Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Alternate title could be “I didn’t know key lime pie was so easy to make”. And also, “I didn’t know that I am obsessed with key lime pie”. True, this is a rather tropical dessert, but my taste buds didn’t care as I dug into a second slice.

Key lime pie. Are there such things as key limes? Yes. Do you need them for this pie? No. This pie was as “homemade” as you can make it (someone asked me at the party, “did you use real limes?”) but by far the easiest pie I’ve ever made. New to pie baking? Make this pie. Graham crackers crusts are WAY easier than your standard butter pie crust, and the filling required few ingredients and no electric mixer. It can be made a day ahead which is great for entertaining and it’s fresh, zesty sweet flavor is perfect for summertime entertaining.

A few notes on the process; make the filling first, as it needs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes in order to thicken. Zest your limes before you juice them (um, obvi). Remember when zesting a citrus fruit to just scrape the colored part. The white underneath is called “pith” and is mega bitter.

Though I’ve made this with graham crackers crusts in the past, this time I wanted to make it gluten free. I used pecans and the two flavors worked so well together. The pictures you’ll see are with the pecan crust, though I will list both recipes below.

Key Lime Pie

Serves 8

America’s Test Kitchen


4 tsp. grated lime zest (from about 3 limes)

1/2 c. strained juice (from about 4 limes)

4 large egg yolks

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk


1 package graham crackers (9 sheets)

2 tbsp. sugar

5 tbsp. butter, melted

Gluten free Crust

2 1/2 c. pecans

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar

1 egg white

3 tbsp. butter, melted


1. Whisk zest and yolks in a medium bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes.


2. Whisk in condensed milk, then juice and set aside at room temp for 30 minutes to thicken.



3. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In food processor, process graham crackers until very fine. Add sugar and pulse to combine. Continue pulsing while streaming in melted butter – mixture should look like wet sand.

For Gluten Free: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse nuts, sugar and salt in food processor until finely ground. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and stir in egg white to coat. Add butter and stir until combined. 

4. Transfer crumbs to a pie plate and use a 1/2 c. dry measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the plate.



5. Bake crust for 15 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Let cool on wire rack, 15 minutes. Keep oven on.

For Gluten Free: Bake crust 15 minutes in 400 degree oven. Let cool on wire rack, 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. 

6. Add filling to crust and place back in 325 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.


7. To chill, spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and lay sheet directly on surface of pie. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to one day.



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