Baker Bettie

Easy Key Lime Pie

This easy key lime pie recipe only calls for 3 ingredients for the filling and 2 ingredients for the crust! So simple and the filling requires no baking!

Key Lime Pie topped with cream and lime slices

Mr. BB and I just got back from a week long trip along the East Coast. Our last stop during the trip was in Florida to visit his parents. I knew I had to have at least one piece of Key Lime Pie while I was there. It is one of my all time favorite desserts, but one of those that I often forget about. It just isn’t something you often see on the menu in other parts of the country.

So when it was on the dessert menu at our first meal out, I had to order it. I have eaten quite a few key lime pies, but this was by far the best I have ever tasted. The texture was insanely creamy. There was a perfect amount of crust (i love a little bit of a thicker crust) and the limey tartness was spot on. I totally could have downed a second piece. But I controlled myself 🙂

The description on the menu stated that the filling only used 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and pasteurized egg yolks. I was stunned. How could only these three things make something so incredible?! So I set out to recreate it. After reading a lot of recipes I landed on one that I felt might be the closest.

A lot of recipes called for much more than these 3 ingredients. And quite a few of them called for these 3 ingredients but they were baked. I am pretty certain that this pie I tried was not baked because they made a point of saying that the egg yolks were pasteurized. That makes me think that they were for sure raw.

Key Lime Pie topped with cream and lime slices

I also read through a lot of history of key lime pie. Most people think that it originated in the Key’s around 1856 when fresh milk was not available and canned milk was the new thing.

There are a few things that key lime purists agree about. The filling must be made with sweetened condensed milk. The pie must also be pale yellow in color. A green key lime pie, is not authentic and probably has food coloring in it. And obviously, the juice must be specifically from key limes.

The original pie probably didn’t have a crust, but that is the main argument about classic key lime pie today. Graham cracker or short crust? I prefer graham cracker with this kind of pie. It just feels right to me.

There is also a debate about meringue vs whipped cream vs nothing on top. The one I had didn’t have a topping and it was awesome as is. But I prefer just a tiny bit of real whipped cream to balance the tartness.

Ok, ok, ok, let’s talk about the raw egg thing. I know no matter what I say there will be people who comment and tell me that they will never eat raw eggs.

I get those comments all the time on my french silk pie post, even with my disclaimer. Like I’m trying to shove french silk pie in your mouth or something-Actually, can you just go ahead and shove your serving in my mouth if you don’t want it?!

But I will go ahead and give the speech anyway. Eggs have a very minimal risk of getting you sick, but that risk is at it’s highest when raw. So if you are pregnant or have a weak immune system, you should be cautious about raw eggs. You have two options here if you are concerned: you can either bake this pie (at 350 for 20 minutes) or you can buy pasteurized eggs in the shell. Pasteurized eggs have basically been heated to the point where bacteria is killed but it keeps the egg raw.

The other point that can help put your mind at ease here is that this recipe calls for a large amount of lime juice which is extremely acidic. The acidity will kill most bacteria but it also serves to thicken the filling. This happens through a process called denaturation. The acidity works on the proteins in the egg yolks and the milk the way heat would causing the filling to thicken.

I love how easy it is to throw together and just pop in the fridge. No baking of the filling is required. That said, if you want to be really sure that it is all thickened and bacteria killed you can bake it. Some say this will alter the flavor of the filling slightly and of course this makes the whole process longer, but by all means, if that is the only way I can get you to make this pie then I approve!

Key Lime Pie topped with cream and lime slices

I admit, this pie wasn’t quite as good as the one I had in Florida, but it is pretty darn close! I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I couldn’t find fresh key limes so I used bottled key lime juice. Fresh is always better. So if you can find fresh key limes absolutely go through the trouble of juicing them! If not, the bottled stuff (just be sure it is 100% key lime juice) works well too!

Key Lime Pie topped with cream and lime slices

Easy Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Yield: 1-9" Pie
Prep Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

This easy key lime pie recipe only calls for 3 ingredients for the filling and 2 ingredients for the crust! So simple and the filling requires no baking!


