Tangy and Sweet: Key Lime Pie Recipe

As I sit here reminiscing about my Southern grandma’s key lime pie recipe, I can taste the tangy lime juice and sweetened condensed milk melting in my mouth. Every bite of this fantastic dessert takes me back to the warm summer evenings spent with my grandma in her backyard sipping sweet tea and enjoying a slice of this delicious pie.

I am excited to share this easy-to-follow recipe that has been passed down through my family for generations. My Southern grandma’s key lime pie recipe is the perfect dessert to bring people together, whether it’s for a family gathering or a summer BBQ with friends.

This dessert is light and refreshing, making it perfect for those hot summer days when you want something sweet and cool to indulge in. It is also simple to make and requires minimal ingredients, which means you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing it.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of Southern cooking and learn how to make my grandma’s mouth-watering key lime pie recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

My Southern Grandma's Key Lime Pie
My Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie

Listen up, fellow foodies! If you’re looking for a dessert that is tangy, sweet and satisfying all at the same time, then look no further than my Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie Recipe. Trust me when I say this pie is the real deal and will be your next kitchen obsession.

What makes this recipe so unique and lovable, you ask? Well, let me count the ways. First of all, it’s made with fresh key lime juice and zest, giving it that zesty citrusy kick that will leave you wanting more. Second of all, it’s delightfully easy to make with simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store. And finally, it has a perfect balance of sweetness without being too overpowering or sickly.

Plus, this recipe delivers in texture as well as flavor. The smooth and creamy mixture of sweetened condensed milk and sour cream paired with the crunchy graham cracker crust will give your taste buds a party that they will never forget. And trust me when I say that once you try a slice of this key lime pie, you’ll never want to go back to other boring desserts again.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or an amateur in the kitchen, this recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to impress their guests or simply treat themselves to something indulgent yet refreshing. So go ahead and give my Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie Recipe a try. You won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 The perfect balance of sweet and tangy!
The perfect balance of sweet and tangy!

Ingredients for Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to achieve the perfect southern-style key lime pie.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, preferably Eagle brand
  • juice and zest of 1 large lime or 3 key limes
  • Optional: 3 oz frozen limeade concentrate
  • Optional: Cool Whip or whipped cream

Most of these ingredients should be readily available at your local grocery store. If you can’t find key limes, regular limes will work just as well. When measuring the graham crackers, crush them to a fine consistency to ensure that you get the best possible crust.

The Recipe How-To

 A refreshing slice of summer in every bite.
A refreshing slice of summer in every bite.

Now comes the fun part- making the key lime pie! This step-by-step guide will ensure that your pie turns out perfectly sweet, tangy, and irresistible.


First off, gather all your ingredients before starting. You’ll need:

  • 1 (8 inches) graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, such as Eagle Brand
  • 3/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add in the melted butter and mix well.
  3. Press this mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan to form the crust. Then set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk, limes juice, and lime zest until smooth.
  5. Pour this mixture into the crust and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure the filling is set but not brown.
  6. Allow the pie to cool for at least an hour before chilling it in the refrigerator for at least one more hour.
  7. Once chilled, you can serve it with whipped cream or topping of your choice.

And that’s it, folks! You have now made Southern Grandma’s delicious key lime pie recipe from scratch. Just take a bite and see just how good it tastes!

Substitutions and Variations

 The graham cracker crust adds a delicious crunch!
The graham cracker crust adds a delicious crunch!

Variety is the spice of life, and sometimes a small twist can elevate the taste of a dish. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try with this key lime pie recipe.


1. Instead of using Cool Whip, substitute it with homemade whipped cream for a richer taste.

2. Feel free to swap out the graham cracker pie crust for a chocolate cookie or shortbread crust.

3. If you don’t have sweetened condensed milk, you can use heavy cream or evaporated milk and add sugar to taste.

4. Don’t worry if you can’t find key limes. You can use regular limes, but make sure to increase their number to get the same tangy flavor.


1. Give your key lime pie a fruity twist by adding raspberry puree on top of the pie. It’s both visually appealing and enhances the taste of the tart lime filling.

2. Make it a mini key lime pie by using mini graham cracker crusts instead of a larger one. This is perfect when you want to portion control or for serving guests at a party.

3. For an extra tangy version, try adding sour cream to the pie filling mix.

4. You can also make this recipe as a no-bake dessert by chilling it in the refrigerator instead of baking it in the oven.

Remember, these are just suggestions, so feel free to experiment with different substitutes and variations according to your liking!

Serving and Pairing

 This pie is like a vacation in your mouth.
This pie is like a vacation in your mouth.

When it comes to serving and pairing this delicious Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie, there are a variety of ways to make it even more enjoyable.

First, you can never go wrong with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. This adds an extra layer of creaminess that perfectly complements the tartness of the lime filling. If you prefer a tangy twist, give raspberry sorbet or Greek yogurt pie a try – it’s a delightful alternate way to serve the pie.

