Baked Key Lime Pie (and How To Squeeze a Lime the Right Way!)

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Sneak Preview: This easy Baked Key Lime Pie Recipe contains not only sweetened condensed milk and key limes, but also egg yolks and whipped egg whites. This post includes a discussion about the correct way to use a hand-held citrus squeezer.

Key Lime Pie--Ready to eat

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Key lime pie makes me think about vacations on the beach or close to the coast. Uncooked Key Lime Pie is popular, but have you ever tried a baked version? I like the baked pie better because it seems lighter in texture and not so rich.

My sister Kay was just here from Alabama for a brief visit. She’s a good southern cook, so I’m always keen on her recipes. This time, I coerced her into making her Baked Key Lime Pie while I took pictures.

Before we could get the pie into the crust, we got into a big discussion about the right way to use a citrus squeezer. Do you know which way is right? Keep reading.

What is the correct way to use a citrus squeezer?

Kay: “I’m not sure how would be the best way to juice these key limes.”

Me: “I’ve got one of those metal squeezy things…. or a reamer… or even a glass dish with a built-in reamer. Here, let’s try this metal lemon juicer.” (I pull it out of the drawer and proceed to try it.)

Me: “See? It works perfectly.”

Kay: “I see that, even though you’re doing it upside-down.”

Me: “What?!?! That’s not upside down. What do you mean? So how would you do it?”

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Baked Key LIme Pie - slice on a plate

Kay: “The other way, with the lime-half flipped over.”

Me: “Hm-m-m. I don’t know about that, but I have an idea. Why don’t we ask my readers?”

Does the lime or lemon go up or down in the juicer?

The cut side goes down.

how to squeeze a lime correctly? cut side up or down?

The verdict is in…

Looks like I was wrong on this one. Although a few people agreed with me, many more went with my sister. (Her way is shown on the left in the picture above–cut side down.)

I am generally an early adopter. But on this one, it looks like I’m a little late figuring out how to squeeze a lime with a citrus squeezer. Thanks for straightening me out, Sis.

demonstrating how to mix up the filling for a Key Lime pie
My sister Kay mixes up her Baked Key Lime Pie

FAQ about Baked Key Lime Pie

How do you know when Baked Key Lime Pie is done?

When properly baked through, the pie will have a slight jiggleu002du002dlike Jello. Remember that the pie will continue to bake for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven. If you overbake it, the texture may curdle. Not good.

Can I substitute regular limes for key limes?

Yes. It takes 4-5 key limes for every regular or Persian lime.

What is the difference in the taste of key limes and Persian limes?

Key limes, also known as Mexican or West Indian limes, are more aromatic, with tarter and more floral juice. They are slightly yellow in color and contain more seeds.TastingTable

How long does key lime pie last?

When refrigerated, key lime pie will stay fresh for 2-3 days.

Can I freeze limes?

Yes. According to Leaf.TV, You can freeze limes whole, wedged or sliced, or you can just freeze the juice. You can even freeze the lime zest.

Can I use a regular pastry crust instead of a graham cracker crust?

Perhaps. I’ve never tried it. A graham cracker crust is traditionally used with a key lime pie. I can’t imagine it any other way.

Credits for Baked Key Lime Pie:

Thanks to my sister Kay for sharing this recipe.  The graham cracker crust comes from Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook.


More recipes for pie lovers:


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Baked Key Lime Pie

Baked Key Lime Pie Recipe

A baked dessert made with sweetened condensed milk and key limes.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Total Time 28 mins
Course Desserts
Servings 10 slices

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs - about 20 squares
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter - melted
  • 4 largeeggs - separated
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • cup fresh-squeezed key lime juice
  • 9- inch graham cracker pie crust - purchased or homemade
  • 1 cup heavy cream - whipped with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Crust:

  • Crush crackers using food processor or blender. Add sugar and melted butter. Pulse until mixed.
  • Press into 9-inch pie shell.
  • Bake at 300˚F for 8 minutes.

