Key Lime Pie is a creamy and refreshing pie with just the right amount of tartness, all topped with a homemade whipped topping. For a slightly sweeter pie, try my Lemonade Pie!
Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie is considered the official pie of the Florida Keys, and everyone claims to have the authentic recipe! I stuck with the traditional ingredients of the key lime juice, egg yolks, and condensed milk for this recipe. I went with homemade whipped topping and a graham cracker crust, but some may argue that it needs a meringue topping with a pastry crust.
What is the Difference Between Key Limes and Limes?
After having tested it several times I can tell you that without a doubt, there is a difference between regular limes (Persian limes) and key limes. Those limes you buy at the grocery store a typically bigger and greener than the smaller, and often yellower, key lime.
A true Key Lime Pie will be tart. Truly. It is lip-smacking delicious, but it is tart. A true key lime pie will also be more on the yellow side. If the pie is green it either has food coloring or is a Persian lime pie, which is ultimately less tangy tasting and it is a noticeable difference.
Graham Cracker Crumbs
Pre-Crushed vs Crushing Yourself
The quality of store-bought graham cracker crumbs has changed in the last few years and they seem to be less flavorful and have a different texture. When possible, I recommend the full sheets of honey-flavored graham crackers and crushing them yourself or utilizing a food processor.
How to Make the Key Lime Pie Filling
This filling is where all that key lime flavor is. I even added a little zest of lime to give it a little boost. To make the filling, use a medium bowl to stir and combine the condensed milk, whipped egg yolks, key lime juice, and lime zest.
Pour the mixture into the baked pie crust, and put the pie back in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. The internal temperature of the filling should be 145°F when done baking. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When the pie is almost completely chilled, make the homemade whipped topping.
How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream
- Don’t aim for “stiff peaks”. You want the whipped cream to keep its shape and be soft, billowing peaks. If by chance you OVERBEAT the whipped cream, fixing it is actually very easy. Simply add in more fresh heavy whipping cream and whisk by hand. My life was changed when I found that out!
- Wait until peaks start to form before adding in the confectioners’ sugar. I much prefer confectioners sugar in this recipe, as it dissolves entirely and leaves a smooth texture. If you choose to use granulated sugar be sure to add it immediately at the beginning and whip it with the cream.
- Homemade whipped cream is best used immediately, but it can be stored for up to 10 hours if needed. After that, it may start to separate.
Top the chilled Key Lime Pie with the whipped cream and serve! If you would rather top this pie with a meringue topping, just use the meringue recipe in my Lemon Meringue Pie. Store the pie in the refrigerator, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for up to three days.
How to Store and Freeze Key Lime Pie
This pie is best kept refrigerated, and as airtight as possible. It should last 2 or 3 days.
To freeze Key Lime Pie, freeze it without the added whipped topping. Place the pie in the freezer for a couple of hours before double wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap. Keep it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Remember to label and date the wrapping; the pie will last for up to a month in the freezer. Thaw the pie in the refrigerator.
Key Lime Pie
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 1½ cups (about 10 crackers) graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, up to 6 tablespoons, if needed
KEY LIME PIE FILLING
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 3 large egg yolks, whipped
- ¾ cup key lime juice, fresh is best
- 1 teaspoon key lime zest
- 1 pint (454g) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup (31g) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F and grease an 8-inch pie pan.
- In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add more butter if needed.
- Using a fork, mix well. You want every crumb coated in the butter as this will be the glue that holds it together.
- Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the prepared 8-inch pie dish. Pat them flat with your hand and then use a kitchen glass to press flatter. Start at the center and work out to the sides. You can go as far up the sides as you would like.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
KEY LIME PIE FILLING
- While the crust is baking, add the condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice, and zest to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Pour mixture into the baked crust.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The pie is done when you see the tiny surface bubbles start to pop, or the internal temperature is 145°F.
- As soon as the pie comes to room temperature, chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- When the pie is almost done chilling, add heavy cream to a mixing bowl. Start mixing at the lowest speed, and then gradually increase speed to medium until the cream starts to get thicker. (The gradual progression prevents you from spraying yourself with cream.)
- When the cream starts to thicken, stop the mixer. Slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar and then resume mixing again, starting with low speed and increasing to medium speed and eventually moving to a high speed.
- The cream will thicken and start to peak. Mix on high until the cream is thick and stiff. This happens quickly, the stage between soft and stiff peaks, so watch it closely.
- Top the pie with whipped topping and serve!
Did you make this recipe?
Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.