The easiest and BEST Key Lime pie, made with a homemade graham cracker crust or a gingersnap cookie crust! It’s creamy, luscious and perfectly tart, just like the perfect Key Lime Pie should be!
My love for a good homemade pie is no secret! I’ve shared dozens of my recipes with you all, including pie recipes that have been in my family for generations, like my Great Grandmother’s Lemon Chiffon Pie, Pecan Pie, and my personal favorite Berry Pie!
What we LOVE about this Key Lime Pie:
There are a few things that make this key lime pie recipe the BEST, but here are a few:
- EASY: I love most about this pie is how incredibly EASY it is to make. Literally, the most amateur baker in the world could look like a rock star after making this key lime pie. It’s so simple, and fool-proof.
- 3-ingredients crust: I typically make it with my simple homemade graham cracker crust, but a gingersnap cookie crust is delicious with it as well, especially around the holidays. But whichever crust you choose to make, please, PLEASE make the crust from scratch as the store bought ones are flavorless and flimsy.
- Fast: you can throw this pie together in about 35 minutes. Even faster if you make the crust ahead of time!
Gather your ingredients and let’s get started!
- Graham cracker crust: homemade will taste best
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Cream cheese: Use full fat cream cheese, and make sure it has softened to room temperature. It adds stability and extra creaminess to the filling
- Key Lime Juice: (available bottled, at most grocery stores)
- Lime zest
- Heavy Cream, for garnish
How to make Key Lime Pie:
- Make the filling. Add cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest and mix until smooth. Mix cream cheese in a mixing bowl
- Pour into crust and bake. It only needs 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Refrigerate. Allow the pie to cool completely, then refrigerate for a few hours to give it time to set up, before serving.
Lime vs. key lime:
While these are two different types of limes, the differences are subtle. The limes that we find in the store (especially in US stores) are called Persian limes. Key limes are very small (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and tend to contain more seeds than Persian limes and they also tend to have a more intense flavor. This flavor makes for an especially delicious pie filling. Key limes are sometimes sold seasonally and can be harder to find at a regular grocery store.
Can I substitute lime juice for key lime juice?
This recipe uses Nellie and Joes key lime juice, which is bottled key lime juice available at most grocery stores. You can find it next to the regular lime juice. If you have to, you could use regular lime juice, but I would only use freshly squeezed lime juice (and I hesitate to do this because the flavor of the pie wont be as good).
Tips for making perfect key lime pie:
- Use Key Lime Juice: There are 2 ways you can get key lime juice for this recipe. Juice about 20 of your own small key limes, OR use a bottle of Nellie’s Key Lime Juice (available at most grocery stores). I always go for the latter.
- My secret ingredient for key lime pie: The secret ingredient in this key lime pie is the cream cheese! It’s not traditional in key lime pie (and you could substitute it for sour cream), but it’s what makes this pie extra smooth and creamy and adds a little stability to the filling. There are only 4 ounces of it–not enough to change the flavor, but just enough to give the pie an extra creamy texture that puts it over the top!
- Use full fat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. The low fat options wont allow the pie to set up as well.
- Don’t skimp on the lime zest in your key lime pie! Lime zest is a must for key lime pie! It gives the extra boost of flavor, and it adds little specks of green to the filling that help give the pie it’s signature look.
We love this pie with a traditional graham cracker crust, or with a gingersnap crust. Both are equally as fantastic, and I’ve added directions for the gingersnap crust in the notes below the recipe.
Now go ahead and dig in to the BEST key lime pie ever! I’d love to hear if you make it, and which crust you use–comment below!
CONSIDER TRYING THESE HOMEMADE PIES:
- Lemon Sour Cream Pie
- Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake Pie
- Triple Berry Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
Key Lime Pie
Graham cracker crust:*
- 1½ cups ground graham crackers (about 12 full sheets, crushed)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter , melted
Key Lime Filling:
- 2 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese , softened
- ¾ cup key lime juice*
- zest from 2 regular limes , or 4 key limes
Whipped Cream Topping:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl.
- Pour crumb mixture into an 8" - 9.5" pie pan and press it firmly in the bottom of the pan and a little bit up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For the Filling:
- Add cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat well with electric beaters until smooth.
- Add both cans of sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest and mix again until smooth.
- Pour into prepared graham cracker crust and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Allow pie to cool for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, before serving.
Whipped Cream Topping:
- Add heavy cream to a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixers for 1 minute.
- Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cooled pie.
- 1 1/2 cups crunchy gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl.
Pour crumb mixture into an 8" - 9.5" pie pan and press it firmly in the bottom of the pan and a little bit up the sides of the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
I originally shared this recipe August 2017. Updated with new photos and more detailed instructions November 2019.
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