Filling:

  • Beat 3 egg whites in a small bowl until stiff. Set aside.
  • You can use the same beaters to beat 4 egg yolks and 1 egg white in a separate medium-sized bowl until thick and light-colored.
  • Add milk to egg yolks and mix well. Add juice and continue to beat until thick.
  • Add beaten egg whites to egg-yolk mixture and mix gently just until evenly distributed. Don’t over mix. Stop when there are no more obvious lumps of egg whites. Carefully pour into baked pie shell.
  • Bake at 325˚ for 10-15 minutes.
  • When cooled, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Garnish with whipped cream when serving.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Baked Key Lime Pie Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
1253
Calories from Fat 657
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
73
g
112
%
Saturated Fat
 
25
g
156
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Cholesterol
 
164
mg
55
%
Sodium
 
1084
mg
47
%
Carbohydrates
 
136
g
45
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
44
g
49
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade baked key lime pie recipehow to squeeze a limekey lime dessertkey lime pie recipekey lime pie with sweetened condensed milk
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Recipe Rating




52 Comments

  1. Fun! Looks yummy! I think the inside of the lime should be facing up like the picture on the right. I also like the way you mentioned the grandbaby on the way:+)

  2. SimplySusan says:

    The way on the left is correct.

  3. The cut part of the lime should face down, like the picture on the left.

  4. According to all the food network chefs that use these, the lime peel is facing up with the cut side facing down.

  5. I always put my lime half with the cut side facing down. The pie looks great – wish I could have a slice!

  6. Mmmm, key lime! I would do it like the picture on the right. (Doesn’t mean that’s the correct way. A chef told me once that with key limes, since they are so small, you just cut it about 2/3 of the way, so there is more to juice in one half of it. If you cut a key lime right in half, you’re not getting much juice out of either one. Make sense?

  7. Without thinking, I would do it like the photo on the right simply because the lime mimics the shape of the metal squeezy thing. Either way, that is an amazing looking pie!

  8. Yum Key Lime Pie!!! To weigh in on the lime, I vote cut side up, but I’m sure either way works. :o)

  9. Lauren @ Healthy Delicious says:

    I was thinking of making key lime pie earlier today! Haven’t had is in so long. And I always do cut side down (left photo)

  10. Which ever way gets the most juice! 🙂

  11. The picture with cut side up is correct. Which is the same way you’d use the older juicers. so the built in reamer goes into the cut area or pulp area of the lime or lemon

  12. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I vote for the left hand pic, with the cut side facing down. Whichever way you juiced it though, it sure made a pretty pie that I’d love! 🙂

  13. leslie@heart4home.net says:

    Without thinking about I’d probably use the way on the right, but now that you show the picture I’m thinking the one on the left just might give out more juice. Either way, I’d sure like a piece of that pie!!

  14. I say the pic on the right – I can’t believe how divided the comments are! I never would have thought about doing it any other way. LOL

  15. 5 stars
    Correct answer is the one on the left. That is what the directions with mine said, and what the site said, when I looked it up. It sort of turns the fruit inside out and gets the most juice out. I deem it true, also, because I have tried it each way.

    1. Velda, What website are you looking at? Very interesting. pr

  16. I vote for the one on the left. I’ve actually never had Key Lime pie, but this looks amazing. I’m going to have to try it out.

  17. I vote for the cut side down.

  18. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Hello Paula, I love sister time, I never get quite enough! I would put the lime half upside down but I can see the reasoning with the other way too! The pie looks fabulous, I would be nibbling on it all day and it would never last till tomorrow!

  19. I vote for cut side up, as pictured on the right.

  20. Great photos. I love the idea of using powdered sugar with the graham crackers.

  21. Absolutely one of my favorite desserts if chocolate is not available. Will have to try this! Thanks Kay! And I vote for the picture on the left.

  22. Mmmm, great-looking pie. I have a two similar juicers–one for oranges and one for smaller citrus, like limes. The instructions say squeeze cut side down (left photo). If you don’t, juice goes everywhere b/c it squirts out of the top part, too. (This has happened to a few unsuspecting kitchen helpers when it’s mojito time!)

    1. Bonnie, Good point about the squirts.

  23. However way you squeezed the limes, it worked! This pie looks wonderful.

    By the way, I squeeze my limes, lemons and oranges with the peel side facing me.

  24. I have a gadget like that, much smaller, but I guess the same functionality, I use it like the pic on the left. Yes, I know it makes us think the opposite…

  25. Now that I read all other comments, I agree with Velda, it turns the lime inside out for maximum juice extraction, that’s what happens to mine as well. I’m very curious to know which of you is right hehe
    The lime pie looks fantastic, I love lime/lemon desserts!

  26. Mid Mod Tom says:

    5 stars
    According to Rick Bayless citrus goes in those presses cut side down, like in the photo on the left

  27. Debra Schramm says:

    The picture on the left is correct for a key lime. Because the key lime is so small it is inverted when squeezed so you can get most of the juice out; however, for a regular size lime the picture on the right is correct. You turn the juicer sideways and the juice comes out the side instead of the holes.

