This easy Key Lime pie recipe is one of my all-time favorites, made with a homemade graham cracker crust and a simple, 4-ingredient filling.

My love for homemade pie is no secret, and if you’re looking for pies that are no-bake, or extra quick and easy try my Peanut Butter Pie, No Bake Cheesecake, or Pecan Pie.

Homemade Key Lime Pie with one slice taken out.

What I love about this recipe:

  • EASY – The most amateur baker in the world will look like a pro after making this key lime pie. It’s so simple and fool-proof.
  • Three-Ingredient Crust – Store-bought crusts are flavorless and flimsy! My easy graham cracker crust recipe makes this pie next-level. A gingersnap cookie crust is also delicious with it, especially around the holidays.
  • Fast and Can Make Ahead – You can make and bake this pie in about 35 minutes, and it’s a great one to make in advance because it stays good for several days.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Graham cracker crust: Please take 5 minutes to make it from scratch! Tastes so much better!
  • 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
The ingredients needed to make the BEST Key Lime Pie recipe: Key Lime Juice, Graham Cracker Crust, Lime Zest, Sweetened Condensed Milk, and Cream Cheese.

How to Make Key Lime Pie:

Beat Cream Cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Cream Cheese in a mixing bowl all mixed around.

Add sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest and mix until smooth.

The batter for Key Lime Pie in a glass mixing bowl with lime zest sprinkled on top.

Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

A homemade key lime pie ready to bake.

Refrigerate: Allow the pie to cool completely, then refrigerate for a few hours to give it time to set up, before serving.

A fork cutting a bite of a piece of easy Key Lime Pie.

Limes vs Key Limes; What’s the difference?

The most common limes found in US grocery stores are called Persian limes. You’ll notice key limes are a lot smaller than regular limes (only around 1 ½ inches in diameter) have a more intense flavor, and contain more seeds.

Pro Tips:

  • 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 do what I do and buy a bottle of Nellie’s Key Lime Juice (available at most grocery stores). I don’t recommend substituting regular lime juice for key lime juice, but if you have to, make sure the limes are fresh squeezed.
  • The Secret Ingredient: The addition of a little cream cheese adds stability to the filling and an extra smooth and creamy texture. You won’t notice a cream cheese taste.
  • Use Full Fat Cream Cheese and Sweetened Condensed Milk: The low fat options won’t allow the pie to set up as well.
  • Fresh Lime Zest is Essential! It gives an extra boost of flavor and it adds little specks of green to the filling that help give the pie it’s signature look.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: You can make the graham cracker crust and mix the filling a few days in advance and store in the fridge until ready to assemble and bake. Baked key lime pie will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

To Freeze: Allow pie to cool completely. Add a small piece of parchment paper on top of the pie, then cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze key lime pie for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator.

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Recipe

A Key Lime Pie with one piece taken out.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 35 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

Graham cracker crust:*

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • Make 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:

  • Make 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.
  • 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 Toppings: 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.

Notes

Gingersnap Cookie Crust: Assemble and bake the same way.
  • 1 ½ cups crunchy gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
Key Lime Juice: either juice about 20 small key limes, or (recommended) use a bottle of Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice (available at most grocery stores).
Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the graham cracker crust and mix the filling a few days in advance and store in the fridge until ready to assemble and bake. Baked key lime pie will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Allow pie to cool completely. Add a small piece of parchment paper on top of the pie, then cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze key lime pie for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 7gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 242mgPotassium: 309mgSugar: 46gVitamin A: 780IUVitamin C: 6.4mgCalcium: 222mgIron: 0.6mg

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I originally shared this recipe August 2017. Updated November 2019 and May 2022 and November 2022.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Absolutely the best key lime pie I’ve ever had. Easy to make. Nelli’s Lime juice gives it amazing flavor!😉

  2. Would love to make this pie but I live in Toronto, Canada and I have yet to find Key Lime Juice….just regular lime juice. Will this make a great difference?
    PS When in Florida this winter I will certainly stock up on this item!!

  3. Interesting recipe, all the other ones I have read call for eggs. Will try yours & send comment.
    Can I use ” whipped ” cream cheese ?????

  4. 5 stars
    This pie was so easy to make and was a real crowd pleaser! I will definitely be making this again, so light and refreshing with the perfect amount of tartness.

  5. 1 star
    I’m sorry to say that this key lime pie was very, very sweet. So sweet that we couldn’t eat it. I’ve not had an official key lime pie in Florida so I cannot compare it to the real thing. My husband loves key lime pie and liked the lovely lime flavour but it was sickly sweet. We’ve enjoyed so many of your recipes but this one is not for me.

