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
More Classic Pies
Looking for another easy homemade pie for your next celebration? With the recipes below, you literally can’t fail!
This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Looks good I will try it .
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! 🙂
You could use regular limes or bottled Key lime juice. I would personally just use the bottle of Key lime juice.
Can the Key Lime pie be made ahead of time and frozen? How long will it last in the refrigerator?
Yes, you could freeze it. It should be fine for 2-3 months in the freezer.
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!
Hi there. What can I use instead of graham crackers? we don’t have them in New Zealand. Thanks!
What kind of cookie would you normally use to make a crust? Shortbread cookies or some kind of vanilla cookie should work fine.
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?
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?
Yes, that sounds like the correct juice. I also use bottled.
Thanks for the recipe and the great step by step instructions. I’ll give this one a try!