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World's Best Key Lime Pie Recipes: Authentic or No-Bake

Updated on January 15, 2011

We used the world's best key lime pie recipes in our make ahead recipe store. They have just a few ingredients and are simple to prepare. Yet, they sacrifice nothing in flavor when key lime juice and creamy sweetened condensed milk is used. Two methods are provided below: a no-bake version and an authentic version that is cooked-just like you will find at an island restaurant. We also include instructions for an easy graham cracker pie crust.

Before you scroll down to the recipes, review the history behind the World's Best Key Lime Pie Recipes:

  • The dessert dates back to the 1850s.
  • Sweetened condensed milk was used in the original recipe because fresh milk was not readily available on the island of Key West.
  • Early versions relied upon the acid of the limes to "cook" the egg yolks and thicken the filling. (It is strongly recommended that today's recipes with egg be cooked to avoid consuming Salmonella bacteria.)
  • Key lime pie is a light yellow not green. A bright green color is the result of food coloring; the use of food coloring is frowned upon by enthusiasts.
  • Use key limes for an authentic and tart taste. Persian limes produce a different flavor as does bottled lime juice.
  • The pie is typically topped with meringue or whipped topping.
  • Variations abound including key lime cheesecake, key lime mousse and chocolate cheese cake.

 

No-bake version of World's Best Key Lime Pie Recipe decorated dotted with whipped cream.
No-bake version of World's Best Key Lime Pie Recipe decorated dotted with whipped cream.
It takes just 4 ingredients to make no-bake key lime pie.
It takes just 4 ingredients to make no-bake key lime pie.

No-Bake Key Lime Pie

Make this egg-less version and keep it in your freezer so you can enjoy this island favorite at a moment's notice.

Ingredients:

  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (purchase a prepared crust or follow the recipe below)
  • 15-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 8 ounce tub of whipped topping (full fat, low-fat or fat-free), defrosted

Directions:

  1. Add sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and whipped topping to a large bowl and mix well with a spoon.
  2. Pour mixture into pie crust.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream, sliced lime, chocolate shavings or sliced almonds.
  4. If using a purchased pie crust, remove paper, invert and use as a lid. (See picture insert below.) Otherwise, cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  6. Pie may be wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months.
  7. To serve, defrost in refrigerator overnight.

Invert the protective lid of a purchased pie crust to cover the pie during storage.
Invert the protective lid of a purchased pie crust to cover the pie during storage.

Authentic Key Lime Pie

This recipe rivals any you will find at the Keys:

Ingredients:

  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (purchase a prepared crust or follow the recipe below)
  • 15-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice 
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons grated lime zest

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Beat egg yolks in a bowl.
  3. Add sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest to bowl with egg yolks and mix well with a spoon.
  4. Pour mixture into graham cracker pie crust. (If using a pie crust purchased from the store, save the lid to cover the pie later.)
  5. Bake for approximately 15 to 17 minutes or until the center is set, but still jiggles slightly.
  6. Cool completely and then refrigerate.
  7. Top with whipped cream, meriguine, sliced lime, chocolate shavings or sliced almonds before serving.

Individual Key Lime Pies
Individual Key Lime Pies

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Serving Suggestions and Tips

Here is some feedback we received on the World's Best Key Lime Pie Recipes:

  • For a perfectly sized dessert, make individual servings of the no-bake pie in mini sized crusts (available at the grocery store) or by preparing the graham cracker crust recipe and pressing it into individual containers. Freeze.
  • Use low-fat or fat-free Cool Whip and low-fat pie crust for a healthy version of key lime pie.

 

Quick and Easy Graham Cracker Pie Crust Recipe

 This is a go-to recipe whenever you need a graham cracker pie crust.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed (approximately 10 crackers)

Directions:

  1. Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave at 15 second intervals until melted.
  2. Place graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or the back of a large spoon.
  3. Add graham crackers and sugar to the bowl with the butter. Mix well.
  4. Using hands press mixture into a pie plate or other dish that will be used.

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    • LoosingIt profile image

      LoosingIt 6 years ago

      Yes! The authentic recipe is just what I've been looking for. Thank you. It's the BEST!

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      This pie looks so good DinnerMom. My mouth is watering just looking at the photos. I am going to try it out. thanks

    • DinnerMom profile image
      Author

      DinnerMom 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks for your comments. Enjoy!

    • CJ 4 years ago

      Awesome! My family and I loved it! Thank you for the incredible recipe!

    • Reijea profile image

      Reijea 2 years ago

      I like how you offered multiple ways to make the recipe. Giving the option is always a nice thing to consider, thank you for such a wonderful recipe. :)

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