Home Desserts Key Lime Pie (Best Recipe)

Key Lime Pie (Best Recipe)

Key lime pie is the perfect summer dessert.

It’s light, refreshing, and has just the right amount of sweetness and tang.

If you can’t escape for a vacation this year, making Key lime pie is the next best thing!

Key lime pie
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There’s just so much to love about this pie.

It’s sweet and creamy with the perfect amount of zing from Key limes. And that color? It’s 100 percent Instagram-worthy.

After a dinner of heavy food, nothing beats the sweet and tart flavors of key lime pie.

Tell your tastebuds to pack their bags for a tropical vacation with this Key lime pie!

Key Lime Pie

Ever wonder where Key lime pie gets its name? That comes from the type of lime (Key limes) used in this recipe.

What makes these limes different from other varieties is they’re very acidic.

Pairing these limes with creamy and sweet ingredients is like a tropical flavor explosion in your mouth.

This recipe is so easy, too. It only takes about 20 minutes to whip this pie together (plus extra for chilling).

Key lime pie

Ingredients

The great thing about this pie recipe is the ingredient list is very short.

You only need five simple components to create the perfect pie for your next backyard BBQ.

  • Sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is your secret ingredient in this recipe. It works double-duty in providing the perfect amount of sweetness and helps the pie set.
  • Key lime juice. Key lime juice is a must in this recipe, and luckily it’s found at most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, try subbing equal parts lime and lemon juice.
  • Sour cream. Adding sour cream to a sweet pie sounds strange, I know. But it helps make an ultra-creamy pie filling. Don’t worry, it won’t taste anything like sour cream!
  • Lime zest. Use any limes you have on hand. Adding lime zest takes those citrusy, tropical flavors over the top.
  • Prepared graham cracker crust. Using a prepared graham cracker crust saves you a little bit of time.
slices of Key lime pie

How to Make Key Lime Pie

You don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen to whip up this fantastic Key lime pie. Follow these simple steps to create the perfect sweet and tart dessert everyone will love.

1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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2. Mix the Key lime filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, Key lime juice, and lime zest.

Stir it until combined, and pour it into a graham cracker crust.

3. Bake. Place the pie in the oven, and bake it until the tiny bubbles on the surface burst, around 5 to 8 minutes.

The filling will be a little wobbly when you remove it from the oven.

4. Cool. Allow the pie to come to room temperature on a wire rack, then transfer it to the fridge for one hour.

5. Garnish. Before serving, garnish it with whipped cream and lime zest, and dig in!

Key lime pie

How to Tell When Key Lime Pie is Done

One of the biggest mistakes in making Key lime pie is telling when it’s perfectly cooked. Unlike other baked treats, it doesn’t have an obvious tell when it’s set.

If you closely monitor it while baking, you can determine when it’s ready to take out of the oven.

Here are a few tricks to tell when it’s ready.

1. Check the bubbles on the surface. When you pour the filling into the pie pan, it will create tiny little bubbles. As hot air escapes as it cooks, those bubbles on the surface will pop, letting you know it’s done.

2. Give it the jiggle test. A perfectly set pie has a bit of a wiggle in the center. After 5 minutes, give it a wiggle. A perfectly set pie has firm edges with some wobble in the middle.

Whole Key Lime Pie

Tips for the Best Key Lime Pie

Here are a few quick tricks and tips to make your key lime pie the talk of the potluck!

  • Take it easy on the lime zest. Adding lime zest to the filling adds so much flavor, but it can quickly turn bitter. When adding lime zest to this recipe, less is more.
  • Give your pie plenty of time to cool. Placing your pie in the fridge for an hour to set is the bare minimum. For a perfectly set pie, leave it in the fridge to set overnight.
  • Don’t overbake! There’s nothing worse than when the top of that pie starts to brown. Key lime pie doesn’t take very long to cook in the oven. Hovering in front of the oven door is okay.
  • Can’t find Key lime juice? There’s an easy substitute if you don’t want to hunt down Key lime juice. Mixing equal parts lemon and lime juice will provide that patented citrusy kick from Key limes.
  • Make your crust. Store-bought graham cracker crusts are quick and easy, but nothing beats homemade! You have your crust essentials with butter, graham crackers, and brown sugar!
slice of Key lime pie

Make Ahead and Freezing Tips

Key lime pie is one of those perfect make-ahead pies. The more time you let it set in the fridge, the better!

You can get ahead of the game by preparing the pie the day before and placing it in the fridge. Insert toothpicks before covering the pie with plastic wrap to prevent sticking. A baked pie stays fresh in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Did you know you can also freeze Key lime pie? The best way to freeze it is to cover the top with parchment paper and then wrap it with aluminum foil.

Frozen Key lime pie will stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer. To thaw it, just place it in the fridge overnight, and you’re ready to go!

More Creamy Pies You’ll Love

Kool-Aid Pie
Lemon Icebox Pie
Peanut Butter Pie

Key Lime Pie (Best Recipe)

Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes
Calories

553

kcal

This recipe for Key lime pie is the best you’ll ever have! Learn how to make it, plus, get tips for an unforgettable pie.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sweetened condensed milk

  • 3/4 cup Key lime juice

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest

  • 1 9-inch prepared graham cracker crust

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, Key lime juice, and zest into a large mixing bowl. Mix it until just combined and creamy.
  • Pour the pie filling into a pre-made graham cracker crust and place it in the oven.
  • Bake it for 5-8 minutes or until the bubbles on the surface burst. The edges will be firm, while the inside will slightly jiggle.
  • Cool it on a wire rack until it comes to room temperature. Once it’s at room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least one hour to overnight.
  • Garnish it with fresh whipped cream before serving, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don’t add more lime zest, as it can turn bitter
  • The pie should be slightly jiggly when it comes out of the oven. That’s normal!
  • Give the pie overnight to chill, if you can
Key Lime Pie

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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