Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

One Key Lime Pie Serves 6 to 8

This recipe for key lime pie is adapted for blind and vision-impaired cooks and bakers. It is delicious!

Note: Key lime pie can be topped with our Whipped Chantilly Cream! See the recipe.


  • 24 squares graham crackers (makes 1 and one half cup crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One fourth teaspoon cinnamon
  • One fourth teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest (plus one additional teaspoon for garnish if desired)
  • 4 egg yolks (save egg whites for a different recipe)
  • 1 fourteen ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • One half cup fresh lime juice

Recipe Tips:

  • You can buy graham crackers that are already fabricated into crumbs.
  • You can use small key limes or regular limes. There are opinions on both sides of the fence as to whether there is a noticeable difference in them. I can go either way, but the larger limes have more juice so you need less limes. Also, the key limes often come in a range of shades from yellow to green. Standard limes tend to be a consistent shade of green.
  • Standard limes are easier to zest than key limes.


Recipe Tip: This recipe has been broken into 3 parts: first the limes, then the crust, then the filling.

Zesting and Juicing Limes

Step1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: Clean limes and zest 4 teaspoons of lime zest plus an additional teaspoon for garnish if desired. Set aside.

TBK Tools: Mini Box Grater and Cut Glove

Recipe tips:

  • Produce as much zest as you need before you cut the limes to juice them. Whole limes are much easier to zest than a cut lime.
  • Zest directly over a small bowl to capture all of the tiny pieces and not lose any of the fragrant oils they contain on a cutting board.

Step 3: Juice enough limes to produce one half cup of juice. If garnishing with lime slices, thinly slice 6 to 8 slices and set aside before squeezing. Make sure to strain the juice through a strainer to remove any seeds and bitter pith membrane pieces.

TBK Tools: Mesh Strainer and Slicing Guide

Graham Cracker Crust

Step 4: Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and set aside to cool

TBK Tool: Butter Slicer

Recipe Tip: This is one of the few times I use a microwave when I cook but it is the best way that I have found. 30 seconds is a good number to start with for this amount of butter.

Step 5: In a food processor add 24 squares of graham crackers broken into large pieces (or 1 and one half cup of graham cracker crumbs). If the crackers are not cut into crumbs already, pulse them until they are consistent sized crumbs.

TBK Tool: Dry Measure Cups

Step 6: Add 3 tablespoons white sugar to the food processor and pulse a few times to distribute the sugar evenly.

TBK Tool: Dry Measure Spoons and Spoon Duo

Step 7: Add one fourth teaspoon salt to the food processor. Skip this step if using salted butter.

Step 8: Add one fourth teaspoon cinnamon to the food processor. Pulse a few times to distribute the salt and cinnamon evenly.

Step 9: Add the melted butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Chef Debra with the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server tool and a pie plate
Chef Debra demonstrates the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server before adding the crust on top

Step 10: Transfer the wet crumb mixture to a nine inch pie pan and evenly pack the mixture into a consistent layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. If using the Bake-Under-the-Pie Server,
pack the crumbs on top of it in this step.

TBK Tool: Bake-Under-the-Pie Server

Recipe Tip: Use the bottom of a spoon, the bottom of a measuring cup and/or fingers to pat the crumb mixture into a tightly packed shell that runs evenly across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Be
sure to firmly pack it for best results.

Recipe Tips:

  • Crumbs are by their nature crumbly. As the crust cooks, and the butter and sugar heat, they melt and combine to become a “glue” that holds the cracker crumbs in place as the crust cools. This will not work well if there are “holes” in the crust before baking.
  • Remember that graham crackers have already been toasted into their cracker form. Use your sense of smell to help determine doneness. Also, remember they will be put back in the oven to cook again when the filling is added. So err on the side of underbaked at this point if you are unsure.

Step 11: Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the crust smells fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

TBK Tools: Heat Gloves, Oven Rack Guards, and Oven Push Pull

Pie Filling

Step 12: Separate 4 egg yolks from whites. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl. Refrigerate the egg whites and save for another recipe.

TBK Tool: Egg Separator

Step 13: Add 4 teaspoons of lime zest to the egg yolks and whisk until combined.

Step 14: Add one half cup fresh lime juice to the bowl and mix well.

TBK Tools: Wet Measure Cups

Step 15: Add one teaspoon vanilla extract to the bowl and mix well.

TBK Tool: Wet Measure Spoons, Pitcher and Funnel

Recipe tip: Adding the lime zest while there is only a small amount of liquid in the bowl helps to make sure the zest is evenly distributed. The next ingredient you will add (the sweetened condensed milk) will
be very thick and would make it harder to know if the zest was distributed if you add all of the liquid ingredients at the same time.

Step 16: Add a fourteen ounce can of sweetened condensed milk and mix well.

Step 17: Pour the filling into the pie crust. It is OK if the crust is still warm, but not hot as it could scramble the egg yolks. Also, if the pie crust is too hot to touch, it is difficult to do this step cleanly with
vision loss.

Chef Debra demonstrating the Pie Crust Protector
Save your crust from being overcooked or burning with the Pie Crust Protector. In this case it is protecting a Cherry Pie.

Recipe Tip: Using a mixing bowl with a handle and a spout can help to direct the contents of your bowl into the pie crust with more control. One hand can run through the handle of the bowl and grip the rim as it is tipped slightly. This leaves your other hand free to “see” for you. The spout helps to guide the contents where you want them to go if you pour slowly enough.

Step 17: Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the filling is no longer wet. It should have a bit of “jiggle” to it, but not be wet.

Recipe Tip: Knowing when the center of the pie is cooked, the last part to cook, can be tricky with vision loss. If you are comfortable, you can gently touch the center of the pie with a finger, just for a second,
and if your finger comes back with wetness on it, it needs to cook for a few more minutes. It should be slightly squishy to the touch, but it should not be wet. If you are not comfortable you can ask for
assistance from a visual interpretation service. See our post Be My Eyes: human eyes on demand .

TBK Tool: Pie Crust Protector

Garnish and cut into pieces as desired.

Using a funnel and scoop, Chef Debra demonstrates how to add the perfect dollop of whipping cream to a piece of pie
Chef Debra demonstrates how to use the Wide Mouth Funnel and Portion Scoop to add the perfect dollop of whipped cream to the top of a piece of pie

Recipe Tip: If garnishing with whipped cream, here is how to portion and place it with control, see our post on The Perfect Dollop.

TBK Tools: Pie Marker and Divider, Wide Mouth Funnel, and Portion Scoop


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