If you're looking for an easy dessert and you like Key Lime Pie, this could be your go-to recipe. This pie has just the right balance of tart and sweet, has simple ingredients, and is practically fool-proof.
Do we really need "Key Limes"?
Nope! Key Limes are nice to have but not a deal-breaker by any means. (If we don't use key limes we might want to title this Lime Pie so we don't rile up the key lime lovers - it's fine - just enjoy the pie). Key limes a little more tart than a standard lime (or Persian lime), and the pie might have a subtle flavor difference. If you have access to Key limes, then, by all means, use them! The important part is that you use fresh lime juice - not bottled.
Regardless of the kind of lime you use, you'll need about ¾ cup of fresh lime juice plus some zest. How many limes you'll need depends on the size of the fruit. Generally, a pound of Persian limes (standard lime) will yield ½ cup to ⅔rd cup of lime juice. And, if you're using Key Limes - buy a whole bag of those little beauties. I usually buy a few extra limes to slice and decorate the pie before serving.
What I love about this Key Lime Pie
It's simple but elegant and finishes off any meal with a light and bright, refreshing flavor. It's perfect for a make-ahead dessert and ideal for beginner bakers. The pie crust is graham cracker crumbs, and the filling is just four ingredients. I use a hand mixer, but you don't even need that. Whisking by hand works just as well. So, don't let the simplicity fool you - sometimes easier is better.
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How I decorate this pie - it just depends!
The homemade whipped cream topping is a delicious match for the tart filling. You can smooth it across the entire pie and make a lovely layer of silky smooth topping. Or you could dollop it on each slice as it's served, or feel free to pipe it on. I use a pastry bag or a large zip lock back with the corner cut off and a large star tip to pipe the topping in swirls or stars. I'll usually finish with a few slices or wedges of fresh lime and a light dusting of lime zest before serving.
Refrigerate your pie.
You'll want to serve this fully chilled. It will slice like a dream, and the filling will hold up for a crisp and clean line. Refrigerate any leftovers, and the pie will keep fresh for 2 to 3 days.
Swaps and quick shortcuts to make this even easier.
You can buy graham crackers already processed as crumbs. Look in the baking aisle next to the pie filling section. You can also swap out the homemade whipped cream with store-bought whipped topping in the tub or the can. If you use one of those options, wait until serving before you apply a dollop of topping. If it's applied too early, it will melt.
New on the blog!
And, let me suggest another bright and fresh pie - a heavenly Rhubarb Strawberry Pie with Crumb Topping.
The Easiest Key Lime Pie - Perfectly Tart & Sweet
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoon sugar granulated
- 5 tablespoon butter melted
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk 14 oz cans
- ¾ cup lime juice fresh squeezed
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lime zest finely grated
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat oven to 325F or 160C
- In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Mix to thoroughly combine and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake about 10-12 minutes until edges start to brown slightly.
- In a medium bowl combine all the pie filling ingredients and whisk thoroughly to completely combine.
- Pour into pie crust and bake about 20 minutes. The filling will thicken but will not be fully set until it's cooled.
- Cool completely.
- Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks. Can be done by hand or an electric hand mixer or stand mixer speeds things up.
- Decorate the top of the pie with whipped cream and garnish with slices of lime and a sprinkle of lime zest. Or slice and plate, then dollop on whipped cream, and garnish with lime slice and sprinkle of zest.
This is an excellent recipe and works like a charm. I added pecans and cinnamon to the crust, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It is delicious and simple!! Thank you very much for posting it ?
Thank you so much Elizabeth! The pecans and cinnamon would be perfect! I'll give that a try next time. I appreciate the nice note. Thanks!
Do you need Key Limes, not just regular limes?
Hi Melissa - definitely OK to use regular limes if that's what you have. Key limes will be a little more tart and fragrant but a regular or standard lime works perfectly, too. Thanks for the question! Have a great weekend.
I was wondering why the pie needs to be baked when no eggs are added? I feel the baking is totally unnecessary. It would probably thicken on its own when cooled.
Hi Clay - it's a personal preference with consistency. Nice that there are no eggs, so baking isn't required. It does set up better with 20 minutes in the oven, considering the amount of lime juice in the filling. It could squeak by, though, as a no-bake dessert which is always a great option to have! Thx for the question and have a great rest of your week.