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This Key Lime Pie Recipe is deliciously tart, airy, light and refreshing! An easy, updated version of a classic recipe, this is simply the best key lime pie ever! Such an elegant dessert that is always a favorite!
Key Lime Pie is one of my husband’s favorite pies. For years, I professed that I didn’t particularly care for it. I always thought they were a bit too dense and either too tart or not tart enough. I’m picky, but I thought there had to be a fine balance and wanted an updated version of the classic.
So, I experimented until I created absolutely the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted!
Favorite Key Lime Pie Recipe
After experimenting with various changes in the method of making a this classic pie, along with subtle changes in the ingredients, I finally achieved a lighter, fluffier pie. It’s pure perfection in my opinion, as well as those to whom I’ve served it. It’s now my go-to key lime pie recipe.
How did I create this updated version of this pie?
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Well for one, I use the whole egg.
While the egg yolks give the key lime pie such richness, the egg whites help to give the pie a lift. It alters the texture from a dense, thick custard to a silky, cloud-like confection. It might not be for everyone, but everyone that I’ve served it to has absolutely raved about it.
The second thing I do is add in a bit of zest from the limes. Along with the lime juice in the recipe, the fresh lime zest amps up the lime flavor and makes the pie a whole lot more interesting and well, zesty!
Another important part of this pie is my easy homemade Graham Cracker Crust recipe. It’s simple to make, but if you are short on time you can always use one from the store. I just think homemade crust is so much tastier!
Along with adorning the pie with fresh lime slices, this pie would not be complete without topping it with my Perfect Whipped Cream. It is the crowing glory to this airy, light and zesty dessert that you really don’t want to miss.
This pie is perfect anytime, but I especially love to serve it in the warmer months of the year. It’s one of the most refreshing desserts and always a hit. I really do believe it’s the best and hope you think so too!
More Favorite Pies
I have many pie recipes and some to enjoy during any season or holiday. But here are a few more I love to serve during spring and summer, especially!
Coconut Cream Pie – a coconut lover’s dream!
Strawberry Pie – perfect for fresh strawberries!
Instant Pot Oreo Cheesecake – cool, creamy and easy to make!
Here’s my update to the classic Key Lime Pie Recipe. Give it a try sometime soon. I really think you’ll like the changes!
Key Lime Pie Recipe
- 1 Graham Cracker Crust
- 3 large eggs separated
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk or 1 (14-ounce) can, store-bought
- 1/2 cup key lime juice
- zest of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- lime slices optional
for the whipped cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- Whisk egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl until well-combined.
- Beat egg whites with an electric mixture until they begin to foam. Gradually add in granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy and soft peaks have formed. Gently fold into egg yolk mixture and carefully spoon into the prepared graham cracker crust.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and set throughout. Remove from the oven and chill on a wire rack. Lightly cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours.
- For serving, remove from springform pan, if using, and top with whipped cream and lime slices. Slice and serve.
- Top with the whipped cream, if using.
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From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2011.
I’m such a sucker for a classic key lime pie!! This looks lovely!
I’m with Katrina!
Sure wish I had a teeny little slice right now!…looks so refreshing!
The one thing I love more than chocolate layer cake is key lime pie. It’s my absolute favorite. I will definitely be making this with the egg whites.
Yes! You can use the bottled key lime juice in place of fresh. If possible, I would recommend fresh lime zest, whenever you can. It makes a noticeable difference.
There is something so refreshing about Key Lime Pie. You know I’m pinning it!
This is such a gorgeous pie, Robyn! So fresh, tropical and summery. I want a big slice… and a margarita on the side!
I simply can not resist key lime pie! This looks fantastic!
This is gorgeous! You can’t go wrong with pie. Yum!
Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! I’m trying this one next. Question: should the pie crust be pre-baked?
I do not prebake the pie crust for this key lime pie. Of course, you are welcome to but I like the texture of a firmly chilled graham cracker crust that just bakes along with the pie for this pie instead of pre-baked.
Thanks for the tip… made the pie this past weekend and my husband loved it!
I used bottled key lime juice and zest from fresh Persian limes, and did not prebake the crust. Very tangy (good!) and fluffy. The crust is perfect, will use this recipe instead of any other Graham cracker crusts from now on.
