Make this easy, homemade key lime pie recipe for a flavorful dessert. Enjoy the fragrant, silky filling and crisp graham cracker crust.
It's so easy to learn how to make key lime pie. It is composed of 6 basic ingredients and requires minimal baking skills.
Key limes differ from regular limes. Key limes are more tart and fragrant. If you prefer the taste of regular limes, then you should head over to my lime pie recipe! Or if you like cheesecake, give my key lime cheesecake pie a try,
It most notably has sweetened condensed milk on the ingredients list instead of fresh dairy.
This is most likely because fresh milk and refrigeration were not readily available in the Florida Keys until the 1930s.
It has remained popular in Florida and beyond through the present. It was even named the official pie of Florida in 2006.
Why this recipe works
- Key limes are tart and fragrant, which results in a much more flavorful lime pie.
- I use yogurt to create a silky texture in the filling.
- This recipe is completely egg-free. This is helpful for those with food allergies.
This limited ingredient, homemade key lime pie is so easy to make. The flavorful, creamy texture will impress your guests.
What you need
This is the best key lime pie recipe ever. The combination of ingredients makes all the difference. Let’s discuss just a few of the key ingredients:
This is a short overview of the ingredients I used and why I chose them. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post!
- Graham cracker crust: You can pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Or, you can save time by buying store-bought crumbs.
- Sweetened condensed milk: This ingredient adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the pie and helps the pie to set properly.
- Key lime juice & zest: You'll need approximately 25 key limes to get enough juice for this pie. You can zest 1 regular lime for the filling. I find the zest of a regular lime tastes best.
- If you can't find key limes, bottled key lime juice will also work. It can usually be found with lemon and lime juices at your local market.
- Yogurt: I use yogurt, instead of egg yolks or egg whites, to create a silky texture. Plain Greek yogurt works best, but regular yogurt or sour cream works, too.
This is a list of tools I used to make the recipe.
- Pie pan: You need a pie pan to make this key lime pie recipe.
- Juicer: I prefer a metal lemon/lime juicer to help extract the juice from the key limes.
- Zester: A microplane zester works best for zesting the limes for the pie.
How to make the pie
1. Make the crust
This simple graham cracker crust acts as the base for the pie. You'll construct it from butter, sugar and crumbs.
- Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Then, drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Stir with a fork until crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press the crumb mix tightly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan of your choice. I like using a measuring cup for this.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Finally, set on a wire rack to cool completely.
ⓘ It's important to tightly pack the crumbs together. This is how you get a sturdy crust that won't crumble when sliced.
2. Make the filling
While the pie crust cools, make the filling for the key lime pie.
- Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and key lime juice until well-combined.
- Then, gently whisk in the yogurt.
3. Bake and chill the pie
You'll fill the pie crust then bake the pie for a short 10 minutes.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Then, bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Set on a wire rack until cooled to room temperature.
- Then, cover and refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Prior to serving, top the pie with whipped cream and lime slices, if desired.
No one likes an overbaked pie! The easiest way to tell when key lime pie is done baking is the filling should only jiggle slightly in the center. This will take about 8-10 minutes. The filling will continue to set as the pie cools.
Jen's best tips
- I highly recommend fresh key lime juice. However, you can use bottled key lime juice as a close substitute.
- Be careful with zesting! The white part under the green skin, called the pith, will make the pie taste bitter.
- Don't overbake the pie. Bake just until the center is no longer jiggly. This will only take 8-10 minutes.
Storing & Freezing
To store: A baked and cooled pie can be stored for no more than a week in the fridge.
You can make the graham cracker crumbs crust up to 2-3 days in advance. A prebaked crust can be stored in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
The pie filling works as a made ahead item. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days in advance. Then, assemble and bake at desired time.
To freeze: You can store a baked and cooled pie for no more than 3 months in the freezer.
Ways to decorate key lime pie
Personalize the homemade key lime pie to your tastes. There are so many options to make it your own:
- Top with homemade whipped cream
- Add quartered slices of key limes
- Sprinkle lime zest over the top