Nothing compares to the tangy goodness of Key Lime Pie! This classic dessert features a buttery graham cracker crust, whipped cream topping, and a key lime filling that has the perfect balance of sweet + tart.
The Best Key Lime Pie Recipe
If you love key lime pie, you will love this recipe! Made with a traditional graham cracker crust and a lemony, creamy key-lime filling, this pie checks all the boxes. The finished pie is decorated with fluffy swirls of homemade whipped cream, plus thinly sliced lime wedges. It’s a total showstopper of a dessert that tastes like a million bucks.
Why You’ll Love It
- Easy. Both the crust and the filling come together easily. Plus, the pie bakes in only 30 minutes!
- Flavorful. Each slice of this key lime pie has the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
- Velvety smooth. The pie filling is so smooth and creamy that it just melts in your mouth. The texture is to die for!
- Impressive! Even though this key lime pie recipe is incredibly simple, the end result is a gorgeous classic American dessert. If you take this pie to a potluck or gathering everyone will be impressed.
What You’ll Need to Make Key Lime Pie
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.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Key Limes are a variety of lime fruit native to tropical Southeast Asia. They are also called the Bartender’s Lime, Mexican Lime, and Omani Lime. Why are pies made with this variety of fruit called “Key Lime” pies? Because these limes were grown in the Flordia Keys until the late 1920s. As a result, when Southern cooks started making lime pie they used “key limes” from Florida.
For the sake of authenticity, I encourage you to make this pie with actual key limes if you can get your hands on them. 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.
How to Make Key Lime Pie From Scratch
Are you ready to make key lime pie? Here’s how to do it:
Make the Crust
- Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Add Butter: Add the melted butter, stirring until the mixture is well combined with a crumbly texture.
- 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
- Combine Filling Ingredients: Whisk together all of the filling ingredients just until well combined.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Pro Tips for Perfect Key Lime Pie
While this is an easy key lime pie recipe, it never hurts to have a few tips. Here are some tricks to help you make a perfectly flawless key lime pie:
- The trick to juicing 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.
How to Store
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 It?
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
Key Lime Pie
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
This Key Lime Pie recipe is seriously the best! Buttery graham cracker crust with creamy key lime filling and topped with whipped cream.
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
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake crust for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- To make the filling, whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
- 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.
- Cool on cooling rack for an hour, then refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- Store pie covered in the fridge. Pie is best if eaten within 4-5 days.
Store pie covered in the fridge and enjoy within 4-5 days.
- 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: key lime pie recipe, best key lime pie, easy key lime pie
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Hi, how many key limes are needed?
Also, do I have to cover it before I refrigerate it?
I did not, but you can.
I used bottle key lime juice, which is what I’d recommend.
Thank you for your recommendations, I was also just wondering if I can freeze what’s left of the pie?
ps. It was delicious. Everyone absolutely loved this pie. And so did I, who have never even had key lime pie before. So thank you for this great recipe! 🙂
I would think it’d freeze ok, but I’ve never tried it.
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
I made this for Christmas dessert, but I found the filling was way to runny after only cooking it for 30 mins and I used 4 egg yolks not sure what happened but after cooking it longer (20 more mins) it did turn out to be the most delicious key lime pie ever, and it was very easy to make. Thanks.
I discovered your wonderfully witty site while searching for recipes because my cookbooks are still packed away. Thanks for the heads up about #smh; the only way I ever find out what these inscrutable abbreviations are is by the accidental kindness of online strangers, lol. So when I saw your recipe for key lime pie, I recognized the “South Florida” restaurant that originated it: Joe’s Stone Crab. I’ve eaten it and baked the pie from his recipe many times, and it’s perfectly balanced. I realize I’m commenting way after you posted this, but I believe some recipes are sacrosanct and should be respected for fear of disturbing something that cannot be improved. By that I mean the proportions that build the basics of the dish, not necessarily the essential flavors. I can see from the picture that your whipped cream has no body, which I imagine is due to the vanilla extract. That, along with the fact that you use a whopping half cup of sugar in the cream versus 3 tablespoons in the original automatically made my teeth hurt. That said, I not only greatly enjoyed reading your blog, but I intend to try many of your recipes and visit this site often.
We made this pie last night! Yummy! It turned out great and it makes a great breakfast. It will be the “go-to” key lime recipe.
LOL @smh. Now I’m sitting here trying to say it as a word!
Your pie looks fabulous, I’ll take slice (or 2!)
I’m all, wait, what does that mean?! HAAHA!
Love a good key lime pie! Yours looks perfect!
HA HA! I’d never even SEEN smh before, so I guess that makes me doubly uncool. There’s no telling how long it would have taken me to figure it out if you hadn’t revealed its meaning. (grin)
And it has been a few years since my last key lime pie, so this is making my mouth water. I love that you didn’t use any stupid food coloring. Will have to give this a bash before summer ends. Thanks!
I so very badly wish I could have a slice of that right now. #smh and making a deflated-and-hungry ‘smhhpsh’ noise.
Oooh! I’m so proud of myself because I knew what that meant. Yay!
And I’m excited that you made this pie. Key lime is one of my favorites of all time. This looks perfect!