Key Lime Pie Recipe | Pamela Salzman & Recipes Skip to content

Key Lime Pie Recipe

I eat desserts like Key Lime Pie usually once a week when I go out to a restaurant or if I’m entertaining at home.  Key Lime Pie is one of my absolute favorite go-to spring/summer desserts and I have made it dozens and dozens of times for friends including my husband’s tiki birthday party last month.  Everyone always goes crazy for it and you know what? It is the EASIEST dessert ever.  The only hard part is juicing almost 2 pounds of Key Limes, but I will not tell anyone if you use regular limes.  Key limes are tiny and tart, but not quite as acidic as regular limes.  I’ll be honest, I have made this pie with both types of limes and I cannot tell the difference! Some people swear by bottled Key lime juice, but I have never been a fan of bottled citrus juice.  The big difference in this recipe is that I use Greek yogurt instead of egg yolks and I MUCH prefer this version.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • It’s full of delicious lime flavor and has a silky, creamy texture;
  • refreshing and perfect for summer;
  • can be made in advance;
  • contains few ingredients, all of which can be found organic;
  • it’s the EASIEST dessert ever!

Key Lime Pie Ingredients

  • Graham crackers: I prefer using organic graham crackers. You can also use graham cracker crumbs or buy an already pre-baked crust. Look for GF graham crackers if necessary.  
  • Coconut oil: I use an unrefined virgin coconut oil. It does have a coconut flavor as opposed to a refined coconut oil. 
  • Maple syrup: use pure maple syrup without any added flavors or additives. 
  • Sweetened condensed milk: is cow’s milk that has been reduced and sweetened with sugar. The result is a thick and creamy mixture.  I always used to avoid this ingredient because I could never find it organic.  Now I can!
  • Greek yogurt: I use a plain, unsweetened whole milk Greek yogurt. 
  • Lime zest: is a key ingredient. Since we are using the skin of the lime for this recipe, I prefer to use organic limes. Always zest before you juice citrus or else it will be very hard to zest after you juice. 
  • Lime juice: Key limes are traditional in a key lime pie. You’ll need almost 2 pounds of key limes to produce 3/4 cups of juice. If you can’t find key limes, you can juice Persian aka “regular” limes.  I will still allow you to call this “Key Lime Pie,” even though there are sticklers out there who won’t LOL!
  • Whipped cream: for serving. You can make homemade whipped cream, a whipped coconut cream, or use a store-bought plant-based whipped topping like Cocowhip.  You can also skip it!

How to Make Key Lime Pie

  1.  Position oven rack to the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Prepare the crust: process all crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade until it resembles wet sand. If you don’t have a food processor, you can combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a large bowl. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the dish making an even layer. The crust should be about ¼-inch thick. You can use the bottom of a cup to do this. The better you press the crust, the better it will hold together. 
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool if you have time. This can be done up to a day in advance. Leave at room temp.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a large bowl (I like to use something with a spout) whisk together the condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice until smooth. The mixture will become white and creamy. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set; it should wobble a bit like jell-o. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.
  6. Dollop topping over pie, if using and serve immediately. 

Tips for Making Key Lime Pie

  • The crust can be prebaked a day in advance. The better you press the crust, the better it will hold together when serving.  You can also do an alternative, non-traditional crust, like a gingersnap crust.
  • The filling can be added the day of serving or even a day in advance. You don’t want to make this too far in advance or the crust may get soggy. 
  • Pie needs time to chill for at least a few hours before serving.
  • Serve with whipped cream and extra zest for a pretty presentation.  

Substitutions for Key Lime Pie

  • Non-dairy sweetened condensed milk – try using a sweetened condensed coconut milk (although I have not tested this out)
  • Lime juice – if you can’t find key limes, you can use regular limes or bottled Key Lime juice or make a lemon version instead
  • Graham crackers – look for gluten-free if necessary or I think a gingersnap crust would be amazing paired with a lemon version of the filling!
  • Coconut oil – melted butter or plant butter will also work in the crust.

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag @pamelasalzman so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, subscribe for free to my site for the latest recipes and updates.

