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Key Lime Pie

Alright, I’mma be honest with you: I never did like key lime pie much. Back when I was a kiddo, I mean. It was too tart, too bitter, to lime-y.

But (fortunately?) these past many years of drinking whiskey, chewing up entire raw ghost peppers, and siphoning gasoline (I kid. Mostly.) have left my tastebuds slightly dulled, though that’s not to say stupid, and perhaps that’s for the better.

key lime pie

S’pretty, ain’t it?

While I suspect that my tolerance for spice is and always has been fundamental, born into my DNA, my tolerance for bitter and sour – like most people’s – has been cultivated. Not that I really tried to cultivate anything, more like my tongue got lazy and stopped caring.

And that might sound like a bad thing, except that it means I like Key Lime Pie and grapefruit juice now.

Man, sounds like it’s time to move to Florida.

(And speaking of grapefruit and pie, also try my super special, very unique Pink Grapefruit Pie!)

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Key Lime Pie

  • Yield: 8 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/3 cups very fine graham cracker crumbs (about one whole sleeve of crackers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Key Lime Filling:
  • 2 teaspoons key lime zest (68 limes)
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (1220 limes, depending on juiciness)
  • 114 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • For serving, optional: whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Combine crumbs, sugar, butter, and vanilla well. Remove any large pieces of graham cracker; they will make it difficult to cut the pie.
  3. Press crumbs into a standard 9″ pie pan, building up the sides to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes at 350. Remove and set aside.
  5. Reduce the oven heat to 325 and make the filling:
  6. Wash the limes before zesting and juicing.
  7. Combine zest, juice, milk, and egg yolks well.
  8. Pour into crust.
  9. Bake about 14 minutes, or until set but still with a slight jiggle in the middle.
  10. Cool and refrigerate until cold, 2-4 hours.
  11. Slice and serve with whipped cream if desired.

35 Comments

  1. Chris on July 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Make this into mini key lime pies by putting liners in muffin tins and use a vanilla wafer for the crust. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

    • Hilah on July 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Thanks for that great idea! Perfect solution if you need pie in a hurry!

  2. Great Stone Face on July 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Mmmm! My wife and I love key lime pie and have been eating it for years. You’re right that not many, if any, key limes come from the Florida Keys anymore. Today, they’re grown mostly in Mexico. Real key limes are small and round and turn yellow when they’re ripe, although they usually are sold when they’re still green. The bigger oval green limes are Persian limes and are somewhat tarter and fruitier than key limes. Key limes have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

    I like that you didn’t overdress your pie, and kept it simple. Some folks put a whipped cream topping on the pie or even a baked meringue, as if the filling were lemon. No need for that.

    • Hilah on July 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Thanks for the clarification, GSF! I have seen real key limes, then, but not often. It would be fun to have a lime-tasting someday between the three types.

  3. Mother Effingby on July 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I love this pie, but I don’t really like Key limes. They are just too sour for my tastes. A Persian lime pie would be much tastier and easier, since Key limes in this neck of the woods are not as abundant as ordinary limes, and Persian limes are much bigger, so I wouldn’t need as many.
    Having said that, I wonder how a Lime pie with Coconut Creme would be if it were made with this recipe. I shall have to do that and let you know! Lime with coconut is one of my favorite combinations.

    • Hilah on July 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Oh man! PLEASE try that! I’ve been wanting to experiment with making a whipped coconut cream. Super cold coconut milk beaten up like heavy cream. Is that what you’re thinking of? Also, I considered putting some coconut shavings in with the crumb crust, too.

      • Mother Effingby on July 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        Yep, the sweetened coconut cream, thick and pure white! toasted coconut in the crumbs sound divine…hmmm. I’m thinking gingersnap crust with coconut shavings. Oh yes. I need to do this as you say “STAT!”
        Excellent video on the quinoa salad, by the way. I use it when making taboule, since it’s totally gluten free and my sister-in-law has Celiac disease.

        • Hilah on July 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

          Mmm. Sounds amazing! I hope you post pictures!

  4. Basic Fatboy on July 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    All this pie talk is killing me. Now I have to make it and suprise my lovely bride.

    • Hilah on July 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Hahaha! Yes, you must! 🙂

  5. Linda on July 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

    As you know, I made this for dessert with your Indian Tacos and it was out-of-this-world! Have had two requests this week to make it again asap! Really easy and really delish.

    • Hilah on July 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Awesome! Isn’t it so easy? Crazy.

