There’s nothing like a Key Lime Pie and the no bake version is equally delicious! My Best Ever No Bake Key Lime Pie is loaded with that delicious tart key lime flavor. Not only do I add key lime juice, but also a lot of zest!
What we call Key Lime or Mexican Lime is actually native to Malaysia and brought over the New World by the Spanish. This is the lime known in Cuba and made famous in the Florida Keys.
Who created the Key Lime Pie? Well there are a few claims to fame. One version credits William Curry’s cook, Aunt Sally in the late 1800s. She adapted it from a lemon ice box pie and due to lack of refrigeration or ice, Aunt Sally used Borden’s sweetened condensed milk and local key limes. Back then recipes were passed down and rarely written. According to Southern Living magazine, a Key Lime Pie recipe couldn’t be found prior to 1949, but a nearly identical one (using lemons) was found dating back to 1931. That recipe, Magic Lemon Cream Pie, was created in New York. The Miami Herald has not been able to verify Aunt Sally’s claim, but the article created quite a debate. The one thing we can agree on is Florida put Key Lime Pie on a global map. And it’s not Key Lime Pie if you don’t use Key limes.
Key limes are much smaller than regular limes. While fresh is best, it may not be available or you may not have time to squeeze so many little limes. My go to choice is Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice. It’s excellent and authentic.
HERE’S HOW I MADE IT
Preheat oven to 350°F, place oven rack in the center and butter a 9-inch pie baking dish or tin. Set aside.
In a food processor, blitz a sleeve of Grahams crackers with 3 Tablespoons of packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup pecans. Drizzle in 4 Tablespoons of unsalted melted butter. Dump into a buttered 9-inch pie dish and gently press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides using your hands. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
While the Grahams cracker crust is cooling, make the filling. Make the whipped cream first by combining 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream with 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar to stabilize the cream. Whip until stiff peaks form, 1-2 minutes and set aside. Don’t over whip or you can end up with butter.
Note: Stabilizing the whipped cream helps keep longer in the refrigerator. Freezing the mixing bowl for 20 minutes produces a better whipped cream. If you don’t have time to freeze the bowl, stabilize the whipped cream and place it in the refrigerator immediately and take out when ready to use.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of Key Lime juice, 1/4 cup of cream cheese and the zest of 1 1/2 regular limes until thick and creamy and cream cheese has completely incorporated.
Fold in half of the whipped cream and pour mixture into the cooled crust. Spread evenly and chill until set, at least a few hours, preferred overnight.
Pipe the remaining whipped cream on top and decorate with lime wedges. Zest 1/2 regular lime over the pie. Slice and serve! This pie is just a perfect bite – creamy, sweet, tart and crunchy. This is my kind of pie. Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s recipe.
Best Ever No Bake Key Lime Pie
The most flavorful no-bake Key Lime pie you'll enjoy. Made with real Key limes and a flavorful and crunch crust. Easy to make and crowd please.
- 1 sleeve original Grahams crackers
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup pecans
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar, optional used to stabilize the cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup Key lime juice prefer Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- zest of 1 ½ regular lime
- thin slices of limes
- zest of ½ regular lime
- 1 lime to slice and decorate
Preheat oven 350°F, place oven rack in the center and butter a 9-inch pie dish.
MAKING THE CRUST
In a food processor, blitz graham crackers, brown sugar and pecans. Drizzle melted butter.
Dump into prepared pie dish and use your hands to press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
MAKING THE WHIPPED CREAM
In a cold bowl, whip the heaving whipping cream, powdered sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Don't over beat or you'll get butter. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: Cream of tartar is added to stabilize the cream. If you don't have any you can omit the ingredient.
MAKING THE KEY LIME FILLING
in a separate bowl, whip together the condensed milk, Key lime juice, cream cheese and zest of 1½ limes.
Note: I buy 3 limes – zest two and use one for garnish slices.
Fold in half of the whipped cream and pour into the cooled crust. Refrigerate a couple hours until set.
Pipe remaining whipped cream, garnish with lime slices and zest of ½ a lime.
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s recipe.