This creamy no-bake key lime pie recipe features cream cheese and condensed milk for a super creamy texture. The key limes bring the tart citrus flavor we all know and love. Top with with swirls of whipped cream for an extra special treat.
This key lime pie is super easy to make and doesn’t require any whipped topping! It has just a few simple ingredients. It has the perfect balance of bright, tart key limes and a creamy sweet base.
The pie is absolutely wonderful on its own, but some simple whipped cream flourishes make it beautiful. It is perfect for summer parties, holidays and more.
Every time dessert comes up, my husband mentions key lime pie. He denies it now, but really he does.
He had one at a family holiday a while back and now every dessert is compared to that. Now he shows up to every family gathering hoping there will be a key lime pie.
So far he is out of luck more than he is in it. So I decided it was high time I just make him one.
We almost always use a graham cracker crumb crust for the base. It is easy to make and tastes delicious.
You can buy a box of graham cracker crumbs already ready to go or use a food process to make the crumbs from a sleeve of crackers. In a pinch, you can crush the cookies in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.
You just want to make sure the crumbs are relatively fine. That makes the best texture for the crust.
Just add a little bit of sugar and melted butter and mix with your hands until it feels like wet sand. Then press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a pie plate to form a nice crust.
If you want to change up the crust, gingersnaps would be a delicious flavor addition. Ginger and citrus go so well together.
I have also heard of people using an Oreo pie crust with key lime pie. So feel free to give that a try if you want.
Of course the star of this dessert is the creamy key lime filling. Luckily, with only three ingredients, it really is super simple to make.
The biggest key to getting a really smooth and creamy filling is to make sure your cream cheese is nice and softened before you start.
Beat the cream cheese on its own for a bit to make sure it is lump free and smooth. Then slowly add the sweetened condensed milk, mixing after each addition.
Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and the beaters, that is where the cream cheese lumps like to hide. Once the mixture is smooth, go ahead and add more liquid.
If you add all of the liquid before the lumps are all gone, it is had to get the mixture smooth. Other than that, just put it all together and mix it up.
Once your filling is put together, pour it into the crust and refrigerate it for at least two hours. A little longer is even better, the long chill time helps the acid and cold to work their magic.
During this time the filling will set up. It will taste good earlier than that, but it will be too soft to cut into nice slices.
The pie is wonderful on its own, but for special occasions I like to dress it up a bit with swirls of whipped cream and a little lime zest. It adds a visual flare that wows your guests.
Instead of regular whipped cream, I usually top the pie with some cream cheese whipped cream. It is more stable, so you can decorate the pie ahead of time without worrying about it getting wimpy.
You can just spread it over the top or pile it in the middle, but for the biggest visual impact I would recommend piping it in swirls or rosettes. These rosettes held up for the three days there was pie in the fridge with no problem whatsoever!
Tips for making key lime pie:
Make sure to give the pie a couple of hours to chill. It will taste great before that, but won’t be completely set.
If you can’t find fresh key limes, key lime juice works great too!
Differences between key limes and regular (Persian) limes:
- Key limes are smaller and more yellow in color.
- Key limes are more aromatic, tarter and have a more floral flavor.
- Key limes were grown commercially in the Florida Keys until a hurricane wiped out many of the groves in the 1920s. Now many of those groves grow Persian limes instead!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze this key lime pie?
Yes! It is great served frozen or partially defrosted. This way is especially good in the summer when you want something cold and refreshing
How long does this pie keep in the refrigerator?
This no bake key lime pie is best in the couple of days after it is made. Longer storage can result in a soft crust. However, it will still taste delicious and be perfectly safe to eat for several days.
What can I use if I can’t find key lime juice?
If you can’t find key lime juice, I would recommend using half regular lime juice and half lemon juice. You can also use all of one or the other if you prefer.
More Great Key Lime Recipes
If you like key limes, you can use them for more than pie! We love key lime roasted shrimp, they are flavorful and finger licking good.
No bake key lime pie cheesecake jars are a perfect single serve dessert for parties or picnics.
My grandma makes her key lime pie with condensed milk and cool whip. It is great either chilled or frozen. Just take the recipe for 4 ingredient lemon pie and substitute 1/2 cup of key lime juice for the lemon.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy key limes?
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No-Bake Key Lime Pie
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 sheets
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 7 Tablespoons melted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup key lime juice
Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup cold cream
Graham Cracker Crust
- In a 9″ pie plate, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
- Press into the side and bottom of the dish to form a crust.
- For a completely no bake dessert, chill or freeze the crust to set. (If you prefer to set the crust in the oven, bake it at 375° F for about 7 minutes. Then remove and cool before making the filling.)
Key Lime Filling
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl a few times to avoid lumps.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk, a little at a time. Mix well between additions to ensure a smooth finish.
- Add the key lime juice and beat until well mixed.
- Spoon into prepared pie crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Chill for at least two hours.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and fluffy.
- Slowly add the cold cream while still beating. Beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
- Spread or pipe over pie.
- Garnish with lime zest if desired.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.