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Key Lime Pie – this summer classic has a creamy smooth, tart filling and a sweet graham cracker crust. Use fresh key limes and plenty of zest for the best flavor!
Originally posted August 2011, updated May 2018
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!
Key limes have a distinct flavor but not drastically different than the larger Persian lime.
Some people substitute one lime for the other but for me, I think it would be a sin to make Key Lime Pie without using actual Key Limes. Just saying … I’m a purist when it comes to this recipe!
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, Key Lime Pie is our son Patrick’s favorite pie. While our kids were growing up, we often vacationed on Sanibel Island and that’s where he fell in love with the ‘real deal.’ Sanibel is a lovely tropical paradise 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, ever, ever 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 is super easy, made with only a few ingredients and it comes together in just a few minutes in the food processor.
The classic combination of sweet and tart is heavenly!
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- 1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers (one whole wax paper package - not the whole box)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice, strained of seeds and pulp
- 1 teaspoon key lime zest, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers and 1/4 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 350F. Remove from the oven and cool while preparing the 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.
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.
Here are a few of our favorite kitchen tools used to make this pie: (Click on the photos for more information)
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 ecipe you might like for Marshmallow-Almond Key Lime Pie. It’s almost a cross between Key Lime Pie and cheesecake – yum! (just ignore the horrible old photos taken before I knew how to use my camera – haha)
We love key limes and always look for delicious recipes using these wonderful little gems! Check out this creative Key Lime Fudge from RecipeGirl. What a special treat it must be. How about these Key Lime Margaritas from Garnish with Lemon?! I bet it’s so refreshing on a hot summer day. And finally, change up your weekend brunch with these Homemade Key Lime Waffles from Lemons for Lulu.
Thanks so much for stopping by!