Easy Key Lime Pie

4.95 from 103 votes

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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.

A plain slice of key lime pie being lifted from a pie pan with a pie knife

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!

A whole key lime pie made with graham cracker crust and a slice taken out of it with limes as garnishes

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:

  1. Place graham crackers in a food processor or blender and pulse until they are finely crushed.
  2. 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 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.

Whipped Topping

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!

A top view of a fresh key lime pie with lime wedges and whole limes

Key Lime Pie Variations and Additions

There are several delicious recipe variations you can try to put a unique twist on this classic Key Lime Pie:

  • Coconut Key Lime Pie: Add shredded coconut to the graham cracker crust or toast it and sprinkle it on top of the filling for an extra tropical flavor.
  • Toasted Meringue Key Lime Pie: Instead of whipped cream, top the pie with toasted meringue for a light and airy texture with a hint of sweetness.
  • Key Lime Pie Bars: Transform the pie into portable and easy-to-serve bars by using a square baking dish and cutting it into squares.
  • Key Lime Cheesecake: Combine the flavors of Key Lime Pie and cheesecake by adding a creamy cheesecake layer to the classic pie.
  • Key Lime Ice Cream Pie: After baking, freeze the pie for a refreshing and cold dessert on hot days. Remove from the freezer and serve cold.

Feel free to experiment with these variations or combine multiple ideas to create your own unique Key Lime Pie recipe!

Tips For Making Key Lime Pie

  1. Fresh Key Limes: Use fresh key limes whenever possible for the most authentic and vibrant flavor. They have a distinct tartness that sets Key Lime Pie apart from regular lime pie.
  2. Zest for Extra Zing: Incorporate some extra key lime zest into the filling for an extra burst of citrus flavor. The zest adds brightness and enhances the overall taste of the pie.
  3. Properly Pre-Bake the Crust: Pre-bake the graham cracker crust to ensure it holds up well when the filling is added. This step helps prevent a soggy crust and ensures a nice texture.
  4. Avoid Overmixing: When mixing the filling, avoid overmixing to prevent excessive air incorporation, which could result in cracks during baking.
  5. Don’t Overbake: Avoid overbaking the pie to maintain the smooth and creamy texture. The filling should be set but still slightly jiggly when you remove it from the oven.
  6. Balance the Sweetness: Adjust the sweetness to your taste preference. Some like a more tart pie, while others prefer it sweeter. Taste the filling before pouring it into the crust and adjust accordingly.
  7. Chill Thoroughly: Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. This will help the flavors meld together and create a more cohesive taste.
  8. Whip Cream Topping: Top the pie with freshly whipped cream just before serving. The light and airy whipped cream complement the tangy filling perfectly.
  9. Serve Chilled: Key Lime Pie is best enjoyed chilled. Refrigerate the pie for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to develop and the filling to set properly.

Storing and Freezing Suggestions

To store leftover Key Lime Pie, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Alternatively, to freeze leftover Key Lime Pie, make sure it has cooled completely and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen pie or slices in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Note that the texture may be slightly different after freezing, but the delicious flavor will still be there.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between limes and key limes?

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.

What Color Should My Pie Be?

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.

Can Regular Limes Be Used Instead Of Key Limes?

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).

A slice of key lime pie with a graham cracker crust and a bite on a fork

5-Star Reviews

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!


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:)


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.


This was delicious, and so easy. Thank you for helping me find my go to key lime pie recipe!


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!
A plain slice of key lime pie being lifted from a pie pan with a pie knife

Key Lime Pie

4.95 from 103 votes
This Key Lime Pie recipe comes straight from Savannah, Georgia. It is smooth and creamy with the perfect blend of tart and sweet.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8



  • 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.
    Crushed graham cracker crumbs in a bowl to make crust for Key Lime Pie
  • 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.
    Crushed graham crackers mixed with butter being flattened in a pie dish making a homemade pie crust for key lime pie

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.
    Lime wedges to juice for key lime pie
  • 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. 
    Eggs in a large bowl to be mixed to make filling for key lime pie
  • Gradually add the key lime juice and zest and continue to mix on a low speed just until blended.
    Condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks mixed together to make filling for key lime pie
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. 
    Key lime pie filling that has been poured into a graham cracker crust to make key lime pie recipe
  • Serve with a garnish of whipped topping and a small slice of lime if desired. Store pie in refrigerator until ready to serve
    Whipped cream being piped onto key lime pie as a topping


*If key limes and/or key lime juice are not available, you can still make this pie! Substitute 1 lime in place of the 6 key limes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 228mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 1gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 499IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    So simple to make. I had to use just a little of the key lime juice. Zested and juiced the key limes.
    A great pie to make when you don’t have a ton of time, it’s easy to put together.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It tasted so good! The citrus was not overwhelming 🥰 and everyone at church loved it haha! Thank you again!☺️

    Here is some good news for you by the way!

