Make the best Key West Key Lime Pie recipe with a few basic ingredients. It’s an easy-to-make, sweet, tart dessert that’s perfect for summer that will make you feel like you’re in the Florida Keys.
In my humble opinion, Key Lime Pie is one of the BEST EASY summer desserts and one of my favorites because of the tart lime flavor. I just love my Frozen Key Lime Pie and the lemon version too- Frozen Lemonade Pie. Both are variations made with Cool Whip.
Key Lime Pie was said to be created in the 1800s by a good cook named Aunt Sally. She worked for William Curry, Florida’s first millionaire, who was a ship salvager. She may have never known how famous her creation would become but, I’m sure glad she took a chance with a can of sweetened condensed milk.
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What are Key Limes?
Key Limes are limes which are more tart than regular limes. They make a wonderful pie for this very reason.
Unless you live in Florida, finding key limes at your local grocery store can be very difficult, if not impossible. When I take my annual trip to Florida, I’m sure to bring back key limes with me. But, don’t worry because there are other practical options below.
Key Lime Filling
The pie filling is simple. It’s made with egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and zest (if you’re using fresh key limes.) Making the pie filling with fresh key limes is the best way to make it because using fresh limes renders a FRESH taste that you can’t obtain with bottled key lime juice.
However, as I pointed out above, finding key limes is not as simple as making the pie filling.
Bottled Key Lime Juice
However, you can make this delicious pie with Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice. It’s bottled key lime juice. The bottle contains enough juice for four pies and you can use it for cocktails too.
The Florida Keys are a fun place to be with lots of marine life and good places to eat and drink. We did a beautiful sunset boat tour there. Also, I’ll never forget the beautiful coral reef boat tour we did in which I was the first person on the boat to get sea sick. That was quite an adventure.
When I was there, I knew I just had to try the Key Lime Pie because I just couldn’t be in the Florida Keys and not get it for dessert. It tasted the same as this pie recipe- the real deal! YUMMY!
Doesn’t it look scrumptious?
If you’re visiting Florida, you’ll find Key Lime Pie in other parts, not just in the Florida Keys.
Use three egg yolks to make this pie however, if you happen to forget to separate the eggs, it will not ruin your pie! I did this once myself. It’s good to know in case you get distracted by your kids arguing or a knock at your front door.
You may be wondering if you can use regular limes and the answer is yes but, the pie will not be as tart and that may be fine with you. I personally like it more tart. However, Key Limes are not easy to find if you don’t live in Florida.
As I mention below, you can also make this recipe with Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice.
After you’ve baked the pie, you want it come close to room temperature before you cool it further in your refrigerator for four more hours or overnight.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
You’ll need a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk to make this recipe. You can use the regular or the non-fat. Don’t use evaporated milk. It must be sweetened condensed milk and you won’t be adding more sugar.
I’ve seen recipes that use Persian Limes and that’s fine if you can find them however ordinary limes will work too but, the pie won’t be as tart.
You can make your own whipped cream to add to the top of this pie. Add one cup of heavy whipping cream to a medium mixing bowl and then add two tablespoons of powdered sugar or granulated sugar and mix on high speed until it soft peaks form that resemble whipped cream (or about three minutes.)
Use fresh cream to make it and it’ll be great!
Traditionally, Key Lime Pie is made with a graham cracker pie crust but, you can also use a shortbread pie crust. Else, you can make a Nilla wafer pie crust as a substitute that would work.
See my homemade graham cracker crust below.
Homemade Graham Cracker Crust Recipe
If you want to make your own graham cracker pie crust, follow this recipe:
- 12 graham crackers or 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (white sugar will work too)
- 6 tbsp melted butter
First, preheat oven to 350F.
Next, pulverize the crackers in a food processor.
Then, add the crackers to a 9″ pie plate.
Next, add the brown sugar and stir together with crackers.
Then, add the melted butter and stir it in until the crackers absorb the butter.
Then, press down into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Next, bake in a 350F oven for ten minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before putting in pie filling.
Best Key West Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe
- Key limes (juice and zest) or Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice
- sweetened condensed milk
- egg yolks
- graham cracker pie crust
If you can’t find key limes, Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice is a good alternative.
The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.
First, preheat oven to 350F.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime zest and egg yolks. Beat until well mixed.
Then, pour mixture into the graham cracker pie crust and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let the pie cool for 30 minutes before cooling in the refrigerator.
Next, gently cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight before serving.
Decorating the Pie
The most popular way to decorate the pie is with whipped cream and lime slices. You can also sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs on the whipped cream just before serving too.
I like to put a dollop of whipped cream on the sides of the pie and then put a lime slice cut and twisted on top as pictured below.
Also, you can add toasted coconut on the top of the whipped cream, if you’re a coconut fan.
It’s a wonderful Easter, Mother’ Day, Memorial Day or July 4th dessert for BBQs and parties.
Making this pie is as hard as squeezing the limes! The first time I made Key Lime Pie, I was amazed at how simple it is to make. It’s even easier if you use the bottled lime juice I mentioned above and a store-bought pie crust.
It’s a refreshing summer dessert that doesn’t take a long time to bake in your oven so, your kitchen won’t get as hot. Make it in the morning, refrigerate it and it’ll be ready before dinner. You’re family or guests will LOVE it.
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I took this recipe to Weekend Potluck.
Key West Key Lime Pie
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup key lime juice fresh or bottled
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 3 large eggs yolks
- 1 9" graham pie crust
- First, preheat oven to 350F.
- Next, in a large mixing bowl, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime zest and egg yolks. Beat until well mixed.
- Then, pour mixture into the graham cracker pie crust and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let the pie cool for 30 minutes before cooling in the refrigerator.
- Next, gently cover the pie with foil and put it in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight before serving.