Key Lime Pie Recipe (The Best Creamy Tart and Sweet Pie!)
“Creamy, sweet, tart key lime pie recipe! Family favorite recipe that’s easy and simple to prepare with a homemade graham cracker crust!”
Video Tutorial: Learn how to make this Key Lime Pie recipe from start to finish!!
A fan sent me this recipe when I first started this blog and it’s been a cookout favorite ever since. You may remember me posting this back in 2009 (Yep 2009! Can you believe it? This little blog is tried and true thanks to YOU!) I’ve only tweaked this recipe a tad to get it exactly the way I like it but it’s seriously divine as is! The original recipe is here.
It’s so hard to believe NOBODY in my big Southern family had a key lime pie recipe when I went asking around. Regardless, I’m always the one expected to make it if it’s requested. I don’t mind one bit though because this creamy and delicious pie it’s a breeze to prepare. Seriously, the most tedious part is juicing those little key limes!
I love to watch people taste this pie for the first time. It usually goes like this: “oh wow that is tart…. and sweet” *takes another bite *“ohhh this is good and I don’t even like lime”. Why does everyone claim to not like lime? LOL I know I’ve said it a few times on this blog so who am I to talk right?
Regardless, I love this key lime pie y’all! If you’re not a fan of limey tart, and sweet goodness then keep looking around this blog. I’m sure to have something up your alley, but if this is your type of hype…ohhhh honey, let’s get into it!
What is Key Lime Pie?
Key Lime Pie is an American dessert that originated in Key West, Florida in the late 19th century. You can find this iconic pie on every restaurant menu in the Florida Keys, where it’s known as their official pie. It’s made with a type of lime called a key lime and the filling traditionally consists of key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. There are many variations of this pie, like the one in this recipe which is eggless! The crust is usually made from graham crackers but some key lime pies has a pastry crust.
What does key lime pie taste like?
If you’ve never had a key lime pie you’re in for a treat! Even you’ve had store-bought key lime pie, you’re sure to like the homemade version much better. Key lime pie is very creamy in texture, almost like a cross between a cheesecake and cream pie. It’s light in color and the flavor is tart and sweet. The dairy in the pie combined with the zestiness of the key limes creates one refreshing aftertaste. It’s a beautiful flavor pairing, which easily makes this pie a favorite of many!
No egg yolks? Is this an authentic Key Lime Pie?
Well see..here’s the thing….that depends on who you ask and where they are from. Some Floridians say an authentic key lime pie MUST have egg yolks. I’m all for keeping things authentic and traditional, I’m an NC girl after all. However, if I can cheat and make something easier AND get away with it, I’m going for it! This key lime pie recipe is similar in taste to what I’ve had at just about every Florida restaurant that sells it. A key lime pie with a creamy, slightly whipped yet firm texture and a classic graham cracker crust! Make it! You’ll love it!
What’s the difference between Key Lime and limes?
If you want to tick a Florridean off tell them that Key Limes are just regular limes. Ha! Authentic Key Lime Pie is ALWAYS made with fresh key limes. If you’re not making this pie for someone who knows the tartness level of different lime varieties, you absolutely can use regular limes, just don’t say anything ok.
Key limes certainly are NOT regular limes though. They are smaller, with a yellowish juice that is tarter than regular Persian limes. Some people find Key Limes to be unpleasantly bitter which is why this pie is usually a “either you love it or hate it” thing. The creamy base certainly helps calm any bitterness of the Key Limes IMO.
The History: Where did Key Lime Pie come from?
No one knows who actually created the first recipe for Key Lime Pie. In the early 1800’s Florida’s first self-made millionaire, William Curry had a cook known as Aunt Sally. Aunt Sally is often given credit for creating this pie, although many historians think this story is inaccurate. Read more about the history of Key Lime Pie and all of the possible creation stories here. Food history is always so fascinating, especially when it’s scandalous!
