How to Make the Dreamiest No-Bake Key Lime Cream Pie

Too hot to bake? That's no problem with this Key lime cream pie recipe. See how our Test Kitchen makes this mile-high, five-star pie without ever turning on the oven.

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On the hottest of summer days, who can bear to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen? But just because baking isn’t in the cards doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a homemade dessert. No-bake treats, particularly no-bake pies, are a great way to get the scratch-made feeling without breaking a sweat. One of our favorite no-bake desserts is this stunning, mile-high Key lime cream pie.

It’s full of that tart lime flavor that makes us think of summer and a hint of toasted coconut that feels like a vacation (even if you’re just hanging out on the patio). Best of all: It’s a breeze to make. We’ll show you how.

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How to Make Key Lime Cream Pie

Taste of Home

This recipe comes to us from reader Shirley Rickis of Florida—and you know a Florida gal knows a thing or two about Key lime. This pie is tart, sweet, cool and creamy, everything you could want for a summertime treat. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • 1 package (11.3 ounces) pecan shortbread cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Step 1: Make the Crust

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Start by crushing the cookies. You can use a food processor to pulse the cookies down into crumbs or just crunch them up using a rolling pin or heavy pan.

Keep things simple and use a package of store-bought cookies here. We like pecan shortbread, but classic shortbread cookies or graham crackers would work, too. If you want to make this totally from scratch, here’s a great pecan sandies recipe to use (and make a double batch—you’ll want some for snacking).

Mix the cookie crumbs together with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased, nine-inch pie plate. Use a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass to really compact the crumbs.

Editor’s tip: This crust is truly no-bake. Once you’ve pressed the crumbs into the dish, you’re done. If you want a crunchier crust, pop your crumb crust into a 350ºF oven for ten minutes and let it cool before filling.

Step 2: Whip the Cream to Stiff Peaks

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Now it’s time to make some whipped cream. Using a cold bowl and cold beater really help here (especially in warmer weather) so pop them into the fridge or freezer while you make the crust or wash up.

Add four cups of heavy cream to a bowl and beat until it begins to thicken. Then add in the confectioners’ sugar and coconut extract and beat until stiff peaks form. You’ll know you’ve reached the stiff peak stage when you lift up your beaters and the peaks stay upright when turned (they shouldn’t flop over—that’s a soft peak).

Editor’s tip: Don’t be afraid of buying that bottle of coconut extract. There are plenty of recipes that put this ingredient to good use (plus, extracts have a long shelf life).

Step 3: Create the Filling

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In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese (make sure it’s room temperature), condensed milk and lime juice just until blended. Use fresh lime juice here—you’ll really taste the difference. If you can’t find Key limes, feel free to use regular limes. There is a difference between the two—limes aren’t quite as tart as their cousins from the Keys—but they’re still delicious.

Step 4: Fold in the Cream

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Then fold in two cups of the whipped cream you just made using a spatula. Be very gentle when folding ingredients. You want to preserve all the volume you created by beating air into the cream.

And don’t you worry about the rest of that cream—it’ll be put to good use in the next steps.

Step 5: Fill the Crust

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Next, spoon your coconut-lime filling into the shortbread crust. Make sure to use all of it and don’t let it go to waste! Smooth it out and shape into a mound.

Step 6: Top with Cream and Chill

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Now take that reserved whipped cream and top off the pie. You can do this however you like. Our Test Kitchen uses a spoon to give the pie some casual swoops and swirls, but you could break out the piping bag and pastry tips if you wanted a more formal finish. Pop the pie into the refrigerator to set for at least four hours—up to overnight.

Step 6: Give Your Mile-High Pie Some Finishing Touches

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After that stay in the fridge, this cream pie is ready for some last finishes. Sprinkle toasted coconut over the top of the pie. You’ll definitely want to toast the coconut to give the pie some crunch and color. It only takes a few minutes.

Then let everyone know what’s in store with this pie and garnish with a few Key lime slices (and a cherry or two).

Taste of Home

Who would have thought you could make such an amazing pie without even having to switch on the oven? Be prepared for this pie to be an instant hit in your home and at the next picnic. Get it there in one place with these tips.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.