Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (2024)

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What would the top Florida Keys food blog be without an authentic key lime pie recipe?

This traditional key lime pie recipe serves as the perfect refreshment after any delicious meal, and it's a no-bake key lime pie recipe.

Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (1)

Key Lime Pie From The Florida Keys

I try to keep everything low in sugar in our home. However, when friends and family visit from out of town, everyone looks forward to a key lime pie, so I make pies.

Making the pie is simple with traditional ingredients, including sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and a buttery graham cracker crust.

What is Florida KLP?

Classic KLP, also known as key lime pie, holds the official title of the state pie of Florida. The pie features a homemade crust and a key lime filling, often crowned with either whipped cream or fluffy meringue.

In Florida, particularly in the Keys, KLP is a staple on every restaurant menu. My kids' favorite variation is the one topped with meringue.

Where to Get Key Lime Pie in Key Largo

The most popular pie shop in the Upper Keys is The Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory. They have a variety of award-winning key lime pies, Key Lime Pie on a Stick, key lime candy, Cuban coffee, rum cake, and more.

There is a large lush tropical garden cafe in the back of the shop and it's very relaxing.

What's a Key Lime?

Key limes are small, round, yellow-green limes, approximately the size of golf balls, with a yellow or green exterior and a pale green interior. Despite their name, the juice extracted from these limes is yellow, not green.

This tart fruit is commonly used in co*cktails, cookies, and pies, and as a seasoning for seafood.

Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (2)

Where to Get Key Limes

The grocery store has many key limes, especially in Key Largo; they're imported from Mexico, and there's an ample supply in Florida stores.

If you can't find any, don't go crazy; use a green lime.

Regular limes, known as Persian limes, offer a slightly different taste but still work well for pies; you can obtain half a cup of juice from about 5 regular limes.

For added convenience, there's a local product called Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice, available in a bottle, which can be used to make a delicious pie. You can find it at most national grocery stores.

What You Need

Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (3)
  • Graham Crackers
  • Melted Butter (unsalted)
  • Key Limes, about 15 to make ½ cup of key lime juice
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk, 1 (14-oz.) can
  • Egg Yolks (4)
  • Heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and pure vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping

How to Make The Crust

Graham cracker crumbs are available in boxes at your local store, but I prefer to get a box of graham crackers and grind them up in my food processor. Each box contains 3 packages of crackers and you will need only one for this recipe.

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C) with a rack set in the center of the oven. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Melt unsalted butter in a small pot over medium heat.
  • While the butter is melting, place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have even-sized crumbs and there are no large pieces left.
  • Pour bread crumbs into the pot with melted butter and combine with a rubber spatula until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Pour the crumb mixture into the pie plate. Pat down the crumbs with a flat-bottomed glass or the bottom of a measuring cup, and build it up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before filling for about 40 minutes.
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How to Make Key Lime Pie Filling

To create a fantastic KLP, begin with fresh key lime juice. Halve and squeeze approximately 15 little limes into a measuring cup until you have half a cup of juice. Strain the juice using a small strainer to remove the seeds, and then chill it until ready to use.

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  • Separate four eggs, and place the yolks in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add a can of sweetened condensed milk and stir with a rubber spatula until there are no yellow streaks left.
  • Add the key lime juice and mix until combined. Be careful not to over mix or the filling will not set.
  • Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate until set, about one hour.
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For The Whipped Cream

  • To whip cream, a fun addition to your pie, pull out your electric mixer.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar and pour in a cup of heavy cream.
  • Beat on high until you have stiff peaks. Scoop the cream into a piping bag with a fluted tip and decorate your pie. Or, spoon the cream on top of individual slices of pie.

How to Serve Key Lime Pie

You can place the pie in the freezer for an hour or so before cutting. It might be easier. Sometimes they fall apart--yikes! But it's still good!

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A 9-inch pie yields 6 servings. Cut the pie in half and then cut each half into three.

Garnish with key lime zest, key lime slices, fresh raspberries, or strawberries.

How to Make a Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie

You can pick up a gluten-free pre-made graham cracker crust, made in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen at any grocery store in the Keys.

They are made by Mi-Del. Our recipe for the filling is gluten-free.

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World Famous Key Lime Pie in an Unlikely Place

On the waterfront in Red Hook, Brooklyn, facing the Statue of Liberty, sits Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies, a bakery located at 185 Van Dyke Street, right next to Fairway Market.

I went in with my son on a hot summer day and ordered an individual pie. We took one bite and nodded in agreement, we found a NYC culinary gem.

Right up there, my favorite places in NYC are Zabar's, Katz Deli, and Steve's Key Lime Pies.

Tourists from all over the world stop in Red Hook for Key Lime Pie!