  6. I’ve been using the Key Lime pie recipe on the back of Nellie & Joe’s key west lime juice bottle for many years, but your
    Recipe by far surpasses theirs ! It’s fabulous ! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes
    My family noticed the difference immediately

  7. 5 stars
    Best key lime pie recipe!! I use cinnamon graham crackers for the crust. It is a perfect pairing. Super easy to make and everyone loves it!!

  8. Absolutely the BEST and easiest Key Lime pie. I’ve only made 1 or 2 in my life because they never turn out but this one came out perfect. I used the Nellies key lime juice and the rinds from 2 lime and made my own crust, just as you suggested,

  9. Took me back to our Key West vacation! This was so the recipe if been looking for that would copy cat the pie we had there. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Love IT!!!

  10. Wow, absolutely fabulous recipe.

    I wanted to make this in a 9 x 13 pan, so I just increased everything by 1/3 and it turned out perfect. Graham crackers in the food processor made for a quick crust, and I sliced up the cream cheeese so it would get to rrom temp faster. I really think the cream cheese added so much to the recipe, though you’d never taste it in the final product. So many compliments, thanks again.

  11. 5 stars
    I find recipes a lot that dont taste as good as they say or you just dont get whats advertised. But this….this was the BOMB! This was so great, they at it ALL right after dinner, and its a pretty big pie, even with an 8 inch store bought crust. Please, tell me this can somehow be made with bananna?

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve made this twice for family parties and it’s now my daughter’s favorite. It’s now her special birthday request. The cream cheese adds a nice balance to the sweet/tartness. I use light brown sugar in the graham cracker crust.

    1. You’d need to make up for that, or you wont have enough volume of batter, and the pie wont set up the same…

  12. 5 stars
    Perfect recipe, the pie was amazing! Everyone loved it. I had to use regular limes instead of key limes, they don’t even have the juice where I live, but the zest from an extra lime added a little extra flavor that almost made up for it!

  13. 5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful. I made it for my daughter’s 24th birthday. I started with squeezing a bag of key lines but soon went to the store and bought Nelly and Joe’s . Loved this recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    This pie is amazing. Everyone raves when I make it. Is it possible to make the filling and refrigerate it overnight? I won’t have the crust ready until tomorrow.

  15. I’ve made this several times and have used chocolate wafers for the crust. It’s delicious!

  16. 5 stars
    This pie is fabulous! Everyone loves it and asks for more. Have you frozen it before? If so, how does it hold up and does it taste just as good when thawed out?

    1. I’ve never personally frozen it, but yes I think it would work! Allow it to thaw in the fridge.

  17. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely killer! I was trying to recreate an amazing slice of pie I’d had at an Oregon coast restaurant, so I used half graham crackers and half ginger snaps for the crust; then added dark rum and tiny flecks of fresh mint to the whipping cream. I served it at Easter and it was nothing short of SUBLIME! Go for it, guys, you won’t be disappointed!

  18. Ok, this is probably stupid, but do you put the whipped cream on after it’s cooled from the oven or after it’s cooled from the refrigerator. I’d think the fresher the better (so after the refrigerator), but the whipped cream may need to chill too. (can you tell i don’t cook much?)

    1. Add the fresh whipped cream to the cooled pie. It can be enjoyed fresh, right after it’s whipped, or you can chill the completed pie until you’re ready to eat it–either way works.

  19. I’ve had Key Lime Pie from Kutchie’s right down the street from the Baltimore estate, captain Kutchie makes a great pie, and his wife Anita Pelaez is from Key West, FL But when she makes the Key Lime Pie it is FUBAR…..Bob

  20. Great Pie! the only differnce, I made the crust half ginger snaps, half graham cracker, this is super easy and it came out beautifully!

  21. 5 stars
    Hi Lauren!

    I’m making this for my son’s 13th birthday at his request. I usually make key lime cheese cake so I love the cream cheese ingredient…..I would also like to add sour cream for added tang. Can I use 2 ounces of each, cream cheese and sour cream or simply add a half cup or so of sour cream to your standing recipe? Can’t wait!

    Thank you,
    Jane

    1. Hi Jane, I really can’t say as I haven’t experimented with sour cream in this recipe, but I worry it would soften the filling and keep it from setting up properly.

