Easy Classic Key Lime Pie
Easy Classic Key Lime Pie is an easy key lime pie recipe that’s creamy, refreshing and bursting with fresh key lime flavor!
I’ve been making this Easy Classic Key Lime Pie for holidays, dinner parties, and even birthdays for over 15 years and I’m just now sharing it with you.
I should be fired!
I guess the important thing is that I’m getting this recipe to you now, because this key lime pie is guaranteed to be a sure fire hit every time you make it.
People will think you really slaved over it because it’s so special, yet I’ll fill you in on a little secret….it only takes 15-20 minutes of prep to make it.
And that includes juicing a bazillion key limes.
Easy Classic Key Lime Pie
This classic key lime pie recipe is creamy, sweet and tangy, with big key lime flavor. The graham cracker crust is crisp and buttery, and it’s topped with homemade whipped cream.
It’s an absolute slice of heaven. 🙂
What’s the difference between limes and key limes?
The biggest difference between limes and key limes 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. I use them all the time in my Key Lime Cheesecake Bars with Coconut Macadamia Crust and Key Lime Cooler Cookies.
And obviously in this pie.
Can I use regular limes in place of key limes?
Yes, you can. I’ve used regular lime and even lemon juice when fresh key limes weren’t available. The key to a great pie is to use fresh citrus.
Bottled key lime juice, lemon or lime will never stack up to fresh!
How to make classic key lime pie
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.
Key lime pie ingredients are simply graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar for the crust. This crust takes all of 5 minutes to get into the oven!
The filling ingredients include key lime juice, zest, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk it up, pour it into your golden brown crust, and bake it until set.
Once the pie has been baked, cool it completely on a wire rack then chill it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.
Then comes the fun part!
Whip up some heavy whipping cream with some sugar and vanilla, and make your pie a vision to behold. The fluffy clouds of whipped cream compliment that creamy golden filling with green flecks of key lime zest so perfectly.
You can pipe the cream decoratively, or just dollop some around the edges like I did here. I wasn’t in the mood to fuss with a piping bag, and this pie definitely didn’t suffer from it.
I always save a couple of key limes to garnish the pie with some extra zest and some pretty little twists of lime.
Seriously, does it get much better than this? I think not. Next time you need a special dessert, whip up this Easy Classic Key Lime Pie and listen to everyone ooh and aah.
The fact that it’s super simple can be our little secret. 🙂
Recipe tips and substitutions
- 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.
- When I see fresh key limes at the store, I grab some, zest a couple of them, and juice them. I combine the zest and juice and freeze it until I’m ready to make a pie.
Easy Classic Key Lime Pie
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
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!
- I prefer fresh key limes over bottled -- the flavor is so much better! Consider using regular limes or even lemons if fresh key limes aren't available. I love to juice key limes and store it in my freezer, zest and all.
- The pie can be made a day ahead, just cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
- The cream may be made in advance as well, and whisked together just before topping the pie. For best results, don't top the pie with the whipped cream until a little while before serving as the cream will weep or separate slightly.
- Nutrition information does not include the whipped cream as that has been calculated in a separate post.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.