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!

close up overhead shot of key lime pie

My most requested dessert of all time is this Classic Key Lime Pie.  It all started when I tried a new recipe for a family dinner over 15 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!

Key lime desserts are a family favorite, and I use them often in recipes like Key Lime Cheesecake Bars, Key Lime Cooler Cookies and Key Lime Bars.

Key lime pie on wire rack with whipped cream and lime slices on top

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This classic key lime pie recipe is creamy, sweet and tangy, and bursting with 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 up to 1-2 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, and a few are customizable.

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!
Sliced key limes

How to make this recipe

It’s hard to fathom how easy key lime pie is because it’s so amazing, but it truly is one of the easiest pies you’ll ever make.  

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!

How to make key lime pie collage

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.
  • 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. 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!
front, angled view of key lime pie

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.
I’ll go the extra mile juicing all those key limes because it’s a labor of love.  Fresh key limes are so much better than bottled key lime juice — there’s really no comparison.  

Can I use regular limes in place of key limes?

Regular limes may be substituted for key limes.  I’ve used regular lime and even lemon juice when fresh key limes weren’t available. 
Bottled key lime juice, lemon or lime will never stack up to fresh!

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.

front, angled view of key lime pie with slice missing

Recipe notes

  • 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. 
  • Pro tip:  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.  Do not add the whipped cream until you plan to serve it.
  • Store leftover pie in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days.
overhead shot of key lime pie with slice missing

More pie recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Classic key lime pie on a wire rack

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
  • 16 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.
  • 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. 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!

Notes

  • 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. 
  • Pro tip:  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.  Do not add the whipped cream until you plan to serve it.
  • 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.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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