The Classic Key Lime Pie

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Creamy, tart-sweet Key lime pie has long been a favorite dessert of restaurant-goers. But if your dining-out days are few and far between, and you don’t want to go long stretches without this delightful dessert, it’s easy to make at home.



  • 4 1/2 ounces graham cracker crumbs (or 5 ounces boxed graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1 ounce confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 5/8 ounces melted butter

*While it isn’t traditional, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup (1 1/4 to 1 7/8 ounces) toasted coconut to the crushed cracker crumbs, if desired.


  • grated zest of 1 medium lime, about 1 tablespoon, not packed
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
  • 5 3/8 ounces bottled Key lime juice OR freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon lime oil, optional


Select a pie pan whose inside top dimension is at least 9″, and whose height is at least 1 1/4″. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Make the crust by stirring together all of the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes; it’ll start to darken in color a bit. Remove it from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool while you make the filling.

Whisk the grated lime zest and egg yolks at high speed of an electric mixer for about 4 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and thicken somewhat, looking kind of like Hollandaise sauce.

Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, mixing till smooth. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes; the filling will become slightly thicker, and gain a bit of volume.

Add the lime juice, stirring just to combine. The mixture will thicken. Add lime oil to taste.

Pour the mixture into the crust, and return the pie to the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until it appears set around the edges, though still a bit wobbly in the center.

The center should read about 145°F.

Remove the pie from the oven, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Slice and serve each piece with a lightly sweetened dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: one 9″ pie, about 8 servings.

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