Thanks, Cathy! xo
I made your Key Lime pie yesterday. Just awesome…so light and creamy. You have some of the best recipes on your
site. So I’m always trying new recipes that wind up becoming keepers. Thanks!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the key lime pie and thank you for your sweet comment! xo
This pie certainly looks beautiful, and I’m sure it tastes just as good.
I love Key Lime Pie, and this looks glorious! Thanks!
I love Key Lime Pie! What is the size of the springform pan you used? 🙂
Can’t wait ti try this key lime pie recipe.
1. What size spring form pan should I use?
2. Can I freeze its pie?
I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you, Katie! I know how frustrating that can be when you try a recipe and it doesn’t turn out right for you.
I must say a HUGE thank you for this recipe. My family loved it so much they asked me to make it again. I did change it slightly in that I didn’t use the crust, I made it in a pastry case and it worked out perfectly.
Thank you again for a slice of heaven.
I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Kate!
I love coconut cream pie. Your’s is out of this world yummy! Thank you, Robyn.
Best KLP recipe I’ve tried and my son, the world’s harshest critic of KLP, said it was his favorite. Making again today.
I would like to try this recipe, but don’t have sweetened condensed milk, could I use coconut milk instead?
Funny, in honor of pi day, I made a key lime pie as well. I use the recipe on Nellie & Joe’s key lime juice, but next time, I’ll try adding a white or two.
That is funny! I hope you enjoy the difference it makes! xo
I have the question others asked. Although first, what did you make the pie in, pie pan or springform?? And if springform, what size? Looks delicious; want to try it and would rather make in the springform I think…
I used a pie plate for mine. You can use a springform pan, if you prefer. I hope that helps! xo
Love Key Lime Pie!! It never lasts with my son around though, lol. Love the share 🙂
It goes quickly around here too, Cori! 😉 Thanks! xo
I love your recipes! This morning I tried to whip up this key lime pie and I struggled with folding in the egg whites. I’m certain that this comes down to my lack of experience. My question for you is: Is it possible to over beat the egg whites? They seemed too stiff and when I tried to fold them into the egg yolk mixture, it broke up into a curdled-looking mixture and didn’t seem to blend in well. Before folding in the egg whites, they were firm but not light and airy, they were rather dense looking.
Thanks for your delicious recipes! I look forward to trying this one again!
I’m so happy that you enjoy the recipes! I love hearing that!
I’m sorry, but it does sound possible that your whites might have been over beaten – especially since you say they were firm and dense looking.
I hope you enjoy this pie if you decide to give it another try.
Thanks so much! xo
We loved this pie! The revisions you made are terrific. This will now be my go-to key lime pie recipe. Thank you.
I have never really cooked before so I don’t know my way around the kitchen. I made everything exactly to your instructions. But I don’t own a spring for pie dish. I used a glass one and set the temp to 325 however I almost had to double the time for it to be firm all across and the top was a teeny tiny bit golden. Looked like your picture. Also I made the graham cracker crust to your recipe and did not pre-cook. Should I have? It’s cooling now and will go in the fridge over night. I can’t wait to taste it! The limes were the best from my friends trees. I’ve been using your limeade recipe for a few weeks now. Everyone loves the limeade! So hopefully the pie will be just as good!
It is fine if you don’t use a springform pan. I don’t pre-bake my graham cracker crust for this pie so you did the right thing. Hope you love this pie. Glad you like the limeade recipe. Let me know how you like the pie.!
I made this for a retirement party and everyone who got a piece actually loved it. One person couldn’t wait for dessert and took one eighth of the pie when it was actually time to serve it. The person who was retiring claimed it was the best key lime pie she had ever had! Thank you for this great recipe.
I’m so happy everyone liked the key lime pie. Hope your friend enjoys retirement! Thanks! xo
The key lime pie was extraordinary! I followed your directions to a T and so glad I did. The crust was simple and so much better than a bought one. The pie itself so much lighter and just delicious. My only problem is that I should have made two so I could keep one just for myself!!
Thanks so much, Charlene! So glad you enjoyed the pie. Some days just seem like a two pie day, don’t they! xo
Following your recipes for a long time and whenever I get time I make one of them. All my family member love that. On this weekend I am going to try this recipe.
Thanks, Raushan! Hope you enjoy the pie!