  28. Thank you both for this delicious looking recipe. I wish we could get key limes over here.
    Oh and your way is the right way of course Paula 🙂

  29. p.s.
    congratulations!

  30. Meat side down and peel up! I think you actually get more juice this way! The pie looks wonderful:)

  31. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Key lime pie is the best of all things. It’s the only dessert I cannot resist.

  32. Rachael Warrington says:

    Cut side down….

  33. Cut side facing down (Picture on the left)

  34. Great looking pie! Weighing in on the juicing issue, I vote for cut side down.
    Mimi

  35. Lovely looking pie, and I vote for the lime cut side up.

  36. Piper@GotItCookIt says:

    5 stars
    So funny! I’ve had this same conversation with my husband about a year ago. I conceded that he was right, the lime half needed to be facing downwards when you squeeze it That way the juice goes directly out the holes more easily, hopefully giving you more juice. I was doing it face up and squeezing and the unfortunate side affect is that the lime now sticks (suctions?) to the squeezer making it a touch more difficult to remove.

    I love my squeezer so much, I bought them for all my sisters! One decided she hated it and gave it to my neice. She went back to a reamer (!!!)- which I think it just crazy. It’s funny people can be so passionate about squeezing citrus, though it is pretty much the best stuff on Earth!

  37. I do it like the pic on the LEFT But now I’m not sure that’s RIGHT. ha ha

  38. Leah Smith says:

    Picture on the left (lime facing DOWN). BTW love your site!

  39. I agree with the lime facing down, picture on the left. Mine works really well and leaves the lime turned inside out. Strangely enough, it doesn’t work on lemons or tangerines even though they are the same size.

  40. As for the lime, I’ve always done it with the face up like on the right but on food network I’ve always seen them place them face down like on the left.

  41. Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) says:

    I vote for cut-side down because if you do it the other way it blocks the holes which are there for a reason-to let the juice drain out. Sometimes, depending on the size of the fruit, I will do it one way, flip it and do it again the other way just to get more juice. I even quarter grapefruit and squeeze it rather than drag out my electric juicer which would make me have an entire machine to wash.

    1. Henrietta,
      Grapefruit??? Why haven’t I thought of quartering them like that? You are a genius. Can’t wait to try it. pr

  42. Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) says:

    5 stars
    I adore cooking, but detest cleaning up, so the less mess I make the better. I clean as I cook so that by the time it’s in the oven or on the stove the kitchen looks like I just started. If I don’t do it that way, I get depressed. That’s why I try to get cooking in as early in the day as possible. By 6PM, I’m ready to call it quits, so everything gets set up and cleaned up before then. I specialize in methods and recipes that require very little kitchen disruption.

  43. Can’t wait to try the recipe but was surprised to see that I’ve been using my citrus press incorrectly. The cut side should be facing down so the juice goes out the holes and doesn’t squirt upwards. Plus, it turns the peel inside out, extracting every bit of juice. Youtube doesn’t lie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAlelDEfkUw

  44. Suemillerbuckley says:

    This Recipe is awesome!! This is same original recipe for key lime pie found on the the Carnation Sweetened Condensed milk can for over 40 years!! Will not find a better key lime pie recipe!!! 🙂

  45. 5 stars
    Correct answer is the one on the left. That is what the directions with mine said, and what the site said, when I looked it up. It sort of turns the fruit inside out and gets the most juice out. I deem it true, also, because I have tried it each way.

  46. Mid Mod Tom says:

    5 stars
    According to Rick Bayless citrus goes in those presses cut side down, like in the photo on the left

  47. Piper@GotItCookIt says:

    5 stars
    So funny! I’ve had this same conversation with my husband about a year ago. I conceded that he was right, the lime half needed to be facing downwards when you squeeze it That way the juice goes directly out the holes more easily, hopefully giving you more juice. I was doing it face up and squeezing and the unfortunate side affect is that the lime now sticks (suctions?) to the squeezer making it a touch more difficult to remove.

    I love my squeezer so much, I bought them for all my sisters! One decided she hated it and gave it to my neice. She went back to a reamer (!!!)- which I think it just crazy. It’s funny people can be so passionate about squeezing citrus, though it is pretty much the best stuff on Earth!

  48. Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) says:

    5 stars
    I adore cooking, but detest cleaning up, so the less mess I make the better. I clean as I cook so that by the time it’s in the oven or on the stove the kitchen looks like I just started. If I don’t do it that way, I get depressed. That’s why I try to get cooking in as early in the day as possible. By 6PM, I’m ready to call it quits, so everything gets set up and cleaned up before then. I specialize in methods and recipes that require very little kitchen disruption.