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Meringue Topped Key Lime Pie

A key lime pie made from scratch using real key lime juice, a graham cracker crust, and a fluffy meringue topping.

This recipe was kindly given to me by a chef at one of my favorite beachfront restaurants many years ago. It is an authentic key lime custard topped with meringue. You’ll never go back to a fake green key lime pie!

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s just so delicious. Not too sweet, cool and creamy, and topped with beautiful fluffy meringue. My favorite dessert ever.
  • It’s budget-friendly. Since you’re using bottled juice, you can make this for just a few dollars.
  • It’s surprisingly easy. If you follow the instructions and be patient, you’ll be successful.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need the following for this summer dessert recipe:

  • graham crackers
  • butter 
  • granulated sugar
  • cinnamon
  • key lime juice (look for Nellie and Joe’s brand!)
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • sour cream
  • eggs (separate into yolks and whites)
  • lime zest
  • cornstarch

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  • 8 or 9-inch pie pan
  • food processor
  • stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment

🍴Instructions

Step One: Make the Graham Cracker Crust

food processor with ingredients and finished pie crust

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into crumbs. Melt the butter, and then add it to the graham cracker crumbs, as well as the sugar and cinnamon. Press this mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake it for 7 minutes.

Step Two: make the filling

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, egg yolks, sour cream, and lime zest. Use a whisk to mix everything together well until there are no bits of egg yolk visible.

Step three: make the meringue

mixing bowl filled with shiny white meringue

To make the meringue, whip together the egg whites, sugar, and cornstarch until stiff peaks form.

Step Four: assemble and bake

Pour the lime filling into the graham cracker crust.

Pipe or spread the meringue over the pie.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours on a wire rack, then chill in the fridge for 12 hours at least.

🥫 Storage instructions

If you have any leftover key lime pie, be sure to store it in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

It actually freezes okay, although the meringue might look weird. But it will still be tasty.

🔍 FAQs

Can I use regular lime juice?

No. It’s a hard no.

Can I use a store-bought pie crust?

Ugh, I suppose. But this one is very good.

I like a softer meringue, what should I do?

Just beat until soft peaks form instead of stiff. No problem.

What if I want the meringue super browned and dramatic looking?

Use a kitchen torch. But you still have to bake it first to set the filling and cook the eggs.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Don’t go off script and try to use regular limes. The result will be all wrong!
  • If the meringue feels like a pain, you can just skip it and use a whipped cream topping. But it’s not hard and you have the leftover egg white anyway, so just go for it.
  • The color of the pie might not be what you’re used to. You can add a little green food coloring the filling if it’s really bugging you. But it is better to not and instead teach people that key lime pie should not be green. You’re a hero now.
  • Please note that this pie has to set for 12 hours in the fridge. This step is absolutely 100% critical. If you need a dessert for today, pick a different recipe!

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📖 Here’s the recipe

slice of pie on white plate
5 from 3 votes

Key Lime Pie with Meringue Topping

Print Recipe
A key lime pie made from scratch using real key lime juice, a graham cracker crust, and a fluffy meringue topping.
Prep Time:1 hr
Cook Time:15 mins
chilling time:1 d
Total Time:1 d 1 hr 15 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 10 graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons butter salted (or add pinch of salt)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Lime Filling

  • 1/2 cup key lime juice fresh or bottled (Nellie and Joe’s)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 egg yolks reserve whites for the meringue
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest optional

Meringue Topping

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions

Make the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat oven to 375 with the rack in the center.
  • Crush the graham crackers into crumbs using a food processor.  Melt the butter and add it to the graham cracker crumbs along with the sugar and cinnamon.  Press crumbly mixture into 9-inch pie plate.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Do not overbake, or the crust will be too hard to slice.  Cool at room temperature before filling
    graham cracker crumbs being pressed into crust

Make the Key Lime Filling

  • Combine the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, egg yolks, sour cream, and lime zest.  Make sure to blend well using a whisk until there are no bits of egg yolk visible. Pour the lime filling into the graham cracker crust.
    graham cracker crust filled with key lime filling
  • Place egg whites into a separate bowl, and cover and chill at least 2 hours

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Make the meringue by whipping the egg whites, sugar, and pinch of cornstarch until stiff peaks are formed  Pipe or spread the meringue on the pie.
    egg white meringue in bowl and on top of pie
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, until meringue is browned. Cool at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours.  
    fully baked pie, showing browned topping

Notes

You can’t rush this pie.  The chilling stage is absolutely essential for the pie to set.  
Not a fan of meringue?  Just leave it off.   Bake the pie after pouring in the custard for 8 minutes, just to set it.  The chilling stage is still needed.
Meringue weeping?  It happens to the best of us.  The cornstarch will prevent this, but over time the humidity of the fridge can cause your meringue to run a bit.  It’s bestth next day and will usually weep on day 2. 

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, european
Keyword: key lime pie with bottled juice, key lime pie with meringue topping, the best key lime pie
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 198kcal
Author: Katie from Heart’s Content Farmhouse
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

8 thoughts on “Meringue Topped Key Lime Pie”

  1. Yum, someone just brought key lime cheesecake to our study last night, it was pretty good, but I love the real deal! Will have to try this!

    Reply

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