Key lime pie has long been a keen source of pride for Florida residents.
The story of this delectable island favorite is hotly debated, with claims that differ widely. No matter the history of key lime pie’s origin, its popularity today is as intense as ever. One thing Floridians agree on: the real thing is tart and yellow—never sweet and green!
We’ve researched recipes from around the state (and even the country) and have found five spins on this one amazing dessert. You’ll find: one made with sour cream, one with cream cheese, one made without sweetened condensed milk, one that’s admittedly extra tart, and another one that’s topped off with meringue instead of whipping cream.
If you can’t make up your mind about which one would be the best to make first, don’t worry. It’s summer. It’s island time. It’s all good!
Prize Winning Key Lime Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs*
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cups sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup key lime juice
- 2 egg yolks
- Zest from 1 lime or key lime
- 8 ounces heavy cream, very cold
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse graham crackers in your food processor until they become crumbs (*or buy crumbs).
- Add in sugar and butter and pulse until combined.
- Press crumbs onto your pie plate, across the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow the crust to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high for two minutes.
- Scrape filling into your prepared (and cooled) pie crust.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until filling only wiggles a bit in the center when you gently shake the pan back and forth. Don’t allow pie to brown. Cool on your counter for at least 30 minutes, then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
- In your mixing bowl, whip the cream on high until stiff peaks begin to form.
- Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip until firm.
- Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and when ready (an hour or so before serving), decorate your pie.
- Sprinkle a little fresh lime zest over the top. Keep pie chilled until serving.
Key Largo Key Lime Pie
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1⁄2 cup key lime juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine butter and crumbs. With your fingers, press the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for five minutes. Set on rack to cool.
- To make filling, beat cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until very creamy. Slowly add condensed milk in a steady stream, beating until well-incorporated and scraping sides of bowl several times. Add lime juice and vanilla, mixing well. Pour mixture into pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least five hours.
- Just before serving, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Let the pie sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Pie can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Key Lime Pie VI (sans sweetened condensed milk)
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks and set the whites aside.
- Combine the 1 cup white sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the water. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Gradually stir the cooked sugar mixture into the beaten egg yolks, beating constantly. Return the mixture to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Stir in the butter, lime juice and lime zest. Let mixture cool slightly.
- Beat egg whites until light and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 6 tablespoons white sugar and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
- Pour the lime filling into the prepared pie shell. Then pile the meringue on top, spreading it until it touches the edges of the pastry to prevent the meringue from shrinking. Bake pie at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for five to six minutes or until the meringue top is golden brown.
Extra Tart Key Lime Pie
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup freshly squeezed or bottled key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker crust, refrigerated
- 2 to 3 cups lightly sweetened whipped cream, for topping
- In a mixing bowl, beat yolks until thick, about three minutes. Add condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest. Beat again until well blended, about one minute. Pour into the pie shell, filling it to the brim and mounding slightly on top.
- Cover with plastic wrap, stretching wrap tightly across the surface. Freeze until firm, at least three hours.
- Just before serving, remove from the freezer and discard plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for five minutes, then spread with whipped cream and serve.
Best Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe (with meringue)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 (15-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
- 1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
- 4 eggs whites
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Combine egg yolks and condensed milk. Mix together well. Add key lime juice and mix well again. Pour mixture into pie shell.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, slowly adding sugar. Spread the mixture onto the pie all the way to the edge of the crust. Create peaks using the back of a wooden spoon.
- Bake in a preheated, 300-degree oven until meringue is light brown. Cool before serving.
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