Authentic Key Lime Pie

This Key Lime Pie is the real deal. Slightly tart, super creamy and yes, it’s yellow, just like an authentic Key Lime Pie should be. It’s simply the best summer pie ever – cool, delicious and oh so easy to make. A tasty tropical dessert brought to you straight from the Florida Keys. There’s even a gluten-free option!

Slice of pie with lime wedge on top with cut pie in background

Easy Key Lime Pie

I feel so blessed to live in sunny South Florida with beautiful sunny days and year-round warm weather. And having an abundance of fresh fruit growing right in my backyard makes it even better!

One of the desserts that South Florida and the Florida Keys are known for is authentic key lime pie. And I am definitely spoiled being able to make it with fresh key limes right off my very own tree! 

decorated whole key lime pie on marble background with plates beside it.

Key Lime Pie has long been known to have originated in Key West. It’s been traced back to the early 1800s where Aunt Sally, a cook for ship salvager William Curry, one of Key West’s first millionaires, made this very pie for him. It’s a super simple pie to make and a cool refreshing treat for those long Florida Keys summer days.

Don’t have key limes in your backyard or neighborhood grocery store? Check the canned juice aisle for Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice. It’s about as close to the real deal as you can get!

overhead of decorated pie

How to Make this Easy Key Lime Pie Recipe 

how to make graham cracker crust steps

The graham cracker crust has more steps than the actual pie so you know this is going to be easy! (Gluten-free nut crust instructions can be found in the recipe card below)

  1. Gather the ingredients – graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. (step 1)
  2. Place graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a bowl. (step 2)
  3. Pour melted butter over sugar-crumb mixture. (step 3)
  4. Stir until it resembles small moist crumbs. (step 4)
  5. Pat into 9″ pie plate. (step 5)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cool. (step 6)

how to make key lime pie filling steps

  1. Gather ingredients – condensed milk, key lime juice (either fresh or jarred), and eggs. (I double my ingredients to make a deep dish pie) (step 1)
  2. Place condensed milk and egg yolks into a bowl. Pour lime juice over it and stir well. (step 2)
  3. Pour filling into baked graham cracker crust. (step 3)
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. (step 4)

Slice of key lime pie with flowers in background.

Frequently Asked Questions about Easy Key Lime Pie

What is the real color of a Key Lime Pie?

Don’t let anyone fool you. The authentic color of this pie is a pale yellow due to the light yellowish color of the key lime itself. If you do see a green pie, I can guarantee they used food coloring.

Can you substitute regular limes/juice for key limes/juice?

Yes you can but the taste won’t be quite the same. Key limes have their own unique flavor. They are smaller than a regular lime, higher in acidity, taste a bit more tart with more of an herbal flavor and have a much stronger aroma.  

Does a Key Lime Pie have to be refrigerated?

Absolutely. The initial refrigeration will help the pie to firm up. Once the baked pie has cooled, it needs to be refrigerated due to the milk base. It will keep about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Why does my pie have a spongy texture?

When a key lime pie is overcooked it loses its creamy texture and turns spongy. Remember to only cook the pie for 15 minutes.

What else can key limes be used for?

Key limes make a fantastic ingredient in salsas and marinades, liven up the standard limeade and look great as a garnish on cocktails, pies and cakes.

a closeup of a bite of creamy key lime filling

This pie is perfect to serve for a creamy, fresh, and tart spring or summer dessert or, if you’re like me, just make it because you can’t get enough of it. 🙂

It’s great for the holidays too! Just like my Lime Jello Salad.

More Recipes with Key Limes

Chocolate Covered Key Lime Bites are creamy and have graham cracker crust.

Key West Burger with key lime salsa.

Key Lime Bread with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Want more? Find lots of easy dessert recipes here on 2CM!

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list and receive our free Awesome Appetizers e-book.

AUTHENTIC KEY LIME PIE

Take a bite out of this slightly tart & creamy key lime pie and you will think you're in the tropics! It is the real deal & a Florida Keys favorite
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 412kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

Pie Filling (double quantities for deep dish pie)

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 20-25 key limes, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Graham Cracker Crust (or use gluten-free nut crust)

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter melted

Gluten-free Nut Crust (the gluten-free option)

  • 2-1/2 cups pecans ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter melted
  • Garnishes: whipped cream, lime slices (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For regular graham cracker crust

  • Prepare crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs and sugar with melted butter. 
  • Press into bottom and up sides of an 8" pie plate or, if doubling filling, press into a 9" deep dish pie plate. 
  • At this stage you can either chill the crust for 1 hour or bake in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes and let cool.

For gluten-free option:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together pecans, cinnamon and sugar. 
  • Melt butter and add to pecan mixture. Stir well. 
  • Press into bottom and up sides of an 8" pie plate or, if doubling filling, press into a 9" deep dish pie plate. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Key Lime Filling

  • Combine egg yolks, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.
  • Pour key lime pie filling into prepared crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack then refrigerate.
  • Just before serving, pipe whipped cream into mounds then garnish with lime slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 307mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 1.2mg

This post has been updated with new photos and easy to follow instructions. It was first published on March 16, 2014.

Authentic Key Lime Pie
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