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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 think you will agree. Only 3 ingredients required for the filling!

overhead image of key lime pie

Key lime pie will forever be one of my favorite desserts. This Florida 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
slices of key lime pie on silver plates with forks

Here’s How You Make This 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, so it’s perfect in the summertime when you’d rather be outside. (A lot of readers make this easy pie for Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day, 4th of July, summer birthday parties, and Labor Day gatherings.)

  • 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 17-20 minutes. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  • Garnish and Serve: This is 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.
key lime juice in a glass measuring cup

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 crust:

  1. Macadamia Nuts (I recommend salted)
  2. Graham Crackers
  3. Melted Butter
  4. Sugar

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.

2 images of graham cracker crust crumbs in a food processor and pressing the crust into a glass pie dish with a measuring cup
key lime pie filling ingredients in a glass bowl with a whisk

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 success 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.

pouring key lime pie filling into graham cracker crust
key lime pie with a pie server and a slice removed

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
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key lime pie with a pie server and a slice removed

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This tangy sweet key lime pie is deliciously simple with an extra thick and nutty crust. Only 3 ingredients needed for the filling!


Ingredients

Scale

Graham Cracker Macadamia Crust

  • 11 (about 160g) full-sheet graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup (62g) salted macadamia nuts (I use roasted)
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons (71g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling + Topping

  • 28 ounces (two 14-ounce cans; 793g) full-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) key lime juice
  • 4 large egg yolks*
  • garnish: lime zest, lime slices, macadamia nuts, whipped cream, or meringue topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. 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 the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom and up the sides to make a compact crust. Do not pack down with heavy force because that makes the crust too hard. Simply pat down until the mixture is no longer crumby/crumbly. Tips: You can use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help press down the bottom crust and smooth out the surface, but do not pack down too hard. And run a spoon around the bottom “corner” where the edge and bottom meet to help make a rounded crust⁠—this helps prevent the crust from falling apart. For more shaping technique tips, see the graham cracker crust recipe page.
  3. Pre-bake crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the oven on.
  4. Make the filling: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks together (or use an electric mixer). Pour into warm crust.
  5. Bake the pie for 17–20 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.
  6. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Food Processor | Colorful WhiskZester | Citrus JuicerGlass Scalloped Pie Plate
  3. Graham Cracker Crust: If you purchase graham cracker crumbs, you need 1 and 1/3 cups (160g) for this recipe. Even though they are already crumbs, you can still pulse with the nuts. If you want to skip the nuts, use this graham cracker crust recipe instead and pre-bake for 8 minutes.
  4. Leftover Egg Whites: Here are all my recipes using just egg whites, or you can make a meringue topping for the pie.
  5. Non-US Readers: ​​Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 180g ground digestive biscuits instead (about 12 biscuits), with the same amount of nuts and butter, and add an extra Tablespoon (12g) of sugar. Pre-bake for 10 minutes.

Keywords: Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

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:

slice of key lime pie on a silver plate with a fork

Reader Questions and Reviews

      1. Please send beginning recipes that are easy because I haven’t cooked in 40 years thank you

    1. Hi there! This got rave reviews and was absolutely the best key lime pie that everyone had ever had!
      This time I need to make them in a muffin tin…I know you have a recipe for mini key lime pies but this recipe was my mom’s very favorite and I was reallly hoping to make this one. Could you please council me on approximately how long to bake it in muffin tins? Would it be about 15 minutes like the mini pie recipe or does the lack of cream cheese mean less time?
      Thank you in advance for making our late Mother’s Day extra special!!

      1. Hi Gillian! You can absolutely make these in muffin tins — follow the bake time and directions for mini key lime pies, but use this filling instead. So glad to hear you enjoy this one!

  1. I have made this recipe multiple times and it is always a huge hit! The macadamia nuts in the crust really give it that extra ‘something’ that people love but can’t quite pin point. One of my favorite recipes from your site, Sally!

  2. This recipe is dangerously simple (I could have delicious key lime pie with this little effort??)
    I baked this to take to my kids’ school for Pi Day and got so many compliments about how delicious it is! Winning!!!

