Simple and delightful pleasures for Florida living.


Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie

Author: Robin Draper
Date: November 15, 2015 12:00 am
Category: What to Eat
Type: Desserts

Looking for the perfect Florida pie? You can't beat this tasty, quintessential dessert, Key Lime Pie. No wonder it's the state pie, it's perfect with Florida seafood or any light dish and an ideal finish for any meal.

My family begs me to make key lime pie. Since I have such a serious sweet tooth, it doesn't require too much begging.  

I like to make the pie with fresh key limes, but realize they are increasingly harder to find. So, this year, I planted a key lime tree and I anxiously watch it grow daily. In the meantime, I buy key limes from the farmer's market, or in the absence of key limes, I use local limes.  I also use fresh limes in place of the bottled key lime juice. But many use the bottled juice and are happy with the results. Whatever your choice, enjoy!

Robin makes Key Lime Pie

Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie Recipe (Step by Step)

Slice, Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie

Florida Key Limes (most turn yellow when ripe)

Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie ingredients

Pie Ingredients

Pie Shell

  • 1/3 of a 1-pound box of graham crackers
  • 5 Tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup of sugar 

Note: if you want to use a store bought graham cracker crust, rather than making your own, you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

Pie Filling

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons of lime zest - be sure to zest before you squeeze the juice!
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 24-36 limes depending on freshness of limes), or 6-8 regular fresh limes (again, depending on freshness)

Meringue Topping

  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon, cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Note: if you prefer to use whipped cream, rather than meringue, substitute for above meringue topping

Tools: 1 Pie pan, Cuisinart or hand mixer; lemon/lime hand squeezer, zester (or rasp) to grate the outside of the limes


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Making the graham cracker pie crust

Break up the graham crackers; place in a food processor and process the crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place the crackers in a large plastic bag; seal and crush the crackers with a rolling pin.  Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse or stir until combined. 

Press the ingredients in a pie pan

Press the mixture into the bottom and side of a pie pan, forming a neat border around the edge. Press lightly to form a border up the sides.  Bake the crust at 350 degrees until set and golden for 8 minutes.  Set aside on a wire rack, let cool. Leave the oven on.

For the filling:

The first step, using a rasp or grater, grate 2 teaspoons of the lime skin. Then, using a hand press, squeeze 2/3 cups of key lime juice by cutting each lime in half and placing in press (they are usually too small for a juicer).

Zest the limes, press the juice

Next separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside the egg whites for the meringue if you want to use later. Have your sweetened condensed milk opened, your juice finished and your zest ready for the next step.

Assemble your ingredients for the mixing

In an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the 4 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Gradually add the can of condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3 or 4 minutes longer.  Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the 2/3 cup of lime juice, mixing just until combined, no longer. Pour the mixture into the crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the filling has just set. Cool on a wire rack. 

Pour the pie filling into the baked crust, bake again

Next, add the topping:

Make the egg white meringue using the left over egg whites

With a mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until forming stiff peaks. 

Pour the meringue over the pie, smooth out top and bake again. Watch the oven!

Spread over filling and seal to edge of crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Note: Watch oven and don't take your eyes off the meringue, it could brown quickly. Place in the refrigerator and let it chill for 2-3 hours.

Fresh, homemade Authentic Florida Key Lime Pie

It will go fast!

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About the Author: Robin Draper is a Florida native and blogger devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures for Florida living. This article is connected to Robin's Google+ profile.


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Talk About This Post on Authentic Florida

Ania Kats on September 5, 2017 said:
MMM I love that you add the meringue on top! So far my favourite at a restaurant has been this one in Key Largo , but now I definitely will try this recipe. I haven't seen anywhere else that toasts the meringue on top. Super idea!
vivian on March 12, 2017 said:
Great recipes.
Vivian on March 12, 2017 said:
Great recipes.
David Whipple on February 22, 2017 said:
Here's the right ingredients and amounts. NO graham cracker crust/flower & lard crust only, pre-baked.
2 cans condensed milk Three egg yolks. Use tempering method to add lime juice to egg&milk.
NO meringue. A dab of whip cream and a light zest of lime peal are OK. don't argue with me I learned this recipe in Key West 60 years ago.
Robin Draper on November 1, 2016 said:
Real KLP isn't baked either.
Keith Rouleau on February 18, 2016 said:
Authentic KLP does not have a meringue topping. That is a deviation. Delicious all the same, but not authentic.
Uriko on November 19, 2015 said:
Thanks for the recipe. It turned out amazing.
Laurel on November 2, 2015 said:
Be sure to use REAL key limes. Any other limes don't cut it. Saw a "key lime pie" made on PBS but not with key limes and they said it doesn't make a difference!! But it does. You can taste the difference. I guess they were dumb Yankees on that show!

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