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 pasteurized egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice


For the Crust
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl, then press into a 9" pie plate. Firmly press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
  2. Bake crust for about 9 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool on a wire rack before filling.
For the Filling
  1. Combine the key lime juice, egg yolks, and condensed milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
  2. Pour filling into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  3. Pie will hold under refrigeration for up to 4 days.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream, lime zest, and lime slices if desired.


If you would like to bake this pie, reduce the oven temp to 350°F and bake for 15 minutess or until small bubbles form on top. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating for at least 6 hours.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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14 comments on “Easy Key Lime Pie”

  1. I’m glad you mentioned the lime juice basically “cooking” the egg yolks–I’m not afraid of raw eggs (I sample raw cookie dough and cake batter in larger-than-normal quantities when I’m baking), so I’m excited to try this pie. I just have to find Key limes (I have seen them at my grocery store, but that was a few months ago)!

    • It’s so true Rachel! We American’s are much more scared of raw egg than most places where eggs aren’t even refrigerated. I eat raw egg and nearly raw egg all the time. Let me know if you do find some and if you make it! It is technically key lime season so this would be the time!

  2. LAWD I love pie. This looks gorgeous.

  3. I love that I learned so much about the history of key lime pie and raw eggs in this post. I’ll be shoving my helping into my pie hole, so, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for someone else to give up their piece due to raw eggs. This pie sounds absolutely wonderful, simple, and creamy. Thanks for creating such an informative post.

  4. So I used my own recipe for the crust but I used your filling recipe. Taste overall was delicious, but even after cooling it didn't firm up like I'd have liked. Likely a user error. Nevertheless, the taste was wonderful! Thank you!

  5. Hi Shelby! Thanks for the feedback, I'm so sorry it didn't firm up as much as you would have liked. It is definitely a bit softer than most baked custard pies, but should still hold it's shape. Did you make sure you beat the the egg yolks and lime juice for a full 5 minutes?

  6. Just made it. WOW! I used regular limes and it was great. I now live in Europe and alas, there are no key limes to be found. Thanks for the recipe, I will be making this a lot this summer!
    I would like to state that if you use natural eggs (i.e.,, grown like nature intended: organic, free range in the sun, nothing man-made: drugs, hormones, antibiotics, GMO, etc) the risk of any egg-born bacteria is EXTREMELY low. A person that eats only McDonalds and sits all day long will have a weakened immune system (we’re not made for that). The same is true for chickens and cows. Extra large eggs rarely exist in nature, you need to give the chickens a lot of hormones for that. So stick to organic and you should be very safe.
    In Europe raw eggs are used almost daily with no problems. Most homes make fresh mayonnaise frequently, for a specific meal and then keep it for no more than 3 days in the fridge -less in summer- because it contains raw eggs. I have never seen pasteurized eggs in Spain, France or Italy.

    • I’m so glad you loved it! I’m with you on the eggs. I know the risk is low, especially with natural eggs. Every time I post a recipe with raw egg I have to put some kind of disclaimer for my protection and also because I will always get comments from people telling me how bad eating raw egg is. I eat raw egg all the time and am not concerned, but others are so I just have to put it out there!

  7. I live in Florida and have Key Lime trees in my yard. So I make a similar recipe all the time. My difference is separating the eggs. I mix the yolks only with condensed milk and key lime juice. Then I whip egg whites to soft peak stage and mix in to the condensed milk mixture. The result is a lighter version of Key Lime Pie. I do bake for 10 minutes at 325 but not because I have a problem with eggs – I eat them raw all the time – but because I think it helps to set the filling.

  8. My filling did not get thick, it is still loose pudding. I don’t know what I can do to it now (11 hrs later) to make it firmer to be able to actually slice it.

    • Hi Dennise, I’m sorry to hear that! Did you use full fat sweetened condensed milk and did you mix it for the full 5 minutes? Those things are usually the culprit behind a filling not setting up. You could try freezing the pie and then serving it right away. That would make it more of a frozen dessert but still delicious!

      • Yes I used the right milk and mixed it on my mixer for over 8 mins, refrigerated it for 30 hrs and it was soup. I ended up pouring the filling back into my mixer and added two pkgs of instand Key Lime Mousse, whipped it up and it finally firmed up and tasted good.

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