Key Lime Pie with Browned Butter Crumb Crust

Happy Monday everyone!  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I finally got to get started on a DIY project I’ve been dying to do this weekend and oh man, I’m so excited about it!  It’s got to get finished by Friday though since it’s in the guest room and my mom and aunt are coming to visit, eeeek! Nothin’ like good ‘ol DIY deadlines :)

So in between working on that this weekend, I spent some quality times with these little beauts.  Key limes from our neighbor’s trees, and this is just what dropped in less than a week!

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

Key lime juice is like liquid gold to me so I take them anytime I can get them.  I juiced not quite a third of this bowl and got three cups of juice, isn’t that crazy?!?

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust*affiliate links may be included for your convenience, click here to read my full disclosure policy

Every time we get a bag of these from the neighbor, I always juice them and freeze the juice in 1/2 or 1 cup increments to use for one of my favorite desserts, key lime pie.  Key lime pie made with real, fresh key limes is leaps and bounds better than one from normal grocery store limes in my opinion and my frozen stash of juice lets me make them year round.

I’ve always used Joy of Cooking‘s key lime pie recipe but over the last few years, I’ve tweaked it here and there, mainly in the crumb crust.  This is a very simple pie to make, especially when using a crumb crust.  The filling and the crust have just a few simple ingredients and it takes under half an hour to prepare both.

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

For the crust, instead of all graham crackers, I do about 1/3 gingersnaps and 2/3 cinnamon grahams, all processed together.  The gingersnaps are pretty hard so I usually try to break them up before processing so that they’ll get broken down quicker.  I’ve also started browning my butter for the crust to add even more flavor to it (see how to brown butter here).  If you just have plain grahams feel free to add cinnamon to the mixture.

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

I use a measuring cup and my fingers to mold the crust to the pan but you can also use a flat-bottomed glass or spoon or something.  The crust gets popped in the oven for about 15 minutes until it’s firm and golden, then cooled.

I usually go ahead and make two pies since I’ve got so much juice frozen, one for work and one for us here at home.  I’ve done them both in a regular pie dish as well as in a springform pan and while the springform is my favorite and makes for an impressive presentation, it’s harder to transport and mess with at work so I bring theirs in a normal dish.

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

I make my filling while the crust is baking then store it in the fridge until the crust is cooled.  My filling is the same as Joy’s, I just whip the crap out of it at the end to make it more on the fluffy, light side when cooked.  One thing you won’t find in my pie (or in Joy’s) is green food coloring.  It’s not needed, and green isn’t really even the true color of key limes, so why?

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

I’ve garnished my pies with many toppings: homemade whipped cream with a hint of lime, store-bought whipped cream, meringue, just limes, and nothing at all.  They’re all good but my favorite is homemade whipped cream with a hint of lime, although for this one I was feeling a little more creative so I made some little palm trees using the limes and pecan pieces then sprinkled zest over it.

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust

Classic key lime pie with a browned butter graham cracker and gingersnap crust


Now to find more key lime recipes for the five pounds of key limes on my counter right now :)

Key Lime Pie with Browned Butter Crumb Crust

Key Lime Pie with Browned Butter Crumb Crust

Yield: 8 slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

The classic refreshing dessert with a snazzed up crumb crust containing gingersnaps and browned butter.


  • 1 cup regular or cinnamon graham crackers, one sleeve
  • 1/2 cup gingersnaps, about 8 cookies
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
  • 1 stick butter, browned
  • 1/2 cup strained key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk - you can use light
  • 4 egg yolks


  1. Heat oven to 350F, grease pie dish or springform pan.
  2. Grind gingersnaps and graham crackers in food processor until they are fine crumbs.
  3. Brown butter (see notes)
  4. Add sugar and browned butter to crumbs and combine with a fork until uniform.
  5. Pour into dish and use a measuring cup and/or fingers to press uniformly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.
  7. For the filling, add egg yolks one at a time to sweetened condensed milk, beating/whipping well after each addition.
  8. Add lime juice and zest then whip for about 5 minutes.
  9. Pour into cooled crust and bake at 350F for approximately 15 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely then store in the refrigerator at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
  11. Top with homemade whipped cream and/or lime garnishes.


*Adapted from recipes in Joy of Cooking

To brown butter: Melt butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 20 minutes until dark specks form. Butter will go through a series of changes throughout the process including foaming, bubbling, clearing, and changes in aroma. When the strong nutty aroma forms, it is almost ready and the specks should appear soon. When they do, stir a little bit longer then remove from heat and use.

If you just have plain grahams and like cinnamon, add the optional 1/4tsp ground cinnamon to the crust mixture.


end of post - stay awhile

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34 thoughts on “Key Lime Pie with Browned Butter Crumb Crust

  1. I might’ve just drooled on my keyboard! That looks sooo delicious, Emily!! So lucky to get the limes right fresh off the tree! Hope you share this at our Thursday link party please :)

    1. Thank you Carlee!! They give it just a little bit more flavor but aren’t overpowering (I’m actually not even a gingersnap fan…).

  2. I love love the finishing touch! This is amazing! What a yummy recipe! I would love for you to share this at my link party Making Memories Mondays going on now! :-)

  3. I was scrolling through the Thrifty Thursday linkup party and this caught my eye… I was so excited to see that it was YOU that made this delicious pie!! Key lime pie is my fave and I’m pinning this to try as soon as I can find key limes at the store :)

  4. My mouth is watering! I had never heard of Key Lime before I came to the US…I love it now :-)
    Thanks for linking up at the Talented Tuesday Link Party :-) It would be great if you joined us again this week!

  5. How cute are you with your little palm trees?! This looks delicious, and I definitely moved into the wrong neighborhood because no one gives me fruit!

  6. Love this recipe! I adore key lime pie!! I would love it if you could share this recipe at the A Little Bit of Everything Link Up Party at Mom Home Guide!

  7. making this adorable pie today for the fourth of july cookout…the palm trees really make it….i live in south fla so i too have an abundance of key limes but havent really explored what all i can do with them…we have mango trees so i have played with those recipes more than key lime…thank you so much for sharing

  8. This looks amazing! I am so glad I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and found your lovely blog. I’m about to attempt my first key lime pie and after seeing this, I’m going with your recipe.

  9. If I don’t have access to Key limes can I just use regular ones? I’m assuming yes, but I don’t want to throw off the flavor…

    1. Ah, thank you for catching that Lauren, I’ll update the recipe. 1) That should be “tsp” NOT “cup”, sheesh! …and 2) if I don’t have cinnamon grahams for the crust and just have plain I’ll add that 1/4tsp or so of cinnamon to the crust mixture :) Totally optional but I love cinnamon. Thanks again for asking about it!

    1. Hi Nancy! I just gently pressed them into the surface ever so slightly and they stayed put fine. The surface of the pie is a little sticky/moist so I didn’t have a problem with them moving around. Hope this helps :)

    1. We usually keep in in the fridge for about 4-5 days and it is fine, same as you would do with any dairy/egg dish left over.

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