Key Lime Pie

| March 17, 2014 | 11 Comments

Key Lime Pie recipe, as seen on Taste of
Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this delicious Key Lime Pie dessert. We’ll make the Graham Cracker crust, then squeeze some limes to make the filling. An egg meringue topping finishes it off, but you could leave it plain, or maybe add some whipped cream, the choice is yours. Either way, you’re going to love this one. Printable recipe included.


Key Lime Pie, slider.
Key Lime Pie Recipe:

My mom made a lot of pies when I was growing up here in the South. Sadly, this wasn’t one of the one’s she would make for us. I don’t know if she just didn’t like it herself, or what the reason might have been. Maybe it wasn’t Southern enough for our neck of the woods.

I happen to really like Key Lime Pie. It’s just one of those tastes that you enjoy ever so often, that kind of brings a smile to your face and to your tummy, all at the same time. It’s a great way to finish off a big plate of Seafood as it’s light and slightly tart taste helps to ease all those fried fish, shrimp, and oysters you just filled up on. Oh, and the hushpuppies too.

We don’t grow Key Limes around our part of the country. I’m not really even using KEY Limes in the recipe pictured below. Key Limes are smaller than the limes we find in the grocery stores around my area. You need a whole bunch of them to produce enough juice to make a pie, and we’re only using half a cup.

We’re using Persian Limes, and just a little bit of Lemon juice to create a taste very similar to that of the Key Lime. I’m also going to top this particular pie with an Egg Meringue topping. I know that a lot folks aren’t really fond of meringue, but it just adds an extra bit of flare to the completed pie in my opinion.

You could easily just make the pie and leave it “bare.” You could also use whipping cream to make a whipped topping, or even purchase one of those Cool Whip type of toppings. The choice is yours, but I’ll show you what I think is the best way to enjoy it. Besides, it really points out the fact that it’s homemade as opposed to store bought.

We’ll use Graham Cracker Crumbs to make the crust, but again, a store bought crust would work just as easily if you’re trying to cut corners and save one or two minutes of time. Notice I said “one or two minutes,” indicating that it doesn’t take very long at all to make your own.

And, since it’s actually St. Patrick’s Day today, I added a couple of drops of Green Food Color, just to give it a little added color. That’s totally optional as well, so don’t mind not adding it to yours. To be more exact, it’s 4:15am here on the East Coast. I got off to a late start on this recipe and have been determined to get it posted as a way to share a little “Green” with you on this day.

I’m probably headed to bed in just a moment, but if you’re ready to give our recipe a try, head to the kitchen and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Key Lime Pie, ingredients you'll need.
Key Lime Pie:  You’ll need these ingredients.


Key Lime Pie, add graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.
We’ll start by adding the Graham Cracker Crumbs to a medium size mixing bowl.

You could make your own crumbs from regular Graham Crackers if desired. Either place them in a food chopper, or crumble them up into a large zip top type bag and pulverize them with a rolling pin. Just make sure you break them up really fine. It needs to have almost a corn meal like fine texture.


Key Lime Pie, add the sugar.
Add the Granulated Sugar.


Key Lime Pie, mix the dry ingredients well.
Using a spoon, mix the dry ingredients well.


Key Lime Pie, melt the butter.
I’ve already preheated my oven to 350°F. I cut the Butter into sections and placed it in a pie plate, then popped that into the oven to melt the butter. It only takes a minute to do it this way, just be careful that you don’t leave it in too long and let it burn.  Of course, the microwave works very well.


Key Lime Pie, add melted butter to crumb mixture.
Add the melted Butter to the crumb mixture.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but be sure to add either the Almond Extract or Vanilla Extract at this point.


Key Lime Pie, stir until all crumbs are moistened.
Give it a quick stir, making sure all the crumbs are moistened.


Key Lime Pie, add mixture to pie plate.
After melting the Butter in the pie plate, I rubbed the little bit remaining in the plate all around the bottom and the inside edges to coat it thoroughly.  Once that is done, spoon the moistened crumb mixture into the pie plate.


Key Lime Pie, spread crumb mixture out to the edges.
Using a spoon, spread the crumb mixture out to the edges of the pie plate.  You’ll need more of the mixture around the edges than in the bottom. We’re going to work it up the sides of the pie plate.


Key Lime Pie, shape it up.
Spread the crumb mixture out to the edges and then work it up the sides, all the way to the top rim of the dish.  Try to keep the sides and bottom as equally thick as possible. Just work it slowly and gently, until you’ve got it formed inside the plate. Pack it as firmly as you can.


Key Lime Pie, bake it at 350 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Place the crust in the oven and bake it for about 8-10 minutes at 350°F. Ovens vary, so watch it carefully. This will help to firm up the crust before we add the filling. If you prefer, you could just set the crust in the refrigerator and let it chill for about one hour.


