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Key Lime Pie Recipe – Oh Sweet Basil


There’s nothing quite like a perfect Key Lime Pie. That graham cracker crust filled with a bright and zippy but totally creamy filling is meant to be your dessert this week. 

THIS IS THE BEST KEY LIME PIE RECIPE EVER!! 

Phew. 

Sometimes you just gotta yell it to make it known. I’ve been making key lime pie since I got married 16 years ago and this is the ultimate recipe. It all started with key lime pie that Cade had while serving a mission for 2 years in Brazil. It’s called Torta de Limão in Brazil and while we adore this recipe for bars, our pie needed to have that Florida key lime vibe so I’ve been testing and testing off and on for years until this year I decided to throw in a little sour cream and bam! Deliciousness is served. 

What Ingredients are Needed for a Classic Key Lime Pie?

This recipe is so simple that it’s dangerous! You only need a few ingredients, and you’ll likely have several of them on hand already. Making this recipe actually reminds me of making my mom’s famous lemon meringue pie. Fresh citrus just makes the best desserts ever! Here is your grocery store list:

  • Graham Cracker Crust: graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: gives the pie it’s sweetness and creaminess
  • Sour Cream: adds creaminess and tartness
  • Lime Zest: flavor, flavor, flavor
  • Lime Juice: squeeze your own juice or buy bottled key lime juice, I always recommend fresh!
  • Egg Yolks: add so much richness
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream: water, gelatin, heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla

The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card below.

Recommended Equipment:

Creamy sweetened condensed milk being poured from a can into a mixing bowl with eggs, lime juice, lime zest and sour cream.

How to Make a Key Lime Pie Recipe

And you thought the ingredients list was nice and easy! Just wait until you see how easy it is to make this pie! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Make a graham cracker crust and let it cool.
  2. Whisk all the filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour mixture into the prepared pie crust.
  4. Bake and then cool.
  5. Serve with whipped cream on top.

All of these steps can be found in the recipe card below.

How to Tell When Key Lime Pie is Done

Key lime pie doesn’t take very long to bake, and a lot of the setting up actually happens in the fridge as it cools. After the 15 minutes of baking time, there should be a slight jiggle in the middle of the pie. You don’t want to over-bake it, so pull it out of the oven, let it cool for 15 minutes more and then put it in the refrigerator.

A key lime pie in a graham cracker crust.

What is the Difference Between Key Lime and Regular Lime?

Key limes are more aromatic, with more tart and more floral flavor. They are smaller than regular limes, and are slightly yellow in color. No matter which type you end up using, it tastes like summer in your mouth!

What Can You Substitute for Key Lime?

You can substitute half fresh lemon juice and half fresh lime juice for key lime.

A slice of key lime pie on a white dessert plate. The graham cracker crust is filled with key lime filling and there are dollops of whipped cream on top. A lime that is cut in half is beside the plate and there is another dessert plate with a slice of pie on it.

How to Decorate a Key Lime Pie

Key lime pies are tart so I like a dollop of whipped cream on the top. I prefer using stabilized whipped cream so that the whipped cream holds its shape and is extra pretty. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag with a large decorating tip.

Holding the bag straight up and down, give it a good squeeze over the top of the slice of pie and then slowly lessen the pressure as you life up. Then stop squeezing and pull the tip away from the pie creating that sharp peak.

I also think it’s super pretty to sprinkle some key lime zest on top to give it some extra flavor and color.

If you want to skip the piping bag altogether, just spread a layer of whipped cream all over the top of the pie and sprinkle with lime zest and maybe thin lime slices.

A slice of key lime pie with a piece cut from it with a fork. It is on a white dessert plate and has two dollops of whipped cream and a little lime zest on top.

What Can You Substitute For Stabilized Whipped Cream?

You can use Cool Whip instead of stabilized whipped cream, or just regular whipped cream works great too.

Can Key Lime Pie Be Frozen?

I’ve seen conflicting information on this, but to be honest, I have not had much success with it. It separates and gets runny. Then the crust is soggy. I guess you’ll just have to eat it all!

A key lime pie in a graham cracker crust. Dollops of whipped cream are around the edge of the pie and two slices of lime are in the middle. Limes and forks are beside the pie.

Does Key Lime Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, I recommend refrigerating leftovers. Keeping it in the refrigerator will help it hold it’s structure and it will last for up to 4 days.

What Makes a Key Lime Pie Thicken?

Sometimes the answer is science…plain and simple! The acid of the key lime juice reacts with proteins in the sweetened condensed milk to thicken the filling. This is why it is important to let the pie sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

a top view of a key lime pie in a graham cracker crust. The pie has bits of lime zest, dollops of whipped cream and a curl of lime on top.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the BEST key lime pie recipe in all the land! Make it for Pi day, a bridal shower, St. Patrick’s day, a summer BBQ, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving…it’s a pie for all occasions! It is thick and creamy and just what you’re craving!

More Dreamy Lime Desserts:

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

cooling time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Prepare the pie crust and set aside to cool.

    Graham Cracker Crust

  • In a bowl, whisk together all of the filling ingredients.

    2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk, 1/2 Cup Sour Cream, 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest, 3/4 Cup Lime Juice, 2 Egg Yolks

  •  Pour into a pie dish and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven to cool for 15 minutes then transfer to the fridge for 3 hours to set.

  • Serve with fresh whipped cream.

    Stabilized Whipped Cream 

cover lightly and refrigerate

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 367kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 133mgPotassium: 417mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 430IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 305mgIron: 0.3mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

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A key lime pie in a graham cracker crust. The top is decorated with whipped cream and slices of lime.



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