Key Lime Pie

Nothing compares to the tangy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of this easy Key Lime Pie! It’s a classic dessert composed of a buttery graham cracker crust, a fluffy whipped cream topping and a velvety key lime filling with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

A piece of key lime pie on a plate with a bowl of fresh limes and the rest of the pie in the background

Light and Refreshing Key Lime Pie

If you love key lime pie, you will love this recipe! It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Plus, the texture is to die for! It’s so smooth and creamy it just melts in your mouth.

The pie starts with the traditional graham cracker crust. The filling includes a full cup of key lime juice, plus another quarter cup of lemon juice. The lemon juice adds an extra depth of flavor that is perfection. It’s the missing ingredient you never knew you needed. So good! It also uses five egg yolks for the perfect balance of flavor and texture.

Finally, light and fluffy swirls of homemade whipped cream crown the outer edge of the pie. It’s the perfect finishing touch! It’s a simple yet sophisticated dessert that looks and tastes like a million bucks. Your plate is about to get emptied at a record pace!

A homemade key lime pie inside of a pie dish with one slice missing and a bowl of fresh limes in the background

What You’ll Need

The crust, filling and topping are all made with simple ingredients! To see the full amounts you’ll need of each item, scroll down to the recipe card.

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: I like to crush my graham crackers in a food processor.
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted.

For the Key Lime Pie Filling

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Make sure you don’t accidentally reach for evaporated milk.
  • Key Lime Juice: Fresh-squeezed juice is ideal, but bottled also works great since key limes are often hard to find.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: To balance out the key lime flavor.
  • Sugar: Cuts down on some of the tartness of the pie.
  • Egg Yolks: You can discard the leftover whites or save them for something else.
  • Salt: For flavor.

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Keep this chilled until you’re about to use it.
  • Powdered Sugar: This provides some sweetness – but more importantly, it stabilizes the whipped cream so it doesn’t wilt in the fridge.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Lime Slices: Optional, for decorating.

Can I Use Regular Limes in Place of Key Limes?

For the sake of authenticity, I encourage you to make this pie with actual key limes if you can get your hands on them. But if not, bottled key lime juice will work well too. Another option would be regular (Persian) limes, but the flavor is a little different. Either way, you will still need a full cup of juice. The flavor of the filling will vary based on the juice you use.

A homemade citrus pie inside of a pie dish with a green kitchen towel underneath the dish and swirls of whipped cream on top of the pie filling

How to Make Key Lime Pie From Scratch

Ready to rock? Let’s make some pie!

Make the Crust

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Add Butter: Add the melted butter, stirring until the mixture is well combined with a crumbly texture.
  4. Transfer Crust to Pan: Pour the mixture into a deep dish 9-inch pie pan and spread the crumbs around so that they’re evenly dispersed. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Make the Filling

  1. Combine Filling Ingredients: Whisk together all of the filling ingredients just until well combined.
  2. Pour Into Crust & Bake: Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake the pie for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is just set but still jiggly. It may seem like it’s still not terribly firm, but it will firm up as it cools.
  3. Let Cool: Cool the pie on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate it until it’s firm, around 5-6 hours.

Make the Topping

  1. Combine Ingredients: Add the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  2. Pipe Onto Pie: Pipe the whipped cream around the top edge of your pie and add half slices of lime if you’d like. I piped the whipped cream in swirls, but feel free to decorate your pie as desired.
A slice of key lime pie on a plate with one bite on a metal fork beside the slice

Tips for Success

Don’t get stressed out if this recipe feels unfamiliar. These tips are here to help you make a flawless pie!

  • Use This Hack for Juicing Key Limes: I like to microwave my key limes for 30 seconds before I halve them and go at them with my citrus juicer. This helps them release more juice. If you don’t have a citrus juicer, simply twist a fork into the open end of each lime half.
  • Short on Time? If you really need to cut down on prep time, go ahead and use a store-bought graham cracker crust instead of making one from scratch. Your key lime pie will still be magnificent!
  • Let the Pie Cool Completely: Don’t add your whipped cream to the pie until the filling has fully set. It should cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before chilling in the fridge for at least 5.
  • Chill if Not Serving Right Away: This pie isn’t meant to be left at room temperature. Unless you’re slicing and serving it as soon as you add the whipped cream, return it to the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it.
A homemade key lime pie inside of a pie dish with a green kitchen towel underneath the dish and swirls of whipped cream on top of the pie filling

Storage Instructions

This pie should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy it within 4-5 days for the best results. I’m willing to bet it’ll be gone well before then!

Can I Freeze This?

Yes, you can freeze it. I recommend freezing it without the whipped cream. Flash freeze it for about an hour, then wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge prior to serving. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Print
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A homemade key lime pie inside of a pie dish with one slice missing and a bowl of fresh limes in the background
Recipe

Key Lime Pie

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Nothing compares to the tangy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of this easy Key Lime Pie! It’s a classic dessert composed of a buttery graham cracker crust, a fluffy whipped cream topping and a velvety key lime filling with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.


Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (201g) graham cracker crumbs (about 11 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, melted

Key Lime Pie Filling

  • 1 3/4 cups (420ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (52g) sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lime slices, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. To make the crust, add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined and crumbly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a deep dish 9-inch pie pan and spread the crumbs around so that they are evenly dispersed. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake crust for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  5. To make the filling, whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  6. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is just set but still jiggly.
  7. Cool on cooling rack for an hour, then refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours.
  8. To make the whipped cream, add the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Pipe whipped cream swirls around the edge of the pie. I added half slices of limes between each swirl, but feel free to decorate as desired.
  10. Store pie covered in the fridge. Pie is best if eaten within 4-5 days.

Notes

Store pie covered in the fridge and enjoy within 4-5 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 340
  • Sugar: 38.3 g
  • Sodium: 164.7 mg
  • Fat: 17.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.6 g
  • Protein: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 123.7 mg

Keywords: how to make key lime pie, key lime juice, best key lime pie

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Recipe rating

26 Comments
  1. Jasmine Nelson

    Hi Lindsey, planning on making this pie soon but key lime is almost impossible to find in Australia. Could I substitute for normal lime juice? And would you recommend bottled juice still? Thank you! 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      You could use regular limes or bottled Key lime juice. I would personally just use the bottle of Key lime juice.

  2. caroline cook

    This recipe is perfect, thanks! I couldn’t find any bottled key lime juice, so I used fresh regular limes. It tasted great, but I would love to try it with key limes on day!

    1. Lindsay

      What kind of cookie would you normally use to make a crust? Shortbread cookies or some kind of vanilla cookie should work fine.

  3. Douglas Larsen

    Lindsey, can a 9” ceramic pie dish be substituted for the 8” called out in your recipe without any changes to the volume of ingredients?

  4. Taylor

    Where on earth do you find “key” lime juice? I bought what I think might be it but on the bottle it says key west lime juice. Is that it?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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