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Easy Key Lime Pie (Make-Ahead)

This Key Lime Pie is a favorite dessert to make for sharing with others. It’s smooth, creamy, and jaw-dropping delicious. Bonus: You only need 5 ingredients to make AND it can be made in advance.

best key lime pie recipe
Smooth, creamy key lime pie recipe is an ideal make-ahead dessert.

The Best, Easy Key Lime Pie

Whether you already love key lime pie or you’re new to this delightful dessert, put this recipe on your must-share-with-friends list. If there’s not an occasion for entertaining coming up soon, ask a few friends over for a casual pie night, because this pie too good to skip.

  • You only need 5 ingredients to make this luscious key lime pie.
  • Optional super-easy homemade whipped cream takes just 2 ingredients.
  • Key lime pie is not sour-lime tasting; rather, it’s reminiscent of creamy smooth cheesecake with refreshing lime essence.
  • No special equipment is needed; just a hand whisk will do.
  • This easy key lime pie can be made entirely in advance, covered, and chilled until pie night arrives.
best key lime pie with graham cracker crust
This key lime pie tastes like a creamy cheesecake infused with lime

Tips for key lime pie success

  • Use fresh graham cracker crumbs; if the crumbs are stale, it will affect the flavor and not in a delicious way.
  • Go ahead and use salted butter in the crust, as that bit of salt provides perfect balance.
  • Use only freshly squeezed lime juice, as there are only 3 filling ingredients and the limes are key (see what I did there?)
  • Speaking of fresh limes, a bit of zest is beautiful for garnish.
  • Try our super easy homemade whipped cream, which is decidedly better than store bought whipped cream.
  • To keep your finished key lime pie beautiful, invert a second pie pan over the top of the pie and place it in the fridge, far away from little hands.

Homemade whipped Cream is easy

If you want to elevate your key lime pie recipe, just whip together some heavy whipping cream and sugar for the most fluffy-good homemade whipped cream. My favorite way to ensure whipped cream withstands sitting out is to stabilize the whipped cream

Definitely use this recipe if your pie will be hanging out at room temp for awhile. If you’re keeping the pie chilled and don’t plan to have it sitting out long, you can go without stabilizing the whipped cream.

easy key lime pie with whipped cream and lime slices
Top your key lime pie with lime zest and whipped cream

Common Questions and Answers

Q: What exactly are key limes?
A: Key limes (Mexican or West Indian limes) are smaller, contain more seeds, and can be yellower than typical limes. Key limes also have a higher acidity level and more of a fruity-tart flavor. If you see these little guys at the store, definitely pick some up and make this pie.

Q: What if I can’t find key limes?
A: If you can’t find key limes, use fresh regular limes. I’ve used regular limes for key lime pie when I’ve had limes to use up, or when I wanted the bright green zest.

Q: Can I use bottled lime juice?
A: No matter what, fresh limes are way better than anything from a bottle. Bottled juice won’t give you nearly the same quality of flavor.

Also try these easy blueberry pie crumb bars:

The Best Key Lime Pie Recipe

5 from 1 vote
There’s no better way to cap off the summer than sharing the best Key Lime Pie with your favorite people. This Key Lime Pie is smooth, creamy, and jaw-dropping delicious. Bonus: You only need 5 ingredients to make this pie!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Servings: 8


For Crust

For Filling

For Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar


Make Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower-middle position. Thoroughly combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until it can hold together. Press evenly and firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 6 minutes, remove from oven (keep oven on) and set aside to cool a bit while you make the filling.

Make Filling

  • Combine sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks in a bowl and hand-whisk until mixture is fully incorporated. Gently pour filling into baked crust.
  • Bake 20-23 minutes or until center is set. Cool pie completely on wire rack before chilling.

Make Whipped Cream

  • Place the beaters of a hand-mixer and a steel bowl in freezer for a few minutes, to get them really cold.
    Pour cold heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar into cold bowl, and whip until stiff peaks form (some recipes call for soft peaks, but I've found that stiff peaks work best for retaining shape) – don't worry if it seems a little over-whipped. Transfer whipped cream into a piping bag or frosting tool. Pipe whipped cream along edges and center of pie.
  • Cover pie (a second pie pan, inverted over the top works great, or use a pie carrier with lid) and chill until ready to serve.


*Be sure to use only freshly squeezed lime juice (not bottled juice). Use key limes if they’re available. If not, regular limes will work. 
*I make graham cracker crumbs by placing whole crackers into a large ziploc bag, seal it, and roll it out with rolling pin. You can also use a food processor, but be careful not to over-process.
*If your pie will be sitting out at room temp for a couple of hours during a party or event, I recommend using this stabilized whipped cream recipe to ensure that the whipped cream keeps its shape. That said, this pie is best chilled.
*If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡


Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.5g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15.9g | Saturated Fat: 9.3g | Cholesterol: 134.6mg | Sodium: 23660.6mg | Sugar: 31.3g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake

Did you make this?

Leave a comment below and tag @chewoutloud on Instagram

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Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Alice

    I guess every thing depends on your taste. But to me the original is the best. No eggs or baking!

    • Katie

    So yummy and your photos are gorgeous! I’d love to make this sometime.

    • Mandrew

    I was surprised to see your instructions to beat the milk, egg yolks and lime juice together all at once. I’ve had excellent results doing it the traditional way, by first beating the egg yolks until pale and thick (about 10 minutes), then adding the milk and finally the lime juice. Beating the egg yolks this way makes them light with infused air. The acid in the lime juice helps cook the egg yolks, and you can cut your baking time down to 10 minutes.

    Love your decorating, and I look forward to trying your stabilized whipped cream recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, you can definitely add each of those ingredients separately for a more airy and fluffy texture. We love it both ways! Hope you love the whipped cream! 🙂

    • Lyosha Varezhkina (@lyoshathegirl)

    it looks super delicious! I love limes so much, it is my favorite fruit. Lime pie sounds like a great treat to me!

    • StephJ

    nothing reminds me more of fall than a good pie. Nice and warm and cooling int eh window. this is a great recipe I may have to try this year!

    • AutumninAtlanta

    Yum! I LOVE Key LIme Pie. I am definitely going to try this recipe out while the weather is still so warm. This pie reminds me of summer.

    • Cia Black

    Super delicious looking desert. But that doesn’t surprise me you always have awesome food.

    • Lisa Rios

    I have not had Key Lime Pie in years! I love how fresh this one looks – I will have to make it!

    • turtlelovesbeauty

    Key lime is my favorite kind of pie, adding this to my recipe list.

    • Nicol

    I honestly cannot believe at its just 5 ingredients! How easy. Awesome recipe

    • Melanie Poulos Walsh

    My husband has a birthday coming up, and we are on the hunt for a fun festive treat to make him. He’s going to love this key lime pie.

      • chewoutloud

      Happy birthday to your hubby; hope you love the pie! 🙂

    • Rose Ann Sales

    This pie looks really delicious and looks so easy to prepare. I will try to make this on this weekend, thanks for sharing!

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