For more delicious recipes and to learn how to be a better cook, check out my monthly online cooking classes. I have been teaching people for 15 years how to cook healthy food that their families love!  Join me!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Key Lime Pie
Author: 
Serves: 1 9-INCH PIE
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs* (about 14 standard crackers pulverized in a food processor)
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk or sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons grated lime zest
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Whipped topping (see notes at the bottom) - I used 1 tub of Cocowhip
  • Garnish with a thin slice or more of fresh lime and extra zest if you have it
Instructions
  1. Position oven rack to the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the crust: process all crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade until it resembles wet sand. If you don’t have a food processor, you can combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a large bowl. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the dish making an even layer. The crust should be about ¼-inch thick. You can use the bottom of a cup to do this. The better you press the crust, the better it will hold together.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool if you have time. This can be done a day in advance.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a large bowl (I like to use something with a spout) whisk together the condensed milk, yogurt, lime zest, and lime juice until smooth. The mixture will become white and creamy. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set; it should wobble a bit like jell-o. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 3 hours.
  6. Dollop topping over pie, if using and serve immediately.
Notes
Crust can be prebaked a day in advance. The filling can be added the day of
serving or even a day in advance.

Topping Options:

Whipped Cream
1½ cups cold heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unbleached cane sugar or powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Place a large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for about 20
minutes or longer.
2. Remove the mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Beat the cream, sugar and
vanilla together until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whipped Greek Yogurt and Cream
1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup plain, unsweetened whole Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon granulated cane sugar (optional)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
1. Place a large bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for about 20
minutes or longer.
2. Remove the mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Place the cream and yogurt
in the bowl and beat on high speed. While the mixer is going, add the sugar and
vanilla and beat until soft peaks form. Check the cream after 3 or 4 minutes and be
sure not to overbeat.

Whipped Coconut Cream (makes about 1 ½ cups of whipped cream)
1 13.5-ounce can coconut cream (not coconut milk)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional sweetener to taste: 15 drops of stevia or 2-3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Chill the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
2. Chill the mixing bowl and beaters or whisk attachment to your mixer for about 20
minutes or longer.
3. Turn the can upside down and open the bottom. If there is any thin liquid (it
should only be about a tablespoon or so), pour that out and save it for a smoothie.
Scoop out all the hardened cream (it should be waxy, almost like Crisco) and place
in the chilled mixing bowl. Start beating on high speed and add vanilla and
sweetener if desired. Beat until soft peaks form, about a minute and a half

Store-bought Whipped Topping: I like cocowhip by so delicious.

 

 

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Comments

11 Comments

  1. Hi Pamela!
    What would be a substitute for the Greek yogurt to make it nondairy? Kite hill sour cream? I can not seem to find their Greek yogurt anywhere.
    Thanks!

    • It’s worth a try, but I can’t guarantee it will work since I haven’t tried making it dairy-free.

  2. WOW – this recipe is such a winner!!! You’ve done it again Pamela I’ve made the same key lime pie for my husband for 10 years (from Smitten Kitchen). He always loved it. Then you posted this gem and I made both for him to taste test and decide on his favorite. Go figure… yours won!! You don’t miss the eggs at all, in fact the bit of tang and texture from the yogurt puts this one over the top in how great it is. Definitely a winner and I’m sure I’ll be making this by request for many years to come! Oh.. and I didn’t change a thing. It’s perfect as written

    • Awww! This made my day 🙂 Thanks, Val!

  3. I love key lime pie and I was very curious about this recipe since it doesn’t require the typical egg yolks found in a number of like recipes. This is the best key lime pie I have ever had!! However, I made one change. I had some sour cream that I wanted to use up and it worked perfectly instead of Greek yogurt. I will definitely be making this fav of mine again!

    • That’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing, Lisa.

  4. Do you think whole milk sheep milk yogurt will work in this recipe?

  5. Do you think whole milk sheep milk yogurt will work?

    • I do not unless it is Greek yogurt. You can make Greek yogurt by straining the the sheep yogurt in a paper towel-lined colander, set over a plate or a bowl in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours. The yogurt needs to be thick!

  6. Hi Pam, Can non fat yogurt be substituted for whole milk yogurt?
    Thank you

    • If you use nonfat GREEK yogurt, yes. But regular yogurt is too thin for this pie filling.


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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