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Key Lime Pie – the summer classic with a creamy smooth, tart filling!
Don’t miss this easy Key Lime Pie with a sweet graham cracker crust and a luscious tangy filling.
Way back in 2011, I posted a new pie recipe every week for the entire year. This delicious, creamy, smooth and authentic Key Lime Pie was No. 31. That year I shared some of our long-time family favorite pie recipes, tried a bunch of new recipes, and developed a couple of new pie recipes too.
I’ve always loved making pies and was thrilled to share all the best recipes with you. Now with almost 80 pie recipes on SRFD, you can find them under their very own tab on the Recipe Index!
What’s the difference between a key lime and a lime?
Key limes have a distinct flavor but are not drastically different than larger Persian lime.
Some people substitute Persian limes for key limes in recipes. While the pie may still be delicious, it’s just not the same. Personally, I think it would be a sin to make a true Key Lime Pie without using actual key limes. Just saying … I’m a purist when it comes to this recipe!
In the United States, key limes are grown in Florida, California and Texas. You should be able to find them in your well stocked local grocery store.
It doesn’t take long to extract the juice of the key limes, especially if you use a juicer/press/citrus squeezer.
The citrus press is an inexpensive kitchen tool and a real time-saver when juicing lemons and limes. See the link at the bottom of this post for more information on some of our favorite kitchen tools. If you love citrus recipes as much as we do, it’s a must have!
Without a doubt, this pie is one of our favorite pies.
While our kids were growing up, we often vacationed on Sanibel Island and that’s where our son Patrick fell in love with the ‘real deal.’ Sanibel is a lovely tropical paradise north of the florida keys so if you’re looking for a relaxing, soul-mending break, perhaps you can find it there.
There are many wonderful restaurants on the island but one of our favorites is Gramma Dot’s. They have one of the best Key Lime Pies and sell it either whole or by the slice. Take the whole pie ‘to go’ and enjoy! It’s the closest thing I’ve ever found to homemade.
We never use bottled key lime juice for our Key Lime Pie and normally prepare it with our favorite homemade graham cracker crust. Feel free to use a store bought crust if you prefer and especially if making more than one pie at a time.
However, homemade graham cracker crusts are easy to make. Made with only a few ingredients, it comes together in just a few minutes in the food processor.
For the graham cracker crust:
- graham cracker crumbs
- unsalted butter, melted
- granulated sugar
To make the key lime filling:
- sweetened condensed milk
- egg yolks
- fresh squeezed key lime juice strained of seeds and pulp
- fresh key lime zest plus more for garnish
For the sweetened whipped cream topping:
- heavy whipping cream
- sifted powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
Overview: how to make key lime pie
1. Prepare the graham cracker crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until well mixed.
If you don’t have a food processor place the graham crackers in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush to fine crumbs.
Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool while preparing the filling.
You can also use a pre-made store-bought pie crust.
2. Make the filling:
Using an electric mixer or whisk, combine the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until smooth. Add the lime juice and zest and whisk again until blended. Pour the filling to the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes.
Cool on a rack to room temperature then refrigerate before serving.
3. To prepare the whipped cream topping:
Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form. Pipe the whipped cream decoratively on top of the pie or spoon dollops over each piece as served.
Garnish with lime slices and additional lime zest.
Don’t let the summer go by without making at least one Key Lime Pie.
Pucker up and savor every bite of the creamy, velvety filling.
The classic combination of sweet and tart is heavenly
I hope you’ll give this pie a try – it’s super easy to make and tastes fantastic!
Thanks for PINNING!
Key Lime Pie
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 ¼ cups crushed graham crackers (one whole wax paper package - not the whole box)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For the key lime filling:
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 large egg yolks room temperature
- ½ cup fresh squeezed key lime juice strained of seeds and pulp
- 1 teaspoon key lime zest, plus more for garnish
For the sweetened whipped cream:
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
To prepare the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers and ¼ cup of sugar, process until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and pulse until well mixed.
- Press the mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven and cool while preparing the filling.
To prepare the key lime filling:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks until smooth. Add the lime juice and zest and whisk until blended. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes. Allow the pie to cool on a rack to room temperature.
- Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.
To prepare the whipped cream:
- Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff but still a little soft. Using a pastry bag and large star tip, pipe large blossoms of whipped cream around the outside edge of the pie. Garnish with sliced key limes and additional key lime zest if desired.
Craving more Key Lime recipes?
Don’t miss our Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches. You’ll want to hide a few of these in the back of the freezer just for yourself.
For a super creamy cold treat, check out our Key Lime Pie Gelato recipe too. The perfect summer dessert for any occasion and extra pretty served in a Margarita glass with a sugared rim.
We have another lime recipe you might like for Marshmallow-Almond Key Lime Pie. It’s almost a cross between Key Lime Pie and cheesecake – yum!
We love key limes and always look for delicious recipes using these wonderful little gems! Check out this creative Key Lime Fudge. What a special treat it must be. How about these Key Lime Margaritas?! I bet it’s so refreshing on a hot summer day. And finally, change up your weekend brunch with these Homemade Key Lime Waffles.
Originally posted August 2011, updated May 2018.