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This Key Lime Pie recipe comes straight from Savannah, Georgia. It is smooth and creamy with the perfect blend of tart and sweet.
The BEST Key Lime Pie Recipe
This Key Lime Pie is perfect for the summer time when you want a nice, cool, citrusy dessert. It’s also a family favorite at Thanksgiving. I got this Key Lime Pie recipe when I was visiting Savannah, Georgia with my friend, Amie. Savannah has got to be one of the most beautiful and charming cities ever. We had so much fun touring the historic city squares, walking along the river, and eating! We went to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for a southern style dinner that was incredible. Although we had to wait in line for a while to get in, but, it was totally worth it. Ah! Southern cooking and hospitality at it’s best.
When we were shopping downtown, I found this easy key lime pie recipe on a magnet. I love the tangy lime taste of key lime pie, so I bought it and tried it out as soon as I got home. I made it for my family and we can’t get enough of it! At family birthday parties, key lime pies are often requested over birthday cakes. This is a super easy recipe (it is even EASIER if you just buy a pre-made graham cracker crust). Thanks to my trip to the South, we now have another favorite family recipe!
Ingredients Needed for Key Lime Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
The graham cracker crust can be a pre-made crust purchased at the grocery store. However, if you have the time, a homemade crust does taste better. You can also purchase pre-made graham cracker crumbs or make your own by doing one of the following:
- Place graham crackers in a food processor or blender and pulse until they are finely crushed.
- Place graham crackers in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze all of the air out and lay it flat on the countertop. Use a rolling pin to roll over the crackers until they are a crumb consistency.
Key Lime Pie Filling
The key lime pie filling is made by whipping egg yolks (save the egg whites if making a meringue topping) until they are a pale yellow color. After that, only two more ingredients are needed: A 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and key limes. The key limes are used for the juice and the lime zest in the filling. Be sure to zest the limes before juicing them.
This pie is great served plain or with a lime wedge but we prefer putting some kind of topping on the pie to help round out the bright flavor. The most common topping that people use is fresh, homemade whipped cream. Canned whipped topping or Cool Whip works fine too. Some people prefer to have their key lime pie with a meringue topping instead of using whipped cream. We have topped this key lime pie with the meringue recipe from our Lemon Meringue Pie and it is FABULOUS. Try it both ways and decide which way you like it best!
Frequently Asked Questions
Key limes (also known as bartender limes, West Indian limes, or Mexican limes) are smaller than regular limes and have higher acidity (especially when freshly picked). The more ripe the key limes, the less tart and more sweet they become. Key limes are bright green when they are first picked but as they ripen, they become more yellow. You can decide how tart or sweet your pie is by choosing limes based on their ripeness.
Traditional key lime pie is not bright green in color, even though some bakeries or pre-made pies may have a green tint to them. Traditionally, it is more of a pale greenish-yellow color. Sometimes we like to add a little green food coloring if we are making this for St. Patrick’s day or to make the green “pop” a little more. Most of the time we just leave it how it is though.
Yes, it can be done, but the flavor won’t have that distinct “key lime” flavor. If you have no other choice, it will still turn out to be a very good pie and most people won’t even be able to tell a difference. If you can’t find key limes or key lime juice, you can substitute common limes. You can swap out 6 fresh key limes for 1 large regular lime. As far as the juice goes, you can swap it out at a 1:1 ratio (¼ cup key lime juice for ¼ cup regular lime juice).
We’ve had over 75 reviews from people who love this recipe as much as we do. Here are just a few:
I’ve made this multiple times and it is always a hit! Everyone who tries it wants the recipe. I use lime juice only because I can’t get key limes where I live (Newfoundland, Canada) and it’s still wonderful!Keri
I have made this super easy key lime pie recipe so many times for friends and family. I always get rave reviews from everyone. Thank you so much for posting this recipe because I am a VIP when I make this for a party. I love all your recipes:)Sandra
Absolutely perfect. I have tried many that did not set up or were too sweet. This is as good as the restaurant with the best key lime pie where I live. Thanks for sharing.Lorelei
This was delicious, and so easy. Thank you for helping me find my go to key lime pie recipe!Jocelyn
More Delicious Pie Recipes from Favorite Family Recipes
If you love tangy citrus-infused desserts like this one, be sure to try our Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie, Cream Cheese Lemon Bars, Coconut Lime Cheesecake Bars, or our super easy Orange Pineapple Cake! Or try these luscious desserts:
- Coconut Cream Pie – Coconut Cream Pie is a dreamy island dessert with a flaky crust, coconut filling that is made from scratch, and toasted coconut sprinkles.
- Creamy Lemon Pie – This Creamy Lemon Pie is packed full of tart, lemon flavor and creamy goodness. This recipe is super easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser!
- Butterscotch Pie – This creamy butterscotch filling is spread into a flaky pie crust and drizzled with butterscotch topping then sprinkled with butterscotch chips. It’s basically a butterscotch lovers dream.
