Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie recipe

Indulge Guilt-Free, Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie Recipe

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Updated on April 9, 2024

The dairy-free key lime pie recipe is a delicious and tangy dessert that originated in the Florida Keys. It is known for its tart and citrus-forward flavour, making it a refreshing treat on hot summer days. Dairy-free foodies will not feel left out this summer because we will share with you a dairy-free key lime pie recipe that you will most likely be hooked on for the entire season. 

For those who adore the classic key lime pie’s tangy sweetness but avoid dairy, this moment might seem like a distant fantasy. But fear not, dessert lovers! With the growing popularity of delicious and versatile dairy-free alternatives, you can now create this iconic treat and indulge in its refreshing, guilt-free goodness. 

This easy, vegan-friendly recipe utilises the magic of creamy coconut milk and the zesty punch of key limes to deliver a satisfying and light dessert. And the best part? You can choose between whipping up a homemade crust from scratch or taking advantage of the convenience of a store-bought option – the choice is yours! 

So, get ready to embrace a taste of sunshine and citrusy bliss with this incredible dairy-free key lime pie recipe!

The Secret Ingredient: Unveiling the Power of Coconut Milk

dairy-free key lime pie recipe
dairy-free key lime pie recipe

The magic behind our dairy-free key lime pie recipe lies in a powerful plant-based ingredient: coconut milk. This creamy, versatile liquid extracted from mature coconuts offers the perfect substitute for dairy in this recipe, allowing everyone to relish the refreshing tang of key lime pie without compromise.

A Natural and Versatile Substitute

Coconut milk boasts a naturally sweet and slightly nutty flavour that complements the zesty lime perfectly. Unlike some dairy alternatives, it maintains a rich and creamy texture, crucial for achieving the signature filling of a key lime pie. Additionally, coconut milk is naturally lactose-free and vegan-friendly, making it ideal for various dietary needs.

Choosing the Right Coconut Milk

When selecting coconut milk for this recipe, you’ll encounter two main types: full-fat and light coconut milk. Full-fat coconut milk, with its thicker consistency and higher fat content (around 25%), is ideal for achieving the desired creamy texture in our pie filling

Light coconut milk, containing around 5% fat, offers a thinner consistency and slightly lower calorie content. While both options can work, full-fat coconut milk will deliver a more authentic and decadent experience that closely resembles the traditional key lime pie texture.

Beyond Deliciousness: Potential Health Benefits

While indulging in this delicious pie is certainly encouraged, it’s worth noting that coconut milk also offers some potential health benefits. It’s a good source of healthy fats, including medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are easily absorbed and used by the body for energy. 

Additionally, coconut milk is a natural source of essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium, contributing to overall well-being. Remember, moderation is key, and consulting a healthcare professional is always recommended for personalised dietary advice.

Easy Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie Recipe: Unleash Your Inner Baker

Now that we’ve explored the wonders of coconut milk, it’s time to unleash your inner baker and create a masterpiece! This recipe is designed to be simple to follow, requiring minimal effort and readily available ingredients. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a curious novice, this key lime pie will surely become a new favourite.


For the Crust (Optional):

  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (store-bought or homemade)
  • ¼ cup melted vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 can (14 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh key lime juice (strained)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Prepare the Crust (Optional):

If you prefer a homemade crust, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted vegan butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well until the mixture resembles wet sand. 

Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Alternatively, you can use a store-bought graham cracker crust for a quicker and easier option.

  1. Make the Filling

Whisk together the full-fat coconut milk, key lime juice, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, lime zest, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and begins to bubble. 

This process typically takes 5-7 minutes. Be sure to avoid boiling, as it can cause the egg yolks to cook unevenly.

  1. Assemble and Chill

Once the filling has thickened, remove the pan from heat and let it cool slightly. Pour the filling into the prepared (and cooled) crust. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, until the filling is completely set.

Tips for Serving Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie

Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie recipe
Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie recipe

Now that you have made this delicious dairy-free key lime pie, it’s time to learn how to serve and store it properly. Find out the best ways to enjoy this refreshing dessert!

Serving Suggestions

When serving your dairy-free key lime pie, here are some delicious and creative ideas to make it even more enjoyable:

  1. Add a dollop of vegan whipped cream on top for a creamy and airy texture.
  2. Create a tropical twist by garnishing with shredded coconut or toasted coconut flakes.
  3. Serve pie slices with fresh berries like strawberries or raspberries for a burst of fruity flavour.
  4. Drizzle some melted dairy-free chocolate over the pie for an indulgent touch.
  5. Pair your key lime pie with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream for a cool and refreshing dessert combination.
  6. For an extra zing, squeeze some extra key lime juice over each slice before serving to enhance the tangy taste.