Key Lime Pie, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. The crust needs to be completely cool before you add the filling. So, now is a good time to start making that filling.


Key Lime Pie, zest the lime.
You’ll want to zest one of the limes before you try to remove the juice from it. Always remove the zest first.


Key Lime Pie, roll the limes to help soften them for more juice extraction.
Limes are usually pretty firm. Roll them under the palm of your hand to soften them up a bit. This will normally help you extract a bit more juice from them.


Key Lime Pie, squeeze the limes and the lemon.
Next, squeeze the juice from the limes. These were still pretty firm and I was concerned that I might not get enough juice from them.


Key Lime Pie, the juice that was extracted.
I was surprised to actually see this much juice from the three limes I had. I had plenty for the recipe, and a little bit left over.

Pour this juice into another dish, then go ahead and squeeze the Lemon. We need a 4 to 1 ration of Lime to Lemon, so you’ll not really be using all of the juice from the Lemon.


Key Lime Pie, separate the egg yolks from the whites.
Separate the Egg yolks from the whites. These are some more pasture raised chicken eggs that I’m using. I’ve just recently found a local source for these and really like them. The inside of the shell has a thick white membrane that you can see in the bottom shell above. The yolks are dark yellow and creamy in texture, unlike the thin watery one’s I typically get from the grocery store.

I was reading just the other day about how you could use the membrane from the eggs on your face to help clean the pores. While I can’t really see myself walking around with dried egg on my face, I guess it might actually work.

When separating the eggs, it’s always a good idea to crack them over a small bowl first. By letting the white drain from the egg shell into the bowl, then transferring the yolk from one half to the other, you’ll separate the yolks and whites safely. Place the yolks in one bowl, the whites in another. By breaking them over another small bowl, should you break the yolk in one, you don’t ruin the whole batch of whites in the bigger bowl. You can’t make meringue if you have any bits of yolks in the egg whites.

You also want to be sure that you’re placing the egg whites in a glass or metal bowl that is perfectly clean. You don’t want any greasy film or anything else in the bowl you’ll be making the meringue in.


Key Lime Pie, place the yolks in a mixing bowl.
Place all the yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Set the whites aside for now, we’ll make the filling first.


Key Lime Pie, add the sweetened condensed milk.
Add the whole can of the Sweetened Condensed Milk.


Key Lime Pie, add the evaporated milk.
Add the Evaporated Milk.


Key Lime Pie, beat until light and creamy.
Use your hand mixer and beat the mixture together until it’s light in color and creamy in texture. This will take about two minutes, so don’t skimp on it.


Key Lime Pie, add the lime juice.
Make sure you measure out the exact amount of Lime juice called for. I started to pick up the cup I had pictured above and just toss it into the bowl. Good thing I caught myself first as it was more than I actually needed.


Key Lime Pie, add the lemon juice.
The same goes with the Lemon juice. Be sure to measure out only the Two Tablespoons called for, as opposed to all you might have juiced.


Key Lime Pie, add the lime zest.
You only need two teaspoons of the Lime zest. Just add it into the bowl.


Key Lime Pie, add food coloring only if desired.
Adding a couple of drops of Green Food Color is totally optional. I only did it because I’m making this pie for St. Patrick’s Day and thought a little green would look good. The zest would only give it a little bit of color, so it’s totally up to you whether you add the coloring or not.


Key Lime Pie, mix until combined.
Mix it all up until it’s fully combined.


Key Lime Pie, add filling to the crust.
Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust. Using a spoon, spread it out evenly all around the edges.


Key Lime Pie, bake for about 20 minutes.
Place the pie in your oven. Bake it at 350°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center is set and firm. The center will look dry and not wet when done. It should just jiggle slightly when moved.


Key Lime Pie, beat the egg whites until frothy.
After the pie has baked for about 10 minutes, go ahead and start whipping up the egg white meringue.

Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are frothy looking in texture.


Key Lime Pie, add the cream of tartar.
Add the Cream-of-Tartar. This will help firm up the egg whites, especially if you’re using older eggs.


Key Lime Pie, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Beat the egg whites again, until they form soft peaks.


Key Lime Pie, add just a dash of salt.
Add just a dash of Salt.


Key Lime Pie, add the sugar gradually.
The sugar gets added gradually, while continuing to whip the egg whites. Using your mixer, start whipping them again, and add just a little of the sugar about every 10 seconds or so, until it’s all incorporated.


Key Lime Pie, beat until they form stiff peaks.
Beat the egg whites until they will form stiff peaks.

