Describe your BEST Key Lime Pie…is it citrusy, sweet-tart, creamy — with the perfect sweet to-pucker ratio; light and bright with a crisp not-to-sweet graham cracker crust? Well look no further…you found it! — PIN it NOW you have found the best Key Lime Pie!
Last weekend after a long, hot day at a swim meet, we invited dear friends, Scott & Wendy for dinner to celebrate his birthday! I was a bit late asking what his favorite dessert was, but was able to whip this up just in time for dinner that night.
It does take a bit of pre-planning as it needs to cool and then chilled a couple of hours before being eaten, but WOW! If you are a key lime anything lover you will L O V E this crazy good Key Lime Pie!
I’ve had this recipe from Souffle Bombay in my “MAKE SOON” file, which grows faster than I can make and bake things. I made a few modifications to it, but I know why it’s a Prize Winning recipe! Ooh-the perfect Key Lime Pie!
HOW TO MAKE A GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
Start by making the crust as it will need to bake and cool prior to placing your filling in it.
Preheat your oven to 350° and gather your ingredients.
Melt your butter and set aside, I love my butter melter, I still do it on the stovetop, so my microwave doesn’t get splattered.
In a food processor or blender (I just used my Ninja – love it) whir your crackers into fine crumbs. Or place crackers in a gallon sized freezer baggie, crush your graham crackers; if using a baggie, I like to hand crush them as I’m putting them in, then using a rolling pin, roll back and forth until the crumbs are about the same size.
1 1/2 – 2 sleeves of graham cracker equals about 2 cups. You can use store bought Graham Cracker Crumbs, but honestly it’s so easy and fresh to make your own.
Pour in sugar, pulse a few times, then pour in butter and pulse, or just mix with a fork as I’ve done here.
Reserve about 1/8 cup of graham cracker crumbs for topping, if desired.
TIP | Easily convert this recipe to gluten free, by substituting gluten free grahams and egg free (simply omit the eggs, it will still set up)!
Press the graham mixture into your pie plate. I chose a 9″ large rimmed deep dish pie plate, so I could easily press the crumbs all of the way up the edges. Using my knuckles (knucks!!) I gently pressed into the sides and smoothed the edges/tops creating a pretty fluted edge.
Carefully place the crust in the preheated oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. You want it golden, not brown.
TIP | If you are in a hurry, allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then place in freezer for 20 minutes until pie plate is cool to the touch. Careful you don’t put it somewhere it will get scraped or bumped, the crust is still rather fragile.
While you cool your crust, make your key lime filling. I’ve decided that’s my new phrase when I tell one of my kids to simmer down or cool your jets, I’ll say instead, “Cool your crust, dude!”
HOW TO MAKE THE KEY LIME FILLING
Wash and dry the limes and get out your zester, zesting just the green part of the lime, not into the bitter white “pith.” This microplane is my favorite zester, I use it for everything from zesting citrus, to grating chocolate, nutmeg and nuts, and I love it’s a small profile.
It took 24 Key Limes to get a little over 2/3 of a cup of juice, plus 1 Persian lime to get it up to 3/4 cup lime juice. I reserved one key lime to use as garnish.
Can’t Find Key Limes?
If you can’t find fresh Key Limes in the store, I can tell you that I’ve used regular (larger) Persian limes for other Key Lime recipes and honestly haven’t been able to tell the difference. I do much prefer fresh over bottled juice, but if you must, I like this brand of Key Lime Juice.
Now that you’ve done the hardest part, pour the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice, egg* yolks and lime zest into the bowl of a mixer (I love this type of recipe, where you just dump and mix) and beat on low until combined, then increase speed and beat medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scraping down the sides every now and then. It should be thick and creamy.
NOTE | You’ll need 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk (I used organic), but will only use about 2 1/4 of the cans, check out this post from Bon Appétit and this one from Serious Eats on what to do with leftover condensed milk. I’ve drizzled over cinnamon rolls and cakes, but have never put it in my coffee, um, YUM! Transfer to a glass jar though and refrigerate.
*EGG ALLERGY | The eggs may be omitted if allergies, they provide a bit of the lift and creaminess and enhance the color of the pie au naturel, but it will still set up just fine.
Pour mixture into cooled graham cracker crust.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, just until filling wiggles a bit in the center when gently shaken back and forth, careful you don’t allow it brown.
Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then place in fridge for 3 hours before serving (you can still serve earlier, it just won’t be quite as set as it will a bit later.
A beauty isn’t it! While the pie is cooling, make your whipped cream, it’s optional, but does add a beautiful touch.
HOW TO GARNISH WITH REAL WHIPPED CREAM
In a cool mixing bowl (sometimes I’ll put mine in the freezer for a few minutes if it’s a hot day) pour your cold whipping cream (heavy cream) into the mixing bowl and using a hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Add in powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until firm, more firm than you are used to, you want it nice and thick, almost to butter!
