This is the Ultimate Key Lime Pie with a velvety smooth texture that’s perfectly tart and sweet. Minutes to prepare and seconds to disappear. A sweetened sour cream topping puts this pie over the top.
Whenever we see key lime pie listed on a dessert menu, it’s ordered. I’ve always noticed there never seems to be enough filling. To me, the filling for this pie seems to be half of what it should be. It should be higher up the edges and not thin. Why so little?
Let’s begin with the perfect crust.
I don’t see the need to add sugar to the crust as the graham crackers are sweet enough. You don’t need to take out the food processor for this crust. Save yourself some clean up and crush the crackers in a zip top bag with a rolling pin or by rolling with the side of a bottle.
Here’s a wonderful tip for preventing the crust from sticking to the bottom. Pour the melted butter in the pie dish, add the crumbs, and mix it all in the pie dish. Then press down with the bottom of a measuring cup or the back of a spoon.
And for a smooth, creamy, tart filling…
Honestly, I have only made this pie once using freshly squeezed key limes that. I had to use so many it was ridiculous. Never again. Using bottled key lime juice worked perfectly fine and it makes it so much easier. I don’t use the zest of the limes in this pie as I don’t particularly like the texture of zest in a filling that is supposed to be smooth and creamy. Not only is using fresh key limes lots of work, the tartness and amount squeezed may vary depending on the freshness of the key limes. Too much juice can make the filling so tart and it makes you pucker or make funny faces which at a dinner party isn’t ideal. Why do they all look at me when making those funny faces? I feel like I’m being propositioned with all that puckering.
Coming from a Peruvian family, sweetened condensed milk is part of living. This stuff is the liquid of gods. I want a filling worth eating along with having a pie that when sliced, doesn’t look flimsy and half full. I use 2 cans and please, use the full fat stuff. Go big or go home. Just don’t eat this everyday and don’t eat it in two bites. Relax, enjoy.
A touch of salt brings out the sweetness of the milk and enhances the flavor of both the crust and filling. A pinch is all you need.
I use 2 whole eggs. Why not use all yolks? Although all yolks would result in a creamy velvety texture, I feel the egg white contributes structure to the filling giving it some heft without taking away from the smoothness. This way, I’m not worrying about separating eggs or freezing egg whites.
Finish with the perfect topping:
Sour cream with a touch of key lime juice and powdered (confectioners’) sugar puts this pie over the top. Whisk until smooth and spread on top of the cooled pie. It’s different, creamy, tart, and yummy.
You can slice a lime and place it on top but I’m not into the whole garnish thing. People will pick it off and set it aside. It may look pretty for pictures but it won’t get eaten and it would require your guests to pick at their food. This is a food blog not a photography blog. Imagine a slice there if you wish. Ok, in the first picture I broke down and added garnish, but only for the picture. If you come to my house and I serve you there won’t be any garnish.
You can make this a day before allowing the flavors to intensify. I’ve actually made it 2 days before and it was still de-li-cious!
For more fabulous desserts, try:
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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Ultimate Key Lime PiePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 9 honey graham crackers - full size 5 ounces
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk (full fat)
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup key lime juice fresh or bottled (recommended: Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice)
- 2 large eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
Sour Cream Topping:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon key lime juice
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven 350 degrees.
- Add the melted butter into the pie plate and swirl it all around to coat. Make sure you coat the side of the plate as well.
- Place the graham crackers in zip top bag, remove most of air and close. Use a rolling pin to gently pound and/or roll the crackers until fine. Add the crumbs and the salt to the butter and mix to combine. Press down with the bottom of a ½ cup measuring cup or with the back of a spoon. Push against the sides to build up an edge.
- Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and set aside. Leave oven on.
- Add the eggs in a large bowl. I remove the chalazae - the stringy white thing that is attached to the egg yolk because I'm looking for smooth without going through the bother of straining. That is totally optional but recommended.
- Add the condensed milk, lime juice, sour cream, and salt to the eggs and whisk until smooth.
- Pour into warm crust and bake for 10 minutes and no more. It will be jiggly in the center, but resist the urge to continue baking as it will continue to cook while cooling. Also, refrigerating will firm the filling to proper consistency.
- After the pie plate is cool to touch, make the topping.
Sour Cream Topping:
- Simply whisk together sour cream topping ingredients and spread on top of cooled pie.
- Place pie in fridge and chill for at least 3 hours before serving to allow to set.
- You can make this a day or two before allowing the flavors to intensify.