This dairy free key lime pie is sweet, tart, and tastes just like classic key lime pie! It’s made with sweetened condensed coconut milk, and has a tender and buttery gluten free graham cracker crust. Easy to make at home and packed with fresh key lime flavor!
When it comes to traditional American desserts, there’s nothing quite like cream pie. And the pie that takes the cake is classic key lime pie. A sweet-tart creamy custard filling and a tender, buttery graham cracker crust? It doesn’t get much better than that!
While working on creating the ultimate dairy free key lime pie recipe, I spent days researching classic key lime pie recipes. Baking the perfect key lime pie is actually an art, and getting the texture to be solid yet creamy can be a challenge.
Classic key lime pie filling include three basic ingredients: egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice. Traditional recipes weren’t actually baked because the lime juice “cooked” the eggs, similar to how lime juice breaks down the proteins in the shrimp in ceviche. Now, most key lime pies are baked jusssst to be safe.
Oddly enough, baking isn’t what helps key lime pie to firm up. It’s the reaction between the milk and lime juice. For this reason, you can’t just swap out sweetened condensed milk for coconut milk or even sweetened condensed coconut milk. You’ll be left with a soupy, sloppy mess.
But never fear! After experimenting with dozens of different key lime pie recipes (and making a lot of soupy pies), I’ve created a classic and authentic dairy free key lime pie recipe. It’s sweet, tart, and firms up to the perfect texture in the fridge! REJOICE!
Why This Key Lime Pie is Healthier
I love figuring out ways to make healthy swaps in desserts without sacrificing texture or flavor. While this dairy free key lime pie is made with healthier ingredients, it taste just like classic key lime pie—sweet and tart with a buttery crust! This key lime pie recipe is:
- Made with whole ingredients: The filling is just whole eggs, lime juice, sweetened condensed coconut milk, and a little tapioca flour!
- Gluten free: The gluten free graham cracker crust is perfectly sweet and buttery, and is made from scratch using almond flour and coconut flour.
- Dairy free: Sweetened condensed milk is swapped for sweetened condensed coconut milk! You can buy this at grocery stores in the baking or health food section, or make your own for a paleo key lime pie!
Ingredients in Dairy Free Key Lime Pie
There are just a few simple ingredients you’ll need to make this dairy free key lime pie. The recipe is fairly simple and easy to make!
For the pie:
For the crust:
How to Make Dairy Free Key Lime Pie
I love how easy it is to make dairy free key lime pie! You can make it in five easy steps:
- Bake your crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare and bake your Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust for 6 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Prepare the filling. Whisk the egg yolks and lime zest on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed coconut milk and continue to whisk for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and tapioca flour and whisk until no clumps remain.
- Assemble the pie. Pour the filling mixture slowing into the prepared crust.
- Bake the pie. Bake the pie for 20 minutes on the center rack, or until the filling has just set, though still wobbly in the center. The center should read 145°F.
- Let it set. Let the pie cool to room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator to set for 5-6 hours. Decorate with coconut whipped cream and serve!
Is Paleo Key Lime Pie Possible?
So, this is the big question. Is is possible to make an classic dairy free and paleo key lime pie? In my opinion, yes. When developing this recipe, I really wanted to make this as authentic and true to a standard key lime pie recipe as possible. Given that there’s now sweetened condensed coconut milk more readily available in stores, I chose to use it as an easy swap. It’s why this is a dairy free key lime pie.
However, sweetened condensed coconut milk isn’t technically paleo. Why? Because of the type of sugar that’s used. To make this a paleo key lime pie recipe, you’ll need to make your own homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk. To make it, combine two cans of full-fat coconut milk in a saucepan with ½ cup honey. Simmer over medium heat until the coconut milk is reduced by a little less than half. Then, measure out 1 ½ cups of the sweetened condensed milk for the recipe. Voilà! You have a paleo key lime pie!
Regardless, this recipe is a dairy free and gluten free key lime pie recipe. It’s a key lime pie that uses sweetened condensed coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed milk, and the recipe and ratios are pretty darn close to original recipes. You’ll be blown away how healthy key lime pie tastes just like the original!
Can I Make Substitutions?
Sure can! But, this is where I make that special note that you may not get the same consistent results, both in texture and flavor, with substitutions. If you’re short on ingredients, here are swaps you can make:
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk: You can use any brand of sweetened condensed coconut milk, or make your own using two cans of coconut milk and ½ cup raw honey. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until reduced by a little less than half, about 30 minutes. Stir regularly. Then, measure out 1 ½ cups for the recipe.