    1. I made this for the first time today. Absolutely delicious!!!!! I followed the directions for a 9 inch pie, and it seemed like there was going to be too much filling, so I didn’t put all of it in the shell, so my question is can I cook the remaining filling in the microwave and chill it just to eat as is. The next time I make it, I will put it in a bigger pie plate. Thank you!

  3. This Key Lime Pie is amazing! Very easy to make and it was delicious. A big hit with the family. It tasted even better on the next day! The crust is easy and so delicious, much better than buying the ready made at the supermarket. All homemade! Love it!!!

    1. I love this recipe! I’ve made it so many times and it’s always a favorite at holidays. I was wondering if this recipe could be made in bar form instead of in a pie pan?

  4. I absolutely love this recipe. The keylime was tangy and sweet- an absolute hit. I usually use your graham cracker crust recipe without the nuts, but I’d like to try something different this go around. My nieces love pecans. Can I use any nut for this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim, you can absolutely use pecans or any other nut in place of the macadamia nuts. So glad you enjoy this recipe!

  5. I used a classic graham cracker crust (no nuts) and this filling. Fantastic. I topped it with the not-so-sweet whipped frosting (really a whipped cream). What a great combination.

  6. This is a fantastic recipe and I always get great feedback when I make it. I struggle with the crust though. Even with a pre-bake, it is a battle for me to get the pie out. Slices are always pretty wonky and broken up. Any idea what I could be doing wrong? Thanks for your wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Meghan, if you’re having troubles removing the crust, it might be just slightly over baked. For next time, try reducing the pre-bake by just a minute. Make sure it is tightly packed in the pan and that your graham cracker / nuts are sufficiently ground up (although a few large pieces of nuts is fine). Hope this helps and we’re so glad you’ve been enjoying this pie!

  7. Delicious and easy! I turned to this recipe after the one from Cook’s Country (America’s Test Kitchen) let me down. Just remember to let it cool down completely at room temp and let it chill uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so before covering it. Otherwise you’ll end up with a little condensation.

  8. Favorite recipe. Can you make these into individual pies without the cream cheese? I love this recipe but want individual servings.

    1. Hi Egla, so glad you love this key lime pie recipe! Yes, you can use this recipe for mini key lime pies — the same way you use it for these mini key lime pies. This filling will work just as well as that one!

  9. Can cream cheese be added to this recipe like you have in the key lime pie square recipe?
    Sue

  10. Good morning…….I prefer using fresh lime juice. Shall I keep the volume if juice at 1 cup and secondly, may I add lime zest? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Julie, yes, same amount of fresh key lime juice and you can add lime zest to your liking. Hope you enjoy this pie!

  11. Is it possible to find out which tip was used for the whipped cream?

    1. Hi Amanda, I used Wilton 1M tip. The whipped cream was on the softer side this day, so it didn’t hold shape well.

  12. Thanks so much. Would there be any issue doing this in a deep pie dish?

    1. Hi Amanda! The filling won’t fill out a deep dish pie dish, but it will work. Let us know how it goes!

  13. I’m thinking I’ll just use my regular pie dish, but it’s a Pyrex 9.5 inch. The recipe calls for a 9 inch – will a 9.5 work?

  14. I made this for a party, and everyone loved it! It was delicious! Besides the lemon blueberry tart this is the best thing I’ve made from this blog! Thank you.

  15. I’m going to use pecans instead of macadamias, should I roast them before mixing into the graham crackers.

    1. You can use either, but we do love the flavor of roasted. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Delicious! I made the crust according to your recipe. Any time I need a graham cracker crust, I’ll be adding in macadamia nuts.
    As for the key lime, could it have been any easier? No. And it was perfect. I even remembered to take a photo this time. I just can’t figure out how to send it.

  17. This recipe is amazing. I love the macadamia nuts blended into the crust and the filling is perfect.

  18. LOVED IT!!! So easy & so good. I’m wondering if I could use this recipe & spread out in a few 3 or 4 inch pie tins? What temp & timing would I use for that? Also, could I freeze it? Thank you for the amazing recipe!

    1. Hi Allison, so glad you love this key lime pie recipe! Yes, you can use this recipe for smaller key lime pies — the same way you use it for these mini key lime pies. This filling will work just as well as that one! We’re unsure of the exact bake time. Baked and cooled pie freezes well up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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