Key Lime Meringue Pie

I have long-shunned the pucker-ific sour Key lime pies until I made this. Lets just say that I’m now an enthusiastic convert of the Florida state pie. It is absolutely perfect in its balance of flavors, with the well-tempered tartness of the Key limes and a kiss of sweetness from the meringue. You will not regret the time you will spend to make it. I promise. – Joy


I had long-shunned the pucker-ific sour Key lime pies until I made this. Lets just say that I’m now an enthusiastic convert of the Florida state pie. It is absolutely perfect in its balance of flavors, with the well-tempered tartness of the Key limes and a kiss of sweetness from the meringue. You will not regret the time you will spend to make it. I promise.

I’d lost any inclination to eat Key lime pie at any restaurant because I find them murderously sour, as if crushed with ascorbic acid tablets. Not my idea of a good dessert. I really thought that’s just the way it is. No offense to Key limes, but this was the reason I tend to cringe and do a 180° turn whenever I see them at the market.

Key limes

According to a Flickr friend, Key lime pies in the South are much better than the ones from the West Coast. Is this true? Where do you get your Key lime pies dear Southerners? And if you're from the West Coast like I am, have you found one that you truly love?

To truthfully and finally decide for myself on the matter of Key lime pies, I made it. I wanted to know if it really should taste so repulsive and need to be delegated as a Fear Factor eating challenge where you’re required to have a neutral face. This took me the whole night to make, but it was so worth it. This is what happens when you don’t thoroughly read the instructions and end up having dessert at 11am.

Key Lime Meringue Pie

Once again, The Craft of Baking made me overcome another fear: fear of eating key lime pie. The pie from DeMasco’s recipe was DIVINE. The sharp tartness of key limes were perfectly subdued in the silky curd with whipped cream–a beautiful marriage of flavors that simply made the long night of working in the kitchen less painful. The meringue was just a touch sweet, and with every bite of it with the curd and the crust, it’s perfection.

Key Lime Meringue Pie

Hi, I'm a Key Lime Pie convert.

KEY LIME MERINGUE PIEDownload the PDF recipe

This recipe was adapted from Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox’s book, “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own” (2009).


Key Lime Curd

  • Finely grated zest from 4 Key limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (from at least 6 Key limes)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • eggs whites from 4 large eggs
  • 2/3  cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Pre-bake/blind-bake your pie crust.Pre-heat oven to 375°F.Roll the pie dough on a floured surface to form an 11”-diameter disk. Loosely roll around a rolling pin and transfer into a 9” pie plate. Trim the dough and leave a 1-inch overhang to fold over. Crimp the edges. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.Prick crust on the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans, making sure to fill to the corner and sides. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove the parchment and weights, return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes more until golden all over. Cool plate on a wire rack. Turn off oven.
  2. Make the Key lime curd. Boil 2-inch-deep water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk Key lime zest, Key lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and heatproof bowl over the saucepan. Whisk the juice and egg mixture constantly until it becomes thick, about 12 to 15 minutes. Thickness test: when you trace your whisk across the bowl, the curd won’t immediately cover the track.Remove from the heat and transfer on a kitchen towel to secure it on the counter. Whisk in butter one piece at a time until it is well combined and smooth. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Line the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for half an hour.Whip cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled curd. Pour into completely cooled pie crust.Preheat oven to 375°F with the rack positioned about 8 inches from the top of the oven.
  3. For the Meringue: Whisk egg whites on low speed using an electric mixer until bubbles begin to form. Increase speed to medium-low and beat for about 5 minutes until it begins to turn opaque and increase in volume. Add granulated and confectioner’s sugar in a slow and steady stream. Add vanilla and salt. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 10 minutes until meringue becomes very thick.Spread meringue over the curd and cover up to the edges of the curd. Swirl and create peaks using a spatula. To make really nice peaks, grab a small dollop of meringue with the pads of your fingers and touch and swoop it all over the meringue to create the desired effect.Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating it halfway through the baking time. Peaks should be darker, and the “valley’s should still be white. Completely cool pie on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for an hour before serving.This pie is best consumed the day it is made. Can be chilled, loosely covered in plastic wrap for up to 2 days. That is, if you have leftovers. ;-)

Happy baking and eating!

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  • February 2, 2010 9:24 am

    Oh! I thought this was going to be the version that uses sweetened condensed milk (as is common in the South). This is so much more delicate and milder – looks beautiful too.
    .-= Manggy´s last blog ..Rose’s Chocolate Feather Bed =-.

    • joy
      February 2, 2010 11:41 am

      Manggy, I didn’t even know there was a condensed milk version! See…this is how much I know about them. Haha. This definitely tastes more refined than all the other key lime pies I’ve tried. Do you know of any (good) key lime pie recipes?

