With its outstanding macadamia nut crust, creamy thick lime filling, and sweet whipped cream on top, this is truly the best key lime pie I’ve ever had. And after 1 bite, I guarantee you will agree. Only 3 ingredients required for the filling!
Key lime pie will forever be one of my favorite desserts. This controversial Southern specialty has been winning over my tastebuds for years. Between the buttery and crunchy crust, tangy custard filling, and the essential creamy topping- no dessert can rival key lime pie!
But can we make a good thing even better? Yes.
What Makes This the Best Key Lime Pie?
- Extra thick and nutty crust
- 3 ingredient filling
- Easy to make
- Totally refreshing
- Mega key lime flavor
- Topped with homemade whipped cream
- Sweet, salty, citrus-y, buttery, creamy, and tangy all in one
How to Make Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie has a few simple steps. Most of the “work” is hands-off while the key lime pie sets up in the refrigerator. I love making it in the summer when all I want to do is spend time outside!
- Make the Crust: Use a food processor to combine the macadamia nuts and graham cracker crumbs. Combine with melted butter and sugar, then press tightly into a pie dish.
- Pre-Bake the Crust: Pre-bake the crust for about 8 minutes before pouring in the key lime filling. Pre-baking solidifies the crust and allows for easy slicing once the pie is ready to serve.
- Make the Filling: Whisk together the 3 filling ingredients– it will be thick! Pour into warm crust.
- Bake the Pie: Key lime pie bakes for only 15-20 minutes. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
- Garnish and Serve! She’s extra delicious with fresh whipped cream. By the way, if you’re looking for an alternative way to serve key lime pie, try my individual upside down key lime pies. Basically the same filling as this pie.
Graham Cracker Macadamia Nut Crust
Key lime pie is traditionally made with graham cracker crust. It’s the most wonderful crunchy, sweet, and buttery bed for the fresh key lime filling. But hey, how about getting a little nutty? You won’t believe the difference macadamia nuts make. I use about 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts in place of some of the graham cracker crumbs and the result is pure bliss. Macadamia nuts are a gem and, as it turns out, often overlooked in the baking world. Why though? They’re so good.
You only need 4 ingredients for this awesomely thick crust.
- Macadamia Nuts (I recommend salted)
- Graham Crackers
- Melted Butter
Pulse the macadamia nuts with graham crackers, then mix with melted butter and sugar. Because key limes are a little sweeter than regular limes, you will love the sweet/tangy key lime filling with the salty graham cracker macadamia nut crust.
3 Ingredient Key Lime Pie Filling
Yes, my key lime pie filling is only 3 ingredients. (!!) If you’ve tried my key lime pie bars or mini key lime pies, you’ll notice that today’s filling is a little different. I typically add a little cream cheese to the filling to ensure stability and structure, but decided to skip it today. We’re keeping it traditional with this classic key lime pie, which means we’re using egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice.
- My tip: Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of key lime juice from the store. There’s a brand of bottled key lime juice that I love called Nellie & Joe’s in most major grocery stores next to the bottled lemon juice. Just make sure you’re using key lime juice, not regular lime juice. Otherwise you will spend 100 years juicing 500 tiny key limes yourself. You need an entire cup of key lime juice and yes, it will take you 100 years to squeeze them all!
How to Tell Key Lime Pie is Done
One of the most common and easily remedied key lime pie problems is over-baked pie. It’s tricky to know when the pie is done, but here’s my secret: bake the key lime pie until the filling is only slightly jiggly in the center (about 15-20 minutes). It should be firm to the touch, but not completely liquid or totally solid. The pie will continue to solidify as it cools.
Cool the pie completely on a wire rack, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. I recommend garnishing your key lime pie prior to serving.
How to Decorate Key Lime Pie
Let the key lime flavor stand out and keep garnishes simple.
- Homemade whipped cream
- Since you’ll have leftover egg whites, make a meringue topping– you’ll have time to kill while the pie chills anyway 🙂
- Sliced limes cut into quarters
- Lime zest
- Whole macadamia nuts
- Graham cracker crumbs
I’ve sampled LOTS of key lime pie and I can confidently say this the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted.Print
This tangy sweet key lime pie is deliciously simple with an extra thick and nutty crust. Only 3 ingredients needed for the filling!
Graham Cracker Macadamia Crust
- 9 (135g) full-sheet graham crackers
- 1/2 cup (62g) salted macadamia nuts (I used roasted)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted
Filling + Topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and macadamia nuts together into crumbs. A few larger pieces of nuts is OK! Pour into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter until combined. Press tightly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Pre-bake crust for 8 minutes. Leave oven on.
- Make the filling: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks together– or use an electric mixer. Pour into warm crust.
- Bake the pie for 15-20 minutes or until only *slightly* jiggly in the center. You want it mostly set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and chill for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days) before serving.
- Garnish as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare and pre-bake the crust up to 2-3 days in advance. Cover and store at room temperature. Likewise, you can mix up the filling up to 2-3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then assemble and bake. Baked and cooled pie freezes well up to 3 months– thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Food Processor | Colorful Whisk | Zester | Citrus Juicer | Glass Scalloped Pie Plate
- Leftover Egg Whites: Here are all my recipes using just egg whites or you can make a meringue topping for the pie.
More Refreshing Dessert Ideas
When the temperatures rise, the last thing you want to do is spend time in a hot kitchen. You’ll appreciate these simple, delicious, and totally refreshing desserts:
- Creamy Lemon Pie
- No-Bake Cheesecake
- Lemon Berry Trifle
- Mini Key Lime Pies
- Peanut Butter Pie
- Strawberry Shortcake