Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (2024)

Published: Modified: by Nina

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This authentic key lime pie starts with a homemade graham cracker crust, then a creamy sweet and tart filling, and fluffy toasted meringue. This is a cool and refreshing dessert, and perfect for summer!

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (1)

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  • 🥧A bright, citrusy dessert
  • 🥘Ingredients
  • 🔪Instructions
  • ✔️Expert tips
  • 💭FAQ's
  • 🔖Related recipes
  • 📋 Recipe

🥧A bright, citrusy dessert

Key lime pie is traditionally made with key limes, which are tropically grown and yellow when ripe. They also have more seeds than a regular lime. Here is a a description of how key lime vs lime, if you want more info.

If you can get your hands on key limes, then for sure, use them in this recipe. For anyone that can only find the regular green limes, then use those. That's all I could find, and this pie turned out with the perfect balance of lime flavour.

For more citrus desserts, try Italian Lemon Cream Cake, Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, or Lemon Pound Cake Loaf.

🥘Ingredients

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (2)

Ingredient notes

  • Limes - Key limes or regular limes both work in this recipe.
  • Whole milk - 2% milk can be substituted. I don't suggest a lighter fat milk than that though.
  • Unsalted butter - Salted butter can be used instead. Just omit the extra added salt.

🔪Instructions

Graham cracker crust

The crust is a graham cracker crust, which I think goes so well with this pie. To make it, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9" pie dish (I like to use butter), and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir together until the butter has been mixed into the other ingredients fully. Pour crust ingredients into the pie dish, and push the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

You could stop here and refrigerate the crust until the next day, or carry on making the pie.

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (3)

Key lime filling

To make the filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine and then mix in heavy whipping cream, milk, egg yolks, and lime juice. Over medium heat, whisk to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk for another couple of minutes until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and immediately add cold butter, lime zest, and vanilla. Whisk until combined and mixture has cooled. Allow filling to cool slightly at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then pour it into the crust and smooth into an even layer.

Meringue topping

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (4)

To make the meringue topping, preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Add sugar in, a tablespoon at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Spoon the meringue over the filling and spread it out so it touches the pie dish. This will prevent the meringue from shrinking. Rough it up a little so there are a lot of ridges that will brown nicely when toasting it.

Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. You could also use a blow torch to toast the topping. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, covered.

For more step by step pictures, view the web story for this key lime pie recipe!

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (5)

✔️Expert tips

  • Instead of a meringue topping, use a whipped cream topping instead.
  • Use freshly squeezed limes for best taste. Plus, you need the fresh zest for this recipe.
  • Zest the limes before squeezing their juices out. It is not easy to zest a lemon afterwards.
  • Feel free to use store bought graham cracker crust if you want.

💭FAQ's

Can I make this ahead?

The crust can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. The rest of the pie should be made the same day, because the crust will get soggy as it sits. It still tastes good though!

What is meringue topping made of?

Meringue topping is simply egg whites beaten with sugar and cream of tartar.

How do you toast meringue?

You can toast your meringue in the oven, or use a blow torch. Both work very well.

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (6)
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Let's Bake Together!

Step-by-step instructions are all written in my recipe below. If you liked it, please rate me 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!

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📋 Recipe

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Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (11)

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk}

Nina

This authentic key lime pie starts with a homemade graham cracker crust, then a creamy sweet and tart filling, and fluffy toasted meringue. This is a cool and refreshing dessert, and perfect for summer!

4.97 from 31 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 3 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 17 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine North American

Servings 8 slices

Calories 477 kcal

Equipment

  • One 9 inch pie dish

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Key Lime Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cold
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

Meringue Topping

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions

Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9" pie dish.

  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir together until the butter has been mixed into the other ingredients fully.

  • Pour crust ingredients into prepared pie dish, and push the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Key Lime Filling

  • Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine and then mix in heavy whipping cream, milk, egg yolks, and lime juice. Over medium heat, whisk to combine.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk for another couple of minutes until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

  • Remove from heat and immediately add cold butter, lime zest, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Allow filling to cool slightly at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then pour it into the crust and smooth into an even layer.

Meringue Topping

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

  • Add sugar in, a tablespoon at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Spoon the meringue over the filling and spread it out so it touches the pie dish. This will prevent the meringue from shrinking.

  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  • Instead of a meringue topping, use a whipped cream topping instead.
  • Key limes or regular limes both work in this recipe.
  • Use freshly squeezed limes for best taste. Plus, you need the fresh zest for this recipe.
  • Zest the limes before squeezing their juices out. It is not easy to zest a lemon afterwards.
  • 2% milk can be substituted for whole milk. I don't suggest a lighter fat milk than that though.
  • Feel free to use store bought graham cracker crust if you want.
  • Salted butter can be substituted for unsalted butter in the recipe. Just omit the extra added salt.

YOUR OWN NOTES

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Nutrition

Serving: 8gCalories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 6gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 230mgPotassium: 171mgFiber: 1gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 934IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 1mg

Tried this recipe? Follow me on Instagram!Mention @ninakneadstobake or tag #ninakneadstobake!

Authentic Key Lime Pie {without condensed milk} (2024)
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