This Key Lime Pie is perfect with the tangy key lime custard, a ginger snap crust and that perfect dollop of deliciousness on top... one bite and you'll be hooked for sure!
There are so many versions of key lime pie out there, some taste like a lime flavored cheesecake and others are super sweet with a pudding-like filling, and then there is this version which is much closer to an authentic key lime pie. The reason I won't call this "authentic" is because in Key West you will find most of the key lime pies topped with a meringue and we aren't going to worry about that today.
Truth be told, I never cared for key lime pie. I had tried them several times and it just wasn't a flavor I enjoyed, so when I started making them for a BBQ restaurant that I owned I didn't know what I was doing! I did a ton of research!
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I knew I didn't want a key lime cheesecake or a super sweet key lime pie, so I looked around at various recipes and kept it super simple and straightforward. There was only one little obstacle. I am not a fan of a graham cracker crust!
I know, I'm just being difficult now aren't I?
If you have looked over any of my other recipes, you know I love flavor and I really love putting my twist on a recipe. This one is no exception! I started out making the crust with graham crackers and adding in spices and then decided to make it a little easier and use ginger snaps. Shhh... it's our secret, okay?
Do you have to use Key Limes in a Key Lime Pie?
The flavor of a key lime is very different from a Persian lime that you see most often in the grocery store. The key lime is smaller than a Persian lime and less bitter, in my opinion. I did read somewhere that the PH level of a Persian lime is lower than that of a key lime, meaning it is more acidic. That would support my perception that Persian limes have a little more bite to them than their cousin, the key lime.
While I don't recommend substituting Persian limes for key limes in this recipe, don't worry... you don't have to squeeze a gazillion of those little key limes to get the lime juice you need. There is a great brand called Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice that you can find in most grocery stores or right HERE.
You can most certainly use a Persian lime (and I do) for the lime zest that this recipe calls for.
If you are lucky enough to grow key limes or have access to them, by all means use the real thing... just get ready to squeeze quite a few of them! I'm not sure exactly how many you would need, but I'm going to estimate about 15 or so. If you need a really great citrus press, the one I use from pampered chef is superb! I have had it for many, many years and it still works as great as the day I purchased it. If you are interested in picking up one, you can find it right here: Citrus Press.
Can I make Key Lime Pie less tart?
Absolutely! Not everyone likes a tart key lime pie and that is why so many of them are made with added ingredients like sour cream or cream cheese. When developing this recipe, I asked my husband, Jeff, if I should take down the tartness some and he unequivocally said, "Nope!"
Jeff is a key lime pie aficionado and has eaten key lime pie in Key West, as well as every other state he's visited. Did I mention it is his favorite pie? If it's on the dessert menu, he's getting it. From the day we met, he has always told me my key lime pie is the best. Although I don't have his extensive key lime pie tasting experiences, my limited experience agrees with him! This pie is on the tart side, so if you want it to pack a little less pucker, here is what I suggest:
Add 2 Tbsp of sugar to the egg yolks before whipping them up and decrease the key lime juice to between 1/4 and 1/3 cup. That should do the trick.
The other thing you can do is make twice as much of the cream cheese icing and spread it all over the top of the pie. That will definitely decrease the pucker!
Can I make a different type of crust?
Of course! I happen to love the flavor the gingersnaps give the key lime pie, but gingersnaps aren't for everyone. Here are some ideas for different types of crusts that would be great with key lime pie.
Graham cracker crust: 1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 2 Tblsp of sugar. 1-2 tsp of cinnamon is optional.
Sugar Cookie Crust: 1 1/2 cups of crushed sugar cookies, 1/4 cup of melted butter.
Shortbread Cookie Crust: 1 1/2 cups of crushed shortbread cookies, 1/4 cup melted butter.
There are many other options, so get creative. I just don't recommend chocolate. Trust me on this one, okay?
Let me know what crust you end up using for your Key Lime Pie! Tag me @TheSaltedPepper or use the hashtag @thefoodiconnection
How to make Key Lime Pie in the Ninja Foodi
Key Lime Pie is one of the easiest pies to make. It only requires a few ingredients and you don't have to worry about mixing things correctly or anything technical at all. This is a perfect dessert for a beginner cook and of course more experienced cooks love it for it's ease too!
The first thing you want to do is, take your cream cheese out of the fridge if you plan on making the delicious topping for the key lime pie. It will be good without it or you can use whipped cream, but this topping is amazing!
Crush 2 cups of gingersnap cookies using a food processor or by simply putting them in a sealable baggy and using a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin to crush. The size you want is course crumbles.
Add 2 Tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon to the crumbles and mix well.
