Baked Key Lime Pie | How Do You Juice a Lime?

key lime pie (baked)

My sister’s Key Lime Pie

My sister Kay was just here for a brief visit, so I coerced her into baking her Key Lime Pie while I took pictures. Our baking adventure started out like this:

Kay: “I’m not sure how would be the best way to juice the limes.”

Me: “I’ve got one of those metal squeezy things…. or a reamer… or even a glass dish with a built-in reamer. Here, let’s try this metal lemon juicer.” (I pull it out of the drawer and proceed to try it.)

Me: “See? It works perfectly.”

Kay: “I see that, even though you’re doing it upside-down.”

Me: “What?!?! That’s not upside down. What do you mean? So how would you do it?”

Kay: “The other way, with the lime-half flipped over.”

Me: “Hm-m-m. I don’t know about that, but I have an idea. Let’s ask my readers. They can vote.”

key lime pie and plastic knife experiment-2.jpg

Which way should the lime go?

So without telling you which way each of us does it, tell me which way is right, according to you. We have something important riding on this so puh-lease say it’s my way.

Back to the pie.

key lime pie and plastic knife experiment.jpg

My sister Kay mixes up her Key Lime Pie

I like Kay’s recipe because it is baked.  No raw eggs (although that doesn’t bother me so much, we do have a pregnant mom in the family). But it does contain the traditional sweetened condensed milk to balance the tartness of the limes.

The texture is similar to cheesecake, but there’s no cheese in the ingredient list. It’s not a cream pie, like banana cream or vanilla cream, but it’s also not an unbaked icebox pie. The only whipping cream involved is added on top, so it’s easier to control the calories.

Plan ahead. This pie needs to be chilled at least 2-3 hours. My sister claims it’s even better the next day.  Good luck with that!

key lime pie and plastic knife experiment-34.jpg

Garnishing with lime rind puts your mind in the mood for lime flavor even though the pie is yellow.

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Baked Key Lime Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 9-inch pie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A baked dessert made with sweetened condensed milk and key limes.
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
Pie Filling
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ⅓ cup fresh-squeezed key lime juice
  • 9-inch graham cracker pie crust (purchased or homemade)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped with ⅓ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Crush crackers using food processor or blender. Add sugar and melted butter. Pulse until mixed.
  2. Press into 9-inch pie shell.
  3. Bake at 300 degrees for 8 minutes.
  1. Beat 3 egg whites in a small bowl until stiff. Set aside.
  2. You can use the same beaters to beat 4 egg yolks and 1 egg white in a separate medium-sized bowl until thick and light-colored.
  3. Add milk to egg yolks and mix well. Add juice and continue to beat until thick.
  4. Add beaten egg whites to egg-yolk mixture and mix gently just until evenly distributed. Don't over mix. Stop when there are no more obvious lumps of egg whites. Carefully pour into baked pie shell.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  6. When cooled, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  7. Garnish with whipped cream when serving.

P.S. Kay isn’t sure where she got this recipe. Apologies to the creator.  The graham cracker crust comes from Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Suemillerbuckley January 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm

This Recipe is awesome!! This is same original recipe for key lime pie found on the the Carnation Sweetened Condensed milk can for over 40 years!! Will not find a better key lime pie recipe!!! 🙂


Pennie January 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Can’t wait to try the recipe but was surprised to see that I’ve been using my citrus press incorrectly. The cut side should be facing down so the juice goes out the holes and doesn’t squirt upwards. Plus, it turns the peel inside out, extracting every bit of juice. Youtube doesn’t lie:


Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I adore cooking, but detest cleaning up, so the less mess I make the better. I clean as I cook so that by the time it’s in the oven or on the stove the kitchen looks like I just started. If I don’t do it that way, I get depressed. That’s why I try to get cooking in as early in the day as possible. By 6PM, I’m ready to call it quits, so everything gets set up and cleaned up before then. I specialize in methods and recipes that require very little kitchen disruption.


Henrietta Lala (Granny Lala) March 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

I vote for cut-side down because if you do it the other way it blocks the holes which are there for a reason-to let the juice drain out. Sometimes, depending on the size of the fruit, I will do it one way, flip it and do it again the other way just to get more juice. I even quarter grapefruit and squeeze it rather than drag out my electric juicer which would make me have an entire machine to wash.


Paula March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Grapefruit??? Why haven’t I thought of quartering them like that? You are a genius. Can’t wait to try it. pr


Elle March 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

As for the lime, I’ve always done it with the face up like on the right but on food network I’ve always seen them place them face down like on the left.


Sarah March 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I agree with the lime facing down, picture on the left. Mine works really well and leaves the lime turned inside out. Strangely enough, it doesn’t work on lemons or tangerines even though they are the same size.


Leah Smith March 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Picture on the left (lime facing DOWN). BTW love your site!


Vicki V March 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I do it like the pic on the LEFT But now I’m not sure that’s RIGHT. ha ha


Piper@GotItCookIt March 16, 2012 at 5:19 am

So funny! I’ve had this same conversation with my husband about a year ago. I conceded that he was right, the lime half needed to be facing downwards when you squeeze it That way the juice goes directly out the holes more easily, hopefully giving you more juice. I was doing it face up and squeezing and the unfortunate side affect is that the lime now sticks (suctions?) to the squeezer making it a touch more difficult to remove.

