This easy Key Lime Pie is tart and sweet, super creamy and bursting with fresh lime flavor. We use a homemade graham cracker crust as the base, filling it to the brim with a smooth and creamy no-bake filling.
Best Key Lime Pie Recipe From Scratch
It’s easy to see why Key Lime Pie is an American classic. Somehow it manages to pack a serious punch despite using very few ingredients and being incredibly simple to make. The “key,” so to speak, is to use fresh limes rather than bottled. Key limes are a bit more tart and have a distinctly floral smell, so if you can find them by all means use those. Otherwise, regular limes make a fine substitute.
The star of our absolute best Key Lime Pie recipe is an eggless, no-bake filling. It’s made with cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and freshly whipped cream. If you want to make this a no-bake Key Lime Pie, you can go ahead and freeze the graham cracker crust rather than baking it. Add your filling into the frozen crust and voila!
We recommend finishing with extra homemade whipped cream and garnishing with fresh lime zest or lime slices.
Ingredients in Key Lime Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
- Butter - you’ll need to melt your butter for this pie crust. Either salted or unsalted will work, so use whichever you prefer.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs - you can either crush your own graham crackers using a rolling pin or purchase them already crushed.
- Sugar - this recipe calls for granulated sugar.
- Cinnamon - this is optional but adds a great flavor.
Key Lime Pie
- Whipping Cream - make sure that your heavy whipping cream is cold before you try and whip it.
- Cream Cheese - we recommend using full fat cream cheese for this recipe. Either pull it out to room temperature ahead of time, or soften gently in the microwave by warming for about 20 seconds at a time.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - you’ll need one can of sweetened condensed milk for this recipe. It adds sweetness, creaminess and body to the filling. Some recipes use sour cream, but we prefer the sweetness and texture of sweetened condensed milk.
- Key Limes - fresh key limes are best! You’ll need fresh key lime juice and the zest, so be sure and zest first. If you can’t find key limes, the next best thing is regular limes. Bottled key lime juice will work in a pinch, but fresh is always preferable.
- Fresh Whipped Cream - we always top this pie with a hefty mound of fresh whipped cream. It compliments the tartness of the pie perfectly.
How to Make Easy Key Lime Pie
- Make the graham cracker crust. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon (if using). Mix well with a spoon or spatula. Transfer the mixture into a 9" pie pan and press firmly into the bottom and sides using the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Bake the crust (or freeze). For a no-bake crust, transfer to the freezer for at least 1 hour before filling. Otherwise, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
- Make the key lime filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Add the room temperature cream cheese to the stand mixer bowl and beat until fluffy using the paddle attachment. Turn off the mixer and add the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest, then mix on low to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat again until fluffy and smooth.
- Pour into the crust. Gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula, then pour the filling into your prepared graham cracker crust.
- Chill. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
- Serve. Top with fresh whipped cream and lime slices before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Since key limes come from the Florida keys, they aren’t always available everywhere. If you can’t find fresh key limes, the next best substitute are Persian limes, or “regular” limes. The main difference is that key limes are smaller and a bit more tart with an almost floral smell. Regular limes are still a better substitute than bottled key lime juice, but that will also work in a pinch.
It is not recommended that you freeze this particular Key Lime Pie. The filling holds quite a bit of moisture that will create a soggy mess once it thaws.
Key Lime Pie is one of those things that is meant to be eaten within about 24 hours of making. The filling has a lot of moisture, making the crust soggy after a day or so. You can, however, make the graham cracker crust ahead of time. If can be store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Refrigerator: store your Key Lime Pie in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Graham Cracker Crust: you can make this ahead of time and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.
Key Lime Pie Recipe
Graham Cracker Crust
- 6 Tablespoons Butter melted
- 1 ½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
Key Lie Pie
- 1 ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- ½ cup Key Lime Juice
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Key Lime Zest
- 1 cup Whipped Cream for finishing
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon (if using). Mix well with a spoon or spatula.
- Transfer the mixture into a 9" pie plate and press firmly into the bottom and sides using the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 8 minutes, or until lightly golden.* Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling.
Key Lime Pie
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.
- Add the room temperature cream cheese to the stand mixer bowl and beat until fluffy using the paddle attachment. Turn off the mixer and add the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest, then mix on low to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat again until fluffy and smooth.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula, then pour the filling into your prepared graham cracker crust.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve. Top with fresh whipped cream and lime slices before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
More of Our Favorite Classic Homemade Pie Recipes
- Baked Peach Pie
- Butterscotch Coconut Cream Pie
- Fresh Peach and Raspberry Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Caramel Pecan Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
- More Best Pie Recipes
- More No-Bake Desserts
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This is hands down the best Key Lime Pie recipe that we've tried. It uses a homemade graham cracker crust as the base and has a smooth and creamy no-bake filling that is packed with fresh lime flavor.