This dessert is an out-of-this-world experience in one bite. A layer of graham crust infused with key limes, followed by a smooth, creamy layer of cheesecake, then a layer of key lime pie, and finally a thick layer of sweet, light meringue on top.
KEY LIME PIE CHEESECAKE
I’ve been living in Florida for quite a few years now and yet, I still haven’t been to Key West. The trip is still on our bucket list and tasting an authentic Key Lime Pie is on my food bucket list. Even though key lime pies are everywhere, I want to try this pie from the place where it originated.
Hubs and I like to watch a couple of Food Network shows that revolve around food travel. One is where a guy does a world booze tour. He goes to different countries and searches for the best people who make the alcoholic drink that originates from that region. Another show, is where a guy goes around the states and visits small, “mom and pop” type places that are locally known for making the best local dish. In one of the episodes, he visited Key West and the best place for key lime pie.
That place was best known for their “mile high” key lime pie. It was a tiny restaurant somewhere in the middle of the island but their pies really did look fantastic. They had this tall tower of meringue on top of the pie, which really is a brilliant idea. For one, all those egg whites that are left over from the yolks are not wasted. And two, the sweet, soft, airy meringue serves as a smooth balance for the sourness of the key lime pie.
This truly is a beautifully balanced cheesecake. There is sweetness and uniform key lime flavors throughout the cheesecake. You get the sweet crunch in the crust, then a smooth cheesecake in the middle, a burst of smooth citrus key lime pie, and then a sweet mild meringue.
Even if someone is not a big fan of key lime pie because the sourness of citrus might be too strong, they will love this cheesecake. Everything in this dessert, balances out and compensates for the strong citrus of the pie. It’s one delicious bite after another!
SOME MORE RECIPES TO TRY
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites from A Family Feast
Oreo Cheesecake Bites from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Copycat Lime Cooler Cookies from The Domestic Rebel
The Best Key Lime Bars from Your Homebased Mom
Double Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Cheesecake
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and #willcookforsmiles so I can see all the things you tried!
Connect with Will Cook For Smiles!
Be sure to click below and follow me on my social media, so you never miss a recipe.
Don’t forget to sign up for email, so you won’t miss any new recipes.
Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
- Zest from 2 key limes
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 of 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- Zest from 2 key limes
Key Lime Pie layer:
- 3/4 of 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 4 egg yolks save whites
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice 7-9 key limes
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 and grease a 9 inch spring form.
- In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract, key lime zest and brown sugar. Mix very well.
- Spread crumb mixture in the bottom on the spring form, evenly, pressing it over the bottom and half way up the sides.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom on the bowl and beat for another minute.
- Add corn starch and sugar and mix until combined.
- Beat in egg until well incorporated.
- Add sour cream, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream, beat until all mixed very well.
- Add lime zest and mix with a spatula until incorporated throughout.
- Transfer batter into the spring form and spread it evenly.
- Wash out the bowl from an electric mixer and dry well.
Key Lime Pie Layer:
- Beat egg yolks with a whisk attachment, until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Start pouring in lime juice into egg yolks while they're mixing. Make sure to pour it in slowly.
- Pour in sweetened condensed milk slowly, still beating the egg yolk mixture. After you've added the sweetened condensed milk, beat for a couple more minutes.
- Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and stir gently.
- Pour key lime mixture over the cheesecake batter and spread it evenly.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After about 15 minutes, start preparing the meringue.
- Wash out the bowl of the electric mixer and whisk attachment and dry well.
- Pour egg whites into the bowl and add cream of tartar and vanilla extract.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then very slowly add sugar as you continue beating. Beat until stiff peaks are formed, 1-2 minutes.
- After the cheesecake baked for 20 minutes, quickly top it off with meringue, sealing the edges as to not let the heat escape. Sealing the edges will help the inside cook better.
- Bake for 25 minutes, turn off the oven, open the oven door a little bit and let the cheesecake sit there for 10 minutes.
- Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Cover the cheesecake loosely with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, very gently loosen the meringue from the rim of the springform. (Don't worry, it is very fragile, it will crumble a little bit no matter what you do. Just work slowly and gently to minimize it.) Gently run a greased butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it.
This recipe sound amazing!! My Mom, Mother-in-Law and I are big key lime pie lovers! I do not like zest – its a texture thing. If i eliminate it form the recipe, will it affect the taste very much?
It will just have less of a lime flavor but I think it would be fine.
