My Key lime pie with meringue topping recipe features a homemade graham cracker crust, a luscious sweet-tart filling, and homemade meringue topping. A really simple pie to make, and it is beautiful!
If you are looking for a go-to summer dessert...this could be all you need.
Why you'll love key lime meringue pie
- The crust: If you are looking for something a little tart with an incredible crust...this is your pie!
- The filling: This filling is just luscious and incredible!
- Make something else while pie sets: Maybe you'll love the ease of having your pie set in the fridge while you do something else? For all of these reasons, this is your pie!
- Everyone LOVES this pie: In case you make just one pie this summer, have it be the one that my kids argue over who gets the last slice. I urge you to make this Key lime pie and don't forget the meringue topping.
The crust does not create a perfect slice each time you cut into it. Since it's homemade, it will crumble a bit more than the store-bought crust. In fact, it's quite the messy cookie type crust. Nobody has ever complained here and as I mentioned before, there is no comparison in flavor with a ready-made crust.
How could it be that something so simple could create wreak such havoc in my house? This dessert. This super simple dessert is the cause of many arguments. A Key lime pie with meringue topping is probably the dessert I get asked to make most in my house. At least it is this past year.
Originally posted September 2013. Updated for content and republished July 2023.
And there is really not much to making it. The kids hover around the kitchen when I'm slicing it monitoring where each slice is going and to ensure each slice is perfectly equal in proportion.
Strange behavior...I know.
What ingredients are in key lime pie with meringue?
- Graham cracker pie crust or homemade crust: the base of the pie.
- Sweetened condensed milk: used for sweetness and texture.
- egg yolks: adds richness and structure.
- Key Lime Juice or freshly squeezed Key lime (or Persian lime) juice: provides the tart flavor and acidity.
- egg whites: used to make a fluffy and airy topping.
- vanilla extract: adds flavor to the meringue.
- cream of tartar: helps stabilize the egg whites and create structure.
- granulated sugar: adds sweetness to the meringue.
They open the fridge to check on the pie periodically throughout the day. Hey! Who took another sliver? It's missing another slice...who ate it?
Silly pie arguments. Do they happen in your house?
How to make recipe for key lime pie with meringue?
To make key lime pie with meringue topping, follow these instructions (full printable recipe is below):
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Mix together 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, and 6 tablespoons melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and bake for 8-10 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 can of condensed milk, and key lime juice. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust.
4. In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until glossy. Spread the meringue over the filling, making sure to seal the edges.
5. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours before serving. Enjoy!
Can I use store-bought key lime juice?
Yes! I use Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice. I find now at any local market (or also, online). If you can't find it, you could use freshly squeezed lime juice. I know, I know. I could squeeze Key limes and use the juice for the recipe but that would entail adding additional prep time to this recipe.
That wouldn't work in my house. If you have the patience to squeeze your own Key limes, by all means do it. I know I had a conversation with a friend of mine (if she's reading this, 'HI")and she told me she would never buy the juice when you could just squeeze the limes.
And then there's me who would never buy a ready made graham cracker crust when you could just make your own homemade graham cracker crust in no time.
So really, it's all what you prefer. Whatever works for you and makes you happy. It's your pie!
Oh! I forgot to mention that the longest prep part of the pie is making the meringue topping. How did I forget to mention the most wonderful part of this pie!
Once you have your crust baked, it's just a matter of a very quick assembly. If you prefer to use a ready-made crust, that's fine.
Or is the filling the best part? Could the graham cracker crust beat both of those parts of the pie?
Depends on who you are asking...
After you spread the filling over the graham cracker crust, spoon on the meringue topping (use whipped cream, if you prefer).
In my opinion, it is the meringue topping that makes my heart skip a beat in delight.
Or it could be the perfect sweet-tart filling? No...It's the can't stop sneaking bites simple graham cracker crust. My kids still don't know it's made with olive oil.
But then again, I may not be the guilty family member sneaking an extra sliver but I have been known to spoon up a nice tasting of those graham cracker crumbs-oh, yeah!
Expert Tips for homemade key lime pie:
- Use freshly squeezed key lime juice for the best flavor
- Make sure to completely cool the pie before adding the meringue topping
- Be careful not to overbeat the egg whites, as this can cause them to become dry and brittle
- Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites while beating to ensure a stable, glossy meringue
- Spread the meringue evenly over the filling, making sure to seal the edges to prevent shrinkage or weeping during baking.
If you prefer to toss your egg whites and not deal with making a meringue topping, a whipped cream topping is also really nice! Homemade is best, or use your favorite store-bought whipped cream topping.
Persian limes are the most common ones you'll find at US markets. I've come across key limes in many different markets and you'll see that they are a lot smaller than regular limes. Key limes are 1.5 inches in diameter and have a much more intense flavor.
Yes, Key lime pie may be made 1-2 days in advance.
Cover the pie with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
If you made a meringue topping for the pie, insert toothpicks around the center to the edge of the pie. Cover loosely with some plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Yes, I do talk about this a little bit in the post. Go ahead and use a store-bought crust. The difference will be in the flavor. It really takes minutes to make your own crust and the flavor is incredible!
Some other pie recipes to enjoy:
- No-Bake Limoncello Cheesecake
- Blueberry Icebox Pie
- Southern Buttermilk Pie
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie
Just a quick request: if you enjoyed this classic Key lime pie as much as we did, would you kindly leave me a 5-star rating and a short (or long!)comment–the ratings are what helps get my recipes and hard work discovered, so I can keep leaving you more delish recipes!
Your comments mean the world to me….and I really SMILE when I read them. Thank you so much! XX
Key Lime Pie with Meringue Topping
- 9 " graham cracker pie crust or your own *homemade crust
- 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks reserve egg whites for meringue topping
- ½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice or freshly squeezed Key lime (or Persian lime)juice
- for the meringue topping:
- 3 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Make the filling: In a small bowl combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice; whisk until smooth. If you are using your own homemade graham cracker pie crust, bake the crust before adding the filling for about 7 minutes.
- Bake filling in crust: Pour filling into store-bought or your homemade graham cracker crust (link below in notes) bake at 350º for 10 minutes.
- Make meringue topping: While baking, make meringue topping. In the bowl of a mixer, add the egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add sugar: Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on high speed. Continue beating on high speed until the sugar dissolves and stiff, glossy peaks form. When you lift the beaters, the tips will stand straight up.
- Use a spatula to cover filling: Let the pie cool down after you remove from the oven. Spread the meringue over the pie and bake at 350º for about 5-8 minutes. Keep an eye on the meringue so it doesn't burn. (I sometimes broil the topping. If you choose to broil, it won't take more than 3-4 minutes and you have to carefully watch it because it could be perfect one minute and burned the next).
- Chill pie before serving: Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- Graham cracker crust: Use store-bought graham cracker crust or use this recipe for homemade graham cracker crust.
- Key lime Filling: The filling takes just minutes to put together.
- Meringue topping: The meringue topping also takes minutes to whip up. You could use whipped cream instead to make it easier. OR use no topping at all. It's up to you. The meringue topping is a great way to use up those egg whites.