This easy Key Lime Pie is tart, sweet, and incredibly easy to make. A nutty graham cracker macadamia nut crust is filled with a tart creamy key lime filling made with just four ingredients. It's absolutely delicious and perfect for every day or a special occasion.
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
This is going to be the best key lime pie you ever had. The graham cracker crust is buttery and nutty with just a little salt for a nice sweet, salty combination. The key lime filling has only four ingredients, amazing lime flavor, a creamy texture with the right amount of sweetness and it's topped with an abundance of whipped cream.
If you love citrus desserts check out my recipes for Roasted Pineapple and Lime Curd Tart and Lemon Cupcakes.
What You'll Need to Make This Key Lime Pie
Here is what you will need for this delicious and easy and delicious pie:
- Key Lime Juice or Lime Juice. Key limes are small. You will need about 2 pounds for this recipe. If key limes are not available (and they can be hard to find), use Persian limes, which are the typical version found in grocery stores.
- Lime Zest. The lime zest adds color and flavor to the pie filling.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk. Provides creaminess and sweetness to the pie. It also helps the pie to set to a near-solid consistency.
- Egg Yolks. The eggs provide structure, leavening, richness, color, and flavor to the pie.
- Graham Crackers. I prefer the Honey Maid Graham Crackers for my crust. It's the brand that I grew up with and have always preferred, but use your favorite brand for this recipe.
- Unsalted Butter. Butter adds flavor and binds the crust together.
- Granulated Sugar. As the crust bakes and sets, the sugar helps binds the ingredients together and the crust to brown.
- Macadamia Nuts. The macadamia nuts add flavor to the crust. If you don't have macadamia nuts or if you're allergic to nuts you can leave them out.
- Kosher Salt. The salt balances out the sweetness and elevates the other flavors in the crust.
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is one of the easiest pies you'll ever make. The first time I made it I couldn't believe how easy it was and wondered why I hadn't made it sooner. It's delicious, refreshing, and perfect for when you want an easy dessert for entertaining. And it starts with the graham cracker crust.
Graham cracker crusts are easy to make and there is no need to buy a store-bought crust. The store-bought version is not going to be as nearly flavorful as a homemade crust. A homemade crust is crunchy and buttery with the perfect amount of sweetness. And in this case a little nutty from the macadamia nuts.
Start by pulverizing the graham crackers in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor place the crackers in a gallon-sized freezer bag and beat with a rolling pin until the crackers are pulverized.
Pour the cracker crumbs into a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and chopped macadamia nuts. Whisk the ingredients together.
Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Toss the mixture together until the dry ingredients start to form clumps.
Pour the graham crackers into the 9-inch pie plate and pack the graham cracker crust into the bottom and the sides. Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup to tightly pack the crust into the pie plate.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes until the top edges of the crust are lightly browned. Remove the crust from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F. While the crust is baking mix the key lime pie filling ingredients together.
Start by juicing the key limes. It will take about 2 pounds of key limes for 1 cup of juice. If you're using regular limes, you'll need anywhere from 8 to 12 limes for 1 cup depending on their size and how juicy they are.
Add the egg yolks to the condensed milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Strain the lime juice to remove any seeds. Add the juice to the mixture and gently whisk until the juice is incorporated.
Zest two or three regular limes into the mixture until it looks like 4 teaspoons. Whisk to incorporate the zest.
Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and smooth the top. Put the pie into the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling is slightly jiggly. I know, what does slightly jiggly mean? It means the pie filling is firm when you lightly touch it with the tip of your index finger. It's not completely liquid or totally solid.
Remove the pie from the oven. Cool to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator until it's completely chilled.
Assembling the Pie
Once the pie has completely chilled it's time to top it with whipped cream. There are two ways to make whipped cream:
- In a food processor which will take about 1 minute
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer which will take 5-7 minutes depending on the size of your mixer
Pipe the whipped cream around the outside edges of the pie. Cut two lime slices and cut each slice into quarters and arrange them around the pie on top of the whipped cream.
Refrigerate the pie until you're ready to serve it. The pie with the whipped cream is good in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Make the key lime pie the night before so it has plenty of time to chill and set.
- If using regular limes for the pie filling, zest the limes into the condensed milk before juicing them.
- Use an electric juicer or a citrus press to juice the limes and get the most amount of juice out of the limes.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Key limes also known as Mexican limes are smaller and more yellow than regular limes. Key limes also have a stronger, more intense, and aromatic taste than regular limes.