This looks fantastic and I’m excited to make it for my upcoming birthday! Do you know if it freezes welll? Thank you!
Hi Bree, You can freeze it but do not put the topping on until you unfreeze it. Here is a link to my New York Cheesecake where I go over how to freeze a cheesecake. https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/new-york-cheesecake/
Thank you for sharing! Quick question, my sister doesn’t like meringue, can I make this without it? How long should I bake it? Thanks again for sharing!
I am not sure how the key lime layer will react to being baked directly the whole time without the meringue on top. In theory, I think it would be fine but I can’t say for sure since I have never tried it. I would bake the cheesecake at 325 in a water bath for 70-75 min and then turn off the oven and open the oven door and let it sit for another 10 minutes. You could use whip cream for the top layer once it was done cooking. If you would like to read more on the water bath you can go to my new york cheesecake which I will link below. Hopefully it will turn out the way you like it.
Step #7 mentions to add the vanilla extract but in the cheesecake ingredients, I am not seeing how much. I just assumed it was a tsp and carried on my way lol
I also made the crust with Nilla Wafers and it was a HUGE hit! I received many compliments on this cheesecake. It has a delicious balance where the sweetness dosen’t over power the lime and vice versa. I’m definietly making another tonight!
Thank you so much for letting me know! 1-2 tsp is the right amount and I will add it to the recipe right now. So sorry about that!
Nilla wafers is a great substitute for graham crackers in a cheesecake 🙂
I’m SO glad the everyone was happy!
Hi could I make this the day before and just add the meringue the following day?
Looks amazing but I would like to save some time when I have family for dinner
Judy Murphy says
Try the key lime pie at The Fish House in Key Largo. Creamy custard and meringue. The best I’ve ever tasted!!
I will definitely have to try that! Thank you, Judy 🙂
Julie is right about the temptation. This cheesecake, your pictures are simply mouthwatering. You have a talent. Will be making this cake for my next occasion. Thank you.
Awe, that is so nice of you to say! Thank you, Vera!! 🙂
Julie Bartley says
Thank you for fixing this and if no one said it “THANK YOU FOR SHARING IT”. I am actually trying to lose weight. LOL. You are the devil for tempting me. I will volunteer to proof read your recipes for you if you like. However now that I am empty nested I only make something like this for when the garden club meets or we have a potluck at church or some “evil person” ☺ tempts me.
Haha, you are most welcome!
I know what you mean, there are only three of us and we can’t even finish a cheesecake or a cake on our own. I have to send some to work with my husband or share with friends. (Or give them away to my mom who gives me an evil look every time because she always seems to be on a diet 🙂 )
Julie Bartley says
Thank you for fixing some of the errors in the recipe. However if you compare the key lime pie layer ingredients with the instructions specifically line #13 the recipe calls for sugar however there is no quantity of sugar in the ingredient list. Also in the instructions for the key lime pie layer there is no mention of when to add the key lime juice. I am salivating thinking of how this pie will taste , thank you so much for fixing this.
You know, after I finished making this cheesecake, I took a deep breath and told myself “now, just make sure to write up all the instructions for all these layers correctly!” Lol. The key lime part is fixed now, it was supposed to be lime juice instead of sugar. (I should give you some recipes to test as I’m writing my cheesecake cookbook.)
Julie Bartley says
In the directions it doesn’t show when to add the lime juice also #12 in the directions it has you mixing and adding cream of tarter and sugar to the key lime pie mix but it’s not in the ingredients list. #13 says to add vanilla extract should that be the lime juice? And it also says egg whites. Should that be the yolks?
Also it shows the vanilla extract in the ingredient list to be part of the meringue. I would love to make this but it is very confusing.
Thank you so much for letting me know, it did sound confusing. It took me a second but I fixed it. Hopefully, it’s better to follow. I think the last time I was rereading the recipe, which was like 10th time, I confused the two steps. I separated them now and fixed the ingredients, and it looks to be much easier to follow. Please let me know if it’s not!
Thank you, I hope you will get a chance to make it 🙂
I don’t see a step to add the lime juice?
Hi Carla, I’m so sorry about that! It’s all fixed now 🙂
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Yum!! The cheesecake looks delicious! And as far as going to Key West we haven’t been there either. Our kids took the fast boat from Marco Island, where we were staying, and spent the day touring Key West. I’d love to see it. Now for the pie — I have a story about that — one of these days I’ll tell it. Have a great evening.
Awe, now I want to know the story 🙂
Thank you so much, Marisa!