn :)
I meant NOT too much that you squint your eyes and stick out your tongue
OMG! What a decadent and amazing looking Key Lime Pie. A slice of that would satisfy any sweet tooth.Thanks for sharing!
Try adding crushed macadamia nuts to the crust and flavor the whipped cream with almond or coconut!
I made this and it was PERFECT. The ingredients are simple, the pie is divine, and it is really not difficult at all! Thank you so much for the recipe!
I had never made a Key Lime pie (or any pie, actually!) before this, and it turned out absolutely delicious. Definitely keeping this recipe on file. :)
Key lime is my absolute favorite pie…..wasn’t sure if using just a normal lime would make a big difference. I have to say it is by far one of the best pies I have ever made and ranks in the top 5 I have tried. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!!
I just made this because I had a few fresh-picked limes, and your recipe showcased them perfectly :D Thank you!
I want to make this for my sister’s shower this weekend but wanted to do it in mini pie trays. Is that possible? Will the baking time need to be adjusted?
Hi Fatima, You could definitely make these in mini pie trays (cute idea for a shower!). You will need to reduce the baking time, although I can’t give you a specific time because I haven’t made a miniature version of this.
I made this recipe into bars this weekend, and we loved them! I lined my pan with parchment paper to make it easy to get the bars out of the pan, and it worked perfectly. I used a 9×9 pan, but I think I’ll use an 8×8 next time so the bars will be a little thicker.
Key Lime pie used to be my signature dessert. I’m excited to try your recipe!! Tomorrow is Pi day (3.14) and I promised my family pie, so this should be perfect. My hubby doesn’t like graham cracker crust, so I do a traditional one.
I’ve loved Key Lime pie for many years, but recently tried making a Ginger Snaps crust for it. Big hit! I made one with the regular graham cracker crust and then this new one. The Ginger Snaps was decidedly the favorite. I will also be trying a Famous Chocolate Wager crust…just to mix things up a bit.
These pies are so delicious, but such a caloric indulgence. But life is too short not to indulge once in a while, right?
This came out so great! This is my chief culinary consultant’s favorite desert and he loved it.
Hi, i bake this pie yesterday after seeing how good it looks.
however, i find it too sweet it makes me and my family cringe. i wanted to make some adjustment after seeing the recipe but decided not too because i wanna know the real taste. i might bake this again coz i like sour dessert but i’ll be sure to lessen the condensed milk next time.
I love this pie! I have already made it several times, more because I messed up the first two, but it’s still a great pie! My first pie included some pith, which left a horrible bitter aftertaste, a new zester fixed that. My second pie I was so excited to make I somehow skipped the eggs! The guys at work still love trying all the pies, whether they turn out perfect or not.
I love your recipes!
Just made this on Friday. It turned out very nicely. It wasn’t too sweet, which I really liked. And homemade graham cracker crust is always worth the effort. Thank you!
I made this pie for a Memorial Day cookout and brought the leftovers to my parents. My dad said this was the best key lime pie he’s ever had! I felt so pleased. Thank you for a great recipe!
Should the condensed milk be heated so it gets its caramelly-texture? Or should it be poured directly from can?
Hi Kristine, Nope, no need to heat the sweetened condensed milk, you just pour it straight from the can.
I really miss key lime pie using real key limes. No such thing in Australia but I make do with regular limes. It’s just not quite the same.
I’m a whipped cream person too. It cuts the sweetness and softens the tartness I think.
I fell in love with Key lime pie as a teen visiting the keys with my mom. While you can sub standard limes – they do taste different – Still awesome but different. I have made it both ways and both ways are awesome but the key limes make it the best!