  6. Magan Vashisht on July 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Hilah,
    Nice Recipe ! I was wondering if there is any alternative of replacing the eggs.

    Thanks!

    • Hilah on July 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Magan! Interesting question… I don’t have much experience cooking with egg replacers but you might be able to use a block of cream cheese instead.

      • Magan on July 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        Thanks!
        I tried shredding one banana into it instead of eggs, and it worked out great. It also gives nice flavor or lime+banana.

        • Hilah on August 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

          Oh, thank YOU! I never think of using banana as a sub for eggs. You’re smart! Glad it worked and thanks for coming back to report. 🙂

  7. summer on August 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Just wanted to say that this is the first of your recipes that I’ve made and it was amazingly delicious! Everyone I forced to have a piece said it was the best key lime pie ever, which made me feel excellent for making something that I always thought was too complicated to make myself. I will definitely be trying more of your recipes 🙂

    • Hilah on August 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      That is great to hear, Summer! Thank you for sharing your success – it makes my day. Hope you have a lot more fun in the kitchen, too. It really does feel great to feed people you love. 🙂

  8. Gilad on November 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Hi Hilah,
    Just wanted to ask if I can replace the key lime with lemons (we don’t have limes where I live) and if so how much lemon juice?

    • Hilah on November 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Hi Gilad! That should work just fine. You’ll just swap out the same amounts of lemon zest and juice as the lime.

      • Gilad on November 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

        Thanks. I’ve made it with the lemons and it was Yummylicious! It was new to us – an american style dessert, very tart and sweet… and we loved it 🙂

        • Hilah on November 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

          Hooray! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Kevyn on July 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Hilah!

    I’m going to be making this for the first time on Friday and I’m super excited. My roommate and I made your fried apple pies a couple of weeks ago and they were delish.

    My only problem right now is that I think I bought way too many key limes. They were on sale and I bought two pretty big bags of them. I’m kinda swimming in them and don’t know what to do with them. I found a recipe for candied limes (which is basically just lime slices boiled in a simple syrup for a while and then pressed into a little sugar) that I thought I might garnish this with, but I dunno. Do you think that would be *too* sweet? I mean, I guess if so I could always make mojitos. Do you have any other ideas that I could use key limes for?

    • Hilah on July 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Kevyn!
      Yay! It’s going to be so yummy! I think candied lime slices would be a terrific garnish, and on their own maybe too sweet, but I think the chewy candy texture and sweetness would complement the creaminess of the pie. This lemon bars recipe would be good with key lime juice instead, too, for another dessert idea.

      Mojitos are great, as are caipirinhas, margaritas and vodka cherry limeade. You can also freeze the lime juice in small portions to use for drinks later on.

  10. Renata on December 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Hilah!
    I made the Key Lime Pie recipe for Christmas and it was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us.
    Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Prosperous New Year!
    Love from Canada.
    Renata.

    • Hilah on December 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Fantastic, Renata! I’m so glad to hear that. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
      Thanks for writing! XOXO

  11. Kevin on May 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    This recipe is amazing. So simple, and tastes so good. Prep time, however, is nowhere near three hours — maybe 90 minutes if you’re a bit slow in the kitchen.

    • Hilah on May 2, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Kevin! I included a couple hour chilling time in the prep time, is why it’s so long.

  12. Gretta on May 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    In the oven as I type! I used some old pretzels and Goya Maria cookies for the crumb crust and lemon zest and juice for the citrus. I can’t wait to eat it!

  13. Cody R Hurder on June 9, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Hilah, I am excited to make this pie. Just wanted to check- if I have a 9.5 inch pan, would 12 minutes be a good baking time or should I do less? Also, should I cover the pie with cling film when it cools in the fridge? Thank you!

    • Hilah on June 9, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      Hey Cody! I don’t think you’ll have to adjust the time for that slight difference in size, but wouldn’t hurt to check it at 10 minutes. I don’t cover it in the fridge. Enjoy!

      • cody on June 11, 2019 at 8:45 pm

        Thanks Hilah! Sorry I just wanted to check- did you use large eggs?

        • Hilah on June 13, 2019 at 10:10 am

          Yes!

          • Cody on June 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm

            Thanks so much for this recipe! I made it for fathers day and everyone loved it- said it was better than in restaurants!



          • Hilah on June 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm

            I’m so glad to hear that! My husband was wishing I had made this for father’s day, too 🙂 Next year!



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