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. If you are looking for something a little tart with an incredible crust…this is your pie! 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!
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 May 2022.
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.
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?
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 in no time.
So really, it’s all what you prefer. Whatever works for you and makes you happy. It’s your pie!
Once you have your crust baked, it’s just a matter of a very quick assembly. Here is the recipe for an olive oil pie crust that I make. If you prefer to use a ready-made crust, that’s fine.
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!
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…
What ingredients are in a homemade key lime pie?
- graham cracker pie crust (or your own homemade crust)
- sweetened condensed milk
- egg yolks
- Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice (or freshly squeezed)
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!
Can I serve this with whipped cream?
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.
What is difference between limes and key limes?
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.
Can this pie be made in advance?
Yes, Key lime pie may be made 1-2 days in advance.
How to store the pie?
Cover the pie with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to store pie with a meringue topping?
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.
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
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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 sugar
- 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.
- Pour filling into prebaked pie crust and bake at 350º for 10 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Cool pie completely on rack (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.