If you need a crowd pleasing easy dessert, look no further than this Classic Key Lime Pie!  It’s got a luscious, flavorful key lime filling, simple graham cracker crust, and it takes only 15 minutes of prep!

Key lime pie with whipped cream and lime slices

Key lime desserts are a family favorite, so I use them often in recipes like key lime cookies and key lime bars.

My most requested dessert of all time, however, is this Classic Key Lime Pie.  It all started when I tried a new recipe for a family dinner over 20 years ago, and it was an instant success.

Over the years I’ve made the recipe my own.  This recipe is tried and true, and it’s been a staple for holidays, family gatherings and even birthdays!

Easy Key Lime Pie with dollops of whipped cream

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This classic key lime pie recipe is luscious, creamy and bursting with fresh key lime flavor.  The graham cracker crust is crisp and buttery, and it’s topped with homemade whipped cream.
  • It’s so easy to make, and may be made a couple of days in advance.
  • It’s a show stopping dessert that everyone will love, and it’s perfect for any occasion.

Recipe ingredients

There are only a few simple ingredients in this key lime pie recipe, and a few are customizable.

Key lime pie recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Key limes.  I highly recommend using fresh key lime juice for this recipe as bottled just doesn’t have that fresh flavor.  If you can’t find fresh key limes, I’ve used regular limes and even lemons before and it was delicious! 
  • Sweetened condensed milk.  This is one of the primary ingredients for classic key lime pie, and there is no substitute that I would recommend.
  • Egg yolks.  The egg yolks add richness and structure to the filling.  I have never tried using an egg substitute, so I do not recommend using it.
  • Graham cracker crumbs.  The graham cracker crumbs may be substituted with ground gluten free graham crackers to make the crust gluten free.
  • Whipped cream.  I highly recommend using my homemade whipped cream over store bought.  It makes such a big difference with this pie!

How to make this recipe

People always marvel over how amazing this key lime pie is, but it’s secretly easy to make.  Each component only takes a few minutes to prepare and they may be done in advance.

Pro tip:  Juice the key limes a few days in advance.  I also like to freeze the juice with zest until I’m ready to make a pie.

See the recipe card below for full instructions.

how to make key lime pie collage
  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, granulated sugar and salt.
  2. Pour the crumbs into a greased 9″ pie plate and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, zest and egg yolks until combined.
  5. Pour the key lime filling into the graham cracker crust and spread evenly.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until set, then cool completely.
Key lime pie in pie plate with a slice missing

FAQs

What’s the difference between a lime and key lime?

The biggest difference between lime and key lime is the size.  Key limes are much smaller than regular limes.  Key limes are about 1.5 inches or so in diameter.
The flavor of limes and key limes are similar, but key limes are a little more bold as far as acidity and the juice has some floral notes.

Can I use regular limes in place of key limes?

If you can’t find key limes, I definitely recommend using regular limes or even lemons over bottled key lime juice. It just doesn’t have that fresh flavor and it will affect the flavor of your key lime pie.

What is key lime filling made of?

Key lime filling consists of sweetened condensed milk, key lime zest and juice and egg yolks.

How do I thicken my key lime filling?

Sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks will naturally thicken the filling.  The milk has been cooked down to remove excess water, and the egg yolks add richness and structure to the filling.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  This pie is so much better when fresh key limes are used, but if none are available, consider making it with fresh lime or lemon juice instead of bottled.  Freeze key lime juice with zest for up to 3 months until you’re ready to make a pie!
  • Key lime pie may be made 1-2 days in advance.  If you’d like to pipe whipped cream over the top in advance, use my stabilized whipped cream recipe.
  • Store leftover pie in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days.
  • Nutrition information does not include the whipped cream as that has been calculated in a separate post.
Key lime pie with slice removed

More pie recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?  If so, be sure to leave a review below and tag me @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Key lime pie with whipped cream and lime slices

Easy Classic Key Lime Pie

Easy Classic Key Lime Pie is creamy and bursting with fresh key lime flavor.  This pie is so easy to make and it will have people raving every time!
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Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest plus more for garnish if desired
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Homemade Whipped Cream

Instructions 

Prepare the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ pie plate generously with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Add the graham crumbs, sugar, and pinch of salt and stir until the crumbs are coated with the butter.
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, pinch of salt, 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • Pour the crumbs into the prepared pie plate and distribute evenly over the bottom. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom working from the center toward the edges and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the filling:

  • Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and beat until combined. Add the key lime juice, zest, and condensed milk, and whisk until incorporated. 
    3 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice, 1 tablespoon key lime zest, 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove from heat and cool completely on a wire rack. Once the pie has cooled, chill in the refrigerator.
  • Dollop or pipe the cream around the edges and in the center before serving, and garnish with key lime slices and zest if desired. Serve and enjoy!
    Homemade Whipped Cream

Notes

  • Pro tip:  This pie is so much better when fresh key limes are used, but if none are available, consider making it with fresh lime or lemon juice instead of bottled.  Freeze key lime juice with zest for up to 3 months until you’re ready to make a pie!
  • Key lime pie may be made 1-2 days in advance.  If you’d like to pipe whipped cream over the top in advance, use my stabilized whipped cream recipe.
  • Store leftover pie in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days.
  • Nutrition information does not include the whipped cream as that has been calculated in a separate post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 360kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 111mg, Sodium: 180mg, Potassium: 263mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 38g, Vitamin A: 513IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 186mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

**This recipe was originally published in March 2017. Step by step photos have been added, and the post has been modified to include more recipe information.

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