We had rain all day today so there was lots of moisture in the air. I think it kept my egg whites from standing as tall as they normally will. Over beating them will also cause them to not be as light and full. You have to watch them as you can get them to the perfect point to form those peaks, then if you continue to whip them, they start to fall. It takes a little practice but you can do it. I’ve got confidence in you.


Key Lime Pie, remove the pie from the oven.
By the time you get the meringue complete, your pie should be ready to remove from the oven. We’re going to add the beaten egg whites right on top of the hot pie.


Key Lime Pie, spread the meringue on top of the hot pie.
Spoon the meringue over the top of the hot pie.


Key Lime Pie, spread to the edges.
Spread the meringue out to the edges of the crust, completely sealing in the filling within the pie. Pile it a little higher in the center, then take your spatula and dab it all around to create the “waves” in the meringue. The tops of the waves will brown first and adds to the look of the completed pie.


Key Lime Pie, baking time for the meringue.
Place the pie back in the oven once again. It should only take about 8 to 10 minutes to bake the meringue. Watch it carefully once the top starts to brown as it doesn’t take long after that for the tips to start to burn. Remove the pie when it has reached the desired color on top.


Key Lime Pie, enjoy.
Serve the pie warm, or let it cool before serving.

You can place the pie in the refrigerator if you need to store it overnight. The only problem is that sometimes the meringue will “weep” or form a thick syrup type substance on top. It’s best if you eat the pie not long after it’s baked or cooled. We’ll try to go into more detail on another date about how best to store a meringue type pie. Around here, they don’t really last long enough to present a problem.

I do prefer mine cool, if not cold. Again, the choice is yours.  Either way, I do hope you’ll like it.



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Key Lime Pie recipe, as seen on Taste of

Key Lime Pie

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -16 Servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this delicious Key Lime Pie dessert. We’ll make the Graham Cracker crust, then squeeze some limes to make the filling. An egg meringue topping finishes it off, but you could leave it plain, or maybe add some whipped cream, the choice is yours. Either way, you’re going to love this one.




  • 1 ¼ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Almond or Vanilla Extract


  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cup Evaporated Milk
  • ½ cup Key Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 3 Egg Yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon grated Lime zest
  • Green Food Coloring, about 2 drops, optional


  • 3 Egg Whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • Dash of Salt


For The Crust:

  1. Place graham cracker crumbs in a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Add granulated sugar.
  3. Add the melted butter.
  4. Add either the almond, or vanilla extract.
  5. Stir mixture together until all crumbs are coated.
  6. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.
  7. Spread the crust mixture in the plate, press firmly into bottom and sides.
  8. Work the crumb mixture up the sides, bringing up to the top rim.
  9. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

For The Filling:

  1. Grate 2 teaspoons of zest from Limes, set aside. Always remove zest before juicing.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the limes, set aside
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, set aside.
  4. Place three egg yolks in a medium size mixing bowl.
  5. Add sweetened condensed milk.
  6. Add evaporated milk.
  7. Using a hand mixer, stir together until creamy and light in color, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the lime juice.
  9. Add the lemon juice.
  10. Add the grated lime zest.
  11. Add one or two drops of green food coloring, if desired. Totally optional.
  12. Stir together, just until combined.
  13. Pour filling into cooled crust.
  14. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, or until center is firm.

For The Meringue:

  1. Use a clean, dry, glass or metal mixing bowl.
  2. Add the egg whites.
  3. Beat egg whites until frothy looking.
  4. Add cream of tartar.
  5. Beat again, until soft peaks form.
  6. Add pinch of salt.
  7. Add sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to whip the mixture together.
  8. Whip egg whites together until you get strong stiff peaks. Do not over whip.
  9. Spread the egg whites over the hot pie.
  10. Tap the spatula up and down in the meringue to make some peaks.
  11. Return pie to oven.
  12. Continue to bake at 350° until slightly browned on top, about 8-10 minutes, but watch closely.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  14. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
  15. Enjoy!


This pie features an Egg Meringue topping, but it can be made using a Whipped Cream topping, like Cool Whip. It can also be left plain, without any topping at all. Make it the way you like and make it your own. Enjoy!

Keywords: Key Lime Pie Recipe, made from scratch, lemons, limes, key lime, southern recipes


Your Comments:  Do you ever make Key Lime Pie? Do you make your own crusts, or prefer to use the pre-packaged type from the grocery store? I’d love to hear your comments on our recipe. It will only take a minute or two to share them with us in the section below. And, if you try our recipe, be sure to come back and let me know how it turned out for you. Your comments could help someone else decide whether or not they want to try the recipe. It will be greatly appreciated. Just know that all comments are moderated. That just means that I personally read each and every one of them before they are approved for our family friendly home here on the Internet. Your comment will not show up immediately, but just as soon as I can read it, I’ll post it. I also try to respond to as many comments as possible, so be sure to check back for my reply.

