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.
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.
- 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
How to Make Key Lime Pie:
Beat Cream Cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Add sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest and mix until smooth.
Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Refrigerate: Allow the pie to cool completely, then refrigerate for a few hours to give it time to set up, before serving.
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.
- 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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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
- 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.
- 1 ½ cups crunchy gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
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I originally shared this recipe August 2017. Updated November 2019 and May 2022 and November 2022.
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