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7-Ingredient Key Lime Pie Recipe

With its outstanding macadamia nut crust, creamy yet thick key lime filling, and sweet whipped cream on top, this is truly the best key lime pie I’ve ever had. And after 1 bite, I think you will agree. You need 4 ingredients for the crust, and only 3 ingredients for the filling.

overhead photo showing slice of key lime pie being removed from glass pie dish.

Key lime pie will forever be one of my favorite desserts, and I know I’m not alone! This Florida specialty has been winning over millions for years. Between the buttery crunchy crust, fresh and tangy custard filling, and the essential creamy topping—no dessert can rival this one!

But can we make a good thing even better? Yes.

One reader, Valerie, commented: “I have made this recipe multiple times and it is always a huge hit! The macadamia nuts in the crust really give it that extra ‘something’ that people love but can’t quite pinpoint. One of my favorite recipes from your site… ★★★★★

What Makes This the Best Key Lime Pie?

  • Extra thick and nutty crust
  • 3 ingredient filling
  • Easy to make
  • Totally refreshing
  • Mega key lime flavor
  • Topped with homemade whipped cream
  • Sweet, salty, citrus-y, buttery, creamy, and tangy all in one
key lime pie slice on silver plate with whipped cream on top.

One reader, Ellen, commented: “My son and I made this pie together for Thanksgiving. It is the first time we have ever made a key lime pie before. We followed the recipe exactly! Sally, it was the BEST PIE EVER! Absolutely delicious. Everybody loved it and we will without a doubt make this again. Today I am thankful for leftovers! ★★★★★

Here’s How You Make This Key Lime Pie

This pie requires a few simple steps. Most of the “work” is hands-off as the key lime pie sets up in the refrigerator, so it’s perfect in the summertime. (A lot of readers make this easy pie for Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day, 4th of July, summer birthday parties, and Labor Day gatherings.)

  • Make the Crust: Use a food processor to combine the macadamia nuts and graham cracker crumbs. Combine with melted butter and sugar, then press tightly into a pie dish.
  • Pre-Bake the Crust: Pre-bake the crust for about 8 minutes before pouring in the key lime filling. Pre-baking solidifies the crust and allows for easy slicing once the pie is ready to serve.
  • Make the Filling: Whisk together the 3 filling ingredients—it will be thick! Pour into warm crust.
  • Bake the Pie: It usually only takes about 18 to 20 minutes. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  • Garnish and Serve: This is extra delicious with fresh whipped cream on top. By the way, if you’re looking for an alternative way to serve it, try my individual upside down key lime pies. Basically the same filling as this pie.
ingredients on counter including 2 sweetened condensed milk cans, egg yolks in bowl, melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar.
key lime juice in a glass measuring cup

Graham Cracker Macadamia Nut Crust

Key lime pie is traditionally made with graham cracker crust. It’s the most wonderful crunchy, sweet, and buttery bed for the fresh key lime filling. But you won’t believe the difference macadamia nuts make. I use about 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts in place of some of the graham cracker crumbs and the result is pure pie bliss. Macadamia nuts are a gem and, as it turns out, often overlooked in the baking world. Why though? They’re so good.

You need 4 ingredients for this crust:

  1. Macadamia Nuts (I recommend salted)
  2. Graham Crackers
  3. Melted Butter
  4. Sugar

Pulse the macadamia nuts with graham crackers, then mix with melted butter and sugar. Because key limes are a little sweeter than regular limes, you will love the sweet/tangy key lime filling with the salty graham cracker macadamia nut crust.

graham cracker crust pressed into glass pie dish.

3-Ingredient Filling

Yes, you need just 3 ingredients. (!!) If you’ve tried my key lime pie bars or mini key lime pies, you’ll notice that today’s filling is a little different. I typically add a little cream cheese to those recipes for stability and structure. However, for a classic and custard-y pie, we’ll skip it. You need egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key limes.

