Key Lime Pie Recipe

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!

Deliciously simple homemade key lime pie! Macadamia nut crust and only 3 ingredients needed for the filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Deliciously simple homemade key lime pie! Macadamia nut crust and only 3 ingredients needed for the filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make the Filling: Whisk together the 3 filling ingredients– it will be thick! Pour into warm crust.
  4. 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.
  5. Garnish and Serve! She’s extra delicious with fresh whipped cream.

How to make EASY key lime pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

  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.

Macadamia nut crust for key lime pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 make EASY key lime pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 make EASY key lime pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Deliciously simple homemade key lime pie! Macadamia nut crust and only 3 ingredients needed for the filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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:

Deliciously simple homemade key lime pie! Macadamia nut crust and only 3 ingredients needed for the filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve sampled LOTS of key lime pie and I can confidently say this the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted.

Print

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings
  • 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

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

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans 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 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.
  3. Make the filling: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks together– or use an electric mixer. Pour into warm crust.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Leftover Egg Whites: Here are all my recipes using just egg whites or you can make a meringue topping for the pie.
This is the BEST key lime pie recipe with a toasty macadamia nut crust and easy 3 ingredient filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

172 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh! This key lime pie absolutely amazing. I love that the crust is made of macadamia nut. I might just make this pie just for the crust! I can’t wait to try this.

  2. This looks super awesome! Adding nuts to the crust is the best idea ever! And done in no time, I love these kind of recipes, thanks!
    PS: Maybe it is only me but you sound very happy in this post. Hope that you have no problems during your pregnancy and get your fruit/chips craving going…

  3. Ahh, I LOVE the use of macadamia nuts in this recipe – my favorite nut 🙂  Happy Memorial Day, Sally; and I hope you had a fabulous birthday celebration!

  4. Happy birthday, Sally. This looks sooooo good. Unfortunately, both limes and sweetened condensed milk are hard to come by where I live. It’s great that you’re craving fruit and not all of the recipes you are constantly churning out for us readers. It means you and your baby are stocking up on vitamins. BTW, speaking of fruit cravings, I made a granola-crust cheesecake fruit tart last week full of lemon zest that my friend said reminded her of key lime pie.
    All the best!

  5. So amazing, Sally! Key-lime pie has to be my favorite ever. I mean, it’s so hard to choose between lemon meringue, cherry, and key-lime, but the crust being not-pastry is an important point for me 🙂 I might replace the macadamia nuts with coconut, though…I’m just not a nut person 😉 Your photographs are gorgeous, so summery!

  6. I got up this morning and I was so hoping that you had posted a new recipe even though I also hoped you were taking the day off to get some R & R. This recipe does not dissappiont!! Happy Memorial Day to you and your family!!

  7. Oh boy, Sally…this pie needs to be in my life, like right now!!! I love key lime anything, but never attempted to make a key lime pie because I envisioned it to be too hard. However, you have once again proven how easy baking can be! Thanks for a terrific start to summer pie baking.

    I hope you’re feeling well!

    Merrily

  8. This pie looks simply magnificent! While key line is not my favourite variety of pie (blueberry), I’d never turn down any pie & I think it’s definitely an underrated flavour in the fruit pie world. Especially love that it takes so little time in the oven – with the hot weather that (finally) just hit, having the oven on for more than half an hour sounds so daunting 😉

  9. Hi Sally, happy birthday and hope you are having a great Memorial Day weekend. I love key lime pie and was in the Florida Keys in March and tried out a lot of different ones . Unfortunately over on my side of the pond we don’t have key limes at all. Do you think this would still work with regular freshly squeezed limes?
    The macadamias in the crust sound heavenly! 
    Thanks!

    1. regular limes would work, yes! no need to alter the recipe at all. (though key limes do taste best!) You can even try lemon juice instead.

  10. Oh the macadamia nuts in the crust sound so good!  I’m usually a chocolate person, but have been loving fruity or citrus desserts lately!

