My family is now torn between two desserts. Dessert one is the chocolate cake. Those of us with Fall and Winter birthdays always request it. It is hard to say no to it. But some people, those with early spring and summer birthdays, beg for dessert two: key lime pie. Their hearts are not changed by deep dark chocolate – they insist on this tart green goodness.
When I first made it several years ago, I really didn’t think anyone would get crazy about it. It sounded refreshing; perfect for a hot summer night. I brought it over for a family event and it was gone, gobbled down in record time. A week later I was asked to make it again, and it now it has become a cult classic. I’ve traded housework and yard work for this pie. It’s a serious dessert.

I can’t blame anyone for loving it so – it’s super tart filling is offset with a mound of whipped cream and a crisp graham cracker crust, creating a perfectly balanced bite. Your last few summer evenings just got so much better.

Key Lime Pie
America’s Test Kitchen

lime filling

4 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/2 cup strained lime juice [from 3-4 limes]

4 large egg yolks

1 [14 ounce] can of sweetened condensed milk

Whisk (by hand) the zest and yolks in a bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, then the lime juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken.
graham cracker crust

11 full sized graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs [1 1/4 cups] 3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 325. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add butter, and stir until well blended. Put the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Press crumbs evenly on bottom and up sides of the plate. Refrigerate crumbs for 20 minutes. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
Pour lime mixture into the warm crust, and bake until center is set but still wiggly when jiggled, 14-17 minutes.  Return pie to wire rack and let cool. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Add cream and sugar to a chilled mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and and continue beating, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly double in volume, and 30 seconds. Spread whipped cream on chilled pie and serve.
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13 Responses to key lime pie

  1. this seems too easy! i’ve never made a cold pie before even though they are my favorite! totally putting it on my grocery list.

  2. *kate says:

    Someday, please, will you make this for me? I have never had key lime pie. But I love lime and I love pie.

  3. i forgot to tell you – it was great! i made one mistake which was grabbing a bag of key limes instead of just limes, so i had to use way more than what the recipe said and it ended up being a little more tart than i think it was supposed to but, still, SOOOOOOO good.

  4. I just found you through America’s Test Kitchen Blogger Spotlight and I am blown away!! Your photos are stunning, your food looks divine!!
    All the best, I can’t wait to see whaty ou whip up next 🙂 ~Megan Pence
    Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

  5. I just saw your guest post on My Little Celebration, and I had to come over here to check out your blog.

    I really love this post, and now I’m craving key lime pie!

  6. Ashley says:

    I don’t know what I did wrong 🙁 I made this today, and I followed all of the instructions, but I just went to check it after 15 minutes on the final bake, and it is still liquidy. It doesn’t seem to have set at all 🙁

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Ashley – So sorry for the late reply! For some reason this didn’t show up in my inbox, and I didn’t know I had comments waiting for me. I’m not sure what the problem could be – did you accidentally use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed? Did you let it keep baking to see if it would set up?

    • LaurenB. says:

      I tried the blood orange version of this recipe on here and mine did not set up at all either. There are definitely missing directions because the filling must need to be whipped or set out for quite a long time for it to thicken up because I whipped mine like in the directions, until it is tinted light orange, and let it set at room temperature for 20 minutes but it was just soupy.

  7. Jennifer says:

    As I come back to this recipe for the umpteenth time, I feel I should say this is the easiest pie to make and is so so so delicious. I bring it to potlucks and parties all spring and summer long and I too get requests for it.

  8. christine says:

    hi! 🙂 I was wondering if you can use bottled key lime juice instead of fresh for this recipe? do you think the taste would suffer a lot? i’m super excited to try making this soon, it looks so easy! thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  9. debbie says:

    Just made this pie but had to sneak a taste even before it was totally cooled….yummmmm! Soooooo good!! I can’t wait to eat a whole piece after it’s cooled. It’s so clean and real tasting, not fake at all like so many pies out there. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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