- Key lime juice: If you don’t have access to key limes or bottled key lime juice, use freshly squeezed lime juice. The pie will be a little less tart.
Can I use regular sweetened condensed milk instead?
Yes. If you’re looking for a gluten free key lime pie and you don’t need it to be dairy free, you can use regular sweetened condensed milk. If you do this, eliminate the 4 tablespoons tapioca flour. Bake for 18-20 minutes, and check the internal temperature right at 18 minutes to prevent over-baking.
Can I Freeze Key Lime Pie?
Yes! To freeze a whole key lime pie, pre-freeze the pie for 1-2 hours, then wrap the pie tightly with food storage wrap. Place the pie in a large 2 gallon storage bag before placing it in the freezer. Key lime pie will last in the freezer for up to two months. If your pie is half eaten, pre-freeze the pie, then cut the remaining pie into even slices. Wrap the slices in food storage wrap and store them in an airtight sealable freezer-safe bag.
How to Store Key Lime Pie
Store key lime pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend covering it tightly with food storage wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Save the coconut milk whipped cream topping and any decorations for just before serving.
Baking Tips + Tricks
- Make sure to whisk the egg yolks and lime zest for the full 2-3 minutes. This helps improve the texture and consistency of the pie.
- If you can’t find key limes or key lime juice, regular lime juice works too.
- The filling needs at least 6 hours in the fridge to reach the perfect consistency. The wait is totally worth it!
- If you get a dud can of sweetened condensed coconut milk and it’s separated or has solid coconut oil in it, you need to heat it ever so slightly in a saucepan and mix it together until smooth and creamy. Remove it from the heat and let it cool completely before mixing it with the rest of the filling. This only happened with one out of 10 cans I used.
Why I Love This Dairy Free Key Lime Pie Recipe
- This recipe makes the best dairy free key lime pie with healthier ingredients.
- The ingredients are simple and authentic to standard key lime pie recipes.
- This key lime pie is so easy to make!
- The creamy filling is creamy and solid. It’s tart, sweet, and crust has the perfect texture!
- This is a gluten free and paleo key lime pie too! Great for everyone at the table.
Stocking the Pantry
I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs because it saves me some cash—especially when it comes to commonly used items like blanched coconut milk and tapioca flour. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my Baking and Cooking Resources Page.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust
- Healthy Lemon Bars (Gluten Free, Paleo)
- 4-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce
- Fudgy Paleo Brownies (Crackly Top, Gluten-Free)
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 4 large egg yolks (yolks only!)
- Zest of 1 medium lime, about 1 tablespoon
- 2 (7.4 oz) cans Let’s Do Organic sweetened condensed coconut milk
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled key lime juice (I used Nellie’s bottled key lime juice)
- 5 tablespoons tapioca flour
- Coconut Whipped Cream
- Lime slices
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil.
- Make the crust: Prepare and bake your Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust for 6 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Whisk: While the crust is cooling, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest on high speed for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and thicken. Gradually add the sweetened condensed coconut milk and continue to whisk for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and tapioca flour and whisk until no clumps remain.
- Bake: Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 20-30 minutes on the center rack, or until the filling has just set, though still wobbly in the center. The center should read 145°F. Please make sure to check the temperature! If you pull it out too early, it will not set.
- Set: Let the pie cool to room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator to set for 5-6 hours.
- Serve: Freeze the pie for 30 minutes prior to serving to help with even slicing and serving. Decorate with coconut whipped cream and serve!
- I do not recommend using a store-bought pre-made 8-inch crust for this recipe. The key lime pie will not set because the filling will be too thick. You can make the crust recipe provided, or make a basic graham cracker crust in a 9-inch pie pan. If you do use a pre-made crust, you may need to cook the pie longer to get it to set.
- I do not recommend using other brands of sweetened condensed milk at this time. I’ve tested other brands, and every time the pie doesn’t set because most other brands are very high in sugar. Stick with Let’s Do Organic. As new brands come available, I will test and update the recipe!
- If you can’t find key lime juice, regular lime juice works too.
- For best results, let the key lime pie set in the refrigerator overnight. The filling needs at least 6 hours in the fridge to reach the perfect consistency.
- This key lime pie is pictured with coconut whipped cream from a whipped cream dispenser—it’s my favorite way to make coconut whipped cream! Just pour a can of cold coconut milk (not separated) into a whipped cream dispenser. Add about 1-2 tablespoon of organic powdered sugar and stir. Attached the decorative components and the N02 dispenser, release, and watch the light and fluffy coconut whipped cream flow! See how to make coconut whipped cream for detailed instructions.
What did you think about this dairy free key lime pie? Let me know in the comments below!