Key Lime Pie

03.22.2019

 This is no doubt my favorite Key Lime Pie! Each bite truly just melts in your mouth. It’s deliciously rich and creamy thanks to the sweetened condensed milk and sour cream and it has the perfect amount of zesty, bright lime flavor.

Just be sure to finish it with fluffy whipped cream for an over-the-top, incredibly enticing dessert!

Slice of Best Key Lime Pie on white scalloped dessert plate set over a maroon napkin.

The Best Key Lime Pie Recipe!

Key lime pie is a great dessert year round but doesn’t something about it just scream spring and summer?

It’s so vibrant and refreshing and I love that is an easy to make pie that doesn’t require a whole lot of extra effort.

The simple filling comes together in no time and its so nice that it uses a graham cracker crust so you don’t have to wait for dough to chill and it doesn’t make the big floury mess all over the counter (and the floor, and your clothes if you’re a messy baker like me).

Plus, it’s a flavor pairing that’s just meant to be the way the honey graham cracker flavor blends with the creamy lime flavor is the perfect match.

The great thing about this pie is that it fancy enough for the holidays but it’s easy enough for an after dinner weekend treat. Any of the 365 days of the year are the perfect day to make this decadently luscious pie!

Whole key lime pie with one slice removed. Pie is decorated with swirls of whipped cream around the edges and mini lime slices.

Ingredients for Easy Key Lime Pie

  • Graham crackers – for the crust. I prefer the flavor of Honey Maid brand.
  • Granulated sugar – used to sweeten the crust and the whipped cream.
  • Unsalted butter – to moisten the crust and help hold it together.
  • Egg yolks – to help set the pie.
  • Fresh limes – for bright key flavor. You’ll use both the zest and juice so zest the limes before you cut into them.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – classic ingredient used to add richness and sweetness.
  • Sour cream – for more rich flavor and creaminess.
  • Heavy cream – this adds the perfect finish to the pie, don’t omit it and feel free to double it!

Eight ingredients needed for key lime pie shown here including graham crackers, butter, sugar, egg yolks, limes, sour cream, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream.

How to Make Key Lime Pie from Scratch

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • For the crust, in a food processor pulse graham crackers to fine crumbs (or alternately place graham crackers in a gallon size resealable bag, seal bag then finely crush using a rolling pin).

Making graham cracker crumbs in a food processor for key lime pie crust.

  • In a mixing bowl stir together graham cracker crumbs and sugar then mix in butter using a fork, mixture should appear evenly coated.

Showing how to make graham cracker crust for key lime pie. Stirring together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a glass mixing bowl.

  • Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie dish (not deep dish) and spread and press into an even layer along bottom and edges of pie (you won’t need to go the entire way up the edge, leave about 1/3-inch).

Pressing graham cracker crumbs into a 9-inch glass pie dish for key lime pie base.

  • Bake crust in preheated oven until golden brown, about 11 – 13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. If crust bubbles up in places press it down with a cup.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • For the key lime pie filling, in a mixing bowl whisk together egg yolks and lime zest.

Showing how to make key lime pie filling. Whisking egg yolks and lime zest in a glass mixing bowl.

  • Stir in sweetened condensed milk, then mix in lime juice and sour cream until well blended.
  • Set mixture aside to rest 15 minutes (this allows it time to thicken before pouring into the crust).

Adding lime juice and sweetened condensed milk to key lime pie filling mixture.

  • Pour into cooled crust and spread out evenly.
  • Bake pie preheated oven until nearly set, 15 – 16 minutes (pie should jiggle just slightly).
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool pie on a wire rack 30 minutes, then chill in refrigerator 4 hours.

Pouring key lime pie filling over crust in glass pie pan.

  • For the whipped topping, in a mixing bowl (preferably one that has been chilled in freezer 5 minutes) using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form (you can mix even a little further from here for nice sturdy peaks).

Making whipped cream topping in a glass mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer. Topping is for key lime pie.

  • Pipe whipped topping over top, garnish with lime wedges if desired and cut into slices.
  • Store pie in refrigerator.