Sign Up For Our FREE Newsletter: I’d like to invite you to sign up for our FREE Newsletter while you’re here. Each week, I try to send out an Email reminder to keep you informed of the newest recipe we’ve posted here on Taste of Southern. It’s a great reminder to visit with us once again, and it’s a great way to keep up with any Contests or Giveaways we might be doing. It’s totally FREE to join, and as easy as pie. (Sorry) Just place the information requested in the Sign Up box below, or in the one you’ll find in the top right hand corner of each page of our site. You’ll be on the list to get our very next Newsletter. And, should you ever decide you’re no longer interested, it’s even easier to Unsubscribe, and we’ll just part friends with no hard feelings. I hope you’ll never feel that way about us though. So, Sign Up today and I’ll be looking for you on our list. If you like what we do, please tell your family and friends about us. It will be greatly appreciated.

Be Blessed!!!


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Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (11)

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  1. Donna says:

    I made this pie tonight for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious!! All the grown kids and grandkids enjoyed it too. Thanks for an easy to follow recipe!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Donna, Thank you for trying our Key Lime Pie. I’m glad the family enjoyed it. Perhaps this will encourage someone else to try it. I do appreciate your visit and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

      • Donna says:

        I made another key lime pie Wednesday for my brother-in-law’s visit from Atlanta. We had it that night for dessert and he had it the next morning for breakfast with his coffee. Again, it was another hit!!

  2. henry compi says:

    hi steve;

    i tried the key lime pie with one change, i didn’t dump all the juices in at once but rather blended them in. based upon the science of the interaction and the result was a taller pie than in the past. this is just an comment in terms of taste the family loved it… nice job


  3. Joyce B says:

    GM Steve! I love your stories, and your Newsletters. You are so blessed to be able to ‘hit the road’ with your older brother. I can imagine how much you both enjoy those good times together. I am planning to prepare your Key Lime Pie recipe for dinner tonight. I have always used the bottled lime juice from Florida. Can’t wait to taste this one. Yes, l am wearing my green today!!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Joyce B, Thank you for your comments and compliments. It is indeed good to spend some time with my older brother these days. We enjoy the trips, and I get to hear all of his old stories as well.

      Please let me know how the Key Lime Pie recipe turns out for you. I hope you’ll like it. Thank you for your visits to Taste of Southern, and I do hope you’ll stop by for another visit with us… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. Jan Zehr says:

    I always read your newsletter. I just have one comment about limes, and any citrus. Like you, I grate the peel and what I don’t use, I freeze for later use, already grated.

    Here’s where we are different. After grating the citrus (any kind), I cut the stem ends flat, slice in half crosswise, then microwave for 30 seconds or less. The juices POUR out of citrus halves. I also just changed to the hand squeezer, looks like a lemon/lime/orange (come in different sizes) half. They are GREAT! I quit using my electric juicer because the hand squeeze ones work better.

    Love getting your recipes.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jan, Thank you for your comments and for the suggestion about using the microwave. I know lots of people do that, me included.

      Keep in mind, that “back in the day,” microwave ovens hadn’t been invented yet. (Smile) Trying to preserve the old way of doing things often gets in the way with all the modern day inventions we now have. I’ve seen Mama roll many a lemon with her hand, trying to get it to release more juice. It still works pretty good though.

      Mama had a juicer made of glass, perhaps you’ve seen them. She would roll the lemon, cut it in half, then twist each half around the top of the juicer to squeeze them. I usually can’t resist buying them at the auction, and have several in my collection here at home.

      Thank you again for sharing. It’s greatly appreciated. I’m thankful you’ve found Taste of Southern, and do hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Pat Potts says:

    Hi steve I always love your great stories, from one carolina girl to a carolina guy. I tried your key lime pie recipe. It’s wonderful.

    I’ve lived in Ga for 35 years now but am a tarheel at heart….. please keep the recipes coming as well as your stories.

    Regards, Pat

  6. Amy Warner says:

    Hi Steve,
    I enjoyed your story about the all-nighter. You are a funny fellow.

    We are enjoying the BBQ sauce we won in the contest. I forgot how sweet Carolina BBQ sauces are. They are yummy. Sure appreciate it.

    This pie looks terrific. I’m going to have to try to make one. I’ve never tried.

    Thanks as always and God bless you,
    Amy in Ohio

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Amy, It’s great to hear from you again. I’m so happy you are enjoying the Dimples BBQ Sauce, congratulations again.

      I hope you’ll get the chance to try the Key Lime Pie. I’ll be waiting to hear how you like it. Thank you for your visits and I do hope you’ll stop by for another visit with us… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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