You can prepare this No-Bake Key Lime Pie Recipe in less than 25 minutes, and there’s no baking involved! It starts with a tasty homemade crust made from graham crackers and a hint of coconut. The filling is creamy and has a tangy kick, and to finish it off, a generous swirl of whipped cream on the top.
This favorite dessert is known for its perfect balance of flavors, combining the creamy texture of the filling with the refreshing zing of the Key lime juice. If you’re looking for a sweet and tangy dessert that’s simple to make but impressively delicious, you’re in for a treat.
Ingredients you’ll need for this pie
This recipe uses pretty simple ingredients, found in any big grocery stores:
- Sweetened condensed milk. Use a full-fat condensed milk. It will help with the texture and will give sweetness to your dessert
- Key Lime juice and lime zest. I used for this recipe fresh key limes, and not regular limes. Because Key limes are not always available, you can substitute with fresh lime juice instead. The flavor will be slightly different.
- Sour cream. It will give a tangy flavor to your pie filling
- Graham crackers. Graham cracker crumbs for the crust. You can use a prepared graham cracker crust if you don’t feel like making your own, although you won’t be able to add the coconut and the flavor will be slightly different
- Butter. Melted and unsalted, to keep all of the pie crust ingredients together
- Coconut. Unsweetened and shredded. It will give the crust a special and distinct flavor
- Heavy whipping cream. Whipped, to pipe on top of the pie
- Granulated sugar. To sweeten the whipped cream
- Vanilla extract. Good quality pure vanilla extract goes a long way!
For exact quantities and for the full recipe, take a look at the recipe card below.
How to make the best key lime pie
Using a food processor, mix the graham crackers, shredded coconut, and melted butter, until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Lightly spray with cooking spray on the sides of an 8-inch spring-form pan -with a removable rim (you can also use a 9-inch pie pan). Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and secure the rim, leaving it hanging on the sides. Pour the graham cracker mixture into your prepared pan, and use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to press it firmly on the bottom and sides of the pan. Use your fingers to pack it tightly if necessary. Place the homemade crust in the freezer while making the filling.
For the filling, mix with the paddle attachment over a large mixing bowl the condensed milk, key lime juice, key lime zest, and sour cream, until fully combined. Pour into your prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with the whisk attachment, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag with a 1M tip and set aside.
Remove the pie from the fridge. Carefully, remove the rim, then place the pie on a serving plate and remove the parchment paper. Cut the pie in half horizontally, then cut again in half vertically. Cut the 4 slices in half so you have 8 equally sized slices of pie.
Pipe a swirl of whipped cream on the thicker side of each slice, top with more key lime zest or lime slices if desired, refrigerate, and serve your chilled key lime pie.
*Alternatively, you can pour the filling of your pie into the crust, add the whipped cream on top in an even layer, top with lime zest, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Tips and Tricks for this easy Key lime pie recipe
- Fresh key lime juice: It’s a good idea to go for fresh Key lime juice. It can really elevate the flavor and give your pie that authentic zing. It’s worth the effort.
- Tighten up the crust: To prevent a crumbly cookie crust when you cut the pie, make sure to press it really firmly into the springform pan. A compact crust holds together better.
- Chill thoroughly: Refrigerate the pie for a minimum of 4 hours, but if you can, let it sit overnight. This extended chilling time ensures the pie is properly set and tastes its best.
- Cold cream for whipping: When whipping heavy cream, having the cream and utensils cold can make it light, and airy, and hold its shape better. Consider freezing the whisk and metal bowl for about 15 minutes before making your whipped topping. This speeds up the process and yields a better result.
- Good quality ingredients: use good quality ingredients for the best quality pie
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between lime juice and Key lime juice?
Yes, there is a difference between lime juice and Key lime juice, primarily in terms of flavor and acidity.
Key lime juice has a unique flavor that’s a bit sweeter and has a sort of flowery, citrusy kick to it. Plus, Key limes are known to be more acidic than the regular limes you typically see at the grocery store. You can spot another difference in the color too; Key lime juice usually has a more yellowish tint compared to the greenish hue of regular lime juice.
Can I use regular lime juice instead of Key lime juice for a Key lime pie?
Yes, you can use regular lime juice instead of Key lime juice for a Key lime pie. While Key limes have a distinct and slightly more tart flavor than ordinary limes, the difference in taste is relatively subtle in a pie, and many people won’t notice a significant change when using regular lime juice.
Just be sure to adjust the quantity of regular lime juice to match the tartness of Key lime juice in your recipe. Typically, you might need a bit less regular lime juice to achieve the desired flavor, so taste and adjust as necessary while making it.
