Classic Key Lime Pie
This key lime pie features a homemade graham cracker crust, a creamy sweet-tart filling, and homemade whipped cream on top. It’s so easy to make, but it looks spectacular!
If you’ve ever felt intimidated when it comes to making pies, this easy key lime pie recipe is a great starting point.
Not only is the graham cracker crust easy to make, but the filling also uses just three ingredients (yes, THREE!). In total, the key lime pie filling only takes a few minutes to mix together.
An added bonus? Since this pie needs to chill for a while in the refrigerator, it’s a great recipe that you can make ahead of time too.
Trust me, this is one of the easiest pie recipes you’ll ever make, and everyone will love it!
Homemade key lime pie has three components: the graham cracker crust, the sweet-tart filling, and the homemade whipped cream on top. Let’s quickly go over the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Graham cracker crumbs: You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs to make the crust. You can buy pre-made crumbs at the store, or you can pulse 11 to 12 full sheets of graham crackers in a food processor to create your own.
- Granulated sugar: I sweetened the crust slightly to help balance out the tart key lime filling.
- Butter: Melted butter helps bind the crust together and adds richness.
- Key lime juice: You can use fresh or bottled key lime juice for this recipe. If you want to make this recipe easy, I suggest sticking with bottled key lime juice. I really love Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice, which you can usually find by the juices in most grocery stores.
- Sweetened condensed milk: You’ll be using two 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk to thicken and sweeten the filling.
- Egg yolks: There are 5 egg yolks in this pie and it adds so much richness! You can use some of the leftover egg whites in an omelet or in my white cake recipe.
- Whipped cream: You may use store-bought whipped topping, if desired. However, I prefer making my own homemade whipped cream.
How to Make Key Lime Pie
To prepare a traditional key lime pie, you’ll first have to assemble and bake the graham cracker crust. If you don’t bake the crust first, it won’t be able to hold up to the filling.
Here’s a simple breakdown for how to make the crust:
- Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter: You want all of the crumbs to be fully coated in the butter.
- Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate: I suggest using a measuring cup for this step to firmly pack it on the bottom and around the sides of the dish.
- Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes
- Set the crust aside for at least 10 minutes to cool slightly: I like to set the crust aside while I prep the filling. This will ensure that the graham cracker crust firms up some and it will hold up much better.
The key lime filling is just as easy as the graham cracker crust! Here’s exactly how to make the filling:
- Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and egg yolks: The mixture should be nice and thick.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked graham cracker crust
- Bake it for 20 minutes: You’ll know it’s done baking when the top of the pie is set, but still jiggly. The residual heat will continue to cook the pie and allow it to set up as it cools.
- Let it cool completely and chill for 5 to 6 hours
Key lime pie tastes best topped with whipped cream — it helps balance out the tartness of the filling. You can either use whipped topping or my homemade whipped cream recipe.
If you’re looking for a whipped cream that will hold up for several days, you can try my stabilized whipped cream recipe instead.
Can You Make Key Lime Pie with Regular Limes?
Yes! An appropriate key lime juice substitute is an equal amount of regular lime juice or even lemon juice.
How to Store This Pie
I suggest keeping the pie refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. You can store leftover key lime pie in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Absolutely! The pie will last up to 4 days in the fridge. Wait until you serve the pie to spread the whipped cream on top, or pipe stabilized whipped cream onto the pie ahead of time.
- Let the crust cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the filling. This will give it some time to firm up and it will hold together much better.
- If you don’t have any key limes, regular lime or lemon juice will work fine!
- In order to properly set up, this pie needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. It’s best to make this pie the night before and allow it to chill overnight.
- When you cover the pie, make sure that the plastic wrap is not directly touching the top. Plastic wrap tends to stick to the pie and pull some of it up with it when you remove it.
More Easy Pie Recipes!
Classic Key Lime Pie
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 and ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (180 grams)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (65 grams)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (85 grams)
For the key lime pie filling:
- 1 cup key lime juice (240 ml)
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 5 large egg yolks
- Whipped topping or homemade whipped cream
- To make the graham cracker crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir until fully combined and all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate and firmly press it down into an even layer on the bottom and up around the sides of the dish.
- Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
- Keep oven temperature at 350°F (180°C).
- To make the key lime pie filling: Combine the key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the filling into the slightly cooled graham cracker crust and spread it around into one even layer.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the top of the pie is set, the pie will still be jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Once chilled, top with whipped cream and enjoy!
Can anyone venture in telling me how a key lime pie differs from using eggs vs sour cream vs cream cheese? Sure would love some input!
I prefer to just use eggs in my key lime pie. Sour cream will give you a little bit firmer filling, but still be soft. Cream cheese will give you a filling that’s firmer and creamier. They will both change the flavor of the pie a bit too.
Yes, authenticity, but variations can work. Also back when this recipe was developed, there was no fresh milk here in the Florida keys so they used sweetened condensed milk. Luckily 🙂
Is that a deep dish pie plate?
It’s about 1.5 inches deep.
Yes and still you have left over…could probably. Ake to regular pies with it
I LOVE THIS RECIPE!!! It is the best key lime pie I’ve tried! Only change I made: I prefer meringue over whipped topping, and all those egg whites are just sitting there…always do key lime this way, as my mom did. So light and fluffy in perfect contrast to the rich tart filling. Try it!
A tip to make like we do in the Florida keys, put the portion that you’re serving in the freezer for 20 minutes. You won’t go back 🙂
So much left over, I made extra crumbs and used the rest of the filling in mini cheesecakes. I hate to waste
This is my go to recipe for key lime pie. I’ve made it at least a dozen times and it always turns great.
Nice and tart! Ended up making it twice this holiday season by request…. Works well with store bought crust. Love it
Terrific recipe! Juicing the limes was the only tedious part but you’ve got to go fresh in my book! It was delicious!! For the pie crust, I like to butter the pie pan and dust with sugar before pressing the crust in. I am more of a sweet fan than tart side though!