The Now Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe — Perfect Addition to your Holiday Menu

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famous key lime pie

The table was set, the turkey was perfect, the stuffing, appetizers, and side dishes were all mouthwatering but to no surprise, it was the dessert that stole the show. We had chocolate pecan pie, two home-baked pumpkin pies prepared by the kids, and the now famous key lime pie – which just last Thursday was featured in our local newspaper, The San Jose Mercury News, in the food section with kudos to my budding baker boy – @gregorytlee.famous key lime pie

So after taunting you last May with the recipe for key lime bars with pistachio crust, here, finally, is the now famous key lime pie recipe, just in time for you to add it to your holiday season dessert repertoire.

Though @gregorytlee received full credit in the paper since he prepared the pie all by himself this year, the evolution was more of a father/son effort. @dormantchef decided a few years ago that he wanted key lime pie. They found a recipe on for a macadamia-crusted white chocolate version. Being the chocoholics we are in this house, @dormantchef’s first modification was to change to dark chocolate. It provides a lovely color and flavor contrast to the tangy filling and crunchy crust.

Each year, they worked on the pie together until @gregorytlee’s confidence grew and since last year, he has taken the reigns on this unusual but outrageously yummy Thanksgiving tradition.

You can find the newspaper story by Jackie Burrell online – the photo of the pie is #7 in the series.

Here are a few step-by-step photos and the recipe as the boys adapted it from the original on

The baked macadamia crust:

famous key lime pie

The chocolate and butter ready to be melted:

famous key lime pie

The lined crust – @gregorytlee uses the back of a spoon to spread:

famous key lime pie

 The partially filled lined crust – isn’t it pretty?

famous key lime pie

The baked pie:

famous key lime pie

Ready to eat!

famous key lime pie


Thanksgiving Tradition
5 from 5 votes

The Now Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe

This tangy pie recipe originated with a white chocolate lining. We substituted dark chocolate for the white, adding some contrasting flavor and color. We’ve also made the pie with both traditional key limes as well as the lemony-looking limes that grow in our backyard. The regular size backyard limes result in a wonderful pie with far less labor than squeezing so many mini key limes. We use a deep dish 9” glass pie dish. If you use a shallower dish, reduce the quantity of filling by 25%. You can keep the crust constant and have a bit extra or use it all, resulting in a slightly thicker crust. We found the ratio of crust to filling as shown below to work just perfectly in a deep dish pan. This recipe lends itself well to preparing it in stages, even over a couple of days if your time is limited.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 14 servings
Calories 439 kcal



  • ½ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts a little extra is ok
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white or organic sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed and chilled

Chocolate lining:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate roughly chopped


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk 2 cans
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest 1 regular lime or 5 or 6 key limes
  • 1 ¼ cups key lime or regular lime juice 4 – 5 regular limes or approximately 30 key limes -- really depends on size and juiciness

Whipped topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tsp lime zest or a splash of vanilla or both optional


To make the crust:

  1. In a large or mini food processor, process the nuts, flour, and sugar until starting to combine, then add the cold, cubed butter and continue to process until it forms large crumbs but does not ball up.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, preferably glass. Freeze the crust until it is firm, 15 – 30 minutes.
  3. While the crust is firming up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once firm, bake the crust for about 20 – 25 minutes, until it is lightly brown and set up. Let it cool on a wire rack. If you are planning to continue preparation, leave the oven on at 350 degrees.

To make the dark chocolate coating:

  1. Combine the butter and chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. You can either place the bowl over simmering water and stir constantly until the chocolate and butter are melted, combined, and smooth or microwave it on your melt function or about medium power mixing frequently to be sure it combines, using 30-second bursts if you’re not sure how powerful your microwave is. Once the chocolate is smooth and melted, pour it all over the crust and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly all over the cooled crust. Freeze again until firm – even overnight if you are continuing the baking the next day.

To make the key lime filling:

  1. While the crust is chilling, in a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, condensed milk, and lime zest. Gradually stir in the lime juice until well combined. Pour the mixture into the chilled crust.
  2. If the pie pan has just come out of the freezer and was in there for a long time, let the glass pie dish warm up a bit before you place it in the hot oven. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to set the filling. Remove pie and let it cool on a wire rack. Then cover carefully and chill for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Whipped topping:

  1. While the pie is chilling, make the whipped topping by beating the cream and sugar (and optional zest and vanilla) to stiff peaks. Place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice of pie when you serve it. You can decorate with shaved chocolate, lime slices, and/or zest if you like.


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16 Responses to The Now Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe — Perfect Addition to your Holiday Menu

  1. Luke Hogan October 6, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi so I’m currently doing a study on the strange occurrence of these comments on the nonexistent “kutcheritaville Key Lime Pie” As the writer on this website what are your thoughts on the comments?

  2. Patti Salmon May 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm #

    5 stars
    The infamous “Captain Kutchie Pelaez”.! That’s it!! I just got it!…It just popped into my head, right-out of the blue!
    I can’t believe that we have all been so stupid for the past 20 or so years about something that was right in front of our noses. Elder, you hit the nail on the head! Can’t you all see it?..Elder called the mystery key lime pie man “The Infamous Captain Kutchie Pelaez”. Can all of you Morons see it now? It’s just Brilliant, just Brilliant Elder. Elder called Kutchie Pelaez…..”The INfamous Captain Kutchie Pelaez”!!!..INFAMOUS! That’s It!!! INFAMOUS, INFAMOUS Means
    More than FAMOUS!