I love my squeezer so much, I bought them for all my sisters! One decided she hated it and gave it to my neice. She went back to a reamer (!!!)- which I think it just crazy. It’s funny people can be so passionate about squeezing citrus, though it is pretty much the best stuff on Earth!


Joann March 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Cut side down. Sorry!


`Suzanne March 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Lovely looking pie, and I vote for the lime cut side up.


Mimi March 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Great looking pie! Weighing in on the juicing issue, I vote for cut side down.


Meghan March 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Cut side facing down (Picture on the left)


Rachael Warrington March 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Cut side down….


TheKitchenWitch March 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

Key lime pie is the best of all things. It’s the only dessert I cannot resist.


Sue March 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Meat side down and peel up! I think you actually get more juice this way! The pie looks wonderful:)


Natasha March 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm



Natasha March 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Thank you both for this delicious looking recipe. I wish we could get key limes over here.
Oh and your way is the right way of course Paula 🙂


Debra Schramm March 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

The picture on the left is correct for a key lime. Because the key lime is so small it is inverted when squeezed so you can get most of the juice out; however, for a regular size lime the picture on the right is correct. You turn the juicer sideways and the juice comes out the side instead of the holes.


Mid Mod Tom March 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

According to Rick Bayless citrus goes in those presses cut side down, like in the photo on the left


Renata March 12, 2012 at 7:21 am

Now that I read all other comments, I agree with Velda, it turns the lime inside out for maximum juice extraction, that’s what happens to mine as well. I’m very curious to know which of you is right hehe
The lime pie looks fantastic, I love lime/lemon desserts!


Renata March 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

I have a gadget like that, much smaller, but I guess the same functionality, I use it like the pic on the left. Yes, I know it makes us think the opposite…


Paula March 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm

However way you squeezed the limes, it worked! This pie looks wonderful.

By the way, I squeeze my limes, lemons and oranges with the peel side facing me.


bonnie March 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Mmmm, great-looking pie. I have a two similar juicers–one for oranges and one for smaller citrus, like limes. The instructions say squeeze cut side down (left photo). If you don’t, juice goes everywhere b/c it squirts out of the top part, too. (This has happened to a few unsuspecting kitchen helpers when it’s mojito time!)


Paula March 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Bonnie, Good point about the squirts.


Debbie March 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Absolutely one of my favorite desserts if chocolate is not available. Will have to try this! Thanks Kay! And I vote for the picture on the left.


Gary March 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

Great photos. I love the idea of using powdered sugar with the graham crackers.


Wendy March 11, 2012 at 6:43 am

I vote for cut side up, as pictured on the right.


The Café Sucré Farine March 11, 2012 at 5:27 am

Hello Paula, I love sister time, I never get quite enough! I would put the lime half upside down but I can see the reasoning with the other way too! The pie looks fabulous, I would be nibbling on it all day and it would never last till tomorrow!


Heidi March 11, 2012 at 3:25 am

I vote for the cut side down.


Sandy March 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I vote for the one on the left. I’ve actually never had Key Lime pie, but this looks amazing. I’m going to have to try it out.


Velda March 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Correct answer is the one on the left. That is what the directions with mine said, and what the site said, when I looked it up. It sort of turns the fruit inside out and gets the most juice out. I deem it true, also, because I have tried it each way.


Paula March 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Velda, What website are you looking at? Very interesting. pr


Jen Y March 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I say the pic on the right – I can’t believe how divided the comments are! I never would have thought about doing it any other way. LOL

Reply March 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Without thinking about I’d probably use the way on the right, but now that you show the picture I’m thinking the one on the left just might give out more juice. Either way, I’d sure like a piece of that pie!!


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit March 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I vote for the left hand pic, with the cut side facing down. Whichever way you juiced it though, it sure made a pretty pie that I’d love! 🙂


Jennifer March 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

The picture with cut side up is correct. Which is the same way you’d use the older juicers. so the built in reamer goes into the cut area or pulp area of the lime or lemon


Tracy March 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Which ever way gets the most juice! 🙂


Lauren @ Healthy Delicious March 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I was thinking of making key lime pie earlier today! Haven’t had is in so long. And I always do cut side down (left photo)


Kim March 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Yum Key Lime Pie!!! To weigh in on the lime, I vote cut side up, but I’m sure either way works. :o)


Lorraine March 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Without thinking, I would do it like the photo on the right simply because the lime mimics the shape of the metal squeezy thing. Either way, that is an amazing looking pie!


Katrina March 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Mmmm, key lime! I would do it like the picture on the right. (Doesn’t mean that’s the correct way. A chef told me once that with key limes, since they are so small, you just cut it about 2/3 of the way, so there is more to juice in one half of it. If you cut a key lime right in half, you’re not getting much juice out of either one. Make sense?


Gina March 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I always put my lime half with the cut side facing down. The pie looks great – wish I could have a slice!


Danielle March 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

According to all the food network chefs that use these, the lime peel is facing up with the cut side facing down.


Donna March 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

The cut part of the lime should face down, like the picture on the left.


SimplySusan March 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

The way on the left is correct.


Der March 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Fun! Looks yummy! I think the inside of the lime should be facing up like the picture on the right. I also like the way you mentioned the grandbaby on the way:+)


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