Whole key lime pie after baking, chilling and decorating.

Can You Make Key Lie Pie with Regular Limes?

Either type of limes works perfect here. They taste so similar that I don’t find it necessary to squeeze 40 mini key limes (or whatever it takes to get that much juice), the regular Persian limes work just as well.

Can I Use a Store-Bought Pie Crust for a Quick Key Lime Pie?

A store-bought crust should work great here as well but you may have a few extra tablespoons of filling.

Tips for Perfect Key Lime Pie

  • Don’t use a cheese grater to zest the limes. Use a zester and press gently when zesting so you don’t get any of the white pith of the lime. That white pith would make the pie bitter.
  • Use fresh juicy limes. When selecting limes look for larger ones and give them a squeeze, they should have some give and not be hard as rocks. Juicier limes will mean less work.
  • Don’t use bottled lime juice. It wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as fresh.
  • Let the pie chill fully so it sets up properly. Plus when it’s fully chilled through it’s so refreshing.

Three slices of key lime pie on white scalloped dessert plates set over a maroon linen napkin. Plates are decorated with purple orchids.

More Delicious Pie Recipes You’ll Love:

 

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Key Lime Pie

5 from 3 votes

This is no doubt my favorite key lime pie! Each bite truly just melts in your mouth. It's deliciously rich and creamy thanks to the sweetened condensed milk and sour cream and it has the perfect amount of zesty lime flavor. Just be sure to finish with fluffy whipped cream for an over-the-top incredibly satisfying dessert!

Servings: 8
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 9 full graham cracker sheets (136g) broken into halves
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (32g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) strained fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (56g) full fat sour cream

Topping

  • 3/4 cup (175ml) heavy cream**
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (19g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. For the crust: In a food processor pulse graham crackers until they become fine crumbs. Pour into a mixing bowl, whisk in sugar then pour in butter and using a fork stir until evenly moistened.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and spread and press into an even layer along bottom and edges of pie dish, coming within about 1/3-inch of the top edge.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 11 - 13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (meanwhile prepare filling). Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. 

  5. For the filling: In a mixing bowl whisk together egg yolks and lime zest. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, then mix in lime juice and sour cream until well blended. 
  6. Set mixture aside to rest about 15 minutes (this allows it time to thicken before pouring into the crust).

  7. Pour into cooled crust and evenly spread. Bake in preheated oven until nearly set, 15 - 16 minutes (pie should jiggle just slightly). 

  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack 45 minutes, then chill in refrigerator 4 hours.
  9. Pipe whipped topping over top, garnish with lime wedges if desired and cut into slices. Store pie in refrigerator.
  10. For the whipped topping: in a mixing bowl (preferably one that has been chilled in freezer 5 minutes) using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Recipe Notes

*Don't use fat free sweetened condensed milk or it won't turn out the same. Just the standard stuff.

**If you want enough cream to cover the pie double the amount of heavy cream and sugar for the topping.

Nutrition Facts
Key Lime Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 441 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 193mg 8%
Potassium 265mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 49g 16%
Sugars 38g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 16.8%
Vitamin C 7.4%
Calcium 18.9%
Iron 5.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Key Lime Pie, Key Lime Pie Recipe
Calories: 441 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally shared March 2015, photos updated March 2019.

30 comments

  • Rex Hutcheson: Easy to prepare, tastes and looks great. April 13, 2019 at 7:33am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your review Rex! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! April 13, 2019 at 10:57am Reply

  • Patricia: You must be a mind reader, Jacklyn!
    I had a craving for Key Lime pie and bought a frozen one. Had a slice last night and was disappointed in it’s flavor. Now this morning I got your latest recipe! Yes, I need to try this recipe soon! March 24, 2019 at 7:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Patricia :)! March 24, 2019 at 9:33am Reply

      • Patricia: So delicious! Everybody loved it! A definite keeper recipe! Thanks for sharing your recipes Jaclyn! April 7, 2019 at 7:56am Reply

        • Jaclyn: I’m so glad to hear everyone loved it Patricia! Thanks for leaving a review :)! April 7, 2019 at 11:14am Reply

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