This key lime pie comes together quickly and makes for the best pie! It has the perfect flavor of lime, is creamy and delicious, and sits on the best graham cracker crust.
If you love Key Lime Pie as much as me, you are going to love how easy it is to make this recipe. It comes together with just a few simple ingredients and a couple easy steps. This pie is the perfect balance of tart and sweet and is fantastic to take to a party.
Key Lime Pie Ingredients
Part of what makes this the best key lime pie recipe is the homemade graham cracker crust. While you could definitely use a store-bought graham cracker crust, this graham cracker crust only requires three ingredients and complements the tart pie filling perfectly.
- Sweetened condensed milk: See more on baking with this below.
- Key limes and limes: Key limes and limes are not the same, and you will need both key lime juice and regular lime zest for this recipe. Read more on the difference between them below.
- Sour cream: This pie partially gets its creamy texture from the sour cream. This recipe can be used with either regular sour cream or light sour cream.
- Graham crackers
Limes vs. Key Limes
Both key limes and limes are citrus fruits, but they do have a different tastes to them. Key limes are much smaller than regular limes, have thinner skin, and are a touch sweeter.
For this pie recipe, you need juice from key limes and zest from the regular limes. Key lime juice can be found with the lemon and lime juices in your grocery store. If you can’t find it in your store, it can be purchased on Amazon.
I do not recommend using lime juice in place of key lime juice. You will find that regular lime juice is much too tart for this recipe.
Key Lime Juice
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Here is a brief overview of how this easy key lime pie recipe comes together. For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Make the crust. Combine crust ingredients, which should resemble a wet sand mixture. Press the crumb mixture into a pie pan and bake it.
- Make the filling. Whisk together the ingredients for the filling while the crust is baking.
- Build the pie and bake. Pour the filling into the warm crust and bake until bubbles start to form.
- Chill and serve. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then refrigerate before serving.
This easy key lime pie recipe uses juice from key limes and the zest of regular limes. Lime zest comes from the peel of the lime and will give your pie a deeper lime flavor that lime juice alone just can’t do.
If you have never zested a lime, you want to zest just the green skin, moving on to a different part of the lime when you hit the white rind. Buy limes that are firm and not squishy. You will need about three limes for this recipe and can see my recommendation for a zester linked below.
Using Sweetened Condensed Milk
Evaporated milk is not the same thing as sweetened condensed milk. They will be by each other at the grocery store and the packaging may look the same so make sure to check the label. Evaporated milk is far thinner and as a result, will cause your pie not to set. Please double-check what you are buying and only use sweetened condensed milk for this recipe.
If you have baked with sweetened condensed milk before you may know that not all sweetened condensed milk is created equal. Some of the off brands produce unsatisfactory results. Because of that, I would recommend sticking with Eagle brand. I’ve only ever had good results using it.
Using Pie Shield
In this recipe, the graham cracker crust bakes a little before the pie bakes. If you take it out after pre-baking and the crust is a deep golden brown, you may want to add a pie shield before putting it back in the oven. You can see the one I love linked below.
Tips and Tricks
- Remove the pie from the oven as soon as bubbles start to form. Watch it closely so it doesn’t over cook.
- Make sure to use sweetened condensed milk and NOT evaporated milk. Usually, when someone says their recipe didn’t set up, it is because they used the wrong ingredient.
- Use key lime juice and not regular lime juice. Regular lime juice cannot replace the key lime juice here, it is too tart.
- Pre-bake your crust to prevent it from getting soggy.
- Wait to add the whipped cream. Let the pie chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before adding the whipped topping.
This pie is best enjoyed the day it is made. Keep it in the refrigerator and top it with the most delicious homemade whipped cream.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
Storing and Freezing Key Lime Pie
Store your key lime pie in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can freeze the pie after it has set in the refrigerator. Store in the freezer for up to three months. When ready to eat, let thaw slightly in the refrigerator.
There is a taste difference between the two, so regular lime juice can not be used.
Yes. Store in the freezer after the pie is baked and cooled for up to three months.
Yes, this recipe for key lime pie uses sour cream and sweetened condensed milk. This recipe has not been tested with dairy free ingredients.
You can find it at your grocery store next to lime juice and lemon juice. If your local store doesn’t have it, I shared one you can order from Amazon in the post above.
No, most graham cracks are made with graham or wheat flour. This recipe has not been tested with gluten-free graham crackers, however, there are many gluten-free varieties available.
Other Pie Recipes
If you try this easy key lime pie recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment telling me what you think. I love hearing from you!
Key Lime Pie
- 2 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk (two 14 ounce by weight cans, read more about sweetened condensed milk here)
- 3/4 cup key lime juice (do not use regular lime juice)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons lime zest (about 3 limes)
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs 21 grams (about 14 sheets)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the oven is preheating, combine the ingredients for the pie crust. It should resemble a wet sand mixture. Press the crumb mixture into a 9 inch deep pie pan. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 8 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Once the crust is done baking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the pie crust is baking, whisk together the ingredients for the filling. Pour the filling into the warm pie crust. Bake the pie for 10 minutes or until bubbles just begin to form at the top.2 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup key lime juice, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons lime zest
- Remove the pie from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes. Then chill it in the refrigerator for one hour before slicing.
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