Key Lime Pie Recipe

This Key Lime Pie recipe comes from the late Ms Josephine Brosnahan, my mother-in-law, who was one of the best bakers I’ve ever known.

Her hand-made shortening crusts were always flaky and tender. Maybe it comes from practice—she baked pies well into her 90s!

Florida Key Limes (Citrus x aurantiifolia) are a hybrid fruit, most no larger than a hen’s egg, but with a higher acidity and stronger aroma than normal limes.

Key Limes (Citrus x aurauntiifolia)
Key Limes: small but powerful!


9-inch baked pie crust

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup Key lime juice

6 TB sugar

1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Separate the eggs, keeping one egg white separate from the rest.

Mix the condensed milk, egg yolks, and key lime juice. Beat the one egg white until stiff and fold into this mixture. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Beat the other three egg whites. After they are frothy, gradually beat in the sugar and cream of tartar and beat until they form stiff peaks. Spread over the filling, being sure to seal the edges and make attractive peaks. Bake at 350°F about 20 to 25 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.

Tips from Jane

— Most Key Lime Pie recipes do not call for meringue, but rather suggest that it be served with whipped cream. So if you prefer that style of pie, just forget the meringue and bake as directed.

— If you’re using fresh Florida Key limes (which may be difficult to find), you can also add 1 tsp of lime zest. Regular lime zest would work OK too.

— My mother-in-law used a baked pie crust for her pie, but many recipes call for a graham cracker crust. It’s a matter of taste—either will work fine.

— You can also use my Pie-Top Meringue recipe if you prefer. It’s a little more work but makes a bigger meringue that may last a bit better.