Hi Robyn! I hope I don’t sound stupid, but is there a difference between key lime juice and regular lime juice? I don’t believe I have ever seen key lime juice in the grocery store( though I never looked for it before). Thanks.
It may be hard to find key limes year round in the grocery store. If you can’t find the key limes in your grocery store, you can use regular limes you find there for this pie. Enjoy!
Hi Terri, If I may offer an answer, there is a huge difference between Key limes (now from Mexico, since a hurricane wiped out the Key lime groves in the Florida Keys), and Persian (regular) limes. Here in Washington state, grocery stores and Walmarts both carry bagged Key limes, which are usually green (unripe and a pain to squeeze, but better than bottled). I tried making a Key lime and a Persian lime pie at the same time, and everyone who tried it confirmed that the Persian lime pie was underwhelming. Maybe fine if you don’t have a Key lime pie to compare it to, but the Key lime pie has so much more punch.
I’m not sure why you’d need to add lemon juice to a Key lime pie, as the recipe here suggests, but if you’re making a Persian lime pie, the lemon juice might add some extra kick. But please don’t call it a Key lime pie unless there’s Key lime juice in it. That’s like calling something a rhubarb pie, even though you used strawberries instead.
Lastly, if you can’t find fresh Key limes, and want to try bottled, Nellie and Joe’s sells “100% Key Lime Juice” on their website, but their top seller is something called “Key West Lime Juice.” I don’t know if or how much actual Key lime juice is in that second one. “Key West Lime Juice” sounds to me like Persian lime juice with other ingredients, bottled in Key West, and labelled to confuse people into thinking it’s Key lime juice. But that’s my own speculation. So far, I haven’t been able to get them to confirm the actual ingredients.
Try to find Key limes for your pie! They’re so good!
I saw a quick pic of what looked like either a cake or brownies with small Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and covered with a couple of syrups. What was it and can you publish the recipe? It looked amazing!!’
I’m not sure what photo you saw. I have a recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Blondies and one for Peanut Butter Cup Brookies. Maybe one of these is the picture you saw. Thanks.
This is my go to recipe for special occasions…I’ve made it numerous times and it’s absolutely a winner! I lived five years in the Caribbean and this pie is as authentic as the ones I had there. Wondering if you have a Coconut Cream Pie recipe you could pass on to me..
Thank you so much for that compliment, Jo. I have several chocolate pie recipes you might like to try – French Silk Pie Recipe, Chocolate Chess Pie, and Chocolate Espresso Ganache Pie Recipe. xo
You absolutely nailed it with this recipe! The egg whites add the perfect balance to the dense pie. It’s super easy to make and was a huge hit at Easter dinner. This is one of my favorite desserts and I am so happy to have found the perfect recipe!
Thank you so much, Carey. I’m so happy you loved this recipe. xo
This pie is excellent! I made it exactly except I goofed and had the oven at 350 instead of 325. It cracked through the middle but it was not over cooked at all. It’s the first time making key lime pie for me and it was a huge hit. I used regular limes as key limes are not available. Thank you!
Awesome light and airy dessert bursting with lime flavour! Served 4 adults as noone could stop eating it. 🙂
I’m so happy everyone loved the pie Chelsey. Thanks.
I have been getting Recipes from Addapinch for years.
Thanks, Marlys. I hope you have enjoyed many of these recipes.
Would pie crust for this be put in frig for an hour before adding the filling and then baking 15-20 mins with filling as opposed to 7/8 mins in oven for “no bake filling”? Just want to be sure I prepare crust correctly.
Conchetta, I do not prebake the pie crust for this key lime pie. Of course, you are welcome to but I like the texture of a firmly chilled graham cracker crust that just bakes along with the pie for this pie instead of pre-baked. I hope you enjoy!
I tried your recipe for Coconut Cream Pie and it was amazing! So I thought I would look up another one of your pie recipes. I am confused on this recipe for Key Lime Pie. The recipe calls for 3 eggs (separated) yet in your remarks above the recipe you say you use whole eggs. My question is, if I use whole eggs is it still 3 eggs or is it less?
Karen, I use 3 whole eggs in this recipe, but I separate the yolks from the egg whites. I add the egg yolks to the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, etc. as listed in Step 2 of the Instructions. I then beat the eggs whites as instructed in Step 2 and add to the egg/milk mixture. Some key lime pie recipes only add the egg yolk. That’s what I mean by using the whole egg.