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

158 Comments

  1. Made this for my husband’s shift at the fire department and they loved it! No leftovers.
    I’m always nervous baking for people outside our family but your easy to follow recipes give me a tad more confidence.

  2. Delicious! Everyone in family loved it. My question is why isn’t the filling green? In restaurants it has a green tint. Do u think they add a dash of green food coloring? Thank you and love all your ideas and recipes!!

    1. Hi Sandy! So glad you like the key lime pie! Key lime pie is usually more yellow than it is green. Feel free to add food dye if you’d like.

    2. I think in restaurants they add lime zest. That can show up as green after it bakes. I don’t think you’ll need any food coloring.

  3. Going to keep it per your recipe but now I know some restaurants must add food coloring. Thanks so much for getting back to me. Making it again today because family and friends all want some

  4. Delicious – fabulous dessert and super easy. The end result looks so professional. Thank you Sally for your tips and hints. The pie was a hit at the barbecue – don’t count on leftovers LOL!

  5. Possibly the best key lime pie I’ve ever made! My home-from-college-key-lime-loving-son has already eaten half of it and it’s not even supper time! So now I am wondering what you would think about using this crust on this recipe of yours that I also love? https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/key-lime-pie-squares/ and if so, what you think the denominations might be?

  6. Oh Sally. This is the first key lime pie I’ve ever made and the BEST I’ve ever tasted. It’s my husband’s favorite dessert and I surprised him with this on father’s day, he absolutely loved it. And it was so easy! Absolutely divine. Hope Kevin had a wonderful father’s day!

  7. Any suggestions on making this recipe dairy free with condensed coconut milk instead? My boyfriend has a dairy allergy 🙁

    1. I realize I’m a little late here, but I’ve made this recipe dairy free before using sweetened condensed coconut milk (and melted coconut oil in place of melted butter) and it works great! It just takes longer to bake but it tastes just as good as the original!

  8. How long should it approximately take to cool on the counter before transferring to fridge for at least 1 hr? Another full hour? Trying to figure out timing if I want to make it the day I need it; would you allow 2 hours for this step? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa! The pie will cool down at room temperature in about 2 hours, then you can refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  9. Best and easiest creamy lemon pie I’ve ever made. Thank you, and thank you for having the ingredients in grams, where needed, for us Aussies. Cheers, Kathy

  10. Hi Sally! I was looking at the Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice and there is Original and 100% juice. Which one do you recommend? Thank you!

  11. This is the same recipe I use except my crust doesn’t have the nuts.. I’m looking forward to trying it with the nuts.. I bet it’s even better!

  12. I just had to let you know that I made this pie today and juiced the fresh limes I had on hand. Wow! This pie is delicious and so easy & fast to make. I’ve made this crust before with almonds but the macadamia nuts take this pie crust to another level.
    Thank You

  13. Does this mean you put 2 cans of condensed milk (total 28 oz)? The filling doesn’t seem to be thick as you described.

      1. Thank you Sally. I found an old post about adding a total of 2 cans. It looks like I am not the only one who was confused about. Anyway, it turned out well. Phew! It’s definitely on the sweeter side than I am used to but guests loved it. The crust with macademia was REALLY good. Thanks again. 🙂

  14. Hey Sally, your note says “freezes well up to 3 months – thaw overnight…..” Were you referring to the baked and cooled pie or the components? Please advise and thanks!

  15. I’m allergic to all kinds of nuts. I want to bake this for my boyfriend but he is also allergic to nuts. Can I just use a regular Grahm cracker crust?

  16. Thank you for the recipe. One other question, can you make this pie without meringue? My boyfriend was asking for a key lime pie without meringue.

  17. I love key lime! We do an annual Pi Day celebration at my office, and my boss always brings a delicious key lime pie. Last year I had just come across an article about the lesser known sour orange pie, a local favorite in Florida apparently, and convinced my boss to try that instead that year. It was just as delicious as key lime and made a unique change. Have you ever heard of sour orange pie, or tried a recipe for it? Here’s the article I had read that sparked my interest:

  18. Hi Sally! I made this for out of town family and they all loved it! My husband was just about crying when it was all eaten!

    When I made the pie however, I had a lot of filling leftover; I’m not sure why. I followed the crust and filling ingredients exactly and used a standard 9” pie dish. Trying to avoid this in the future, since I will be making again! Any ideas?

  19. Sally, thank you for this fabulous recipe. I love key lime pie and your easy recipe convinced me I had to make it this past weekend. The whole pie was a breeze to make, but I have to say, the crust is outstanding! The combination of macadamia nuts with the graham crackers is addictive! My dinner guests loved the pie and I scarfed up all the leftovers this week. Yum!!!

  20. This sounds delicious but I was wondering if instead of graham crackers you could us Sandies which is a shortbread crust. Let me know what you think. Love your site and all the yummies

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