Coconut Key Lime Pie Cupcakes


I love any dessert that can be made into cupcake form. Everything is fancier as a cupcake right :)? It’s been some time since I’ve been meaning to post a key lime pie recipe and since it’s now summer I realized it can’t wait any longer. It is one of the most refreshing chilled desserts and it has the tropics written all over it, especially with a coconut upgrade.

If you aren’t a fan of coconut, you can leave it out (I don’t understand how anyone could not like coconut but there once was a time when I was little that I didn’t care for it), simply replace the 1/4 cup coconut in the crust mixture with 2 extra sheets of graham cracker and omit the coconut extract and extra coconut on top and you’ll have regular key lime pie.

coconut key lime pie cupcakes | Cooking Classy

So I thought of labeling this recipe as Coconut Lime Pie Cupcakes because I really never use key limes, and I was happy to hear Cook’s Illustrated mention they didn’t taste a difference between the pies when using the regular limes vs key limes.

That makes juicing and zesting a lot easier for me. Plus I only see key limes at the store every so often, and if I’m in the mood for key lime pie I don’t want to wait around for those key limes to show up. It wouldn’t be as familiar to people though it this were labeled as “Lime Pie” don’t you think? When it’s labeled as “Key Lime Pie” it just reminds us of our favorite key lime pie we’ve eaten.

coconut key lime cupcakes | Cooking Classy

Of course you can use key limes if you’d prefer. To me it’s not quite worth the extra effort. I’ll take the large juicy limes and be done with my pie while your still squeezing those itty bitty things :).  Which ever limes you choose just be sure to try this.

You’ll be coming back for more of it’s velvety smooth, lusciously creamy texture and vibrantly tangy bite which is perfectly paired with it’s deliciously sweet and toasty coconut. Enjoy!

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Coconut Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

A cupcake with a taste of the tropics! Mini key lime pies with a flavor upgrade of coconut.

Servings: 12
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 5 hours


  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut , divided
  • 7 graham cracker sheets , broken into halves
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light-brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter , melted
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lime zest
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (don't use low fat, this is 1 1/2 14 oz cans)
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice or key lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in preheated oven 6 - 8 minutes until golden brown, stirring once halfway through baking. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a non-reactive mixing bowl whisk together lime zest and egg yolks for 2 minutes, until mixture is slightly tinted green, Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour in lime juice, vanilla and coconut extract (for more coconut flavor you can add an additional 1/4 tsp coconut extract) and mix until well blended. Allow mixture to rest 30 minutes, without stirring, at room temperature to allow to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile prepare graham cracker crust by placing graham crackers and 1/4 cup toasted coconut in a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 30 - 40 seconds. Add in light-brown sugar and melted butter and pulse just until mixture is evenly coated. Divide mixture among 12 paper lined muffin cups, spooning about 1 heaping Tbsp mixture into each cup, and press mixture into an even layer. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  4. Divide lime pie filling among 12 cups, pouring mixture over graham cracker crust layer and filling each cup nearly full (about 1/4 cup in each). Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes, or until cupcakes only jiggle slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Once cool cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator and chill 3 hours (note, I chilled mine in the muffin pan but the butter from the crust made the cups stick to the bottoms of the pan once it was chilled - so I simply poured hot water into a cookie sheet then set the muffin pan over the warm water and removed them after about 20 seconds. You could probably lift them off of a plate easier though if you put them on a plate before refrigerating :).
  5. In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar (if you want more coconut flavor you can add 1/4 tsp coconut extract to the whipped cream along with the sugar), whip until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, spoon or pipe whipped cream over cupcakes and sprinkle tops with remaining toasted coconut. Garnish with lime slices if desired.
  6. Recipe Source: adapted lightly from Cook's Illustrated via Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mini Key Lime Pies
Author: Jaclyn


  • Sarah Hicks Leitao: Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m baking them right now. Quite easy and a lovely way to spend time on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait to try these out! July 14, 2013 at 6:19pm Reply

  • Paulette Gleason: Jaclyn,
    I can’t wait to try these. We had a Key Lime dessert at a Rest/Bar we go to in Lodi Wisconsin and when it came it was a cupcake size not a slice.
    Everyone Loved it. I’m going to make these this weekend for my guest.

    Paulette July 11, 2013 at 12:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you and your guests love them Paulette! July 11, 2013 at 10:50pm Reply

      • Paulette Gleason: Hi Jaclyn,
        Well I made the Coconut Key Lime cupcakes and they where a Big Hit. I’m taking a few to my Daughters on Tues. the next time I make them I think I will Kick it up a notch and add Tequila to them. for adults and plan for kids.
        Thanks again for a great recipe I’m also going to make the plain Cheesecake with the Salted Carmel.
        Have a Great Day!!! July 15, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

        • Jaclyn: Hi Paulette! I’m so glad you liked these! I hope you like the cheesecakes too. Thanks for your comment! July 16, 2013 at 9:57am Reply

  • JoAnna Zachman: I baked these then froze them in the tins.
    a couple of hours later I took them out of the freezer and turned them over on my counter and used a Blowtorch ( from local Hardware Store) and blasted them out. It works every time and you don’t have the mess of the water. and the cakes come out perfectly.

    I do this with Flourless cakes, Cheesecakes, etc. etc. July 2, 2013 at 11:46am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your comment and the tip JoAnna! July 3, 2013 at 9:05am Reply

  • lena’s cakes: I want this cupcake. It feels very very good and the recipe is quite easy. I’ll test this some days !! May 31, 2013 at 11:39am Reply

  • Lulu: I love key lime pie. On my birthday my mom made me it instead of cake. Now the task falls to me to make it on my birthday since I live so far away. It’s silly but I do prefer key lime over lime. It’s probably just a mental thing though. Sometimes my mom or I will juice the limes ourselves but more often then not we turn to Nellie and Joes. It’s 100% key lime juice with no preservatives. So it’s a nice easy cheat. I love coconut so I am really excited to try adding it to my favorite dessert. Great thinking! May 30, 2013 at 6:03pm Reply

  • Dina: these sound so good. i recently had a coconut lime tiramisu and i love the combination. May 30, 2013 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Rachel @ Bakerita: These look like little bites of heaven! I love how tropical they seem :) I just HATE juicing key limes…so annoying, haha. These look like they might be worth it though! May 30, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • Julie @ Table for Two: Pies in mini form are the best and I just can’t resist the lime! May 29, 2013 at 6:44pm Reply

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