Key Lime Pie

If you are using a store-bought graham cracker crust, please follow the directions on the package to pre-bake. Store-bought crusts are thinner than homemade and don't need as much time in the oven.

This filling will be enough for a standard store-bought crust. A homemade crust in a regular pie plate will hold more filling. You should be able to double the amount of filling if using a homemade crust if you want a thicker pie, in which case you will want to bake it longer, perhaps 15 minutes, for it to set.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 9 crackers, 145 g)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp white granulated sugar

Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp lime zest for filling plus 1/2 teaspoon for the topping
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (from about 20 key limes or 4 to 6 regular limes)

Whipped cream:

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1 Make the graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the ground graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar in a bowl.

graham cracker crust in bowl for key lime pie Pressing graham cracker crust into pie dish for key lime pie

Pour into a 9-inch pie dish and spread the graham cracker mixture with your fingers, all over the inside of the pie dish in an even layer.

You can use your fingers to do this, and then use the bottom and sides of a measuring cup or drinking glass to make smooth.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.

2 Make the lime filling: Put the egg yolks into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer or whisking by hand, beat until the yolks thicken and lighten up a bit in color, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the lime zest and sweetened condensed milk for another 2 minutes.

Whisk in the lime juice until smooth.

Lime filling for easy key lime pie key lime filling poured into graham cracker crust for key lime pie

3 Bake: Pour filling into the prepared graham cracker crust and bake at 350°F in the middle rack for only 10 minutes, until the filling is just set.

4 Chill: Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour to overnight.

5 Make whipped cream topping: For a good sturdy whipped cream topping, it helps to start with a chilled bowl and very cold heavy whipping cream.

Pour the cream into a large chilled bowl. Add the powdered sugar (sifted is best) and vanilla. Use an electric mixer (or whip by hand if your gym membership ran out and you want the exercise), start on low speed and increase the speed to the highest level. Whip for several minutes until firm enough to hold shape.

Don't over-whip or you'll make butter.

Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chilled key lime pie. Sprinkle with a little more lime zest.

Chill until ready to serve.

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Comments

  • Jen

    Hi this sounds delicious! Would this also work with a Meringue on top? I kind of like the filling of this one better than the one with the Lemon Meringue Pie and was wondering if I could just add some Meringue to this one.. would that need extra baking time? thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jen, I’ve seen other recipes online for keylime meringue pie, so you may be able to do something like that here. You probably need to bake this pie as directed, then spoon a meringue topping over it and bake again until the meringue sets. Then chill. If you experiment with it, please let us know how it goes!

      • Jen

        Thanks for the reply, Elise – I tried it yesterday with the Meringue topping and it’s just perfect!! I baked this pie as directed and while it was in the oven I just used the 3 egg whites I had left from the yolks of the filling to make the meringue. When the pie was done, I spooned it on top and put it back into the oven, using the grill function fo a couple of minutes until it had the colour I wanted it to have. 3 egg whites only make for a thin layer of meringue, but that was just what I wanted. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, will definitely make it again! Best from Berlin, Jen

  • Patti

    Jenny had a question about how much condensed milk. Recipe actually says; 1 (one) 14 ounce can. Look at again, I think you’ll see it more clearly now.

  • Vita

    Another winner, Elise! Thank you! 17 year old niece followed the recipe to a T, and it was absolutely delicious and a hit at the Thanksgiving table. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you liked it Vita, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • Jenny

    Is that 1+1/4 ounce or 114 ounce of condensed milk!

  • Rivka

    Delicious and easy to make! My family could not get enough. Thanks Elise.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Elise Bauer

      You’re welcome Rivka, I’m so glad you and your family liked it!

  • Tri

    I decided to make this tonight as a last minute dessert for a brunch I’m going to tomorrow. We will see how it tastes, but so far smells and looks delicious. One tip to add since I doubled the recipe: the key limes are pretty labor intensive so I used my garlic press to squeeze out the juice. It worked great and saved my thumbs a lot of work! I’ll report back on how the pies taste!

  • Diane

    Key limes vs. regular limes – Serious Eats:
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/05/are-key-limes-worth-the-price.html

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks for sharing the link to Stella’s article Diane. Love it!

    • Barb

      That was interesting. I gave up on ‘Key’ Limes a long time ago, but now I know why. And around here, tiny Limes that are closer to Persian go for 10 for a $1 most of the time.

  • jwharm

    It’s not really a key lime pie without key limes, simply a lime pie. To call one such is disingenuous.

  • Bebe

    One more comment: The key lime pies I’ve seen – the real ones – were usually on the thin side (less deep). Kind of tart for a big deep cream type pie.

  • Bebe

    Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s have key limes in netting bags. Very reasonably priced.