I love key lime pie and used this recipe as my very first attempt at baking it myself. I’m currently waiting for the pie itself to cool before I can pass judgement on it (I did actually use REAL key limes) but I will say now the whipped cream recipe is off. I’ve always used regular sugar, never powdered but I went with this article. Never again. Real sugar is a big difference from powdered when making whipped cream
You are aware that powdered sugar is regular sugar. It’s just broken down differently
I fell in love with Key Lime Pie years ago. When I was in SiesKey, FL last summer, I went to a place on Tamiami Trail called Florribean Flo’s. They promote the fact that they make Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick. I had to have it. We went and bought a whole pie to bring to a family get-together and a slice of the Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick. OMG. It was heavenly. I was addicted. The owner is the baker and he is amaazing. It is the cutest spot. Lots of souveniers and in the counter is a selection of sweets and the pies. OMG. I also had a taste of a pie made with Passion Fruit. So good.
The picture on the post looks like the pie I had that night. SO good. Nothing like Key Lime Pie. Glad you finally learned the power of the Key Lime Pie.
I think I have regular times, but they were 15 for $1, so yay! I realized after I started making it that I have evaporated milk and not condensed. So, I put that in. We’ll see how it turns out!
Best pie ever. So simple and delicious. This may become my go to pie. THANKS!
Your pie looks beautiful and delicious! Brings me back to Key West, where I had the best key lime pie!!
I noticed last night that WalMart has key limes. I was pretty surprised as I live in KS. This recipe sounds like the one my auntie down that way makes. I also have a devine recipe for key lime cheese cake with an almond crust that was given to me by a real French chef. I was temping at the school associated with the once world famous Menninger Clinic that was the choice of the elite when they needed treatment for mental problems. About every movie star of that era was there at one time or another, mostly drug and alchohol related. My French chef was there for treatment and would come to the school to teach home ec and guitar lessons. He made the cheese cake which was to die for and I usually make it once a year and think of Ludy. Gorgeous and talanted but very very troubled. I always say a little prayer for him while making his pie.
Nothing is better than key lime pie with a Gingersnap Crust! It is incredible!
In the olden days when eggs weren’t contaminated with salmonella, we only baked the crust before filling it. You made the same filling (lime juice, zest, condensed milk,egg yolks) and poured it in the baked shell and let it set up in the refrigerator. Whipped cream of course!
Thanks BEB for the meringue recipe. I tried lime pie once with a chocolate cookie crust and it was awful. Just for your info. I also have a tin of dry whites on hand which is very helpful if the egg whites are inadequate. They work very well.
This looks as beautiful as I know it tastes, being a fan of key lime pie myself. FYI, you should check out Ina Garten’s Frozen Key Lime Pie in her Family Style cookbook. I make it in individual tart pans and keep them in the freezer for when I need a zap of summer.
One of my favorite pies and I am a pie person! By the way, it is wonderful the traditional graham cracker way but I have also had it with a flaky crust. Super yummy! ( I am with you all the way on the whipped cream over meringue)
I’m not one for this type of pie, but it’s my husband’s number 1 favorite dessert and our anniversary is next week. I’m going to surprise him with breakfast of this key lime pie.
Oooh, I love key lime pie! I totally hate making it since those dang limes are so tiny and you have to squeeze 62 of them just for a small pie. But I never turn down a slice!
You should check out Dorie Greenspan’s Florida pie. It’s one of my favs! :)
I totally remember seeing that in her book, I’ll definitely give it a try! :)
Ironic that you posted this recipe today!
I’m in the Florida Keys on vacation at the moment and I just had a store bought version. Which was pretty darn good, I must say. Although, I told my family I wanted to make my own version for comparison. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll have to try this one…
Key Lime Pie is one of my absolute favorite summer desserts! Yours is gorgeous and I agree, Key Limes are incredibly adorable.
Haha, how have you not had Key lime pie before?! I’m so glad you did and that you made your own version. It looks amazing!
Yum, citrus desserts are so perfect for summer.
That’s a funny story, my husband is from Pittsburgh and I am from So. Florida so I asked him when the first time he had Key Lime Pie was and it was not until he moved to So. Florida, probably Key West. Maybe they don’t make key lime pie in the north, no limes, LOL. I’ve never seen it on a menu there. This pie of yours is a beauty and no you can’t make it without the graham cracker crust. Very impressive and there’s no doubt how delicious it was.