Ingredients: What you’ll need to make this Key Lime Pie recipe
This Key Lime Pie is so incredibly quick and easy because there are no eggs to fool with, yet it still has that perfectly authentic creamy, firm filling. To make this pie you will need:
For the Crust:
- Graham crackers– Crushed graham crackers are what’s generally used for the crust of the key lime pie.
- Granulated sugar- Sugar will help sweetened the crust more. A nice sweet crust goes well with the tart key lime filling.
- Melted butter- The melted butter is used to hold the crust together and provide the best flavor!
For the Filling:
- Sweetened condensed milk- This is what’s traditionally used to sweetened key lime pie and give it a creamy texture. You can find cans of sweetened condensed milk next to the evaporated milk in your grocers.
- Sour cream- This is a cheat since we are not using eggs. The sour cream gives that smooth custard texture that normally eggs provide.
- Key Lime Juice- Key limes can be hard to come by depending on your location. Concentrated key lime juice can be used or even regular limes if you can’t find key limes. The key lime juice will give the pie a strong tart flavor, which is balanced by the other ingredients.
- Key Lime Zest– Zest your key limes before juicing to make it easier. The zest will give the key lime pie a deeper flavor.
Key Lime Pie Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Graham crackers are used to make the key lime pie crust. Simply place them in a food processor and blend until fine crumbs. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the sugar and the butter. The mixture will be like wet sand! Press into an even layer in a pie dish. That’s it!
Key Lime Pie Recipe Filling
The filling is the best part and so easy to make! Simply mix all of the filling ingredients into a large bowl and then pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 5-10 minutes and let cool.
Homemade Whipped Cream
Piping homemade whipped cream along the edges makes for a pretty decoration for key lime pie! To make homemade whipped cream, add 1/2 cup of cold heavy whipping cream to a large chilled bowl with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla extract. Mix until fluffy with stiff peaks. The homemade whipped cream is now ready to pipe along the edges of the pie.
This key lime pie is TART, SWEET, and oh so creamy! I love to watch people taste it for the first time. It usually goes like this: “oh wow that is tart…. and sweet” *takes another bite *”ohhh this is good and I don’t even like lime”. Why does everyone claim to not like lime? LOL I know I’ve said it a few times so who am I to talk right.
I seriously love this key lime pie y’all (Sorry but I seriously can’t stop saying seriously! The heck?!) If you’re not a fan of tart and sweet then keep looking around this blog. I’m sure to have something up your alley.
HERE’S THE BIGGEST KEY LIM PIE TIP:
DON’T MAKE AND SERVE THIS PIE THE SAME DAY!! SERIOUSLY!
For the longest I thought this pie was “just ok” and that’s because I was making and serving the pie the same day! Please don’t do that! It’ll be way too bold, way too sweet, way too tart, and well…unbalanced. Something magical happens to it once it’s had a chance to sit overnight. Not only does the filling take on a more creamy, firmer texture but the flavors mingle and blend so beautifully! Pure harmony!
Yeah, you’ll still get your sweet and tart but not in an offensive “I can only eat 1 spoonful of this stuff” kinda way. I’ve had a few key lime pies like that and I’m almost certain it was because it was made and served that same day probably.
Get the Recipe: Key Lime Pie Recipe
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (may need more)
- 2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup key lime juice, about 25-30 key limes
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- Whipped cream, sliced key limes and key lime zest, garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350. F.
- To make the crust, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until the mixture is moistened and stays together when packed. (Add more butter if needed)
- Pour into a greased, deep-dish pie plate and firmly press into place, being sure to keep the thickness as even as possible.
- To make the filling, in a large bowl mix together sweetened condensed milk and sour cream.
- Mix in key lime juice.
- Fold in key lime zest.
- Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes (do not brown)
- Once cooled, refrigerate overnight. (Overnight makes for the BEST flavor)
- Garnish with whipped cream and zest if desired.