- Island Pecan Pie – Loaded with coconut, pecans, and pineapple, this pie is creamy and full of flavor.
- German Chocolate Pie – This pie recipe comes straight from Amish country. The rich, gooey, chocolate filling is to die for!
Key Lime Pie
- Hand Mixer
- Conventional Oven
For the crust:
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
For the filling:
- 4 egg yolks
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 6 key limes for zesting and juicing
- Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice (if needed)
- whipped topping to garnish (optional)
For the crust:
- Combine melted butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in crushed graham crackers.
- Spread evenly into 9-inch pie plate and press onto bottom and sides to form an even crust. The bottom of a measuring cup works great for pressing the crumbs firmly into the pie plate.Chill for an hour until firm OR bake at 375-degrees for 5 min and allow to cool before filling.
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Zest key limes until there are 2 teaspoons of zest, then juice them. Pour the fresh key lime juice into a ½ cup measuring cup.If the ½ cup isn't filled, add bottled key lime juice to fill it completely.
- Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and turn to a light yellow. Use a stand mixer or an electric mixer. Slowly add sweetened condensed milk while mixing on a low speed.
- Gradually add the key lime juice and zest and continue to mix on a low speed just until blended.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Serve with a garnish of whipped topping and a small slice of lime if desired. Store pie in refrigerator until ready to serve
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I am having the same problem the batteries done. I put it into the pie shell. There is definitely not enough batter to fill the shell. It only comes like maybe halfway up and I know this doesn’t rise so I’m very disappointing cause I’m gonna feel stupid bringing this to a barbecue tomorrow. When looks like it’s half made other people must have this problem. Yes, I used a 9 inch pie plate and crust.
Some pie plates are deeper than others – we have been making this recipe for years in a 9 inch pie dish and it always fills the whole dish.
This is my first time making key lime pie. It most definitely won’t be my last. Of course like any good cook I had nibbles. My grandson say’s it’s one of his favorites. He juiced the limes and zested them for me. Will be making a fresh pot of coffee to serve with it tonight. So good
Delicious! Can I substitute the Graham cracker crust with a Nilla wafer crust or r maybe combine the 2? Wanted to try a different spin and I am craving Nilla wafers.
5 stars because it’s key lime.
My question is I’d like to juice 9 key limes instead of 6.(for that extra kick).
What do I need to change the recipe to keep the filling thick?
Thanks in advance,. Frostproof,FL.
The whipped egg yolks are what gives the pie structure, so I would start there!
Hey thanks for the fast reply.
Since I plan on 50% more juice, I’ll go with 50% more yolks.
We’ll start there. Gonna do one today.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.
Step one is a little unclear. You zest the limes and juice them- but the next step says to cut the zested limes in half and juice them. Is that an accidental repeat?
Oh, yes the juicing is mentioned twice. Thanks for catching that! I will change it!
In the oven now but it doesn’t look like it made enough to fill the pie crust. Is it going to rise?
It doesn’t rise very much. What size pie crust did you use?
Hi! I want to try Key Lime Pie!
But if i get the Lime jus in a bottle will it be the same taste?
Or shoudl i get Bottle of Key lime jus on Anazone? And also amouch key lime jus do we need to use 1/4 cup?
If you can’t find key limes or key lime juice, you can substitute common limes. You can swap out 6 fresh key limes for 1 large regular lime. As far as the juice goes, you can swap it out at a 1:1 ratio (¼ cup key lime juice for ¼ cup regular lime juice).
Really good recipe! I enjoyed making the Key Lime pie.
Can you just use the key lime juice and no limes and will it still taste good?
Does this freeze well?
Yes! It freezes great!
So easy to make. Directions are clear and simple to read. A real down home and delicious pie.
Easy and delicious!
This was the 1st key lime pie I ever made and will definitely make this recipe again. Thank you!
Simple to make and very tasty
Ultimately the best key lime pie there ever was. It reminds me of my dear sweet mama’s key lime pie. My God bless you, and thank you.
Have to try this key lime pie. Looks yummy!!!
Mine didn’t set. We ate it with a spoon!
You have to beat the egg yolks for about 5 minutes on high speed. If you didn’t do that it could be why it didn’t set up. I just made it and I looked up how long to beat the egg yolks for them to thicken and turn light yellow. My pie came out fine.
Hi there! Can you clarify – *If key limes are not available, you can still make this pie! Substitute 1 lime in place of the 6 key limes.* Does this mean if you are using a regular lime, we only use one for the entire recipe? Thanks!
Yes that is correct. One regular sized lime replaces 6 key limes.
Key limes are not available locally. But I buy Nellie and Joe’s bottled key lime juice and this pie tastes fabulous. If you cannot find it it’s available at Amazon and Walmart.
How much total juice did you use?
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