Being from Western PA is why it wasnt in your family rotation… travel is good, makes us try new things. I lived in Western PA and now live in Amish country Lancaster County. Its a whole different menu just 4 hours East of you :)
I’ve never made key lime pie either! But, I’m not really a baker either, so it makes sense. I looooove it though!
It was only a few years ago that I first tasted key lime pie, too – and I was hooked. I love the ease of the graham cracker crust.
Key Lime pie is my FAVORITE pie ever. I would ask my mom for it as my birthday cake because I loved it so much. Now I would like a big slice, or perhaps the whole thing. Until I can locate some, I’ll have to continue eating the entire box of girl scout cookies I have here….
Key Lime Pie just showed up on my radar too when a coworker mentioned she makes hers with a crushed pretzel crust! Imagine that salty zing! Thanks for the tutorial on the classic!
I have been craving Key Lime pie since I left FL a couple weeks ago! You read my mind today! Just an idea if you want to try it for next time – the last time I made Key Lime Pie, I added finely chopped (from the food processor) cashews and shredded coconut to my graham cracker crust and topped it with a coconut rum meringue. It was out of this world! Definitely not traditional but a fun way to change it up should the desire be there :)
Hi Kristin, That sounds amazing, I will definitely try your version next time! Love the sound of coconut rum meringue, although I’ll probably make it whipped cream :)
I have made a whipped cream one too and it’s just as yummy! Can’t go wrong :)
I have been keeping my eyes peeled for key limes in the store but so far haven’t come across any. When I do, this pie is *definitely* happening. Love the way you garnished it!
I’ve been looking for a good recipe for this. Do you think these would work as bar cookies too?
Hi Amy, It probably would!
I’ve been making this pie for years and love it because it is so easy and never fails. Since key limes are often hard to find, I buy bottled Key Lime juice (right next to the bottled lemon juice in the grocery store). It works great and I honestly can’t tell any difference between it and using the fresh lime juice. I did notice a big difference the one time I made the pie with regular lime juice, however. It did not taste right at all!
We use Key Lime juice to make Limeade3 like in Belize. It turns out GREAT. No reason why it wouldn’t work for pie. I will make mine that way and let you know! Karen
I was JUST looking for a key lime pie recipe yesterday! It’s my husband’s favorite, and I’ve never made it for him (shame on me), so I’m making it for him SOON!
I love key lime pie. I actually had an awesome piece at a local restaurant recently. Is there any way to make the pie without condensed milk? I’d really like to make key lime pie, but condensed milk is not an ingredient I like to use.
Hi Laura, I am not sure, I think your best bet would be to check out Google and see if there are any other variations on the pie. From the research that I did, the sweetened condensed milk is the original/traditional way to make it, and the only way that I saw. You could probably use some type of custard or curd, but I’m not sure how it would set up or if you’d still need to bake it, etc.
These photos are beautiful. I’m not even a pie person and I want to make one right now.
Key Lime Pie will now always remind me of Dexter. Never knew it was such an easy pie to make! Thanks!
I love all your pie / tart recipes and pictures. I really do.
I love key lime pie, it always tastes so fresh to me, its one of my summer favorite desserts!
I am so glad you put this up! I have been wanting to make a key lime pie, but could never find the right recipe online…everyone argues whether it is authentic or not, and you can tell by the recipes, they most aren’t. I trust you with all my dessert recipes, and this looks delicious!
So tasty! I love Key Lime Pie!
My brother has a key lime tree in his back yard in Florida. Every year at Christmas he brings a bunch up to Maryland and makes us a homemade key lime pie for dessert made from freshly squeezed limes from his tree. A bit untraditional but amazing….
You choose a great recipe –I’ve been making this version for years and it’s always a big hit. And actually it’s just as delicious with a shortbread-type pie crust as it is with graham crackers. I make it with either, depending on whether or not I have graham crackers. But I’m wondering what decorating tip you used for your cream. It’s beautiful!
Hi Emilie, Thank you! I used the Ateco #827 jumbo open star tip (it came in a small set I bought at Williams-Sonoma).