    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    “and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭16‬:‭30‬-‭31‬ ‭KJV‬‬❤️❤️

  3. 5 stars
    The pie has a wonderful flavor, but why does the filling barley go up to half of the crust?
    I used a foil 9 inch pie pan.

  4. 5 stars
    Made key lime pie for the first time using this recipe and it is a success. The recipe is simple, but the flavor of the pie is so good. I used fresh juice and didn’t use premade juice – maybe that also makes a difference. This recipe is a keeper!

  5. I man going to make this recipe however I don’t know how much juice is if I’m using the key lime juice in the bottle, not actual limes. Can you give a measurement if ounces?

    1. You get about 2 tablespoons of juice from each key lime, so you’ll need about 12 tablespoons or 6 ounces. Hope this helps!

  6. Newbie question: I’m assuming it’s 14oz volume as opposed to weight of condensed milk? They come in 14oz (net weight) cans so I think I didn’t catch that and therefor didn’t use enough, my novice mistake! Such is life with the Imperial System.. lol Thanks!

    1. Our recipe uses 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk. Hope that helps! Sorry for the confusion.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 5 stars
    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

  9. 5 stars
    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.

  10. 5 stars
    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.

      1. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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?


    1. 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).

  13. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious!
    This was the 1st key lime pie I ever made and will definitely make this recipe again. Thank you!

  14. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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!

    1. 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.

  16. 5 stars
    Tart & tangy is the best combination! Key lime flavor reminds me of spring & I’m so excited it’s here! We will be making this asap!!

  17. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!

  18. I noticed the ingredient list says ¼ Cup Lime Juice and the directions say ½ Cup lime juice. Which is it? I think that will make a difference…..

    1. Sorry its a little confusing, but you juice the key limes into a 1/2 cup. If they fill up the cup, great! If they don’t then fill the rest up with the key lime juice. Hope this helps!

  19. 5 stars
    I love this key lime pie! The perfect tart and tangy and sweet mix that is perfectly balanced. So delicious!

  20. 5 stars
    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!

  21. Hello,
    I’ve tried this twice already. My mixture liquefies when i add the lime juice. I add it slowly while mixing in on low speed just as you described it. Any idea what could be the problem?

    1. Oh shoot! I haven’t had that happen before. It could be that your eggs aren’t whipped enough before adding the next ingredients.

  22. 5 stars
    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:)

  23. Hi. If I am using mini graham cracker pie shells (purchased from grocery store) how long should I bake them?

    1. The mini ones? I’m not sure we have never used those ones before. I would say start at 10 minutes and check it every few minutes until the center isn’t jiggly anymore. Hope this helps!

  24. I make a key lime pie that tastes fabulous, but it always falls apart! This pie looks great – before I make it, does it keep a firm consistency so that it does not fall apart?

    1. The consistency is perfect, I’ve never had an issue with it falling apart. I think you will love this one!

  25. 5 stars
    My son-in-law is lactose intolerant but loves my pies so I substituted vegan butter for regular butter in the crust and condensed coconut milk in the filling. It turned out great although it did have a very faint coconut flavor which I thought made it even tastier!

    1. Thanks for letting us know how you made this lactose free! I am sure there are many of our readers who will find that extremely helpful. I’m not lactose intolerant and that sounds SO good with the coconut milk. YUM!

  26. As a variant, you can whip the whites from the eggs until stiff peaks form and fold them into the milk, yolk and juice mixture. Fill the crust and bake as directed in the recipe. Makes for a lighter textured pie and cuts a bit of the sweetness. Plus it uses up those pesky extra whites.

    FWIW – I have made variations of this pie using real key limes, bottled key lime juice, RealLime lime juice and fresh juice from standard limes. They ALL work and they all make delicious pies. The fresh lime juice just makes an EXTRA delicious pie…

    1. Great ideas, thank you for suggestions and also for sharing your information about the lime juices. Super helpful!

  27. 3 stars
    I made this last night. I found it to be way too sweet. Next time I will use a cup and a half of lime juice and five egg yolks.