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Steve Tarpin, a South Florida native, makes key lime pies with top-notch ingredients including homemade graham crackers and 100% freshly squeezed key lime juice

The pies are sold in grocery stores and many fine restaurants in New York.

Final thoughts

Key lime pie is the number one ordered dessert in Florida. Made with a simple graham cracker crust, a filling of sweetened condensed milk, and fresh egg yolks mixed with fresh key lime juice, a good pie will easily be the star of your meal.

  • Graham crackers, for the crust, are sold as whole cookies or crumbs.
  • If you are gluten-free, you can use gluten-free pie crusts, such as Mi-Del.
  • Bottled key lime juice is available all over the Keys. I recommend squeezing your key limes, at least once, for your key lime pie. You'll taste the difference immediately.
  • Finally, if you're in Brooklyn, stop by Steve's Key Lime Pie, even if you live in Key West. I bet you'll love the pie! Don't forget to take in the scenery. The Statue of Liberty is right behind the shop.

More Florida Recipes

Try these fabulous recipes made with Florida Keys Seafood

  • Yellowtail Snapper Tacos
  • Florida Keys Stone Crabs with Mustard Sauce
  • Crispy Pan Fried Mahi Mahi Recipe
  • Pan Fried Yellowtail Snapper
  • Roasted Yellowtail Snapper
  • Pink Shrimp Salad
  • Florida Keys Shrimp co*cktail
  • Fresh Blackened Swordfish (Florida Keys)
  • Healthy Shrimp Tacos with Pico de Gallo

FAQ

Can I grind graham crackers in a blender?

You can grind the crackers in a blender but pulse the machine gently. A high-power blender will make flour and not the sandy textured crumbs you want for key lime pie.

Is key lime pie better when it's cold?

Chill key lime pie for a few hours before serving for the best user experience.

Where is the best key lime pie in Key Largo?

Go to the Key Lime Factory on Overseas Highway in Tavernier, which is a mile south of Key Largo.

How long will key lime pie with meringue last in the refrigerator?

Your key lime pie with meringue topping starts to break down several hours after making it. While it's chilling, cover it with a big bowl inverted over the top. This will keep it from picking up flavors from other foods in the refrigerator.

Can I make a key lime pie with regular limes?

You can make key lime pie with Persian, or regular limes.

What color is key lime pie?

An authentic key lime pie should have yellow custard, not green. Real key lime juice is yellow and the skin of the fruit ranges from green to bright yellow.

Where can I get key lime pie with meringue in Key Largo?

The most popular pie shop in the Upper Keys is The Blonde Giraffe. They have a variety of award-winning key lime pies, Key Lime Pie with a mile-high meringue topping, key lime candy, Cuban coffee, rum cake, and more. There is a large lush tropical garden cafe in the back of the shop and it's very relaxing.

"📖 Recipe"

Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (10)

Authentic Key Lime Pie Recipe

Felice Kaufman

Key Lime Pie is a light and refreshing dessert. Learn how to make Key Lime pie with this easy recipe that includes a whipped cream topping.

19

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 10 minutes mins

Cooling time 1 hour hr

Total Time 1 hour hr 18 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 8 servings

Calories 346.8 kcal

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 8-oz package graham crackers (one package in the box of 3)

Key Lime Filling

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk chilled
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup key lime juice fresh or bottled

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For The Crust

  • Preheat oven to 325˚F with rack set in center of oven. Spray a 9 or 10-inch pie pan with cooking spray; set aside.

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

  • While the butter is melting, snap the graham crackers into pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until you have even-sized crumbs and no large pieces are left.

  • Pour bread crumbs into the pot with the melted butter and combine with a rubber spatula until the mixture resembles wet sand.

  • Press the crumbs into the pie plate, including the sides.

    Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (11)

  • Place the pie crust in the center of the hot oven for 8 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and allow to cool before filling, about 1 hour.

    Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (12)

For The Key Lime Custard Filling

  • In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks; mix well until there are no yellow streaks from the eggs.

  • Slowly add the key lime juice and mix just until incorporated. DO NOT OVERMIX OR IT WILL NOT SET UP IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate until set, about one hour.

For The Whipped Cream

  • With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment, beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until you have medium-stiff peaks, 2-3 minute.

Notes

Key lime juice is available in bottles all over the Keys. I recommend squeezing your key limes at least once for your key lime pie. You'll see the difference immediately.

Mi-Del makes gluten-free pie crusts. The filling is made with gluten-free ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 346.8kcalCarbohydrates: 36.7gProtein: 5gTotal Fat: 20.9gSaturated Fat: 13.2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 70.9mgSodium: 73.2mgPotassium: 232.9mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 35.5gNet Carbohydrates: 36.6g

Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below & tag @cookinginthekeys on social!

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Authentic Recipe For Key Lime Pie — From our Kitchen in The Keys (2024)
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