The absolute best gluten-free key lime pie beats out all other recipes in taste, affordability, and ease! This effortless recipe will bring you back to Key West with a traditional creamy tangy lime pie with sour cream and easy substitution for graham cracker crust!
Best recipe for gluten-free key lime pie
There are many ways to make a “classic” key lime pie – egg yolks or no eggs, baked or no bake, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream – it’s tough to decide which recipe will taste the best!
I’ve done the baking and taste tests, and I’m happy to share the winning gluten-free recipe for key lime pie! As exemplified in my gluten free cookbook, I love to focus on affordable ways to enjoy gluten free pies without sacrificing taste, and this recipe absolutely hits the mark!
The extra creamy filling has a perfectly balanced flavor with sweetened condensed milk adding sweetness and a touch of sour cream balancing the lime’s citrus. Plus, filling sets flawlessly every time without having to use eggs for a binder!
Instead gluten-free key lime pie recipe uses a simple trick of leaving the pie in the oven after it bakes. This helps the pie cool gradually, preventing a cracked top, and also takes out the guesswork of knowing if the pie is underbaked.
Lastly, recipe for lime pie uses a delicious and affordable alternative to a gluten-free graham cracker crust. An easy, press-in gluten-free oatmeal crust holds together beautifully and provides a great texture for the filling.
Let’s learn how to make gluten-free key lime pie, along with gluten-free crust alternatives, the best limes to use, and many more pro tips to make this recipe a success!
Are Key Lime Pies gluten-free?
If you are wondering if all key lime pies are a safe gluten-free dessert to enjoy, the answer is no. Most key lime pies are made with a traditional graham cracker crust, which contain a type of whole wheat flour called graham flour.
There are easy ways to still enjoy a homemade gluten-free key lime pie, though! One option is to make a traditional crust using gluten-free graham crackers or even gluten-free graham cracker crumbs.
Another option is to use a gluten-free crust alternative, such as the oat crust recipe provided here, using an almond flour crust, or more GF crust options shown below. Lastly, you can forgo the crust altogether and make a crustless key lime pie.
Below I share gluten-free pie crust alternatives, but I’m particularly in love with this oat crust, especially paired with an authentic Key West pie filling!
- Oatmeal – Use certified gluten free oats
- Powdered sugar
Key Lime Filling:
- Key lime juice – Alternatively, use regular lime juice or Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime juice to save time.
- Sweetened condensed milk – Gives a sweet thickness to the pie
- Lime zest – Key to best lime flavor!
- Sour cream – Cuts sweetness and bulks up the creaminess
Homemade Whipped Cream:
This is optional for the topping. Either spread it over the pie or serve alongside it. Alternatively, you may use store-bought whipped cream or dust with powdered sugar.
- Heavy cream
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
How to make gluten free key lime pie recipe
(Note: This is a step-by-step tutorial with pictures. For more specific instructions, along with ingredient amounts, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- First prepared the pie crust. Place all the crust ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. Press firmly in a pie dish and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling. Whisk together the lime juice, zest, sweetened condensed milk, and sour cream. Pour into the crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes then turn off oven and leave in for 30 minutes. This helps set the pie without cracking.
- After the pie has cooled and been chilled, beat together the whipped cream and spread on pie.
alternative crust options
Traditional key lime pie uses a graham cracker crumbs, which is the only part of the pie that isn’t gluten-free. Most gluten-free lime pie recipes simply swap out the graham crackers with GF ones.
While this is a viable option, I find a gluten-free graham cracker crust too soft, wet, and flimsy. Not to mention, GF graham crackers are difficult to find and very expensive!
The recipe below instead uses a gluten-free oat crust, but there are other options if you can’t tolerate oatmeal or would like a different flavor!
key limes versus Regular limes
“Regular” limes, also known as Persian limes, are sold year round and can be found at any grocery store. Key limes are harder to find and may only be found at certain times of the year.
When you see them, grab them because it’s a perfect excuse to make a key lime pie! However, you may be wondering what’s the difference between key limes and regular limes and can they be used interchangeably?
Appearance-wise, key limes are smaller, more yellowish in color, and contain more seeds. Their juice is slightly less tart and more aromatic than Persian limes.
If you did a side-by-side taste test, a pie made with key limes would have a smoother, more pleasing flavor. However, if you cannot find key limes, using regular limes is fine! When mixed with the sweetened condensed milk and tangy sour cream no one will be able to tell a difference on its own.
substituting key lime juice
You do not have to use fresh key lime juice for this recipe, but do not use regular lime juice concentrate. Instead, substitute Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice, which is also gluten-free.
If you can’t find fresh key limes or Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice, then regular lime juice may be substituted.
juicing limes for pie
If you use key limes you will need about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, depending on how fresh they are. This is about 22-30 key limes. To substitute regular limes, you will need about 8-10.
Since you will need a lot of lime juice, you’ll want to use the most efficient method. If you do not have citrus juicer, a garlic press is a very handy tool to get out a lot of juice!
Refrigerate any leftovers. They will keep in the fridge, well covered with plastic wrap or foil, for three days.
For longer storage, you may also freeze key lime pie. If the whip cream is on top, place the whole pie, uncovered, in the freezer until the topping is firm. Wrap securely in several layers of plastic wrap and cover in foil.
Freeze up to 3 months. Unwrap and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and enjoying.
Click here to see the step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!
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Gluten Free Key Lime Pie with Easy Crust Option
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats use certified gluten free for gluten free crust
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Key Lime Pie Filling:
- 28 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup key lime juice see recipe notes for substitutions
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp lime zest
Whipped Cream Topping:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the oats, melted butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Blend until well combined and the oats clump together, about 20-30 seconds.2 cups quick-cooking oats,½ cup unsalted butter,½ cup powdered sugar,¼ teaspoon cinnamon,¼ teaspoon salt
- Press firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Tip: To make the crust come all the way up the sides, press evenly on the bottom to work the excess crust up the sides. Bake for 18 minutes, or until oats are set. If the crust puffs up during baking, use a measuring cup to flatten gently immediately when it comes out of the oven. Cool completely before filling.
- While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, sour cream, and zest. Pour into the cooled crust.28 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk,¾ cup key lime juice,½ cup sour cream,2 tsp lime zest
- Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the pie in for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To make the whipped cream, use a large mixing bowl with hand held mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk whip. Beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-low speed until the mixture starts to thicken.1 cup heavy cream,3 tablespoons powdered sugar,1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Increase speed to high and whip until stable peaks form, about 1-2 minutes longer. Spread on the chilled pie and serve cold.
- DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND RATE BELOW!
LIME JUICEIf you use key limes you will need about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, depending on how fresh they are. This is about 22-30 key limes. To substitute regular limes, you will need about 8-10. To juice the limes use a citrus juicer or garlic presses get out a lot of juice! Do not use regular lime juice concentrate. Instead, substitute Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice. If you can’t find fresh key limes or Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice, then regular lime juice may be substituted.
StoringServe cold. You may make the pie up to two days ahead of time and refrigerate leftovers up to three days. Recipe adapted from Allrecipes
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The Witch Of woods End says
An amazing key lime pie! I love this!
Melissa Erdelac says
Thank you so much! I appreciate it!