This Easy Key Lime Pie recipe makes a magnificent, refreshing, and velvety smooth dessert that’s simple to make and will wow your guests.
This pie is best made with homemade whipped cream one you try it, you’ll never go back!
There’s no dessert more iconic than pie. The varieties are endless! From coconut cream to Rhubarb and Strawberry, you really can’t go wrong! I don’t know about you, but for me, warmer weather calls for sunny citrus flavors, so a homemade key lime pie fits the bill perfectly!
Why This Recipe Works
- Using fresh lime juice as well as the zest gives the filling a deep lime taste.
- Condensed milk gives the pie a silky smooth consistency.
- Egg yolks, add a beautiful richness and help firm the pie filling giving a perfect slice every time.
- The buttery Graham cracker crust adds a crunch to bring the whole thing together.
Traditionally, key lime pie isn’t baked, but I find baking the pie for just 15-20 minutes, helps set the filling so you know you’ll get the perfect slice each and every time.
The fresh lime juice as well as the zest is the key to giving this recipe the bright citrus flavor that you just can’t get with the bottled reconstituted juice you find in stores.
Limes Vs Key Limes
Key limes (also known as West Indies or Mexican limes) are smaller than ordinary limes (also known as Persian limes) so they yield less juice. They’re more yellow in color, have thinner skin, and contain more seeds. Key limes have a more floral aroma than limes and a stronger acidic flavor.
- Limes: I use ordinary limes as they tend to be larger so they yield more juice, but you can use key limes too. Whatever limes you use, be sure to use fresh lime juice. The bottled stuff just doesn’t compare!
- Lime Zest: I always go with regular limes as the thick skin is easier to zest than the thin skin found on key limes.
- Condensed Milk: Use sweetened condensed milk or to use evaporated milk, add 1½ cups of sugar to the filling.
- Graham Crackers: I use regular Graham crackers (opposed to the cinnamon variety). If Graham crackers are not available in your part of the world, look for a crisp, firm cookie that easily snaps when broken (such as Biscotti, shortbread, digestive biscuits in the UK, or Marie biscuits in Australia).
Topping Your Pie
Typically key lime pie is topped either with whipped cream or meringue. For this recipe, I use whipped cream. My recipe makes whipped cream that holds its shape. This is great because you can pipe it on, stick it in the fridge and it won’t fall flat! Just don’t leave it out in the heat in the summertime for too long.
How To Make Key Lim Pie
Start by zesting and juicing your limes.
To make things a lot easier, use an electric juicer to juice your limes! Whatever method you use, be sure to zest them first!
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest well for about 2 minutes to infuse the fat in the yolks with the flavor of the zest. You know they are ready when the yolks have a green hue.
Then add lime juice and condensed milk. Beat together and set aside to thicken (it should be ready to use when the crust cools to room temp).
Mix Graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter; stir until well blended.
Pour mixture into 9-inch pie pan; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pan to form an even crust.
Bake 8 minutes or until lightly browned (While the crust bakes, start the filling). Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Pour lime filling into crust and bake 15-20 minutes (the center will be set, but still jiggles when shaken).
Return pie to wire rack to cool then refrigerate until well chilled (at least 3 hours).
Prepare the whipped cream. For detailed instructions on making perfect whipped cream see my Stabilized Whipped Cream post.
Pipe or spread on the whipped cream.
Garnish with lime slices and lime zest.
Return the the fridge until ready to serve.
Erren’s top Tips
- If you’re in a hurry, you can use a store-bought crust. No Judgment here!
- Zest your limes before juicing.
- To speed things up, use an electric juicer to juice your limes!
Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions ❄
To make ahead: Store in the fridge covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Key Lime Pie will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: Wrap in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing without the whipped cream or garnish.
Yes, regular limes are actually easier to use as they are larger and yield more juice.
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Let’s Make Easy Key Lime Pie
- 5 egg yolks large
- 6 teaspoons lime zest grated
- 28 oz sweetened condensed milk (2- 14oz cans)
- ¾ cup lime juice 4-6 limes
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1¼ cups graham crackers 10-12 crackers
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon skimmed milk powder
- Lime slices and zest opional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
For the Filling
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest for 1-2 minutes until the yolks take on a green hue. Mix in condensed milk until fully combined, then add the lime juice. Beat together and set aside to thicken at room temperature (it should be ready when the crust has cooled to room temp).
For the Crust
- Mix crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter; stir with until well blended.
- Pour mixture into 9-inch pie pan; press crumbs over bottom and up sides of pan to form even crust.
- Bake 8 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
- Pour lime filling into crust and bake 15 to 20 minutes (the center will be set, but still jiggles slightly when shaken).
- Return pie to wire rack to cool then refrigerate until well chilled (at least 3 hours).
For the Whipped Cream
- To make the cream, add all of the remaining ingredients into a food processor or mixer. Whip until thick (You’ll know it’s ready to use when you run a spoon through it and it doesn’t collapse into the crevice).
- Pipe or spread the cream onto the chilled pie before serving and decorate with lime slices.
Tips + Notes
- Zest limes before juicing. It will make it much easier.
- Be sure to use fresh lime juice. The bottled stuff just doesn’t compare!
This recipe was originally published in August of 2020, but was republished with new information in May of 2021.