Key Lime Pie is my absolute fav. Thanks for the recipe (and the beautiful pictures!) :-)
I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in the south or because we lived so near the FL state line, but Key Lime Pie was something pretty regular around our house during the summers because it’s my Daddy’s favorite. However, when we went to FL for beach trips, it was much easier to find the pie everywhere.
Your pie looks beautiful! Makes me think of home.
Fact: I have never eaten key lime pie. Which is ridiculous to me since I’ve never met a pie I didn’t like, and I love graham cracker crusts (though like you, I prefer flaky and buttery crusts)
One of my favorite desserts! Mmmm….
i am not a big key lime fan…that is until I had it frozen on a stick and dipped in chocolate. ridiculous.
Oooooooh yeah!! My favorite part of visiting Key West is frozen chocolate dipped Key Lime pie on a stick!!
Chocolate dipped key lime pie??!! Um, yes please! That sounds delicious- I’m going to use some white chocolate though so it doesn’t over power the lime. :)
That sounds insane. Insane, of course, in the best way possible. I must find one of those the next time I’m in Florida!
Making it early this summer! Looks amazing… and I’ve never attempted it. Also love your ‘100’ (surprised you haven’t made lasagne, but love that you have a food bucket list). Thanks for posting!
LOVE Key Lime Pie – have you ever tried making a crust with Biscoff cookies instead of graham crackers? I just leave out the additional sugar – BEST crust EVER!!! Can’t wait to try it with this recipe!
Hi Cathy, I haven’t heard of that, but it’s genius!! I just had a Magic Pop spread with Biscoff for breakfast this morning ;-)
I had never had Key Lime Pie until a few months ago! My boyfriend was shocked; he said that, as a baker, he thought I surely had tried the most common summer pie…but no! And when I did, I loved it! I was hooked. This looks beautiful and it’s definitely on my list of treats to tackle :)
I don’t like to waste egg whites. How much sugar should I add and how long should I cook a meringue topping instead of the cream? Thanks.
Hi Cornelia, You could always save the egg whites for an omelet! :) If you want to do a meringue topping, this is the recipe:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the cornstarch with the water in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally at the beginning and more frequently as the mixture thickens. When the mixture starts to simmer and turns translucent, remove from the heat. Mix the cream of tartar and the sugar together. Beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture forms soft peaks. Add the cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat the meringue to stiff peaks. Bake the pie for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and apply the meringue gently, first spreading a ring around the outer edge to attach the meringue to the crust, then filling in the center. Return the pie to the oven and bake 20 minutes more.
Looks yummy! Great photos and colours :)
Thanks for posting….I will give this a try now that crew season is coming to an end. My son is struggling to keep his weight down in the lwt weight division. After Stotes this weekend it will be a pig fest.
I just made my first Key Lime Pie at Easter this year. It was a big hit with the whole family! Even my aunt and uncle who visit Key West every year!
I’ve been wanting to try this pie for so long – I’ve NEVER had it!!
Key lime pie is the best!!!! I didn’t eat key lime until I was an adul either. Now I am always thinking of new things to “floor” with key lime!
Beautiful photos!! Your pie just screams spring!!
I haven’t made key lime pie before but it’s been on my bucket list for quite some time so I will most definitely be making these soon! Glad to know that it’s super easy to make.
I only made key lime pie once, took it into work and an American colleague said “nah that’s not key lime pie”. I thought it was pretty good myself and would like to try this version.
Looks amazing & sounds delicious! Love lime & also never had a Key Lime Pie before so I must try this!
I have been enjoying citrus flavors lately, so key lime pie sounds right up my alley!
Apparently when my dad was in boot camp he ate key lime pie in South Florida and it was such a far cry from his Minnesota farmland roots…so every year for his bday or special occasions, that was his request. I have fond memories growing up with this “exotic” pie b/c where I grew up, anything other than apple or cherry was just that!
Your pie looks amazing!
Pies scare me… they seem very advanced compared to cookies! But you do have me tempted with this ones. Sounds perfect for summertime!