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This authentic recipe for Florida Key Lime Pie is incredibly delicious! It’s easy to make and features a rich and creamy sweet-tart filling made with real key lime juice, topped with fresh whipped cream, all held in a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s absolutely divine!

a slice of key lime pie garnished with fresh lime slices and lime zest on a plate with a fork.

This tasty lime pie recipe is straight from the Florida Keys, and you can really taste it! The silky texture and citrus flavors are so vibrant and tropical that it feels like you’ve been transported to one of the state’s gorgeous sandy beaches.

The refreshing lime treat is even better on the hottest of days when you desperately need something to cool yourself down!

And finally, if you’re a huge key lime pie fan, this Atlantic Beach Pie is worth your time! It’s a twist on the typical lemon pie with a salty crust and a sweet-tart filling — YUM!

ingredients for key lime pie on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for this Classic Key Lime Pie Recipe

Graham Cracker Pie Crust and Key Lime Filling

  • Key lime juice | I use Nellie & Joe’s bottled key lime juice, a popular brand known for its tart and refreshing taste. It is made from the juice of key limes, which are smaller and more acidic than regular limes. Of course, you juice squeeze juice from fresh key limes yourself.
  • Sweetened condensed milk | Two cans of sweetened condensed milk will be the base of the key lime pie filling. Don’t get it confused with evaporated milk — these two ingredients are very different, but typically right next to each other on the grocery store shelf.
  • Eggs | A few egg yolks will help the key lime pie thicken to a more fluffy and silky texture. If you don’t have egg yolks, try substituting them with yogurt.
  • Powdered sugar | Use sifted powdered sugar to bring some sweetness to the pie. 
  • Lime zest | Boost the key lime flavor with fresh lime zest!
  • Graham cracker crust | I like to use this easy homemade graham cracker crust recipe made with melted butter and crushed graham cracker crumbs —it makes all the difference when the crust is made from scratch! But you can always grab a pre-made pie crust from the store. 

Whipped Cream

  • Heavy cream | The main ingredient in homemade whipped cream is, of course, heavy whipping cream, also referred to as heavy cream. Regular whipping cream does the trick but produces a less thick and creamy topping.
  • Powdered sugar | Bring sweetness to the whipped cream with powdered sugar.
  • Vanilla | Finally, add a few drops of rich vanilla extract to deepen the flavor.

Equipment needed

How to make this Easy Key Lime Pie Recipe

With a few simple ingredients and a little extra time, you can easily make this delicious homemade key lime pie recipe with tart flavors and a perfectly creamy filling.

STEP 1 | Make the Pie Crust

Trust me, you won’t regret taking a few extra minutes to throw together this homemade graham cracker crust.

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next, prepare the crust mixture by crushing graham crackers into fine crumbs and combining them with melted butter in a mixing bowl.

Press it firmly into a deep dish 9-inch pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.

combining ingredients for key lime pie filling in a glass bowl.

STEP 2 | Mix the Pie Filling

Next, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and set out a large bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, sifted powdered sugar, freshly squeezed key lime juice, and zest.

Combine the filling ingredients with an electric mixer for one or two minutes until they are silky smooth.

tips

  • You can mix the filling by hand without an electric mixer if necessary. However, it will be nearly impossible to create whipped cream without the speed and power of an electric mixer.
  • You want the bowl for the whipped cream to be chilled for the best results. I suggest placing it in the fridge or freezer to get nice and cold before beginning the whipped cream recipe.
key lime pie filling in a graham cracker crust ready for the oven; fresh homemade whipped cream in a bowl with a beater.

STEP 3 | Pour, Bake, and Chill

Carefully pour the key lime pie filling into the freshly prepared graham cracker crust and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Then, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, careful not to brown the top. Remove the pie when it’s finished baking and cool it on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Finally, refrigerate and chill the pie for at least 2 hours before slicing, so the filling can firm up for the perfect bite.

While waiting, prepare to create the fluffy homemade whipped cream!

tips

  • Keep a close eye on the pie as it bakes to avoid an undesired brown surface.
  • If preferred, allow the pie to come to room temperature to serve. But you can also enjoy it chilled.

STEP 4 | Whip the Heavy Cream

To make whipped cream from scratch, pour the heavy whipping cream into a chilled bowl and beat it with an electric mixer using the whisk attachment. Once you notice subtle and soft peaks form, move on to the next step.

STEP 5 | Add the Remaining Ingredients and Serve!

Now, sprinkle in the powdered sugar and add a few drops of vanilla extract. Continue beating the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Then, pipe or dollop the freshly made whipped cream on top of the chilled pie, slice, serve, and ENJOY!

a whole key lime pie garnished with fresh whipped cream and lime slices on a table with limes.