Scoop whipped cream into a piping bag with a tip (this is a good starter set), and keep in the coldest part of your fridge until the pie is completely cooled and ready to serve.
No piping bag/tip? No problem, scoop whipped cream into a sandwich baggie and once ready to pipe, snip off a corner to desired size — about 1/2 inch), pipe as desired.
Garnish, if desired with a whipped cream, slices of lime, reserved graham cracker crumbs, and grated lime zest.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Scott & Wendy asked for small slices (we’re all watching our wastes aren’t we), they each went back for seconds! It’s that good! Scott said his test for a really great Key Lime Pie is that his cheeks feel like someone ran ice cubes over them!
I thought he was kidding, then he had me feel his face and IT WAS cooler than the rest of his face, ever heard of such a thing? By the way, his wife was right there along with my husband (who felt it too) — nothing weird about it at all!
PIN IT HERE!
Love Key Lime Pie? Give these other fresh lime-y recipes a try:
This recipe was lightly adapted from Souffle Bombay’s Prize Winning Key Lime Pie.
I’m sharing this recipe on a few of my favorite link parties. Simply click on the links below to see other amazing recipes and join the fun!Print
The BEST Key Lime Pie
This is the BEST Key Lime Pie…citrusy, sweet-tart — the perfect sweet to-pucker ratio; light and bright with a crisp not-to-sweet graham cracker crust!
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 3 hours 3 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 28 mins
- Yield: 8-10 slices 1x
- Category: Pie
- Method: Refrigerator
- Cuisine: American
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs* (about 1 1/2–2 full sleeves of graham crackers) Substitute with Gluten free if desired.
- 1/4 cup sugar, I like all natural cane sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
KEY LIME FILLING
- 3 cups (24 oz) sweetened condensed milk* (I used Organic)
- 1/2 cup sour cream (I used organic)
- 2–3 Key Lime zest (or 1–2 regular), washed dried and zested
- 3/4 cup Key Lime juice*, washed, squeezed* (about 24–25 Key Limes, or 3–6 Persian Limes)
- 2 egg yolks (omit if making egg free)
- 8 oz Heavy Whipping Cream (I used organic), very cold
- 2–3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3–4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 reserved key lime, cut into little slices and placed on whipped cream dollups
- Zest from regular lime, sprinkled over the top
- 1/4 cup reserved Graham Cracker Crumbs sprinkled on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- Melt butter and set aside
- Finely crush graham crackers in food processor, blender or freezer baggie with rolling pin until all the same size.
- Add in sugar and pulse a few times until blended, pour in butter and stir with fork or pulse a couple times until mixed.
- Reserve 1/4 cup crumb mixture for topping, if desired.
- Pour crust mixture into 9″ deep dish pie dish and using hands, press into bottom and up sides, evenly. I like to use my knuckles to give it a fluted look on the edges.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, just golden, not browned.
- Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.
- * If needed, cool for 10 minutes on rack, then transfer to freezer for 20-30 minutes to cool completely.
KEY LIME FILLING
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and zest your limes needed, set zest aside until ready to use.
- Squeeze lime juice into 1 cup measuring cup until 3/4 cup is measured.
- Pour lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, egg yolks (if using) and zest into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low until combined, then increase to medium-high for 2-3 minutes.
- Scraping down sides once or twice.
- Pour Key Lime filling into COOLED graham cracker crust.
- Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until center is set, but still jiggles slightly when shaken.
- DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN.
- Remove from oven to cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes.
- Place in fridge for at least 3 hours — if you remove sooner it will still taste good, it will just not be quite as set if you had let it sit longer in the fridge.
WHIPPED CREAM AND GARNISH
- While your pie is cooling, make whipped cream.
- Pour cold whipping cream into cool bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Add vanilla and powdered sugar, mixing on low until combined, then increase to speed to medium-high and whip until thick, almost to a light butter stage.
- Scoop out and into piping bag with star tip.
- Whipped cream in bag may be kept in fridge until ready to garnish pie.
- Garnish with whipping cream stars, a little lime zest, graham cracker crumbs and a slice of lime.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve and chill all leftovers.
GLUTEN FREE | Make this gluten free by swapping GF Graham crumbs for regular.
EGG FREE | Omit eggs all together, will still set up nicely.
CONDENSED MILK | Buy 3-14 oz cans o sweetened condensed milk, use about 2 1/4 cans and save balance for other use. Transfer into glass jar and store in fridge, try a spoonful in your coffee. Google other uses from Serious Eats and Bon Appetit.
KEY LIMES | May substitute regular Persian Limes or purchase Key Lime Juice (usually on the baking isle).
Recipe lightly adapted from Souffle Bombay.
Keywords: key lime pie, best, worlds best, graham cracker crust, gluten free option, egg free option, easter dessert, st patrick's day dessert, mother's day dessert, pie, refrigerator
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