Authentic Key Lime Pie Recipe (2024)

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Authentic key lime pie with sweetened condensed milk and a graham cracker crust is a super easy recipe.

The Key West recipe combines sweet and tart flavors into a delicious and satisfying dessert – it’s a true taste of the Florida Keys!

The Best Key Lime Pie Recipe

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I’ve lived in Florida for almost 20 years now and first learned about the pie when I moved here. I had eaten lemon meringue pie but never key lime.

The key lime adds a different flavor to the pie and a bit more tartness, and there are quite a few ways to make authentic key lime pie recipes, as well.

Some people like to add sour cream to the pie, which I will always eat, but I like to make the simpler version, which is what I am sharing today.

As always, the pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, which makes everything delicious!

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Using Juice or Squeezing Key Limes

For this traditional key lime pie recipe, you can use key lime juice from a jar, which is what I chose to do, or squeeze fresh key limes.

Squeezing the key limes gives you more fresh key lime juice, and you can add some key lime zest, but I also like the simplest of recipes, and having the juice already squeezed and ready to go works great for me.

This pie recipe is a bit of a softer tart-tasting pie, so you can always add more juice if you’d like–and adding some zest will help add more tart flavor, as well.

My kids love tart foods that they can feel in their jawbones, right underneath their teeth–you know what I’m talking about.

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Sweetened Condensed Milk Desserts

The recipe calls for a special ingredient, and I’m not sure there are too many things in this world better than sweetened condensed milk because it’s truly heaven in a can–thick, creamy, sweet, and perfect. And it makes a sweet filling for any pie.

As I’ve said before, I will risk cutting my tongue to lick the can. Every time. It’s so worth it.

The condensed milk has been around for over 150 years and is an ingredient in hundreds of recipes throughout the world, such as lemon meringue pie, chocolate pie, brownies, cookies, and much more.

It’s perfect in this key lime pie filling because it creates the perfect balance between tart and creamy sweet.

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What Do I Need to Make Key Lime Pie?

(Full recipe and printable instructions listed at the bottom of the post)

  • Egg yolks
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Lime juice
  • Graham cracker crust
  • Key lime zest (optional)
  • Whipped topping (optional)
  • Meringue topping (optional)

Other desserts with sweetened condensed milk

  • Hello Dolly Bars
  • Buckeye Brownies
  • Pound Cake with Sweetened Condensed Milk
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How Do I Make the Key Lime Pie with Sweetened Condensed Milk?

  1. Start by adding the egg yolks to a medium-sized bowl and mix for a couple of minutes (you will be cooking the pie for a few minutes in a later step).
  2. Next, add the sweetened condensed milk to the bowl and mix the two ingredients together.
  3. Add the lime juice to the pie, mix well, and pour the key lime filling into the graham cracker pie shell.
  4. Finally, bake the whole pie for 15 minutes and allow it to cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Step-By-Step Instructions

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Firstly, add the egg yolks to a medium-sized bowl and mix with an electric mixer or stand mixer for about three minutes to get them fluffy.

I didn’t make meringue for the top of the pie for this recipe, but you can certainly do that. If you decide to make meringue, save the egg whites from the recipe, and you can use those to make meringue.

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Secondly, pour the sweetened condensed milk into the bowl with the egg yolks.

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Mix the two ingredients together on medium to high speed until well blended.

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Thirdly, pour the lime juice into the bowl and mix it together.

This is real key lime juice, but from a jar.

Some grocery stores may not have key limes available, so you can either get the juice or use regular limes.

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Finally, pour the key lime pie mixture into the graham cracker crust and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you are going to add meringue on top, add it just before you place the pie into the oven and bake until the stiff peaks are golden brown, along with the rest of the top.

I used a pre-made 9-inch graham cracker pie crust for this recipe that I bought at the store to save time.

If you want to make a homemade graham cracker crust for the recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter

You can use the food processor to grind the graham cracker crumbs and then add the sugar and butter.

Press the mixture into a 9-inch greased pie pan.

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Once the pie cooks, remove it from the oven. Let it cool on a wire rack at room temperature for about 30 minutes or so, and then place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours to set up.

Top with whipped topping for a creamy and tart dessert, or make some meringue to go on top.

Tips and Some Variety for Making Key Lime Pie

Making Key Lime Pie can be a fun experience, especially if want to recreate the classic taste of the Florida Keys. Here are some tips to help you along and ways to add variety.

  • Choice of Limes: While True Key Lime Pie uses key limes, you can substitute them with regular limes if you can’t find them at your grocery store. Bottled Key lime juice like Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice is a great alternative, too.
  • Regular Lime Juice as a Substitute: If key lime juice isn’t available, regular lime juice works well. You’ll need enough juice to give that tangy flavor, but remember, the taste will be slightly different.
  • Graham Cracker Crust: Make a homemade crust using graham crackers for an authentic touch. Mix crushed crackers with a bit of melted butter and brown sugar for added sweetness. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate using the bottom of a measuring cup.
  • Greek Yogurt for a Twist: For a healthier version, consider using Greek yogurt in your homemade Key Lime Pie recipe. It’s a great recipe variation for those on a calorie-restricted or medically restrictive diet.
  • Decoration: Garnish with lime slices and whipped topping for a fresh, vibrant look. This adds to the visual appeal and hints at the flavors within.
  • Storage Tips: If you have leftovers, key lime pie bars are a great way to repurpose them. Just cut the pie into bars and store them in an airtight container.

What Do I Do with Leftover Key Lime Pie?

You can cover the pie with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.

More Favorite Pie Recipes:

  • Coconut cream pie – the recipe is made with heavy cream, toasted coconut, sugar, and more for a super delicious and creamy pie.
  • Maple pecan pie – this is your traditional pecan pie but without corn syrup. The maple syrup gives it a wonderfully deep and delicious taste.
  • Chocolate cream pie – you can’t ever go wrong with chocolate. The recipe is made with five ingredients, and you can make your own graham cracker crust with this pie, as well.
  • Cream pie from the Preppy Kitchen is out-of-this-world scrumptious. The recipe combines custard and whipped cream for a wonderfully delicious recipe.

Classic Key Lime Pie Recipe

Whipping up an easy Key Lime Pie recipe is a breeze, and biting into that creamy, tangy filling in a buttery graham cracker crust is always a joy.

It’s the perfect treat to cool down on a hot summer day and a delicious addition to your list of favorite desserts!

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Key Lime Pie with Sweetened Condensed Milk

Yield: 8 slices

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Additional Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Key lime pie with sweetened condensed milk is a super easy recipe and combines sweet and tart flavors into a delicious and satisfying dessert.


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest (optional)
  • Whipped topping (optional)
  • 9 inch pre-made graham cracker crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl for about 3 minutes to get fluffy.
  3. Combine egg yolks with sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
  4. Add the key lime juice and mix well.
  5. Next, add the key lime zest (optional) and mix well.
  6. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and refrigerate for at least two hours to set up.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 358Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 8g

Nutrition is approximate.

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Authentic Key Lime Pie Recipe (2024)
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