For those who crave a crunchy bite, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of the whipped cream or ice cream layer. The nutty texture blends well with the smoothness of the pie and adds another dimension to the flavor profile.

When it comes to pairing, there is nothing better than serving this key lime pie after a savory meal such as fried chicken or barbeque ribs. The sweetness and acidity of the pie will neutralize any heavy flavors that might have been present in your main course – it’s like a generous reward for your taste buds!

Alternatively, if you’re hosting an elegant dinner party or celebrating an upcoming occasion like Mother’s Day, this delectable dessert pairs perfectly with sweet and sparkling champagne giving you and your guests an enjoyable dining experience.

Serving this Southern-style key lime pie can be versatile – whether you’re going for a casual family gathering or an intimate night with friends – trying these different pairings will add another level of excitement and flavor that’ll make it all worth savoring.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Tart, creamy, and oh so satisfying.
Tart, creamy, and oh so satisfying.

When it comes to making ahead, you can prepare the pie crust and filling ahead of time and then assemble the pie just before serving. If you want to make the entire key lime pie ahead of time, prepare and freeze it without the topping. To do so, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then store it in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a month.

When storing your key lime pie, always cover it with plastic wrap or foil, and then store it in the refrigerator for up to five days. If you’re planning on reheating the pie slices, be sure to let them come to room temperature first before placing them in the oven or microwave.

If you find yourself with leftover slices of key lime pie, they can easily go from sweet treat to an indulgent breakfast as you enjoy them with a cup of coffee! The tangy flavor pairs well with rich-tasting coffee flavors. You can also top leftover slices with raspberry sauce or whipped cream.

Note that while traditional key lime pies never require baking, adding whipped cream topping may cause left-over pies to need refrigeration due to dairy ingredients in the topping.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Key limes make it extra special.
Key limes make it extra special.

Here are a few expert tips to help you make the perfect key lime pie every time:

1. Use freshly squeezed lime juice: Trust me, there’s no substitute for freshly squeezed lime juice when it comes to making key lime pie. Don’t rely on bottled juice or concentrate as it just won’t give you the same sharp, tangy flavor that fresh juice does.

2. Don’t overbake your pie: Key lime pies aren’t meant to be fully cooked. Over-baking can dry out the filling and leave an unpleasant texture. Take your pie out of the oven when the center is slightly jiggly and let it continue to set in the fridge.

3. Chill overnight: For best results, chill your key lime pie overnight in the refrigerator after baking. This allows all of the flavors to meld together and for the filling to properly set.

4. Top with whipped cream: While this isn’t a must-do, topping your key lime pie with whipped cream will add a delicious creaminess to your slice. If you decide not to go that route, make sure you at least serve up a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream!

5. Add a sprinkle of lime zest on top: A small garnish of lime zest on top of each slice can really take this dessert to another level. Not only does it add another layer of fresh flavor, but it makes for a beautiful presentation as well.

With these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to impress everyone with your perfectly delicious southern grandma’s key lime pie!

Bottom Line

If you’re in the mood for a tart and sweet dessert, my Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie recipe is the perfect choice. This easy-to-follow recipe uses simple ingredients such as sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest, and a graham cracker crust to create a pie that is both delicious and nostalgic.

With its tangy lime flavor and creamy filling, this key lime pie recipe is the perfect dessert for any occasion. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip for an extra touch of sweetness.

Don’t hesitate to try out this delicious recipe at your next gathering or family dinner. Your guests will rave about the light and refreshing taste of this classic southern dessert. So what are you waiting for? Give my Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie recipe a try today!

My Southern Grandma's Key Lime Pie

My Southern Grandma’s Key Lime Pie Recipe

Ok, southern secret to this pie.... limeade!!!! I know it sounds ridiculous, but the end result is pretty darn delicious. So super easy to make. (**Time noted includes chilling pie overnight.)
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 298.1 kcal


  • 8 inches graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, Eagle Brand
  • 1 large lime, juice and zest of (preferably a Key lime, but not necessary)
  • 1 (9 ounce) container Cool Whip, softened
  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 4 drops green food coloring


  • Use a large mixing bowl; grate rind (zest) of lime, add squeezed lime juice frozen limeade and sweetened condensed milk to the bowl. Mix well.
  • Add Cool Whip; mix well again.
  • Spoon into prepared pie crust.
  • Swirl top with spoon.
  • Cover; chill overnight.
  • Keep chilled until serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 91gCalories: 298.1kcalCarbohydrates: 43.8gProtein: 3.6gFat: 12.7gSaturated Fat: 7.4gCholesterol: 11.2mgSodium: 148.5mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 38.6g
Keyword Citrus, Dessert, Easy, Fruit, Lime, Pie, Summer
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