Melt the butter and pour over the crushed cookies. Stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add more melted butter. If it is too wet, add a few more crushed cookies.
Dump 1/2 of the cookie mixture into a 7" Springform pan. Tilt the pan and begin pressing the cookie mixture to the sides. It should go about 3/4 of the way up the edge of the pan. You can see exactly how I do this in the step by step video: Easy Key Lime Pie in the Ninja Foodi
Dump the remaining mixture into the bottom and press to create the bottom crust.
Place the springform pan on the rack in the low position and lower it into the Ninja Foodi. Close the TenderCrisp lid and set the bake/roast function to 300° F for 5 minutes.
When the time is up, remove from the Ninja Foodi.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put the yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes with a hands mixer.
Add in the sweetened condensed milk and the key lime juice. Mix on medium speed until well combined and the mixture starts to thicken.
Pour into pie crust and cover. You can use foil to cover or these wonderful silicone covers. I am so impressed with the way that they seal.
Place 1 cup of water in the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi. Put the springform pan on the rack in the low position and lower the rack into the inner pot.
Put the pressure lid on and make sure the black valve is to the seal position. Set the Ninja Foodi on high pressure for 15 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pressure to natural release for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Remove the pie and uncover. Try not to get any water onto the surface of the key lime pie. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until completely cool. This will take about 4 hours or so.
You can decorate the top with whipped cream, make a meringue topping or you can make this delicious topping that is super easy and pairs wonderfully with the key lime pie.
Beat the room temperature cream cheese and sugar on low speed in a medium size mixing bowl. Add heavy cream and start mixing on low, as the mixture thickens, increase the speed to high. When the topping is a thick consistency it is done.
I used a large closed star tip and a decorating bag. My favorite decorating bags to use for projects like this are the disposable kind! They make clean up so much easier and they are very economical. The ones I use are Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags.
I made very simple decorations and the results look professional, so give it a try! You simply sqeeze the bag while holding the tip just above the edge of the pie, squeeze out some of the topping and release the pressure as you push the tip down a little. Then raise the tip and bag up and repeat until you have the entire edge decorated.
Zest some lime over top of the entire pie.
For a last minute addition, you can thinly slice some lime and cut each slice in half. Press one half into the topping as shown in the picture.
Serve & Enjoy!
Key Lime Pie in the Ninja Foodi
- 2 cups ginger snap cookies about 8 ounces
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tsp cinnamon ground
- 1/4 cup butter
Key Lime Pie Filling
- 4 Large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup key lime juice
- 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
- 1-2 limes for zest and garnish
- 4 ounce cream cheese room temp
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Crush up the cookies either in a food processor or in a bag with a rolling pin until they are a course texture.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter. Add the sugar and the cinnamon to the crushed up cookies and stir to combine. Add in the melted butter and mix until combined.
- If you want to easily remove the pie from the springform pan, line the bottom with a parchment round. I don't usually do this and I have never had any issues.
- Pour half of the cookie mixture into the bottom of a 7" springform pan. Tilt the pan and begin to press the cookie mixture around the sides about 3/4 of the way up the pan sides. Add remaining cookie mixture to the bottom and press. The crust should be about 1/4" thick.
- Turn the Ninja Foodi and set the springform Bake/Roast at 300° F and bake for 5 minutes. You don not have to preheat. Remove from the Ninja Foodi.
Key Lime Pie Filling
- Separate 4 eggs and put the yolks only in a medium size mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup of key lime juice and 14 oz of sweetened condensed milk and mix on low speed until it begins to thicken, about 1 minute.
- Zest 1 Persian Lime or 2-3 key limes. You want about 2 tsp or so of lime zest. Add to filling and stir to combine.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and cover with foil or silicone covers (details in the post). Place the springform pan on the rack in the low position. Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and place the rack in the inner pot. Put on the pressure lid and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high for 15 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.
- Remove pie from the Ninja Foodi and allow to cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for about 4 hours to let it completely cool and set up.
- Using a hand mixer on low to medium speed, combine the cream cheese and the sugar until creamy and smooth. Pour in the heavy cream and mix with the hand mixer. Start off on low speed and increase speed once heavy cream begins to thicken. Beat on medium to high speed for a few minutes and incorporate the cream cheese and the whipping cream until it is a thick consistency, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the sides from the spring form pan. I usually leave the pie on the springform base for easier transport or you can use a thin utensil to get under the crust and carefully transfer to a plate.
- Place a large closed star tip into a pastry bag and fill the bag with the topping. Decorate around the edge of the pie. You can see how I do this in the recipe video. Zest with lime. Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.