Whip Up A Genuine Key Lime Pie With This Recipe

Key lime pie on a marble table.

Nothing says “summer” quite like a slice of Key Lime Pie, and while you can’t exactly jet down to the Florida Keys for a slice any old time, you can make a genuine key lime pie at home with just a few simple ingredients!

The Great Key Lime Pie Debate

The exact origins of Key Lime Pie are unclear, but the pie is thought to have originated in the mid-1800s. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the first documented recipe for Key Lime Pie was recorded! If you ask every house on a block in Key West, they’ll all make their Key Lime Pie a little differently; some folks top their pie with whipped cream, others with meringue; some insist that a graham cracker crust is authentic while others pin their hats on a pastry crust. This recipe is for a Key Lime Pie with a graham cracker crust and a whipped cream topping, though you can use meringue if you prefer!


  • 16 graham crackers, crushed
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 lb (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (from about 12 key limes)
  • 2 tsp. fresh key lime zest (tip: zest before you juice!)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. sugar, granulated or powdered
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

How the Pie is Made

Key Lime Pie is made by first combining the graham crackers, 3 tbsp. sugar, and butter to make the crust, which is par-baked before the filling is added. The filling is made by whipping the egg yolks, adding the sweetened condensed milk, and whipping again, then gradually adding the lime juice and zest. The pie bakes at 350 degrees F for about 12 minutes then sets in the refrigerator for at least two hours. To make the whipped cream, you’ll whip the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until it achieves stiff peaks.

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Alternative Meringue Topping

If whipped cream isn’t your pie topping preference, try this recipe for Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue from Zoe Bakes! To make it, you’ll heat egg whites, salt, and sugar in a stand mixer bowl over a double boiler until the sugar is melted and the mixture is no longer gritty. Then, the bowl is placed back on the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and the meringue is whipped until the meringue reaches room temperature and stiff peaks.

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