Addressing Your Key Lime Pie Queries

As you embark on your dairy-free key lime pie journey, you might have some lingering questions. Here, we address some of the most common inquiries to ensure you bake with confidence:

  1. Can I use regular limes instead of key limes?

While key limes offer a unique, slightly floral and less acidic flavour than regular limes, you can certainly substitute them in this recipe if unavailable. However, keep in mind that the pie’s flavour profile might be slightly different. To compensate for the potential decrease in acidity, you can:

Increase the amount of lime juice

Start with the same quantity of regular lime juice as the recipe calls, and taste the filling after it thickens. You can add an additional tablespoon of lime juice gradually, tasting along the way, until you reach your desired tartness.

Add a touch of lemon juice

A small amount of lemon juice, roughly 1-2 teaspoons, can complement the regular lime juice and add a touch of additional brightness to the filling.

  1. What if I don’t have a stand mixer?

No worries! While a stand mixer can certainly expedite the process, you can still achieve a delicious filling using a whisk and some elbow grease. Simply whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl until well combined. 

Then, slowly whisk in the heated coconut milk mixture until fully incorporated. Continue whisking over medium heat until the filling thickens and bubbles, following the same instructions as with a stand mixer.

  1. How long does this pie last in the refrigerator?

Your dairy-free key lime pie will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, keeping it covered with plastic wrap is important to prevent the crust from becoming soggy and the filling from absorbing any unwanted odours.

  1. Can I make this recipe nut-free?

Absolutely! If you have a nut allergy or simply prefer a nut-free option, you can easily substitute the vegan butter in the crust for another dairy-free alternative like vegetable shortening or coconut oil. Both options will work well in achieving a crumbly and delicious crust.

Variations and Substitutions for Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie Recipe

Discover gluten-free options, flavour variations, and ingredient substitutions to create your own unique and delicious dairy-free key lime pie. 

Vegan Lime Pie

Get creative in the kitchen with these exciting twists on a classic dessert.

Gluten-free Options

You can try plenty of alternatives if you’re looking for gluten-free options for your dairy-free key lime pie. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Use a gluten-free graham cracker crust: Instead of traditional graham crackers, opt for gluten-free graham crackers or cookies to make the crust.
  2. Make a nut-based crust: If you want to switch things up, use ground nuts like almonds or pecans. This adds a delicious and crunchy twist to your pie.
  3. Alternative sweeteners: You can use liquid stevia or dates as natural sweeteners instead of regular sugar. They add sweetness without any gluten-containing ingredients.
  4. Try alternative flours for the filling: If you prefer a different texture for your pie filling, experiment with alternative flours like almond or coconut flour instead of traditional wheat flour.
  5. Add a tropical twist: To give your key lime pie a unique flavour profile, consider adding tropical fruits like mango or pineapple to the filling. This adds an extra burst of freshness and tanginess.

Flavor Variations

If you love experimenting with different flavours in my dairy-free key lime pie, then you will love some of the variations we have for you. 

Here are some delicious variations you can try:

  1. Coconut-Lime: Add shredded coconut to the graham cracker crust and sprinkle toasted coconut on top for a tropical twist.
  2. Raspberry Swirl: Swirl raspberry puree into the pie filling before chilling for a burst of fruity goodness.
  3. Mint-Chocolate: Stir in chopped dairy-free chocolate and a drop of mint extract for a refreshing and indulgent treat.
  4. Mango-Peach: Fold diced mangoes and peaches into the pie filling to add a sweet and juicy surprise.
  5. Blueberry-Lemon: Top your pie with fresh blueberries and drizzle with lemon glaze for a tangy and vibrant dessert.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you can’t have certain ingredients or you want to try something different, here are some ingredient substitutions for dairy-free key lime pie:

  • Instead of a graham cracker crust, you can use a macadamia crust for a nutty flavour.
  • Use sweetened coconut milk instead of regular condensed milk for a dairy-free alternative.
  • If you need a gluten-free option, choose gluten-free graham crackers or almond flour for the crust.
  • For a vegan key lime pie, use vegan graham crackers and coconut oil instead of butter in the crust.
  • Experiment with different flavours by adding fruit juices like lemon or passion fruit to the key lime juice.
  • If you’re following a low-carb or keto diet, try using low-carb sweeteners like stevia or erythritol instead of sugar.


This dairy-free key lime pie recipe is a delicious and refreshing dessert option for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. With its creamy custard filling and crumbly graham cracker crust, it’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Whether vegan, gluten-free, or simply looking for a lighter version of the classic key lime pie, this recipe is a must-try! So go ahead and indulge in this tangy and citrusy treat without any worries about dairy or gluten.

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