This quick and easy key lime pie has a buttery graham cracker crust and a simple filling made with just egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and zest. Topped with homemade whipped cream and key lime slices, it's a super refreshing summer treat!
Why This Recipe Works!
As soon as it starts getting hot in the summer, key lime pie is one of the first things I bake! Not only is it easy to make, but it tastes just like you've been transported to the Florida Keys.
If I don't hide a couple slices for myself, the whole pie will be gone in less than 24 hours which is how you know it's good.
And if you love key lime pie as much as I do, you'll also love these key lime pie macarons!!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make the best key lime pie!
- Sweetened condensed milk - This helps sweeten and thicken the filling. You can find it in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. You can also make it yourself if desired!
- Egg yolks - The egg yolks help form a smooth, gelatinous texture so that they pie holds its shape when cut into.
- Key lime juice and zest - The stars of the show! I always prefer baking with fresh key limes, but if you can't find them you can use bottled key lime juice and the zest from regular limes. I like a super tangy key lime pie, but if you want it a little sweeter just reduce the key lime juice to ⅓ cup.
What are Key Limes?
Key limes are the smaller, sweeter cousin to regular limes. They're also known as the Mexican Lime or the West Indies Lime. They have a unique floral flavor that's tart without being too acidic.
In the US, key limes are in season from June to August so you can usually only find them at the grocery store during those months, which is why this refreshing key lime pie is such a popular summer treat!
However, if you aren't lucky enough to find fresh key limes at the store, bottled key lime juice works great! Nellie & Joe's key lime juice is delicious and is sold at most grocery stores as well as amazon.
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Add the graham crackers, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse until you have coarse, even sized crumbs.
Pout the crumbs into a bowl and add in the melted butter. Stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Then dump the crumbs into a pie pan and firmly press and even layer along the bottom and sides of the pan.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 325°F and then let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before filling.
While the crust is cooling, make the filling.
Whisk together the egg yolks and lime zest. Then add in the sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice and whisk until fully combined and smooth.
Pour the filling into the slightly cooled crust and smooth into an even layer.
Bake at 325°F for 15 minutes until the filling is set but the center still jiggles slightly if you gently shake the pan.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours to fully set!
The most important thing to keep in mind with this pie, is to make sure you give it adequate time to cool before cutting into it (it's hard, I know). Overnight is ideal but it needs to chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours!!
I like to top key lime pie with my favorite homemade whipped cream! You can pipe it along the edges like I did for these photos, or just smooth it on top!
Then just garnish with sliced key limes and more lime zest!
I don't recommend it. Key limes have a different, sweeter flavor which is what makes key lime pie so good! But you can find bottled key lime juice in most grocery stores and online!
Yes! You can store key lime pie in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Key lime pie will be runny if it hasn't fully set. Make sure you let it chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before slicing into it!
If key lime pie is overcooked, it loses that light creamy texture and becomes spongey. Make sure to only cook it until the filling is set but still jiggles a little.
While lime juice does have a slightly greener hue than lemon juice, the yellow color actually comes from the egg yolks!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have different properties so that can not always be swapped 1:1. In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
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Key Lime Pie from Scratch
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, about 12 full crackers
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Key Lime Filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup key lime juice, 10-12 key limes
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest, about 5 key limes or 2 regular limes
- homemade whipped cream
- key lime slices
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Add the graham crackers and sugar to your food processor and pulse until you have small, even crumbs (if you don't have a food processor, the old ziploc bag and rolling pin trick works just fine too).
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and a pinch of salt and combine with a fork until all the crumbs are coated with butter.
- Press the mixture evenly along the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie dish and pack tightly by pressing down with the back of a measuring cup.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 325°F and then let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before filling.
Key Lime Filling
- While the crust is cooling, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and lime zest for about 2 minutes. Then add in the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice and whisk until fully combined and smooth.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake at 325°F for 15-17 minutes or until the center is set but still jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then transfer to the fridge and let chill for a minimum of 3 hours but ideally overnight.
- Garnish with homemade whipped cream and key lime slices!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.