Key Lime Pie is the ultimate summer dessert recipe. Sweet, tart, light and refreshing; don’t let Labor Day come and go without making this key lime pie recipe!
Key lime pie is a classic summer treat in Florida and folks are always astonished when they see just how easy it is to prepare a delicious key lime pie recipe. Four ingredients and 30 minutes yields you a silky, sweet, tart, slice of heaven. It’s one of my favorite desserts (all year long, if we’re being honest), but especially in the summer.
Key Lime Pie Ingredients
- Key lime juice – it’s important to use key lime juice or some combination of juices that includes key lime to get an authentic key lime pie flavor. You don’t have to squeeze your own (key limes are tiny!), just look in the juice section of your market and you’ll find key lime juice there!
- Sweetened condensed milk – this is the ingredient that helps make your key lime pie perfectly sweet and silky smooth. I never make a key lime pie without sweetened condensed milk!
- Eggs – the eggs give your keylime pie the custard like texture and they are what allow it to set up and become firm.
- Graham cracker pie crust – you can make your own graham cracker crust if you like, but I find the premade ones at the grocery store work just fine!
What is the difference between a lime and a key lime?
The differences between a lime and a key lime are size and flavor. A key lime is much smaller than a standard Persian lime and a key lime is also less tart. This is because conventional limes have more acidity.
Can you substitute lime for key lime?
The short answer is yes, you can substitute lime for key lime. Regular limes (which are actually Persian limes) are more tart, so just remember that when making the substitution.
Also, since regular limes are larger than key limes, if the recipe calls for a specific number of key limes, you’ll want to make the conversion so you’re not adding too much lime juice.
How do you make a key lime pie?
Key lime pie is made by combining eggs, cream, sugar (or in our case sweetened condensed milk), and key lime juice and then baking to create a silky custard style pie.
Historically, key lime pie wasn’t actually baked, instead the acidity in the limes “cooked” the eggs and set the pie. Nowadays we go ahead and stick it in the oven though.
Can you use regular limes in a key lime pie?
Yes, you can use regular limes in a key lime pie. The caveat of course being that the resulting flavor, if you use lime for key lime in your key lime pie, will be more tart than intended. Also, I’m not sure you could still call it a key lime pie in good faith!
What does key lime pie taste like?
Key lime pie is tart and sweet with a delicious crunchy and buttery graham cracker crust. I delivered this recipe to my next door neighbor after making two pies on our live show (yes, I kept the other one for myself), and she declared it “perfectly tangy”! Which is exactly how every key lime pie ought to be described.
More great pie recipes
Key lime pie making tools
- Nellie & Joe Key West Lime Juice – my very favorite key lime juice for this recipe. It’s actually a blend, but it works great if you don’t want to squeeze all those tiny key limes!
- Graham Cracker Pie Crust – so much easier than making your own crust!
- Pioneer Woman Stoneware Pie Plate – well if you’re making a pie, you’re going to need a pie plate!
How to make key lime pie
Key Lime Pie
- 1 cup key lime juice or as little as 1/2 cup if you prefer less tartness - you can use regular lime juice in a pinch too!
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk 14 ounce cans
- 2 eggs
- 1 graham cracker pie crust 9" if you want an overfilled pie like the one pictured, or 11" if you're planning to do a meringue on top
- optional garnish: whipped cream
- Combine key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and eggs in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the ingredients are well blended.
- Pour into pie crust and bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool, garnish with whipped cream, & ENJOY!
Originally published Jun 26, 2011