    Captain Kutchie Pelaez is MORE than FAMOUS, He’s more than famous, he is INFAMOUS! And that’s pretty DAMN SMART if you ask me. HELL, that’s “INSMART”. Captain Kutchie Pelaez is more than FAMOUS, Captain Kutchie Pelaez is MORE THAN SMART!….Pardon all the dots, no they’re not some kind of secret code or anything that I know of.

    The One really Big Thing that none of these crazy posts ever comments about are The Million’s of Dollars that the Infamous Captain Kutchie Pelaez gives away to his lucky Prime Rib eaters every month. We usually only hear about his famous cheese burgers in paradise but the man’s Prime Ribs in Swamp Water are the best thing that I have ever put in my mouth! The finest Prime Ribs this side of Heaven, they will melt in your mouth. Our whole family goes over to Kutcharitaville at least twice a week for Captain Kutchie’s amazing Prime Ribs. Also we can enter the contest for the monthly million dollar give away every month. My cousin won a million dollars last year. His wife won a new Jaguar car
    two months later. I won a car before Christmas and you talk about nice. It was INNICE!…that means it was more than nice.
    Y’all keep eating at Captain Kutchie’s and keep you’re fingers crossed whenever you enjoy Kutchie’s World Famous Roast Prime Ribs of Beef and Key Lime Pie and just maybe, if you’re lucky you might win yourself a cool Million Dollars!
    Like Chef Captain Kutchie Pelaez of The World Famous Kutchie’s Key West Kutcharitaville always used too say was “Size really does Matter cuze nobody really want’s a small Burrito! The Captain Kutchie also used too say is we’ve been smoken the Good Stuff since 1976 and for you’d too Keep the Faith Babbie’s!

    My husband Stan and me we’re told by Captain Kutchie himself just last month that he had been thinking about wrapping apple wood smoked bacon all around his world famous Prime Ribs before roasting them. All of a sudden Stan blurts out What the Fuck are you attempting too do too the Finest Prime Ribs Ever? After a little while and giving the idea quite a bit of though it started too sound like a Delicious Thought too the both of us and we wished Captain Kutchie good luck with his latest endeavors. Please tell everyone that you guys know and for them too tell everyone that they know to do likewise and for everyone too just get Online and lets see once and for all, just what everyone thinks about Captain Kutchie Pelaez’s Big New Idea’s about His World Famous Prime Ribs of Beef. We are quite sure that Yankee Jack will be chiming in on Kutchie’s New Big Idea.

    Chewbacca Bye Bye, Keep the Faith Baby!

    Will the Royal Baby win The Kentucky Derby?
    Better Yet, Who really Gives a Shit?
    That Rep. Jerry Nadler (D) NY is really some kind of a Commi ? Impeach Him NOW!!!

    What would Chef Captain Kutchie Pelaez Say?

    • Fumanchu July 25, 2019 at 7:05 am #

      ARE U HERE?

  3. April November 26, 2018 at 9:37 am #

    5 stars
    I am absolutely LOVING that crust with the chocolate lining. Holy cow, soooooo good. This pie is definitely going to be making a regular appearance at our table.

    • Beth Lee November 26, 2018 at 10:26 am #

      The taste is addicting – crunchy, creamy, citrusy, chocolatey – yum!

  4. Tayler Ross November 26, 2018 at 9:16 am #

    5 stars
    Wow, what a delicious and refreshing addition to a holiday dessert spread! I love that it’s different from the norm!

    • Beth Lee November 26, 2018 at 9:17 am #

      Yes and now everyone wants this more than the traditional pumpkin pie!

  5. John Russel March 24, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Very interesting, quite unique, great as a change-up at times. But I really do not see it taking place of…”Anita Pelaez’s” Famous Key Lime Pies. It’s way to hard to beat the Original Recipe 1920’S Key West Key Lime Pie That Anita and Her Husband Kutchie have Been Using Since
    The Early 1970’S. Together The Loving Couple Own The Key Lime Pie Factory and Grille Near The Biltmore Estate In Asheville, N.C….It’s Just To Hard To Beat The Original. “AH,” The Magic of Anita Pelaez and Her Key Lime Pies!

  6. sandy corman December 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Hoping Gregory will bake another one soon and save some for papa and me.

    • Beth December 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      For you guys, I’m sure he will 🙂

  7. Hannah December 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I love this pie! The addition of dark chocolate is marvelous and the pie looks beautiful. I can see why this is a family favorite. Congrats to your son on the newspaper feature, too – he has a bright baking future!

    • Beth December 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Tonight we tackle rugelach dough – with his impending college career, more frequent lessons in the kitchen seem necessary 🙂

      • Hannah December 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        Good thinking! Have fun – I’m sure the rugelach will be terrific.

  8. Carol Sacks December 3, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    What a fun post and that pie looks divine! Congrats to your @gregorytlee!

    • Beth December 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks Carol – I sent your congratulations to my budding baker!


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