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Published June 26, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This classic key lime pie is loaded with delicious key lime juice, a sweet filling, and a graham cracker crust that is absolutely amazing.
Key lime pie is the perfect summer dessert. It’s light, it’s creamy, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. When it comes to baking anything, like this buttermilk chess pie, patience is required and it’s the same with this key lime pie because after only really 30 minutes of it coming together you need to wait until it completely cools in the refrigerator before eating it.
This is the best key lime pie recipe out there and I promise you that making it homemade is the only way to do it!
Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is a simple combination of condensed sweetened milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, key lime zest that is mixed together and quickly baked in a graham cracker crust then chilled. It is traditionally topped off with either meringue or whipped cream.
Condensed sweetened milk is simply milk that has been cooked down and becomes very thick and is sweetened with sugar. Same process as a sauce where you cook down to make thick.
Where Did It Come From
There are disputed claims coming out of both New York and Florida who claim their state invented key lime pie. If I had to guess, I would say Florida since well Key limes were grown for quite a long time down in key west.
What Are Key Limes
Key limes are much smaller than what you and I know of limes (Persian) and will start to turn yellow once ripe. They are really aromatic and intense in flavor with more seeds than regular limes.
Key limes are originally from Asia but were brought to the keys in Florida where they were grown for over 400 years. Unfortunately, a massive hurricane swept through in the early 1900s and they were never able to recoup. Nowadays most of our key limes in the US come from Mexico.
How to Make It
1. Make the crust by processing together with the graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until it becomes like a meal.
2. Transfer the mixture to a 9” or 10” pie pan and form the crust to the pan.
3. Par Bake in the oven at 325° for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Add egg yolks to a stand mixer or a bowl with a hand mixer. At high speed using the whisk attachment, whisk for 2 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
5. Completely mix in the condensed sweetened milk, key lime juice, and key lime zest.
6. Transfer the mixture to the par-baked pie crust and pour it in. You may have about a ½ cup leftover if you are using a 9” pie pan.
7. Bake the pie at 350° for 12-15 minutes just until settled.
8. Cool at room temperature for 15 minutes and then chill completely for at least 3 hours.
9. Serve with whipped cream, key lime slices, and raspberry sauce
How to Serve It
Serve up a key lime pie with a dollop of whipped cream on each slice. The cream from the whipped cream cuts the tanginess of the filling so perfectly. I personally like to drizzle on a little raspberry sauce all over the top, which you’ll see from the video below in the recipe!
No-Bake Key Lime Pie Recipe
Other variations of this pie would be a no-bake key lime pie recipe, which uses a premade graham cracker crust (what fun is that), and the filling consists of some sort of sour cream or cheese (mascarpone), condensed sweetened milk, and whipped cream. It’s good, but in no way is it better than my authentic recipe.
How To Store
Store this in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to 5 days. The pie does not freeze well because when it thaws, it can liquify. However, it is tasty eaten frozen so feel free to do that while storing it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
chef notes + tips
- There is no need to buy this pie from a grocery store, you can do this at home and bring the restaurant right to your own kitchen.
- You can use either whole graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs when making the crust.
- Either size pie pan is fine as there will be enough to jam pack a 9” or comfortably fill up a 10”.
- Use the backside of a spoon to help pack the crust into the pie pan.
- Be sure to mix in the condensed milk, zest, and juice just until combined, no need to over mix.
- If using a 9” pie pan you can simply add the leftover ½ cup of batter to a ramekin and bake and chill and top of with graham cracker crumbs to make fun single-serving key lime dessert.
More Dessert Recipes
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Key Lime Pie Recipe
For the Crust:
- 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons of unsalted melted butter
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- pinch of sea salt
For the Pie:
- 6 egg yolks
- 28 ounces of condensed sweetened milk
- ½ cup of fresh key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of key lime zest
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Raspberry Sauce
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- juice of ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Add the graham crackers, butter, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse on high speed until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9” or 10” pan and form it completely to the pan.
- Par bake at 325° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly firm. Cool to room temperature.
- Add the egg yolks to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed for 2 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Next, on medium speed mix in the milk, key lime juice, and zest just until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the cooled pie crust and pour it in. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes just until set.
- Cool at room temperature for 10-12 minutes then transfer the pie and completely cool in the refrigerator for 3 hours or until firm.
- While the pie is cooling add heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed until stiff peaks are formed about 3 to 4 minutes. Add to a piping bag or keep in bowl and chill.
- Raspberry sauce: Add all ingredients to a small size pot over medium heat and cook until thick and jammy, about 15 minutes. Strain and chill.
- Garnish the pie with whipped cream and serve with raspberry sauce.
I made this Key-lime pie for a party and everyone loved it! It’s super easy to make!
Thank you! in Perú we use to put merengue on the top of all the key-lime pie. One of my favourites!
Superb recipe!! I added 1/4c brown sugar also to crumbs & used 1 tsp key lime oil in lieu of the zest in the mixture which you can buy in a set of 3 (lime, lemon & orange) oil at King Arthur Flour. This way, you store in fridge so you never have to be without zest!!
Chef Billy what’s name of song and artist playing during your YouTube perfect key lime pie recipe?
I found with a 10″ pan I needed an extra ⅛ cup of crumb, but otherwise very delicious!
Oh Key Lime Pie is one of my favorites! Making soon!
This key lime pie is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing!
This is my favorite pie ever, especially in the summer! Thank you for a delicious recipe!
Delicious recipe for my favorite pie!
This was really amazing! Such a huge hit at my house!