This authentic Key lime tart is made up of just 3 ingredients (plus the graham cracker crust) and is the traditional key lime pie recipe from Key West. This Key lime tart is one of my favorite desserts and I love sitting down to a slice with a nice warm cup of coffee. Having grown up in South Florida, I have definitely eaten my fair share of this dessert and I think you will become a fan once you try it.
About This Key Lime Tart:
As the names suggests, Key Lime pie comes from the Florida Keys. Key limes actually grow in Key lime groves which you can find all throughout the Florida Keys.
Key Lime Tart vs Key Lime Pie
I really prefer making Key Lime tarts opposed to Key lime pies because the tart filling is not as deep as you would get when making a pie. The ratio of graham cracker crust to filling is more even with the tart in my opinion.
I do love Key lime pie too but making it at home in a tart pan is always my preference 🙂
When making this Key lime Tart, the filling should not be too high in the pan because you want the right amount of crust and filling in each bite. I recommend that the filling not be thicker than about ¾ inch.
Also, when making this key lime tart, you want to make sure you make your own crust because store bought graham cracker crust will be too deep of a pan. I like using my graham cracker crust recipe that I use for my cheesecake bites and I have added that below in the recipe.
You can buy graham crackers crumbs at the store in the same area that they have graham crackers. This saves you that extra step of having to crush them your self.
Ingredients Needed For this Key Lime Tart:
- Graham Cracker Crust (Graham crackers, sugar, salt and butter) or a store bought graham cracker crust.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk.
- Key Lime Juice.
- Egg Yolks.
The great thing about this recipe is how few ingredients there are. Because you are using sweetened condensed milk, you do not need any additional sugar in the filling.
I make so many recipes with sweetened condensed milk for this reason. From creamy lemon bars, baked French toast casserole with condensed milk, simple vanilla sauce or bread pudding with condensed milk sauce.
You get the idea 🙂
Steps To Make This Recipe:
Making Sure To Use Real Key Lime Juice:
When gathering ingredients for this Key lime tart, you will want to make sure you are using real Key Lime juice and not lime juice. Key limes are not the same as limes. Key limes are lighter in color and more tart than regular limes.
If you cannot find Key limes in the grocery store (they are usually out in the Spring and Summer) then you can find bottled Key Lime juice online.
Where to Buy Bottled Key Lime Juice:
Nellie and Joe, the owners of Nellie and Joe's key lime juice, made a business out of juicing and bottling Key limes and it is a real life saver! Key limes are rather small so it takes a long time to juice those little Key limes to the amount that this recipe calls for.
In addition to offering a great product, Nellie and Joe's key lime pie recipe is the only one I use. In my opinion it is simply the best and a traditional key lime pie recipe.
If you can't find Nellie and Joe's Key lime juice in the store, you can order it online. Trust me, the extra work ordering online will make this recipe really easy.
Sometimes we all want to try our hand at juicing our own Key limes. Maybe you just bought a big bag in the store. This will work fine too. Just juice enough limes to reach the amount of Key lime juice that the recipe calls for below.
Making this Ahead of Time:
This Key lime tart can (and should) be made ahead of time up to 2 days. The recipe calls for it to set up in the refrigerator for a few hours so it should be made a little ahead of time. It will be just fine in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. After that, the graham cracker crust will not be as crisp.
How to store the tart in the fridge:
When storing the key lime tart in the fridge, you want to cover it but also make sure plastic wrap does not touch the custard top or else it will stick to it. Here is what I like to do to prevent the cover from touching the top of the tart:
- Place the cooled tart pan on a dinner plate that is a little bigger than the pan.
- Take a second dinner plate and flip it over so it is upside down and place that over the top of the tart. Since the tart will sit just below the top of the tart pan, the top plate will be able to rest on top of the tart pan.
- Gently place in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
More delicious easy desserts for you:
- Mini Cheesecake Bites
- Easy Creamy Lemon Bars
- Easy Classic Carrot Cake
- Healthy Coconut Milk Fudge Bars
- Cranberry Crumble Bars
- Berry Shortbread Tart
- Mixed Berry Crisp
- Balsamic Strawberries
- Panna Cotta
- Simple Vanilla Sauce for Bread Pudding or Any Dessert That Needs Vanilla Sauce
Authentic Key Lime Tart
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 1 9.5 inch round tart pan or 14x5 inch rectangular tart pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups Finely Ground graham crackers Add graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until it is like a fine sand.
- 5 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 3 tsbp granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Key Lime Filling
- 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup Nellie and Joe's Key Lime juice or similar You can also juice your own Key Limes just make sure to juice ½ cup
- Whipped cream for serving optional
- Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees
Graham Cracker Crust
- In a large bowl add your finely ground graham crackers crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt and mix well.1 ½ cups Finely Ground graham crackers, 3 tsbp granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 5 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Pour the mixture into your tart pan pressing it down with your fingers along the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Now find a flat bottomed glass or something similar and begin to press down the graham cracker crumbs really well, making sure to get the edges.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove and let cool completely.
Key Lime Filling
- In a large bowl, add your sweetened condensed milk (making sure to scrape it all out of the can), Key lime juice and egg yolks and mix well until smooth.1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup Nellie and Joe's Key Lime juice or similar, 3 egg yolks
- Now, pour your mixture into your prepared tart crust.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the very center is just slightly jiggly when the pan is shaken.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Do not remove the sides from the tart pan while it is cooling or setting up in the fridge.
- Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the tart from the fridge and gently remove the sides from the tart pan. The easiest way to do this is to place a medium bowl uoside down on the counter. Place the tart pan on top of the upside down bowl (the tart pan will sit on the bottom of the bowl). The sides of the tart pan should fall to the sides of the bowl.
- Serve with whipped cream and coffee.Whipped cream for serving
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here