How To Make the Best Key Lime Pie Everyone Will Love

The holidays are right around the corner and the Christmas displays have already been strategically placed to lure last-minute shoppers who chose to wait till the last moment. Thanksgiving specials and promotions on turkeys and sides will be on full display as far as the eye can see. One of the endcaps you may bump into while in the grocery store are Thanksgiving pastries and sweets, particularly pies. You’ll find a wide variety of pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and key lime pies. You may even be tempted to pick up a key lime pie in advance to avoid the last-minute grocery rush. We aren’t judging! 

But we are here to share one of the best key lime pie recipes ever that you can make at home from scratch. Store-bought pie is convenient but homemade pie is love. There is nothing like the smell of pie as family and friends gather in the living room in anticipation. Surprise them with your sophisticated baking skills. For the busy professional, this is an easy key lime pie that you can repeat for Christmas or anytime you want. 

What Is Key Lime Pie?

This pie is delicious! The sweet and tangy flavors meet on your palate for a citrus filled experience topped with whipped cream and graham cracker crust that no one can deny. Key limes are more tart than regular limes and that’s what brings the extra acidity and sharpness. One of America’s favorite desserts, the key lime pie is the perfect way to close out a big holiday dinner while paying homage to the fruit’s arrival in Key West. 

Since the hurricane of 1926, key limes have been imported from Central and South America but are still naturalized in the Florida Keys. They are native to Malaysia and believed to have arrived in the Keys around the 1500s by the Spanish. Their tiny size and strong aroma have made them the star of the show in this pie and well deserved recognition as the official pie of Florida as of 2006. 

Equipment Needed for Key Lime Pie

There are a few kitchen items you’ll need before you get started. You may or may not already have this equipment but for those who don’t make pies regularly, this information is helpful. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Pie plate – Depending on the size of the pie plate you choose to use, your graham cracker crust will be thicker or you’ll have extra left over. A 9.5-inch pie plate is perfect for this recipe but a smaller one will suffice. Since the crust does not expand, you can pour as much of the filling into the crust as you like. 
  • Key lime juice – If you can’t find key limes, use key lime juice. It is a convenient way to ensure your pie comes out the way it should. You can use regular limes but it won’t have the tarty and sour bite that key limes bring to this recipe. 
  • Zester – Zesters are great because they add a significant amount of flavor and decor for a little effort. It is definitely worth the small investment.  
  • Bonus: Pie carrier – This is optional but perfect for holiday dinner parties you’re invited to and expected to bring an item. Surprise your friends, family, and colleagues with a key lime pie made from scratch that arrives in its own carrier. Take it up a notch with a thermal or double-decker pie carrier, and everyone will want their own pie to take home. So sophisticated! 

key lime pie ingredients

How to Make an Award Winning Key Lime Pie Recipe 

If you wanted to know how to make a key lime pie, don’t look any further. As one of the best key lime recipes ever, you won’t be disappointed. Before we begin, it’s important to note that a homemade meringue can be substituted with whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy. For purposes of this easy key lime pie, we are going to keep things simple with whipped cream. This award-winning key lime pie recipe is a creamy and short labor of love that your guests will request again and again. So let’s start!

  • Ingredients
    • Graham cracker crust
      • 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
      • ⅓ cup of granulated sugar
      • 6 tablespoons of melted butter
    • Key lime pie filling
      • 28 oz of sweetened condensed milk
      • ½ cup of light sour cream
      • ¾ cups of key lime juice
      • Zest from 4 key limes or 2 regular limes
    • Whipped cream topping
      • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
      • ½ cup of powdered sugar
      • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Preparation
    • Phase 1 – Let’s start with the graham cracker crust first. You’ll want to preheat your oven to 375 degrees and mix the graham cracker, butter, and sugar together in a small bowl. Next, you’ll gently press the graham cracker crumb mixture in an 8-9.5 pie pan and bake for 7 minutes. When it’s done, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes.
    • Phase 2 – Next, we’ll make the key lime pie filling. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and mix together the sour cream, lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and zest in a medium-sized bowl. You’ll pour this mixture into the graham cracker pie crust that has been cooling for the last 30 minutes. Now, you’ll bake these together for 10 minutes. When the baking is complete, let the pie cool for a few minutes and chill for 3 hours. 
    • Phase 3 – Using a mixer, beat the sugar and heavy cream together until stiff. Next, add the vanilla extract and beat to mix. Next, you’ll pipe or spread the whipped cream filling over the cooled pie. Lastly, you can add additional zest as preferred. Serve and enjoy!
  • Bonus Key Lime Recipe Tips

To make this award winning key lime pie even easier for the busy professional, use key lime juice rather than fresh key limes. You’ll find key lime juice in most grocery stores and it will save you time squeezing out the juice. If you are looking to cut more corners and don’t want to make your own whipped cream from scratch, we recommend using the one in a spray can. It’s important that the whipped cream is very cold but using the frozen whipped cream is not a good option with this pie. 

Also, the graham cracker crust should strike a good balance between sweetness and blandness. The crust is not meant to be overpowering but complementary to the sweet, tarty flavors of key lime pie. While you can easily find ready-made graham cracker crusts at the grocery store, it’s best to make this from scratch. Ready-made pie crusts tend to be dry and crumbly. 

Call to Reserve a Table for Our Key Lime Pie

This pie is not just for the summertime. This recipe is great year-round and perfect for the holiday season. For those days you prefer not to bake, visit our restaurant and enjoy an ambiance of casual sophistication. Known for great American cuisine, we’ve been featured in the Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Modern Luxury, Timeout Miami, and many more. We are located in the heart of South Miami where Red Road and San Ignacio meet. Bring the family to connect and unwind over key lime pie and weekly happy hour specials that feature $10 sushi rolls! 

Call to reserve your table today!