This vegan key lime pie recipe is the perfect dessert for any occasion. The combination of the flavorful graham cracker crust and a creamy filling creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Whether you're looking for a vegan version of the classic key lime pie or just a delicious dessert that's easy to make, this recipe is sure to impress.
How to make key lime pie vegan
Key lime pie reportedly originated in the Florida keys. Traditional key lime pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and egg whites, with either a graham cracker crust, or a pastry crust. Sometimes it can be topped with a marange toppings, or sometimes just whipped cream.
To make this plant-based version, I made small swaps to make this recipe dairy-free and egg free and also keep it as simple as possible.
Some vegan key lime pie recipes call for using silken tofu and maple syrup, but we won't even need those. In place of them, we will be using full-fat coconut milk and vegan sweetened condensed milk. Those products can usually be found in most bigger grocery stores these days- I found mine at Whole Foods. I will link to the brands I like and use, so that you know what to look for when you go shopping.
What kind of limes to use in your vegan key lime pie recipe
Of course, the answer would ideally be key limes! Key limes vary from regular limes (also known as Persian limes) in several ways. Key limes are smaller, more yellow in color, and have thinner skin. Key limes juice is supposed to be a bit less tart than regular lime juice. They used to be grown widely in the Florida Keys (where key lime pie is reported to have originated), but because of some bad hurricanes in the 1900's, they are no longer grown there and are now imported.
To be honest, I have never actually tasted true key limes because they are not common in the grocery stores where I live (here in the Midwest). I have never even seen them being sold anywhere near me! I imagine they would be even more rare to find if you live outside of the USA.
Fortunately, you can just use regular limes in place of key limes without a problem. I made my pie with regular limes, and I can confirm it was absolutely phenomenal!
Making a vegan pie crust (with a gluten-free option)
As previously mentioned, traditional key lime pie is made with a graham cracker crust. There are actually a few different brands of vegan graham crackers that I will list below. All of these are found in the US, but I am not sure about other countries.
- Kinnikinnick’s- this is great if you are looking to make a gluten-free graham cracker crust and therefore want to make your entire pie gluten-free (the rest of the pie is already gluten-free)!
- Nabisco Grahams
- Kellog's Grahams
All of these would be great options and ones that you can use in this recipe. However, I actually went with a different plain cookie that's known to be vegan- the classic Biscoff. These have such a nice subtle flavor, and while they wouldn't be "traditional" in a key lime pie, I thought they paired perfectly with this recipe!
Another bonus to using Biscoff cookies is that I know for sure they are an international company, and are definitely sold at least in European countries (I'm not sure about the rest of the world though).
What you will need to make this vegan key lime pie recipe
- coconut cream: refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight. When you open it, scoop out only the solid part that has formed at the top.
- cashews: soak the cashews overnight in water, or if you forget, soak them in boiling hot water for 1 hour before making the recipe.
- a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk: there are two US brands that have amazing vegan options for sweetened condensed milk. They are Edward & Sons and Nature's Charm. I have not personally tried Nature's Charm, but I regularly use Edward & Sons, and this is what I used in this recipe.
- lime juice
- lime zest: when zesting the limes, make sure to just zest the green part. The white zest underneath is very bitter.
- matcha powder: optional, for color.
- vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- cornstarch: this helps thicken the pie.
- vegan graham cracker cookies: see section above on what kind of cookies to use for the crust.
- melted vegan butter: you can most likely substitute melted coconut oil for the vegan butter, but I have not tried this myself.
- high speed blender
- tart pan
- medium saucepan
The full recipe instructions and nutritional information are at the bottom of the post in the recipe card. If you try and like this recipe, please consider leaving a rating and review 🙂
How to make vegan key lime pie
To a food processor or high-speed blender, add the vegan graham crackers and pulse them until they form a powder.
Then add in the melted vegan butter and pulse until it is combined with the graham cracker crumbs.
Grease a pie pan or tart pan with coconut oil, then transfer the cookie crust to the pie pan. Press down the cookie crust into the pan.
Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes at 350*F/ 175*C. Remove the pie crust oven and allow it to chill at room temperature.
To a clean bowl of the food processor, add the coconut cream, cashews, condensed milk, lime juice & zest, matcha, vanilla, and salt. Blend everything until smooth and creamy.
Now pour the pie filling into a small/ medium saucepan and put the heat on low.
Stir and heat up the pie filling, until it starts to bubble a bit (1-2 minutes). Then add in the cornstarch and whisk it up, making sure to break up any clumps. It should start to significantly thicken.
Pour the key lime pie filling into the pie crust. Use a spoon or spatula to level out the top.
Refrigerate the pie for 6+ hours, or overnight.
When the pie is done chilling, take it out at room temperature and top it with vegan coconut whipped cream for some added tropical coconut flavor. Slice the pie and dig into the creamy texture and enjoy!
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How to store the key lime pie
If you have any leftovers, make sure to store them in the fridge. You can cut up the pie into pieces and place them in an airtight container, or you can cover the whole pie with plastic wrap and store it that way.
The Best Vegan Key Lime Pie Recipe (Easy, No-Bake)
- food processor
- tart pan
- 1 cup coconut cream Refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight. Then when you open it, scoop out only the solid part that has formed at the top. This is your coconut cream.
- ½ cup cashews Soak the cashews overnight in water, or if you forget, soak them in boiling water for 1 hour before making the recipe.
- 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk 7.4 oz
- ½ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoon lime zest When zesting the limes, make sure to just zest the green part. The white zest underneath is very bitter.
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder optional, for color
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 150 grams vegan graham cracker cookies I used Biscoff
- 3 ½ tablespoon vegan butter
- To a food processor or high-speed blender, add the vegan graham crackers and pulse them until they form a powder.
- Then add in the melted vegan butter and pulse until it is combined with the crushed cookies.
- Grease a pie pan with coconut oil, then transfer the cookie crust to the pie pan.
- Using your hands, a spoon, or the flat bottom of a measuring cup, press down the cookie crust into the pan. Lift some of it up onto the edges as well.
- Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes at 350*F/ 175*C. Remove from oven and allow the crust to chill.
- To a clean bowl of the food processor, add the coconut cream, cashews, condensed milk, lime juice & zest, matcha, vanilla, and salt.
- Blend for several minutes, until you get a super creamy and smooth texture.
- Now pour the pie filling into a small/ medium saucepan and put the heat on low.
- Stir and heat up the pie filling, until it starts to bubble a bit (1-2 minutes). Then add in the cornstarch and whisk it up, making sure to break up any clumps.
- Pour the key lime pie filling into the pie crust. Use a spoon or spatula to level out the top.
- Refrigerate the pie for 6+ hours, or overnight. It will need this time to fully harden.
- Once the pie is ready, slice it up, top it with vegan coconut whipped cream, lime wedges, and lime zest and enjoy!