  11. Love that thick crust!!! This pie looks yummy. And thank you for letting us know we don’t have to juice a million key limes to get the juice for this pie! Thank goodness for bottled key line juice! And I could probably eat an entire Edible Arrangement too….and I’m not pregnant! Hahahaha. Happy Memorial Day Sally!

  12. Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try! I have to ask, where did you get those adorable plates? I must know!

    Wishing you and your family a delightful Memorial Day!

  13. Hi Sally,

    My mom absolutely adores key lime pie. I live in England though, so I use McVities digestives with melted butter for the base. For the filling, I just use double cream whipped with lime juice and condensed milk. It’s one of the quickest, easiest and well received things I make. 

    Lots of love and luck with the baby!
    Adelaide
    Xxxx

  14. LOve the  simplicity of this recipe! Is it necessary to use full fat SCM or can I sub for the lower fat version?
    Thanks! 

  15. Hi Sally:

    This recipe looks like a keeper for sure.  Love everything about it!  Especially the macadamia nut crust. 

    Can’t wait to cook with you next week!  Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

    Debbie

  16. Thank you for not using the cream cheese, I do get tired of almost every recipe calling for cream cheese. This was DELIC… Thank you

  17. My birthday came and went without a cake, and now I know why!  I’m making this and can’t wait to eat it!!  Happy Memorial Day!  Love hearing the news of your pregnancy!  Your posts are so delightful!

  18. Happy Belated Birthday Sally! And bless you for posting this fabulous key lime pie recipe. I used to be all about chocolate, but as I’ve gotten older (and older lol!) , key lime pie and other citrus desserts have become my favorites. And thanks for mentioning a specific brand of key lime juice – I’m all for making life easier when I bake! Love the addition of macadamia nuts in the crust, as they are delicious and full of flavor.

  19. Hi Sally,
    This looks absolutely delicious and would like to make it for an upcoming event but we cannot buy Graham Crackers in Australia so would you be able to let me know the weight of the crackers so that I can replace them with something similar. I love that you include weights in your ingredients list as I find it is so much more accurate and also in Australia our cup and spoons are a different size to yours.
    Thanks Carol.

  20. I still haven’t had a key lime pie yet! But I love the crust that you made. I think that would go perfectly with the citrus lime flavor (:

  21. This looks awesome! I hope you had a great long weekend! I really, really hope the summer of pies includes a new cherry pie recipe! I love the toasted almond one that you have, but I would love another spin with just cherries. I’m dying to make a pie with fresh cherries for the first time this year, after using canned all my life. Fingers crossed!

  22. Love the Macadamia nut crust! A fried gave me a recipe for key lime pie years ago. I made it shortly afterwards and we loved it. The next time I am making it I will be using your crust recipe! Thanks for the inspiration.

  23. I love pies and this one looks delicious! I had to laugh about the edible arrangement. Those things are huge! Enjoy the pregnancy and I look forward to more pie recipes! 

  24. Amazing photos, Sally! I want to make this ASAP. What do “9 full-sheet graham crackers” weigh approximately (in gramms, as I will have to find a substitute for them) ?
    To Germans: the sweetened condensed milk can now be found at REWE by a brand called DOVGAN.
    I have not found key lime juice here unfortunately but lime and lemon work okay too.

  25. Looks great Sally! Photos and narrative had my mouth watering 🙂 Thank you for letting me know there’s a difference between regular limes and key limes or else I’d be in trouble 🙂 Also love the addition of the nuts to the crust but can’t help wonder about your chip craving. I LOVE chips and may try a substitute of corn/tortilla chips version just to see what happens.

  26. Sally,
    This looks delicious. I have used your recipe for key lime pie before, and it is a winner. This crust just looks fabulous as well. It’s on the short list to-be-made soon. ~smile~

  27. So excited to make this key lime pie! I have been looking for a good recipe as it is my son’s favorite. Will have to try it this week…yipee! Thanks, Sally.

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