Easy as Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie is a classic citrus dessert that graces almost every restaurant menu… but they’re always done wrong. Even when travelling to the Florida Keys, the birthplace of this pie, you may find that the key lime pies lack lime flavor and creaminess. Some might even be DYED green! Many restaurant suppliers have developed a frozen cheesecake-like “key lime” pie that they distribute to chain restaurants. As a consumer we will usually pay $7 for a slice of this previously frozen yellowish-greenish pie with too-sweet whipped cream, thinking that it is living up to the name. I hope that this recipe will shift your view of Key Lime Pie and encourage you to make your own!

True Key Lime Pies are refreshing and tart. Now granted, my recipe is not necessarily “classic” because I’ve changed the crust and topping to be more to my liking, but it is 100 times better than what most people think of when they think of Key Lime Pie. One slice of this pie will hook you for life.

Much like my Mini Key Lime Pies, this pie has a macadamia-graham crust with a little something extra, lots of lime zest, and it is not baked in the oven. If you want to make a traditional Key Lime Pie, all you have to do is add cream cheese and omit the zest and the macadamia nuts in the crust. I prefer a pie like this one because you don’t have to worry about cracking and it is much more creamy than a baked pie. You can’t go wrong with only 3 ingredients in a filling!

Happy Baking,

Ivy B. Lake

For this recipe you will need a 9-inch pie dish, 2 large bowls, an electric mixer, a zester, and a citrus juicer.

Ingredients for the crust: 

  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped/crushed cinnamon graham crackers (about 8 crackers)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 10 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. shredded coconut (optional)

Ingredients for the filling: 

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup fresh lime juice (if you don’t have key limes, persian limes are fine)
    • 3/4 cup makes a very tart pie, which pairs well with a sweet coconut whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp. grated lime zest

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar


Prepare the crust by melting the butter and honey together and combining with the ingredients (using a food processor works best). Press the crust into the pie dish all the way up the sides and then place in the freezer while you make the filling.

In a large bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and zest together. Pour into the crust and then smooth the top with a spatula. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the topping.

Beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until it is whipped cream with stiff peaks. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a circle around the pie for a design like in my pictures, or simply smooth the topping over the pie. Chill the topped key lime pie overnight or for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

This is probably the simplest dessert I’ve ever made, and one of the most delicious! Enjoy!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.




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