We think Key lime pie is one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make from scratch, and despite its short ingredient list, this classic dessert packs a burst of citrusy flavor in every bite.
The authentic Florida version has a smooth, creamy consistency, buttery graham cracker crust, and a simple topping of whipped cream to complement the crisp acidity of the lime.
Tips for buying Key limes
Key limes differ from the more commonly available Persian limes in that they are smaller, have more seeds, a thinner rind, and contain a larger volume of juice. When ripe, they are more yellow than green and should feel heavy for their size.
Florida’s growing season for this fruit is relatively short (June through September), so you may see Mexican-grown Key limes in your market. Be cautious buying these because they are often picked underripe and will not continue to ripen once off the tree. Underripe limes tend to be dry, more acidic, and hard to juice.
If you can’t find ripe Key limes, you’re much better off using the juice from regular Persian limes in this recipe. Just avoid bottled lime juice as it won’t give you the same bright, fresh-squeezed flavor.
Real Florida Key Lime Pie
- 5 large egg yolks, see notes
- 1 can, 14-ounce sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, preferably Key limes, about 1 lb
For the crust:
- 1-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, about 10 crackers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the graham crackers in a large zip-top bag and crush to fine crumbs with a rolling pin.
- Transfer to a small mixing bowl, add the sugar, and pour in the butter. Combine with a fork and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.
- Use your fingers to press the crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
- Bake until golden, about 7 minutes, remove and reduce the temperature to 350°F. Set the crust aside to cool for 10 to 12 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice until smooth and starting to thicken.
- Pour the mixture into the partially cooled crust and bake until the custard is set but still a little jiggly, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 90 minutes before serving.
- Serve topped with a little freshly whipped cream if desired.