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Melissa Clark's Key Lime Cream Pie

Melissa Clark's Key Lime Pie
Melissa Clark's Key Lime PieMike Smith / TODAY
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

Key lime pies are an iconic American dessert. But they're not always so easy to make. They've gotta be decadent but light, cool and creamy ... and this one has it all! 

Technique tip: Be sure to allow 2 hours after the pie is cooked to chill. The pie can be made ahead of time and left in the refrigerator up to one day.

Special equipment: Electric mixer


Key Lime Cream Pie
  • cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 11 to 12 sheets of crackers)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh key lime juice or regular lime juice (from 5 to 6 limes)
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1 lime (optional, for garnish)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven. In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and press crumb mixture into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides.


Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the condensed milk, scraping sides if needed. Whisk in lime zest and juice until just combined.


Scrape the mixture into cooled pie shell, then return to oven and bake until filling has just set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours and up to one day.


Just before serving, in the bowl of an electric mixer set with the whisk attachment, beat together cream and confectioners sugar until thick and fluffy. Dollop whipped cream on slices of the cooled pie. If you’d like, grate the zest from a lime over the whipped cream for a gorgeous green accent. Serve.