My success tip: Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of key lime juice from the store. There’s a brand of bottled key lime juice that I love called Nellie & Joe’s in most major grocery stores next to the bottled lemon juice. Otherwise you will spend 100 years juicing 500 tiny key limes yourself. LOL. You need 1 cup (240ml) of key lime juice.

custardy filling in glass bowl and shown again spread in graham cracker crust.

How to Tell Key Lime Pie Is Done

One of the most common and easily remedied key lime pie problems is over-baked pie. It’s tricky to know when the pie is done, but here’s my secret: bake the pie until the filling is only slightly jiggly in the center (about 18–20 minutes). It should be firm to the touch, but not totally solid. The pie will continue to set as it cools.

Cool the pie completely on a wire rack, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour before garnishing, slicing, and serving

How to Decorate Key Lime Pie

Let the refreshing citrus flavor stand out and keep the garnishes simple.

  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Since you’ll have leftover egg whites, make a meringue topping—you’ll have time to kill while the pie chills anyway 🙂
  • Sliced limes cut into quarters
  • Lime zest
  • Whole macadamia nuts
  • Graham cracker crumbs

I’ve sampled many key lime pies and I can confidently say this the best one I’ve ever had.

slice of key lime pie being removed from glass pie dish.

Refreshing Dessert Ideas

When the temperatures rise, the last thing you want to do is spend time in a hot kitchen. You’ll appreciate these simple, delicious, and totally refreshing desserts:


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slice of key lime pie being removed from glass pie dish.

Easy Key Lime Pie

  • Author:

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    30 minutes

  • Total Time:
    3 hours, 35 minutes

  • Yield:
    8-10 servings

  • Category:

  • Method:

  • Cuisine:


This tangy sweet key lime pie is deliciously simple with an extra thick and nutty crust. You need just 3 ingredients for the filling, and be sure to refrigerate the pie before slicing and serving.

Graham Cracker Macadamia Crust

Filling + Topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and macadamia nuts together into crumbs. A few larger pieces of nuts is OK. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom and up the sides to make a compact crust. Do not pack down with heavy force because that makes the crust too hard. Simply pat down until the mixture is no longer crumby/crumbly. Tips: You can use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help press down the bottom crust and smooth out the surface, but do not pack down too hard. And run a spoon around the bottom “corner” where the edge and bottom meet to help make a rounded crust⁠—this helps prevent the crust from falling apart. For more shaping technique tips, see the graham cracker crust recipe page.
  3. Pre-bake crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the oven on.
  4. Make the filling: Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, and egg yolks together (or use an electric mixer). Pour into warm crust.
  5. Bake the pie for 18–20 minutes or until only *slightly* jiggly in the center. You want it mostly set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and chill for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days) before serving.
  6. Garnish as desired.
  7. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare and pre-bake the crust up to 2–3 days in advance. Cover and store at room temperature. Likewise, you can mix up the filling up to 2–3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then assemble and bake. Baked and cooled pie freezes well up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor or Chopper | Glass Mixing Bowl | 9-inch Pie DishZester | Citrus Juicer | Whisk 
  3. Graham Cracker Crust: If you purchase graham cracker crumbs, you need 1 and 1/3 cups (160g) for this recipe. Even though they are already crumbs, you can still pulse with the nuts. If you want to skip the nuts, use this graham cracker crust recipe instead and pre-bake for 8 minutes.
  4. Can I Use Regular Limes Instead? Yes, you can make this pie with regular lime juice and lime zest.
  5. Store-bought Key Lime Juice: If you don’t want to juice dozens of small key limes to yield 1 cup (240ml) juice, store-bought key lime juice works too. I really like a brand called Nellie & Joe’s, and you can find it at the grocery store near the bottled lemon juice.
  6. Leftover Egg Whites: Here are all my recipes using just egg whites, or you can make a meringue topping for the pie.
  7. Key Lime Bars: Here is my recipe for key lime pie bars. I add some cream cheese to that filling so the bars hold their shape well.
  8. Non-US Readers: ​​Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 180g ground digestive biscuits instead (about 12 biscuits), with the same amount of nuts and butter, and add an extra Tablespoon (12g) of sugar. Pre-bake for 10 minutes.

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