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:

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

  • 28 ounces (two 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.

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

This is the BEST key lime pie recipe with a toasty macadamia nut crust and easy 3 ingredient filling! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

257 Comments

  1. Hi Sally

    As I am living in Ireland we don’t have Graham Crackers so instead I will be using Digestive Biscuits

    As I have never tasted Graham Crackers I don’t know how sweet they are. Are they sugar free?

    Should I still add all that sugar along with the Digestive Biscuits (they are slightly sweet)?

    Thanks a mill

    1. Hi Sarah, You can certainly use digestive biscuits! I have been told they are actually LESS sweet than graham crackers! I would suggest that you mix up the crust and give it a taste to see if you need to add more sugar 🙂

      1. Oh right, thanks for that because I didn’t have a clue what they tasted like!
        Can’t wait to make this pie!! 🙂

    2. Hi Sally,
      could you estimate how many limes it take to make a cup of juice. I can’t wait to try this pie. It is my favorite pie ever!!

      1. I juiced approximately 42 limes. It was 2 bags of key limes. I do not recommend juicing the limes . I will 1000% be ordering the juice next time I make this pie!!

    3. You can also make Graham crackers.

  2. My grandson loves key lime yogurt and asked me to make him a Key Lime Pie. You had just sent an e-mail in July with your recipe so I made it for him. He loved it! He had two pieces and took one home with him! Thank You Sally!

  3. Amy Wong Martinez says:

    Hi Sally! We just got back from a vacation in Hawaii where we had a delicious passion fruit and key lime pie. Would it change the consistency of your key lime pie too much if I added 1/2 cup of passion fruit pulp?

    1. Hi Amy! I recommend reducing the amount of sweetened condensed milk if adding another liquid.

    2. Barb Weyandt says:

      I swapped an equal amount of passion fruit pulp for the key lime juice – incredible!!

  4. Hi Sally!
    I have a nut allergy, is there an alternative I can use in the crust instead of macadamia’s?

    1. Hi Maggie! Just use a plain graham cracker crust instead. 🙂

  5. Hello! First, let me just say that i rarely change a Sally recipe, and they never let me down! So i hate to even ask, but I’m about to bake a key lime pie for Thanksgiving, and I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to substitute pistachios instead of macadamia nuts? I could get some macadamia nuts, I just have a bag of pistachios on hand already, but I’m not sure if the flavors will pair well?? Thanks!

    1. Yes! Key lime and pistachio would be excellent together– you can definitely replace the macadamias in the crust with pistachios!

  6. Most of the key lime pie recipes I’ve seen call for 6 egg yolks, 1 cup key lime juice and 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk. I was surprised to see that your recipe only calls for 4 egg yolks. How does this change the texture of the finished pie?

    1. Hi KaTinka, I can’t speak for other recipes but this one sets up beautifully – thick and creamy with no eggy taste!

  7. I think I made this recipe before but Wanna use this recipe to make mini pies. I saw you have another recipe for that but it has cream cheese. I can I do the mini without cream cheese

    1. Yes, you can use this recipe to make mini pies. Enjoy!

  8. Sally, We did a test run, loved it, made it for Thanksgiving and now its on the regular request list for the holidays! Everyone loved it and thought it had just the right balance of sweet-tart. However we did make a different crust (we happened to have a large box of Biscoff biscuits and wanted to use them up while they are fresh). We simply crushed a sleeve in a food processor, blended in 5 tablespoons of melted butter pressed into a pie pan, and baked for 10 mins (covering the edge). It complemented your filling wonderfully. Thanks!

    1. Sounds delicious!! So glad you tried and loved this recipe. Thank you so much.

    2. Hi Sally! I’ve been a fan of your recipes. I’ll be making this fot Mother’s day! I would like to ask since I’ll be using regular lime juice for this particular recipe, will it require 1 cup(240ml) as well? Thanks!

  9. Hi, I live in Australia and can’t seem to find key lime juice anywhere. Would regular lime juice be a suitable substitute? I’ve never tried key lime before so not sure what difference there is in taste…
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah, While they do taste slightly different you can substitute regular limes in most recipes. Or look for bottled key lime juice, the brand I love is called Nellie and Joe’s, perhaps you can purchase it online if it’s not in the stores?

  10. This IS the best Key Lime Pie I’ve ever tried! We do non-typical birthday cakes in our family and key lime pie was my sister’s request. I knew I could put this grand occasion in the capable hands of Sally’s Key Lime Pie recipe. My sister who does not like layer cakes or most sweets actually ate the whole piece and said she loved it! Everyone else went back for seconds and sadly, no leftovers! I piped whipped cream (use the hyperlink in recipe) and cut lime slices to add some flair. It was a showstopper! Do not hesitate to try this recipe. It’s the best!

  11. There seems to be two labels of Nellie and Joe’s on Amazon- 100% key lime juice and West key lime juice. Which one do you recommend?

    1. Either work! I usually use the 100% key lime juice.

  12. Suzanne Rogers says:

    Hi Sally!

    Well, you made me a dessert hero once again! My nephew asked me to make him a Key Lime Pie, and my heart broke a little bit because the thought of juicing a bunch of baby Key Limes made me want to cry. Then I came across your recipe! I’d never heard of Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime juice, and that made the recipe SO EASY! Again, everyone, especially my nephew, loved it. I sent my mom home with a piece of leftover pie, and she told me that she ate it at 2:00 AM! If that isn’t an endorsement! Thanks, again! 🙂

  13. I made this Key Lime Pie with a plain graham wafer crust. It was as good as any pie I ate while recently in Key West. My family thought it was the best Key Lime Pie they had eaten. Thank you Sally for another wonderful recipe.

