This Key Lime Pie is deliciously tart, airy, light, and refreshing! An easy, updated version of a classic, this is the best key lime pie recipe ever! Such an elegant dessert that is always a favorite!

Closeup of pie in white pie plate with dollops of whipped cream with thin lime slices standing on end in the whipped cream.  // addapinch.com

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 recipe! I think you are going to love it too!

Side view of pie on marble counter with lime slices standing in clouds of whipped cream. ©addapinch.com

How to Make Key Lime Pie

After experimenting with various changes in the method of making 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.

Ingredients

Here’s how I create this absolutely delicious and favorite Key Lime Pie:

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Graham Cracker Crust – My homemade crust is delicious and simple to make. Do not pre-bake the crust for this pie but chill in the refrigerator according to the crust recipe instructions prior to making this pie. If you are short on time, you can use one from the store.
  • eggs – Separate the whites from the yolks, saving both. 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.
  • sweetened condensed milk – If not using this homemade recipe, then you can use some from the store.
  • fresh key lime juice and fresh lime juice and lime zest – This recipe uses a combination of lime juices – key lime and lime. The combination of key limes and other limes gives the pie a delicious sweet, tart flavor. If you can not find key limes, you can use Persian limes and zest. If you must, you can use pure key lime juice in the bottle. The zest is optional, but the lime zest amps up the lime flavor! And using fresh juices results in the best flavor. To juice the fresh limes, you’ll need 12-16 key limes and 2-3 regular limes.
  • lemon juice
  • sugar – Use granulated sugar
  • optionallime slices for garnish
  • whipped cream – Along with adorning the key lime pie with fresh lime slices, this pie would not be complete without topping it with my easy, delicious homemade Whipped Cream. It is the crowning glory of this airy, light, and zesty dessert that you really don’t want to miss.

Lesson on Limes

Zest your limes before you juice them. (It’s not easy to zest a lime that you’ve already cut and juiced.) The zest adds a deeper lime flavor to the pie. It’s optional, but I hope you add it because it makes the pie so…zesty!

Look for the ripe, plump limes. For key limes, dark green ones are not ripe. You can leave them on the counter for a few days or place the key limes next to other fruit for a couple of days to allow them to get ripe faster (within a day or two). They begin to yellow as they ripen.

Roll the limes on a hard surface before juicing. This will “soften” the limes and help them to release the juices easier.

Key Lime Pie with dollops of whipped cream and lime slices | ©addapinch.com

Step-by-Step Instructions

Make the crust.

This recipe calls for my graham cracker crust. It will need to chill in the refrigerator according to the recipe instructions prior to filling.

Combine pie ingredients.

Whisk the egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, lime juices, lime zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl until well-combined.

Beat egg whites.

Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. Gradually add in granulated sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy and soft peaks form.

Spoon into the pie crust.

Gently fold the beaten egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and carefully spoon it into the prepared graham cracker crust.

Bake, then chill.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned, and the pie filling just sets 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.

Garnish and serve.

Garnish the chilled key lime pie with whipped cream and thin lime slices if you are using them. Slice and serve. Refrigerate the remaining pie after serving for up to 3 days.

Closeup of pie with limes and whipped cream on marble countertop ©addapinch.com

This key lime 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find key limes?

You can use Persian limes instead.

Does key lime pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes. After serving, refrigerate within 2 hours. Key Lime Pie should last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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 it!

Key Lime Pie Recipe

5 from 11 votes
This updated key lime pie recipe comes together quickly and chills to a perfect light and airy consistency for an elegant key lime pie you’ll love.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 Graham Cracker Crust
  • 3 large (150 g) eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups (386 g) sweetened condensed milk , or 1 (14-ounce) can, store-bought
  • 1/2 cup (121 g) key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (60.5 g) lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) lemon juice
  • (4 g) zest of 1 key lime, optional, about 2 teaspoons
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar
  • lime slices, optional
  • whipped cream

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

If key limes are not available, regular Persian limes may be used for juice and zest.

Storage Instructions

After serving, refrigerate any remaining key lime pie within 2 hours. It should last covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Two photos of key lime pies with whipped cream and limes- with text // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2011.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




69 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Should a quarter cup of lime juice be changed to 1/4 cup of lime zest? Recipe instructions mention lime zest as well as the lime juice. I really enjoy your recipes and I am a subscriber.

    1. Georgette, I would add the 1/4 cup lime juice plus the zest of one lime which is about 2 teaspoons. I hope you enjoy the pie.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    Awesome light and airy dessert bursting with lime flavour! Served 4 adults as noone could stop eating it. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    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!

  6. 5 stars
    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!

  7. 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,
    Josephine Gee
    BC, Canada

    1. 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

  8. 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!!’

    1. Hi Stacey,
      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.