For more creamy and light pie recipes, check out these three masterpieces —

  • Impossible Pie includes sweet shredded coconut and magically forms its own crust!
  • And if you like the sound of that recipe, you must try a bite of this Million Dollar Pie with more coconut, juicy pineapple, and crunchy chopped pecans.
  • If you fall in love with the tangy-sweet taste of traditional key lime pie, try making some key lime pie cookies or these adorable Mini Coconut Key Lime Pies.
a slice of key lime pie on a plate with the remaining pie in the background with three limes on a table.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between lemon meringue pie and key lime pie?

Both lemon meringue and key lime pie have bright, creamy, and acidic flavors. But, there are some significant differences between the two recipes. For one, key lime pie is made with key limes, while the other uses less tart lemons.

The cooking processes are also very different. For lemon meringue, cook the flour, lemon juice, sugar, and egg mixture on the stovetop, make the meringue separately, and then bake them together. In contrast, key lime pie is mixed in a bowl and poured into the crust to bake in the oven. 

Can you make Key Lime Pie with regular limes?

While making a key lime pie with regular limes is possible, it will make a difference in the final taste. The size and color are the most noticeable difference between key and regular limes.

Key limes are smaller, with more seeds and a more yellow and thinner skin than regular ones. But what makes them stand out the most is their tart flavor and fragrant aroma that no other lime can match.

What does sifting powdered sugar do?

Using sifted powdered sugar in a recipe, like this key lime pie recipe, helps to break up any clumps and prevent chunks of powdered sugar in the final results. It doesn’t have anything to do with the taste.

If you’re using an electric mixer for the pie filling, sifting the powdered sugar isn’t too vital because the clumps will likely break up due to the high-speed mixing.

How do you store key lime pie?

To keep the leftovers of this delicious pie nice and fresh, cover it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Keep in mind the whipped cream may only last for a day before it begins to lose its texture and form.

You can also freeze key lime pie. Bake it in a foil pan and let it cool completely before covering it in aluminum foil and storing it for up to three months. You’ll also want to skip adding the whipped cream until it’s thawed and ready to serve again.

Serving suggestions

Refreshing and bright key lime pie is excellent following a tropics-inspired dish like fish taco bowls or my grilled chicken salad with mango dressing.

Or experiment with other summery lime treats, like homemade limeade or a refreshing lime cocktail!

a bite of key lime pie on a fork on a plate with a piece of partially eaten pie.

Behind the recipe: Authentic Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie is the official State Pie of the lovely sunshine state of Florida, but did key lime pie originate in Florida?

For the longest time, Floridians took pride in creating this tropical treat. However, the origins of this delicious tangy pie are unclear. The pie was always believed to be born in the 19th century somewhere in Key West, Florida. 

However, more recent digging has led to the possibility that the state’s signature pie may not have come from Florida! The creamy lime dessert is suspected of having originated in New York City.

Historians discovered an almost identical recipe made by a New York condensed milk company and eventually traveled down the east coast to sunny Florida. The original NY recipe uses lemons in place of limes.

So, it’s believed that Florida pie makers took the recipe and put their own tropical twist on it, using tasty and delicate key limes.

a whole key lime pie garnished with fresh whipped cream and lime slices on a table with limes.

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a slice of key lime pie garnished with fresh lime slices and lime zest on a plate with a fork.

Key Lime Pie

This authentic Key Lime Pie recipe has a rich and creamy sweet-tart filling made with real key limes and topped with fresh whipped cream, all held in a buttery graham cracker crust.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 263 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ¾ cup key lime juice bottled or fresh-squeezed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • If making a graham cracker crust from scratch, preheat the oven to 375. Prepare the crumb mixture and press it firmly into a deep dish pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Empty the sweetned condensed milk into a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, sifted powdered sugar, key lime juice, and zest. Mix with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely smooth.
  • Pour the key lime pie filling into the prepared crust, and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, being careful not to brown the top. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate and chill for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Whipped Cream

  • Pour the heavy whipping cream into a chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer using the whisk attachment until you see peaks starting to form.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Pipe or dollop on top of the pie and serve.

Notes

  • You can mix the filling by hand without an electric mixer if necessary. However, it will be nearly impossible to create whipped cream without the speed and power of an electric mixer.
  • You want the bowl for the whipped cream to be chilled for the best results. I suggest placing it in the fridge or freezer to get nice and cold before beginning the whipped cream recipe.
  • Keep a close eye on the pie as it bakes to avoid an undesired brown surface.
  • If preferred, allow the pie to come to room temperature to serve. But you can also enjoy it chilled.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 112mgPotassium: 88mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 542IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword dessert, easy dessert, homemade pie crust, lime, pie, whipped cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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