This easy keto no-bake Key lime pie cheesecake is sweet, tart, zesty and refreshing! The cream cheese lightens the sweet condensed milk and zingy limes making this recipe the perfect summer dessert!
No one will tell this wonderful lime cheesecake pie is keto: it’s made with sugar-free sweetened condensed milk and a delicious buttery honey Graham cracker crust (keto & gluten-free – with almond flour!)
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What’s the difference between limes and Key limes?
Key limes (also known as Mexican limes) are smaller, rounder, have a thinner skin, more seeds and contain less juice. They are sweeter, floral and more aromatic.
Regular limes (Persian limes) are larger and heavier, with a rougher skin. They have less seeds or no seeds at all, and their flavor is less complex and more acidic.
These limes contain a lot more juice, nearly as much as a lemon of the same size. That’s because they are a cross between a lemon and a (Key/Mexican) lime.
Why Key limes are so hard to find
The Key lime is known by this name because it used to be mass grown in the beautiful Florida Keys. After a huge hurricane in 1926 destroyed much of the crops, the farmers planted instead the easier to cultivate and sturdier Persian limes.
Nowadays, most of the Key limes sold in America are actually imported from Mexico. Only about 10% of the Key limes you can find in stores are actually from Florida. Which means… we might actually be making a Mexican lime pie!
Can I use regular limes instead of Key limes?
Sure you can! The pie will be deliciously tart and sweet not matter the type of lime you choose. And all the limes have the power to make the condensed milk thicken.
Fresh lime juice is always best, but if you really want to use Key lime juice, and can’t find Key limes (or don’t have the patience to juice them – understandable!) get a bottle of high quality, unsweetened and pure Key lime juice like this one.
Is condensed milk keto?
Sadly, store bought sweetened condensed milk, a major ingredient in Key lime pie and bringer of happiness, is full of sugar and not appropriate for keto or low-carb ways of eating.
Even worse, a sugar-free condensed milk version seems to be impossible to find. That’s why I created this easy, 3 ingredient low-carb condensed milk recipe that tastes exactly like the canned version (and I am very demanding when it comes to condensed milk!)
How do you thicken lime pie filling?
This Key lime cheesecake pie gets super thick and creamy without baking, eggs, or any thickeners like gelatin or xanthan gum. But, how?
Acid reacts with the proteins in fresh milk, and makes it curdle. This process is used for making yogurt and cheese, and is also responsible for the thickening of the lime pie.
Condensed milk is different from fresh milk: instead of curdling in the presence of acid, it thickens. That’s how lime pie filling gets lush, thick and creamy – instead of curdled!
For the filling
For the LikeHotKeto Key lime pie cheesecake filling, you just need 3 (or 4) ingredients:
- Sugar-free condensed milk – 2 cups
- Full-fat cream cheese – 16 oz
- Key lime juice (or regular lime juice) – 1/3 cup
- Lime zest (finely grated) – 2 teaspoons
I say 3 or 4 because although the lime zest is an ingredient to the filling, and it does elevate the citrusy and zesty flavor of the pie, you may choose to skip adding it to the filling and optionally add it as a topping instead.
I don’t add zest to the pie mixture, just as a garnish on top. This is personal preference: I don’t like seeing the little lumps of zest ruining the smoothness of the pie.
If that’s not a problem for you (it probably isn’t, I’m the weird one, I know) then go ahead and whisk the zest into the pie filling mixture.
For the crust
I suggest my keto & gluten-free Graham cracker pie crust recipe, which is made with almond flour and bee pollen for a honey Graham cracker flavor. It’s just a wonderful no-bake crust and the perfect match for this key lime pie cheesecake!
But you can use any other low-carb pie crust you like! You can also make the crust from actual crushed crackers or crumbled cookies as tradition dictates.
Use any keto friendly crackers with a simple flavor (like butter or vanilla) that will compliment the lime pie taste.
For example, these keto shortbread butter cookies would work great for making a crumble cookie pie crust!
Pie pan or plate and portable pies
The pie pan I used here is 9″ at the bottom and 9.5″ at the rim. You can get away with slightly larger or smaller pie dishes. Because this lime pie cheesecake isn’t baked, it doesn’t expand, so you can fill the crust with as as much filling as it will hold.
You can also make this summer favorite in smaller dishes, like individual mini tart pans, ramekins, or even inside cocktail glasses. It’s a lovely way to serve!
To make a portable version of this low-carb Key lime pie, ideal for picnics and road trips: divide the recipe among mason jars, or coffee paper cups with lids.
How to make
For a keto friendly Key lime pie, I use this sugar-free condensed milk recipe. You’ll need double the recipe, which will be about 2 cups of sweetened condensed milk.
As a quick recap: You only need stir heavy cream, evaporated milk and keto sweetener (allulose or xylitol) over medium-high heat until it thickens. The whole recipe takes only around 15 minutes!
While the condensed milk cools down, prepare the pie crust. This keto no-bake Graham cracker crust recipe is the one I normally use. It’s fairly easy to make and it’s great for no-bake desserts, as it sets in the fridge.
Press the crust down into a 9″or 9.5″ pie dish (mine has a removable bottom).
To make it easier to serve, make sure to grease the pan and put down a disc of parchment paper at the bottom before shaping the crust.
If making the pie to be served in individual dishes (like ramekins, mini tart pans or mason jars) just divide the crust equally among the containers.
After preparing the crust, keep it in the fridge while you make the pie filling:
Just mix together the cream cheese (at room temperature, makes mixing much easier!) and the sugar-free condensed milk until they are smooth.
Then, pour in the Key lime or regular lime juice. If you are going to add the zest into the filling, now is the time. You can also add the lime zest later as topping, like I did, to keep the pie filling smooth without the little lumps.
Mix everything until fully combined. You’ll notice that the lime juice immediately makes the filling a bit thicker. But it will thicken a lot more!
Pour the pie filling into the crust, smooth out the top and cover with cling film. Keep it in the fridge to chill and thicken. I usually leave it overnight – about 8 hours. This guarantees that the keto lime pie cheesecake will be fully set before serving.
Add decorations to your heart’s content: thin lime slices, sugar-free whipped cream and/or sprinkles of lime zest.
Keep this low-carb Key lime pie cheesecake well chilled until it’s time to serve.
The left overs will keep fresh for 3 to 4 days, while covered and refrigerated.
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