Best-Ever Key Lime Pie - Once Upon a Chef (2024)

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Made with ordinary limes, this “Key lime” pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

Best-Ever Key Lime Pie - Once Upon a Chef (1)

I use Persian limes, otherwise known as ordinary supermarket limes, to make my “Key lime” pie. Unless you live in the Florida Keys, key limes are near impossible to find. Furthermore, they’re so tiny that you’d need to juice at least twenty of them for this recipe. No thank you! Ordinary limes make an exceptional Key lime pie, and they are a much better alternative to bracingly tart bottled Key lime juice. This pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

Similar to coconut cream pie and lemon meringue pie, key lime pie can be made with a graham cracker/cookie crust or a traditional pie crust. I always opt for a graham cracker crust because it’s quick to prepare. Plus, why fuss with finicky pie dough when a graham cracker crust tastes so good?

What You’ll Need To Make Key Lime Pie

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  • You’ll need 8 to 10 limes total for this recipe. Choose plump limes that give a little when you squeeze them; they will be easier to juice. You should get about 2 tablespoons of juice from each lime. Be sure to zest the limes before you squeeze the juice from them, as it’s near impossible to do afterward.
  • Sweetened condensed milk is canned milk from which water has been removed, and sugar has been added. Be sure not to confuse it with evaporated milk, which is usually sold right alongside.
  • With no eggs, it may be hard to believe that this pie will set, but have faith — it will.

How To Make Key Lime Pie

Step 1: Make The Crust

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Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined.

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Using your fingers and the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in deep-dish pie pan. The crust should be about 1/4-in thick. (Hint: do the sides first.)

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Bake the crust for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Then let the crust cool a bit while you make the filling.

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Step 2: Make the Filling

Begin by zesting the limes.
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It’s best to use a rasp grater, which is a long, skinny tool that works well for grating hard cheeses and zesting citrus.
Best-Ever Key Lime Pie - Once Upon a Chef (8)Juice the limes using a citrus reamer, then combine the juice with the sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, and lime zest.

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Whisk to combine.

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Pour the filling into the cooked graham cracker crust.

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Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost set.

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Let the pie cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.

Step 3: Make the Topping

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In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters), beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until medium peaks form. (Alternatively, the cream can be beaten by hand with a whisk.) Top the chilled pie with whipped cream and decorate with lime slices and zest.

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Key Lime Pie

Metric Cup Measures

By Jenn Segal

Made with ordinary limes, this “Key lime” pie tastes every bit as authentic as the real deal — plus it’s easier to make.

Servings: 8 to 10

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 45 Minutes, plus at least 3 hours to chill

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • Two 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice

For the Topping

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 8 to 10 thin lime slices

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter; stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined. Using your fingers and the bottom of a glass or dry measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 1.5-inch (deep-dish) pie pan. The crust should be about ¼-inch thick. (Tip: do the sides first.)
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let the crust cool on a wire rack.

For the Filling

  1. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour the thick mixture into the warm graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set; it should wobble a bit. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.

For the Topping

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until medium peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream. Decorate with the lime zest and lime slices.Store the pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Slice the pie into wedges, wiping your knife clean between slices, and serve cold.
  2. Make-Ahead Instructions: You can make the crust a day ahead of time, but the filling should be added on the day of serving, otherwise the crust will get soggy.
  3. Note: The nutritional information was calculated using 2% Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Best-Ever Key Lime Pie - Once Upon a Chef (15)

  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Calories: 481
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Sugar: 54 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 183 mg
  • Cholesterol: 76 mg

Nutritional Data Disclaimer

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Unsure what I could’ve done wrong or if it was the limes I used but these turned out inedibly bitter. They were perfectly gorgeous (no green dye, au naturel) as decoration on key lime pie, though.

    • — Roni on July 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • The hardest part of this recipe was waiting the 3 hours for it to set in the fridge! This was my first time eating or making key lime pie and it was absolutely delicious. The only tweak was adding vanilla to the filling and topping. This is such an easy recipe to follow and truly one of the best desserts I’ve had. A new summer staple!

    • — Mackenna on July 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was a hit! Followed directions exactly and ended up only needing about 1/2 limes recipe called for. Used extra zest when I added the confectioners sugar in the last step.
    Used store bought pre-made pie (gluten free) and added filling + warmed in oven and let chill overnight. Prepared topping next day about 2 hours before eating and it was perfect! Texture was great and pie crust was not soggy. Would make again!

    • — Sarah G. on July 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hello! I would love to try this recipe but I’m allergic to cow dairy. Is there a way to make it vegan?

    • — Kim on July 6, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, based on the amount of dairy it has, I’m not confident it would turn out well with dairy-free alternatives. I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2024
      • Reply
  • First time making Key Lime. I made in for the 4th it’s an amazing recipe and everyone loved it . Great recipe! Will totally make this again ❤️❤️❤️

    • — Wendy on July 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! Thanks! Next time I may try using Greek LIME yogurt if I can find it. I also used store bought Pecan pie crust, a little texture.

    • — Tina T on July 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made this for a small Fourth of July picnic and it was delicious. It got rave reviews and my husband even said it’s is the best key lime pie he has ever had! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

    • — Deanne on July 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have made this several times and it is really good; however, I have one consistent issue. The crust. I can never get the crust to fully pack down and it ends up being very crumbly when trying to eat it. How can I get the crust to stick together better and pack down firmly? Does it need more butter?

    • — Stephanie on July 4, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, I’m sorry you’ve consistently had a problem with the crust! Yes, I’d add another tablespoon or so of butter. That should help it bind better.

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2024
      • Reply

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