  14. This crust is absolutely amazing. So delicious with the bites of macadamia nuts. I couldn’t find key lime juice so I used regular and I could tell the difference from the last time I had it, so I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled for key lime juice for next time. Thanks for this recipe, it’s been delicious both times!! What a keeper.

  15. Holy yummmmmm! Needed some comfort food during self & this did NOT disappoint. Subbed pecans cause that’s what I had. For sure the best key lime pie I’ve ever had!

  16. I add 8 oz of cream cheese to this recipe and it is delicious!!!

  17. Sally Wallace says:

    Hi Sally & Staff,
    I want to make this pie using a ready to fill graham cracker crust. Does the temperature & baking time change? Btw I love all your recipes, bought 2 of your books. Please publish more like Sally’s cake addiction would be great. Thanks for all your great recipes.

    1. Hi Sally! No changes necessary! Baking time and temperature are the same, including pre-baking the crust.

  18. What temperature in the oven do you bake the crust and pie at? How come you don’t mention that in the recipe?!! Did I miss it?

    1. Janet Lynn Mitchell-Lambert says:

      350–it’s there. I miss those things sometimes, too!

      1. Ohhh ok! Thank you! I made it and it was INSANE good! Yum! Thanks!

  19. Is it possible to make this with the juice of regular limes? I can’t find key limes at any stores right now!

    1. Absolutely! Same amount of juice.

  20. OMGosh Sally this Key Lime Pie recipe took me back to my childhood days with my grandfather who lived in Key West!!! It is exactly the same flavoring and lightness with an added touch of the macadamias to the crust. Just pure caloric heaven!!!

    It is sooo yummy I had a piece for breakfast-HA!

    Thank you for sharing

  21. Anna Burgess says:

    I made this pie for the first time with a girlfriend during Covid quarantine via video chat! We each gathered our ingredients in our own kitchens and had a blast baking this “together”. The flavor was spectacular! Thank you so much for offering this easy to follow recipe. Neither of us had experience making key lime pie but we were both impressed with ourselves after wards! I will definitely be making this again and again!

  22. Debbie Pfaff says:

    Sally, the recipe calls for full fat SCM and I only have fat free. If I use FF, how will it affect texture? Will it still turn out OK do you think? I see someone added 8z. cream cheese to the recipe and loved it. I could do that if needed if texture might be too runny, maybe would keep it firmer? What do you suggest? Thank you Sally!

    1. Hi Debbie, If using fat free condensed milk your pie filling will not be as thick or rich and may not set up properly. I haven’t tried adding cream cheese to this particular recipe but I do have a recipe for Key Lime Cheesecake that you might be interested in as well.

  23. Hi Sally, I can’t wait to make this (key lime pie is a long-time favourite of mine), but I was only able to get my hands on two 300 mL cans (20 oz) of condensed milk – is it ok to make this with a bit less or should I reduce the other ingredients as well? I do have some extra whipping cream on hand, perhaps that could help replace it?

    1. Hi Hannah, For the best texture you should keep the ratio of ingredients the same. I don’t recommend adding a thinner liquid like cream or the filling won’t set up properly.

  24. Hi Sally, I live your recipies and can’t wait to try this one! I live in Ireland and can’t find the Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice in any shop, on amazon.co.uk or anywhere online! I don’t fancy juicing that many lines! Are there any other brands you could recommend for me? Thanks so much! By the way your Lemon Meringue Pie is the best I have EVER tasted!!

    1. Hi Kate, so glad you enjoy the lemon meringue pie! I’m unsure about other brands of bottled key lime juice, but regular lime juice works. Same amount.

  25. Hi Sally!

    I have been making multiple key lime pies, but I don’t know how to transfer the pie from the pan to a cake stand. my pie would break if i start to slide it. I always end up serving my pie with the bottom of my pie pan.

    Please help! Thank you

    1. Hi Nadhirah! I usually serve pies that have a graham cracker crust right out of the pie dish since the crust can crumble and break, but you could try lining the pie dish with parchment paper (with an overhang around the edges) and lift out the baked, cooled, and chilled pie as a whole.

  26. PLEASE READ For those wondering:
    1. YES you can use regular limes (I used 6 =1 cup).
    2. YES you can use different nuts or without all together and just use Graham crackers or other biscuits.
    3. Sweetened condensed milk: 2 CANS!!! This should = 28oz. I misunderstood and used 1 can that was 14oz grrr.
    4. If using low fat sweetened condensed milk, the consistency will be off and not as creamy. Listen to Sally’s instructions, she knows best 🙂
    4. YES you can freeze baked pie, thaw overnight.

    Have I missed anything LOL. Hope everyone enjoys this, it’s an amazing recipe and Sally’s baking is always one you can trust

  27. Hi Sally, how far in advance can you make the meringue topping? If I make this pie with meringue topping and plan to serve the next day will it keep? Should be refrigerated? Making for a friend who will be traveling.

    1. Hi Candice, meringue topping is best fresh, but 1 day in advance would be OK. Keep it refrigerated.

  28. Tried this today. Simple to prepare and absolutely delicious!

  29. What type of nut would be the second best choice if you can’t get macadamia nuts?

    1. Hi Caitlin, Any other nut would be great like cashews, almonds, or pecans. Or you can use my plain graham cracker crust recipe.

  30. Can I make this without nuts? Will it still turn out, or is there something I can substitute it with? Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Raquel, yes. Use a plain graham cracker crust instead. 🙂

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