Yes, the key lime pie should be refrigerated when it is not being served.
If your key lime pie is runny it is possible it was not baked long enough or it was not chilled in the refrigerator long enough.
Yes, you can use Biscoff or digestive cookies if you don't have graham crackers.
If You Like This Recipe, Try These Other Citrus Recipes
If you love citrus desserts you'll want to make this recipe for key lime pie. It's incredibly easy to make and I guarantee it will be one of the best key lime pie recipes you'll ever try. Please leave a comment below and if you make this pie please send me a picture. I would love to see it. You can tag me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar and #bakesbybrownsugar.
Key Lime Pie
- 9-inch pie plate
- 2 Mixing bowls
Graham Cracker Crust
- 10 whole (150 grams) graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 4 tablespoons (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (35 grams) chopped macadamia nuts
Key Lime Pie Filling
- 2 14-ounce cans condensed milk
- 4 (80 grams) egg yolks
- 1 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice about 2 pounds of key limes
- 4 teaspoons lime zest from 2-3 Persian limes
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups heavy cream cold
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- NOTE: I used them for the key lime juice. However, I used regular limes, also known as Persian limes for the lime zest because it’s easier to zest 3 large limes than a dozen small key limes.
Graham Cracker Crust
- Chop the macadamia nuts with a sharp knife until they have a fine consistency.
- Place the graham crackers in the bowl of food processor and process until the crackers are reduced to fine crumbs. Alternatively, place the crackers in a gallon sized plastic bag and smash the crackers with a rolling pin until they are fine crumbs.
- Put the crumbs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar, kosher salt, and the macadamia nuts and whisk to combine. Add the melted butter and use a fork toss the butter with the crackers until clumps start to form and all the cracker crumbs are covered with butter.
- Scrape the graham crackers into a 9-inch pie plate and press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. I use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup with straight sides to press the crumbs into the bottom and sides and create a smooth surface. The top edge of the crust should be about 1/4-inch thick and even with the edge of the pie plate.
- Bake the crust in the oven in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the top edges are lightly browned.
- When the crust is done reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
Key Lime Pie Filling
- Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated. Zest the limes directly into the condensed milk. You’ll need about 3 Persian limes for 4 teaspoons of lime zest depending on the size of the limes.
- Juice the key limes or regular limes until you have 1 cup of juice. Strain the lime juice to remove any seeds and add it to the condensed milk mixture. Whisk to combine.
- Add the eggs yolks and whisk until the mixture is well combined, looks creamy and has a slightly green tint from the lime juice.
- Pour the filling into the graham cracker crust and use an offset spatula to smooth the top of the filling until it’s level.
- Bake the filling for 15-20 minutes, until the key lime filling jiggles a little in the center. Remove the pie from the oven. Let it cool completely to room temperature and then refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight until it’s chilled and set.
Whipped Cream Topping
- There are two ways to make the topping in the food processor or with a stand mixer.
- Method 1 - Food ProcessorPlace the powdered sugar and heavy cream in the bowl of a food processor. Process the cream until it starts to thicken about 30-40 seconds, stopping occasionally to check the thickness of the cream. The time will vary with the horsepower of your machine, so watch it like a hawk to avoid making butter by mistake.
- Method 2 - Stand MixerPlace the whisk attachment in the refrigerator 15 minutes before making the whipped cream. Add the cream and the powdered sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer. Start of medium low to dissolve the powdered sugar into the cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy and thick, about 5 minutes.
- Decorate the top of the pie with the whipped cream. You can pipe the cream on top of the pie using a pastry bag and a decorating tip or use a tablespoon to drop dollops of cream around the edges of the pie.
How to Store the Pie
- Store the Key Lime Pie in the refrigerator for up to four days. The crust will soften as the pie sits in the refrigerator, but it will still taste good.
Steve Keylime says
Kudos for using fresh key (or Persian) limes rather than suggesting bottled juice, which isn't key lime juice at all. And yes, the eggs should cause the filling to "set" but some of us employ a "fill and chill" method, baking the crust but not the filling. The key is SLOWLY incorporating the lime juice into the condensed milk and egg mixture. There's a chemical reaction between the acidity and the egg yolks, but that can easily break down if the mixing is too vigorous. By the way, you can pasteurize the yolks (recommended), or buy them.Slow and methodical (non-mechanical) and you can see the reaction. Otherwise, your recipe looks spot-on.