  22. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I used ginger snaps and butter for the crust. I made this pie as a gift and they said it was the best key lime pie they’ve had. I omitted the regular lime zest. Thanks!

  23. I made it with tahitian/persian limes since I can’t get key limes or bottled juice here and used the gingersnap crust (without sugar, since there’s already sugar in the cookies).

    While I like how this is much simpler to make than a more traditional recipe and how the filling is so thick and fluffy, and how the limey taste goes so well with the gingersnap, myself and my guests found that it was just far too sweet for our tastebuds. (Something I suspected would be the case.)

    I will be trying it again, but substituting the second can of condensed milk for evaporated milk, which should halve the amount of sugar.

  24. 5 stars
    Made this on Sumday for my father & father-in-laws birthdays as they both love key lime pie. When I was a kid we went to Exuma, Bahamas and we had a bohemian made. She used to make Key Lime that was was Fantastic. Of course she made it with fresh key limes as they are readily available in the Bahamas. Well, my dad said it tasted and looked just like hers. It truly was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!!!!

  25. I often freeze my key lime pies and it works perfectly. It is even good served still a tiny bit frozen, especially in the summer time.

  26. 5 stars
    I made this for thanksgiving! One of my favorite pies ever! I love your recipes and I love how easy they are to follow.

  27. 5 stars
    As a Key Lime pie lover. This is the best pie recipe I have ever tryed. Husband and family enjoyed it. The lime zest makes it.

    1. I’m so flattered by your high praise! Thank you Cynthia! I hope you get to try more recipes here soon 🙂

  28. 5 stars
    I made two pies tonight. I was a little skeptical because there were no eggs and two cans of sweetened condensed milk. While I have not had the opportunity to eat either pie yet I did have some leftover filling that I baked in a custard cup. OMG!!!! I can’t wait to eat the pie with the homemade graham cracker crust and fresh whipped cream . I have made a lot of Key Lime Pies and I must say this is the best I have ever had. What makes it even better is that I have my very own Mexican Lime tree which I believe is the same as a Key Lime. This will be the only way I ever make a Key Lime pie again. Thank you!!!!

  29. This site is called Tastes Better from Scratch so I came here hoping to find a KLP recipe that makes everything from scratch. I was disappointed to see the first ingredient. Looking for a recipe that makes everything from scratch. I could make the crust using a different recipe and then use this for the filling, but I’d prefer one person’s recipe that was built doing everything from scratch, looking for harmony between the crust and the filling.

      1. 5 stars
        Maybe Paul is looking for scratch Graham crackers, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk. ??

        I made this and it was amazing, as usual. Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      I can understand why Lauren says she if confused. I was too after reading Paul’s comments. The first part of the recipe is for homemade graham cracker crust.

  30. 5 stars
    This is my second time making this key lime pie and not one piece was left! I love that it’s not too Limey , I did add a little more cream cheese and I used real key lime that I found at the grocery store . This is a keeper !!!!

  31. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Is there a way to make it ahead and freeze it for a party? 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    Made the Key Lime Pie! Haven’t eaten it yet, but it is cooling while I excitedly wait. The filling is delicious. It is difficult for me to follow a recipe, so I didn’t. Didn’t have enough graham crackers, used part vanilla wafers, then added a little flaked coconut. This made a nice 9.5 in deep crust.
    The filling is mostly according to recipe except for the addition of 3 envelopes of Simply Lime, vanilla and an additional 4 oz cream cheese. This filled the crust making for a thick pie.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

  33. 5 stars
    The best key lime pie I’ve ever had or made! Made this for a party and everyone loved it. Thanks for making me look good! haha

  34. 5 stars
    This Key Lime pie is really the best I have ever had! My mother actually made it and it is delicious. I like that it’s not too sour, and it is very creamy and decadent. Thank you for this recipe!

  35. Lauren, Thank you for your recipe. I haven’t found a good Key Lime Pie recipe yet and look forward to trying yours out. I have a tip on making the crust. I think a homemade crust is essential but it can be hard to get the crumbs spread evenly. I saw this trick in an old Betty Crocker cookbook. You need 2 pie plates preferably Pyrex. I use a 9 1/2 and an 8 inch. Dump your crumbs in the larger and lightly spread out and up the sides. Spray the bottom of the 8 inch plate with a non-stick spray and push it down on the crumbs. The harder you push the better. Then take the plate off. Your crumbs should be evenly spread over the pie plate and compressed ready for the oven. I get a perfect crumb crust doing this every time. Again, thank you for your recipe.