Emeril's delicious and unbeatable Key Lime Pie recipe, with a few tweaks—it might even be better frozen!
Dessert - Holidays - Pie

Unbeatable Key Lime Pie

Last updated on October 24, 2019 by Liza Hawkins

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This is my twist on Emeril’s deliciously tart key lime pie recipe — it’ll become a fast favorite in your house! 

Homemade key lime pie in a graham cracker crust with fresh lime zest.

I love pies. Specifically, I love tart, creamy, gooey pies.

I was on the hunt for a good key lime pie, and as many of my recipe searches did in 2010, this one started with the Food Network site.

There were easy recipes, difficult recipes, recipes with five stars and some with none.

I sorted by my favorite chefs, and then unsorted.

Then, finally I came across *the* recipe.

It was simple without being artificial, had a short ingredient list (some of which I already had in my kitchen), and oddly enough it was from Emeril, a chef whose recipes I don’t typically gravitate toward.

Close up shot of homemade key lime pie with a graham cracker crust and fresh lime zest.

OK, so here’s my take on the recipe…

I keep all the ratios and cooking times the same every time I make this recipe.

There are, however, a few changes I’ve made … none of which affected the integrity of the pie one bit.

Close up shot of fresh lime zest on top of a homemade key lime pie.

Unbeatable Key Lime Pie

Here’s how I made this key lime pie my own:

1. Use store bought pie crust.

I made my own graham cracker crust the first time, but every other time I used a pre-made, store bought graham cracker crust. No one could tell the difference.

I’ve used graham cracker crust and I’ve used traditional pie crust. Both delicious and both store bought!

One advantage to the store bought graham cracker crust is that it comes with a plastic lid, making transport a breeze!

2. Don’t bother squeezing two hundred key limes for this recipe.

Have you ever seen a key lime?

They’re about half the size of a regular lime and doubly as hard to squeeze.

Who wants to mess with that?!

I used key lime juice that I found in the juice isle of my local grocery store, but even regular bottled lime juice would taste great and make life a lot easier.


3. DO bother to squeeze two regular limes, but zest them first!

The addition of freshly squeezed lime juice and a tablespoon of lime zest really enhance the pie filling, so absolutely buy a couple of regular fresh limes.

Plus, you’ll need some lime zest for the garnish…

Fresh lime zest on top of homemade key lime pie with a sour cream topping and graham cracker crust.

Also, don’t freak out about the sour cream. It seems weird, I get it. And, I know you’re thinking, “Whipped cream would be sooo much better,” because I felt that way too.

The sour cream is GOOOOD. The tartness is worth it. You HAVE to use it. Trust me.

And one final note: 

My sister asked me to make her three of these pies for her last birthday.

One to eat that day, and the other two to freeze. It doesn’t seem possible, but this pie might actually be *better* frozen. And if not better, at least just as good.

Give it a go and see!

Try some of my other pie recipes:

This delicious and unbeatable Key Lime Pie recipe, with a few tweaks—it might even be better frozen!
Yield: 8

Homemade Key Lime Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

This homemade key lime pie recipe won't disappoint!


  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (ready-made)
  • 12 key limes or 6 regular limes (zested and juiced)
  • 3/4 cups key lime juice
  • 28oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Large whole eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once it's ready, cook the pie crust for 6 minutes while you prepare the filling. Once the pie crust is out, turn the oven down to 325°F and let the pie crust cool in the fridge.
  2. Combine all of the fresh squeezed lime juice with enough bottled lime juice to equal 1 cup. Next, whisk together the juices, eggs, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of the zest in a medium mixing bowl. Save the remaining zest for garnish later.
  3. Once the pie crust has finished cooling (in the fridge it shouldn't take long), pour the key lime pie filling into the crust and bake it for 15 minutes, or until it's just set—a little jiggle in the center is okay.
  4. Let the key lime pie cool for one hour, and then cover and transfer it to the fridge to continue to chill for at least 2 hours. Overnight is better.
  5. After 2 hours, or the next day, mix the sour cream with the powdered sugar and spread the topping evenly over the pie. Sprinkle with remaining lime zest.


This homemade key lime pie recipe is wonderful chilled as-is, and it's excellent as a frozen dessert too!

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

One comment on “Unbeatable Key Lime Pie

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