This classic Key Lime Pie is a must-try for anyone who loves a perfect balance of tangy and sweet. Featuring a creamy, zesty filling made with fresh lime juice and zest, nestled in a homemade graham cracker crust and topped with freshly whipped cream, this dessert is a true celebration of flavors. It’s not just a summer treat; it’s a year-round delight that brings a slice of tropical bliss to your table.

Key lime pie instantly brings brightness and joy, no matter the season. The process of creating this pie, from squeezing the fresh limes to whipping the cream, is as delightful as enjoying the final product. It’s a recipe that never fails to impress, whether it’s for a family dinner or a festive gathering.

A fresh key lime pie with a slice out of it

The Chemistry of Key Lime Pie

The magic of Key Lime Pie lies in its filling, where the acidity of the lime juice reacts with the proteins in the egg yolks and the fat in the condensed milk. This reaction causes the mixture to thicken and set, creating a smooth, custard-like consistency upon baking. The lime zest adds an extra burst of flavor, releasing oils that infuse the pie with a deep, aromatic citrus essence.

What makes key lime pie filling set?

The filling sets due to the reaction between the acidic lime juice and the proteins in the egg yolks, along with the fat in the sweetened condensed milk, which thickens and sets when baked.

Can you use regular limes instead of key limes?

Yes, regular limes can be used, though key limes are preferred for their unique flavor. Regular limes will still give a delicious result.

Freshly baked key lime pie without whipped cream

How long should key lime pie chilled before serving?

Chill the pie for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving. This allows the pie to set properly and develop its flavors.

What’s the best way to get stiff peaks in whipped cream?

You can chill the bowl and beaters before whipping, then beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together on the highest speed until the cream holds stiff peaks.

A slice of key lime pie

What is in key lime pie?

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

A crunchy, sweet base of the pie.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Adds sweetness and creamy texture, balancing the tartness of the limes.

Egg Yolks

Adds fat and protein to the mixture which reacts to the acidity in the fruit juice to thicken the filling.

Lime Juice & Zest

Provides the characteristic tart flavor and also helps in setting the filling.

Heavy Whipping Cream

When whipped with sugar, air bubbles are trapped and it will foam up and form peaks.

Powdered Sugar

Helps trap air bubbles and sweeten the cream when whipped.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

How to Store Key Lime Pie

Store it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. While freezing is possible, it may alter the texture of the filling and whipped cream.

Making Ahead

Prepare the graham cracker crust and lime filling a day ahead, and store in the refrigerator. Add the whipped cream topping just before serving for the freshest taste.

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Close up of sliced key lime pie

Why make key lime pie?

It is a versatile dessert perfect for any occasion – from summer barbecues to holiday feasts, it brings a refreshing twist to your dessert table.

Recipes You May Love

Key lime Pie

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Delicious, tangy key lime pie. A dessert that should be eaten year round. Creamy filling, topped with whip cream and held in homemade graham cracker crust.



  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp lime zest 2 limes
  • 1 cup lime juice 8 limes

Whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime zest and lime juice. I like to use freshly squeezed juice.
  • Stir pie filling until smooth
  • Pour into a prepared graham cracker pie crust
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the pie and allow it to cool off for 30 minutes
  • Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill before serving
  • When ready to serve, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together with a handheld mixer until stiff peak.
  • Spread the fresh whipped cream on top of the pie and serve.


Calories: 555kcal Carbohydrates: 64g Protein: 10g Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 17g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 158mg Sodium: 198mg Potassium: 396mg Fiber: 0.4g Sugar: 54g Vitamin A: 1028IU Vitamin C: 10mg Calcium: 274mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Key Lime Pie with title