With a buttery graham cracker crust and creamy lime filling, this simple no-bake key lime pie is every bit as delicious as it looks. A real crowd pleaser - it might just be a contender for the ultimate summer desert.
Yes the humble key lime pie is as basic as they come. But this tangy, creamy dessert is a classic for a reason. It comes together in just 15 minutes plus the time it needs hanging out in the fridge to set.
There are so many similar easy Key Lime Pie recipes out there - but here is my version!
To keep it as simple as possible there's no need to bake the crust. And the filling has just the right amount of sweet and citrus.
If you're really short of time you can always buy the base. But I like to make mine as it’s very quick and less sweet than store bought alternatives.
Why You Should Make This No Bake Key Lime Pie
- Any dessert that can be prepared in 20 minutes is a winner, just chill the pie in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
- This no bake key lime cheesecake a perfect make ahead dessert (and can even be frozen ahead of time).
- My key lime pie is made with condensed milk, which helps to thicken the pie filling without the need to bake it.
- There are no eggs in this no-bake key lime pie filling, making this an ideal dessert for anyone who has an egg allergy.
- If you enjoy quick and easy desserts try my Chocolate Orange Pots, they are prepared in just 15 minutes and left to chill in the fridge.
No-Bake Key Lime Pie Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Graham Crackers or Digestive Biscuits - What you use to make the base will largely depend on where you are in the world. Graham crackers are an American cracker and not always available elsewhere.
The closest substitution would be a digestive biscuit, which is a similar style of biscuit. A graham cracker is slightly sweeter and more crisp than a digestive biscuit, but once crumbed they have a similar texture.
Cream Cheese - I recommend using a full fat cream cheese for the key lime pie filling, something like Philadelphia cream cheese is ideal. Full fat cream cheese gives the filling a better texture. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before you start making the filling so it mixes together well.
Condensed Milk - My key lime pie is made with condensed milk, as it thickens the pie filling without the need to bake the pie. I like to use Carnation condensed milk, but any brand of condensed milk will work.
Limes - The juice of 5 limes flavor the pie filling, while the lime zest adds a citrus burst to the top of the pie. I have not used key limes as they are not always easy to get your hands on. But not to worry, regular limes work just as well.
How to Make No-Bake Key Lime Pie
Find the full printable recipe below.
Crush the graham crackers and melt the butter in the microwave. Make the base by combining graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9" pie dish with the bottom of a measuring cup (see below) and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling by beating together cream cheese, condensed milk, sour cream with lime juice and zest.
Pour the filling into the chilled crust then chill for a minimum of 6 hours.
Serve in slices with extra lime zest and whipped cream!
Is this No Bake Key Lime Pie a Pie, a Tart or a Cheesecake?
Key lime pie is a classic American dessert with a crumbly buttery graham cracker base topped with a creamy lime filling that has been sweetened with condensed milk.
Is it a pie, a tart or a cheesecake? Well I guess a bit of all three. A lot will depend on where you come from. In the US it is most definitely a pie, but a lot of my UK friends might call this a cheesecake.
Whatever you call it, it's a flavor packed dessert that everyone enjoys.
What is the best way to crush graham crackers for a pie crust?
If you have a food processor, the fastest way to crush graham crackers is to pulse them until they are blitzed into a fine crumb. If you don't have a food processor, no problem. Put the crackers into a clean plastic bag, press out the air and seal the bag. Next bash the crackers with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy saucepan until they're finely crushed.
What is the Difference between Key Lime and Regular lime?
Key limes are also know as Mexican or West Indian limes. They are slightly yellow in color, really aromatic and have a more tart and floral flavored juice than regular limes.
If you can't get your hands on key limes don't worry, substitute with the same quantity of regular lime juice.
How long does it take for cream Cheese to come to room temperature?
It takes cream cheese around 2 hours to come to room temperature.
If you forget to take cream cheese out of the fridge is there any way to get it to room temperature faster?
If you forget to take your cream cheese out of the fridge ahead of time - we've all been there - here are some tips to soften it fast! First unwrap it so the packaging doesn't keep it cold. Next cut it - firstly across ways and then into small cubes. Finally spread the pieces out as best you can on the cutting board so they're not touching. Then just leave them at room temperature until they're soft.
Do you need an electric mixer to make Key Lime Pie?
It really helps when trying to get a very smooth filling to have an electric stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. But it's not essential. You can mix with a good old fashioned wooden spoon - and you'll get a free arm work out too.
Variations of Key Lime Pie
- Any flavor of citrus would work in this pie. You could add 3 lemons or 2 oranges in place of the lime. Or how about a combination of citrus? Why not try a lemon and lime pie?
- For a lime and ginger twist on this classic American dessert, substitute the graham crackers for a gingersnap biscuit.
Tips For Making Key Lime Pie
- The best way to extract lime juice from any lime is to roll the fruit back and forth to soften it up, before cutting and juicing.
- Remember to take the cream cheese out of the fridge 2 hours before you go to make the filling. This will allow the cheese to come to room temperature, making it easier to beat to a creamy, smooth consistency.
- If you enjoy the flavor of citrus in your desserts try my 4-ingredient Lemon Syllabub.
How To Serve No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake?
This delicious pie is packed full of flavor so I like to keep things simple. Grate some lime zest over the pie and serve it with some whipped cream on the side.
Also tasty with a scoop of your favorite vanilla or dairy ice-cream.
How to Freeze Key Lime Pie
This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze for later. Place the pie in a container with a lid and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
When you are ready to enjoy, simply take the pie out and defrost for at least an hour at room temperature before serving.
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What Do You Think?!
Scroll to the comments section and let me know what you think about the recipe. Did you try it? Did you adapt it? Did you love it?
More Easy Recipe Ideas
Easy No-Bake Key Lime Pie
For the base
- 1.5 cups Graham Crackers or Digestive Biscuits - crushed into fine crumbs
- 1 stick Butter - melted in the microwave
For the filling
- 16 oz Cream Cheese - at room temperature
- 14 oz Condensed Milk
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 5 Limes - juiced + zest of 1
Optional for serving
- Limes - extra zest for the topping
- Whipped Cream
To make the base:
- In a medium bowl combine the melted butter and the crushed graham cracker crumbs.
- Combine well and then press into the base of a 9 inch pie plate (I like to use the back of a measuring cup to do this.)
- Chill for at least 30 minutes before filling.
To make the filling:
- First beat the room temperature cream cheese until light and fluffy. A stand or hand mixer is helpful for this.
- Add the condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and the zest of one lime.
- Beat on medium high until completely combined and smooth - around 2-3 minutes.
Assemble the Pie
- Pour the filling into the chilled crust and smooth out the top.
- Chill for a minimum of 6 hours but preferably overnight.
- Serve with extra lime zest and whipped cream (optional)