      • February 2, 2010 11:43 am

        Unfortunately, key limes in the Phils are rare and expensive (flown from Florida), so there’s no room for experimentation. I’ve only made “key lime bars” – which were made with lemon juice and kalamansi, which I found too sweet and condensed milk-y. But some people like that…
        .-= Manggy´s last blog ..Rose’s Chocolate Feather Bed =-.

        • joy
          February 2, 2010 12:10 pm

          I have the same problem with kalamansi — I want to make a lot of things with them, but they’re not always available, and if they are they cost a lot. I’m not too fond of anything too sweet and has lots of condensed milk. :)

  • February 2, 2010 10:18 am

    I need to get myself some key limes…this sounds lovely.
    .-= The Food Hunter´s last blog ..Silly Conversations That Come Up When You Decide to Cook a Goat…. =-.

    • joy
      February 2, 2010 11:43 am

      Let me know if you try it!

  • February 2, 2010 10:23 am

    I actually love the sourness! Key lime pie and lemon meringue are my absolute favorites (anything citrus really). This recipe looks so very good too.

    • joy
      February 2, 2010 11:44 am

      Most of the ones I’ve had tasted too artificial to me. They might as well give me bottled lime juice. Haha. I love sour, but just not ascorbic acid sour. :) I must say that having this on such a rainy week made it a lot more bearable.

  • February 2, 2010 10:54 am

    I LOVE LOVE key lime pie. Really, I have no idea why I haven’t tried making it yet. Thanks for the great recipe!
    .-= allison lemons´s last blog ..Sardines and Avocados =-.

    • joy
      February 2, 2010 12:11 pm

      Allison, I think you will love this! And you’re welcome. :)

  • February 3, 2010 9:00 am

    This is certainly one of my favorite kinds of pie in the whole wide world! Wish I could come over right now and eat it with you!

  • February 3, 2010 3:52 pm

    Gorgeous! I love Key Lime anything!

  • February 4, 2010 2:29 pm

    Yum! Makes me want to head to the Florida Keys. :)
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes =-.

  • February 4, 2010 5:29 pm

    I’m from the Caribbean and I am not sure what a key lime is? These look like the limes I get. Do they turn yellow and slightly less acidic when ripe? I love lime curd so I’m guessing I would love this pie.

    • lu
      March 1, 2013 2:30 am

      In Australia they are called West Indian limes. They are small and turn yellow when ripe.

  • February 4, 2010 6:21 pm

    Oh what a lovely pie! I dont think I’ve ever had key lime pie but I love lemon meringue. I’m sure this would be right up my alley.
    .-= megan´s last blog ..Recipes For Bacon Wrapped Appetizers! =-.

  • candy
    November 18, 2010 5:40 pm

    I just picked a bowl of key limes from my tree…in Arkansas. Yes, I had to finally bring it in as cold weather makes it into the area. I will be making this key lime pie for Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Vanessa
    November 24, 2010 3:02 pm

    This is delish!! I made it for thanksgiving and it looks beautiful!! THank you

  • Sara
    January 6, 2011 11:48 am

    Key limes are grown in the Florida Keys, hence the name. And GOOD key lime pie should be a good balance of sweet and tart. I was born in Florida and lived there for almost 28 years before moving to Dallas, and a good key lime is one of the things I miss most. That, and fresh seafood. :) The key lime pie purist in me is struggling with your recipe because the pie has always been made with sweetened condensed milk; before modern refrigeration transportation methods were available to the residents in the Keys, canned sweetened condensed milk was much easier to obtain. However, the adventurous foodie in me will probably overpower the snobby Floridian within my head and make your recipe, because I have yet to find a traditional key lime pie recipe that meets my sweet-tart balance and texture standards. Thanks for giving me something different to try!

    • joy
      February 1, 2011 12:33 am

      Sara, that’s what I’ve been told. The traditional recipe must have condensed milk. I’ve never had the key lime pie in Florida when I was there (and I wish I had!), so I can’t really compare the two. However, I can assure you that this version of the pie is quite delightful. Let me know if you try it. Thanks!

  • Lindsay L
    January 9, 2011 7:30 am

    This is an EXCELLENT recipe!

  • March 9, 2011 6:23 am

    This looks yummy. Wondering why I never used limes?
    Great :)

  • August 29, 2011 2:12 pm

    I started into your recipe but found that lime curd instructs you to add the lemon juice – there is no lemon juice called for in the list of ingredients, nor is there an amount given in the body of the recipe.

    I have my limes squeezed, crust baked – now what? How much lemon juice??

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