Is bottled Key lime juice as good as fresh?
When it comes to using bottled Key lime juice versus fresh, there are some important things to consider. First, the taste: fresh Key lime juice typically has a more lively and slightly sweeter flavor compared to the bottled version, which can sometimes taste a bit processed. Additionally, fresh Key lime juice tends to be more tart due to its higher acidity, which can influence the overall taste of your homemade key lime pie.
If you’re aiming for the most authentic Key lime flavor, squeezing fresh Key limes might be the way to go. The choice really comes down to your personal preference and how true you want to stay to the traditional Key lime taste in your delicious dessert.
How do you thicken a Key lime pie?
There are a few ways used to thicken the key lime filling:
- Whipped Cream: Whip some heavy cream until it’s nice and fluffy, then gently fold it into the filling mixture. This not only thickens the filling but also makes it light and airy.
- Chilled Ingredients: Make sure all your filling ingredients are cold when you mix them. Cold ingredients help the filling firm up without needing to bake it.
- Refrigeration: After putting your pie together, let it chill in the fridge overnight. The longer it chills, the thicker it’ll become.
- Freezing: You can make your no-bake Key lime pie even more chilled and thicker by popping it in the freezer for about an hour before you serve it. This quick freeze gives it a cool and firm texture. But don’t forget to watch the time! If you leave it in the freezer too long, it could get too hard, and cutting it might be a challenge.
How long does Key Lime Pie Last
With proper storage, this Key Lime Pie will remain fresh in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. After that, the crust may begin to lose its crunch and become somewhat soggy, and there’s a chance that harmful bacteria could start to develop.
The best way to maximize the shelf life of key lime pie and maintain its original texture is by storing it in an airtight container, with a proper lid. The best place to store it is at the back of your fridge to shield it from the intermittent warm air that comes in when you frequently open the refrigerator door. This will help preserve the pie’s flavor and quality for as long as possible.
Can you freeze Key Lime Pie?
Sure you can! Key Lime Pie freezes pretty well, actually, and gives it a longer shelf life.
After the pie is set and topped with whipped cream, freeze it for 1 hour until the whipped topping is completely frozen. Cover with plastic wrap making sure there are no uncovered areas to avoid any freezer burn, place it in a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Here’s a video of this No Bake Key Lime Pie Recipe for you to see the texture, and how quickly it’s made.
Follow this link for more Pies and Tarts Recipes, or follow the links below for more no-bake desserts:
If you make this recipe, please be sure to give it a star rating and leave a comment!
No bake Key Lime Pie Recipe
- 1 Electric mixer
- 1 springform pan
- 1 food processor
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 sleeves graham crackers 18 graham crackers or 2 Cups crushed graham crackers
- 1/4 Cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
Key Lime Pie filling
- 2 Cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 Cup key lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- 2/3 Cup sour cream
- 1 Cup heavy whipping cream chilled
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust
- Using a food processor, mix the graham crackers, shredded coconut and melted butter, until the mixture resembles wet sand.2 sleeves graham crackers, 1/4 Cup shredded coconut, 11 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Lightly spray with cooking spray the sides of an 8 inch spring form pan -with removable rim. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and secure the rim, leaving it hanging on the sides. Pour the graham cracker mixture into your prepared pan, and use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to press it firmly on the bottom and sides of the pan. Use your fingers to pack it tightly if necessary. Place the homemade crust in the freezer while making the filling.
Key Lime Pie filling
- For the filling, mix with the paddle attachment over a large mixing bowl the condensed milk, key lime juice, key lime zest and sour cream, until fully combined. Pour into your prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.2 Cans sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 Cup key lime juice, 1 tablespoon key lime zest, 2/3 Cup sour cream
- Whip the heavy cream with the whisk attachment, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag with a 1M tip and set aside.1 Cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Remove the pie from the fridge. Carefully, remove the rim, then place the pie in a serving plate and remove the parchment paper. Cut the pie in half horizontally, then cut again in half vertically. Cut the 4 slices in half so you have 8 equally sized slices of pie.
- Pipe a swirl of whipped cream on the thicker side of each slice, top with more key lime zest or lime slices if desired, and refrigerate until serving.
- *Alternatively, you can pour the filling of your pie into the crust, add the whipped cream on top in an even layer, top with lime zest, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- If possible, use fresh key lime juice
- To avoid a crumbly cookie crust when cutting it, press it very tightly into the springform pan
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, so the pie is properly set.
- When the fat in the heavy cream is cold while beating, it helps in making it light and airy, and it holds better its shape. For this reason and to accelerate the process, you can freeze the whisk and metal bowl for 15 minutes before making your whipped topping