  28. How do you add the meringue topping? Do you bake the key lime first then reduce the temp and add the top and then bake the extra 10 minutes or add the topping before baking the key lime?

  29. 5 stars
    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.

    1. Thank you for the compliment! I love this recipe. It turns out perfect every time. I’m also a fan of the tartness of the pie. I’m so glad you like it!

    1. We haven’t tried freezing it before but it I’m sure it is possible. I wouldn’t keep it frozen than more than a couple weeks, if it were me. I don’t like the freezer flavor so the less time in the freezer (at least for me) the better!

      1. 5 stars
        Love this recipe, I use 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed key lime right from my tree! Perfect pie everytime!

  30. 5 stars
    Sounds very delicious, as I live in Brazil, can you tell
    me what the crackers are and what can I use as a substitute.?
    We have wonderful limes here in Bahia , can I use all this juice etc.

    Thank you so much.
    Hugo Skucek

    1. Hi Hugo– Graham crackers might be tricky to find in Brazil. If you can’t find them, you can use Nilla Wafers, ginger snaps, or any kind of plain vanilla cookie. Even animal crackers. Hope this helps!

    1. You can make this probably 2 days in advance … I wouldn’t do much longer than that. Hope this helps!

  31. 5 stars
    I am not huge fan of Key Lime pie but husband loves it. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and he said it was the best ever. I tried it and I really liked it. I am making it again today. Thank you.

    1. So glad you and your husband liked it! This is our favorite recipe for Key Lime Pie hands-down (and we are big fans too)!

      1. Do you have to refrigerate the pie to firm it.I put it in the oven at 350 degrees and it rose up some but still had a lot liquid.so I put it in refrigerator.

        1. That should be totally fine. If it was still liquid-y I would but it in the refrigerator to firm. Hope this helps!

  32. This may be a silly question but would it be okay to just use a 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice?

    1. Yes, you can definitely do that. The key lime juice has a slightly different flavor, but either will taste great!

  33. all one has to do is remember the color of the inside of the lime….it is never bright green. Take it from there.

  34. I’m so excited to make this! This may sound like a dumb question, but in your ingredients you say you need 1/4 cup lime juice but in the method it says you put half a cup in. Is this on the basis that you’d be getting 1/4 cup from the actual lime but then you must add another 1/4 cup of lime juice? Sorry, it’s probably a silly question but I don’t want to accidentally make the most sour pie in the world haha. Thanks x

      1. In this particular recipe for the key lime pie….notice the canned milk used, it is very sweet, and believe me condensed milk takes
        it to another level of sweetness. So go ahead and use what the recipe indicates. No fear!
        There are many recipes out there for this pie, and i have tried them all……

    1. If you live in St.Louis Dierbergs market carries key limes. But it is not necessary..I use the liquid from Nellies & Joes and it tastes fine. I have made at least 5 of these pies this month. It has been so cold and this just screams…warmth and sand and sun!!!

    2. that is easy….ever heard of Roses lime? Used
      in making margaritas…..it works in a pinch…
      And it is tasty.

      1. Sel, with all due respect, as the owner/operator of a chain of nightclubs, we use Rose’s in mixed drinks, but my opinion is that it has a twinge of bitterness after taste to it, which might not translate well into this recipe. Same as grocery store bottled lime juice (ReaLime brand), which is not nearly as clean and bright in flavor as real squeezed limes. Although, its companion brand “ReaLemon” is totally satisfactory to use in place of real squeezed lemons, and does not have that “off” after taste that Rose’s and ReaLime has. Note, that I have not tried your suggestion in this recipe so I could stand corrected. Just a cautionary.

    3. You can make this with regular limes. Key limes are preferred, but if you can’t get them, just use regular limes. Also, most markets sell key lime juice. That is another great option. But don’t sweat this – it will still taste great either way. 🙂

    4. 5 stars
      I have made this pie on 3 different occasions and it has been a crowd pleaser. As others have noted, this is a very easy recipe to follow to achieve a well balance of flavor and creamy textured pie.

  35. 5 stars
    I made this key lime pie for Sunday dinner and my family said it was the best key lime pie ever. I loved that it was so easy to make.