Key lime pie is traditionally made with dairy, specifically condensed milk, which is a key ingredient in the filling. However, making a dairy-free version of the key lime pie is possible by substituting the condensed milk with a dairy-free alternative. Many dairy-free alternatives to condensed milk are available, such as coconut milk or almond milk-based condensed milk.
Traditional Key Lime Pie Ingredients
A traditional key lime pie consists of a few simple ingredients. Here’s a basic list.
- Graham cracker crumbs (or crushed digestive biscuits)
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter, melted
- Key lime juice (preferably from fresh key limes, but bottled juice can also be used)
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Egg yolks
- Grated zest of key limes (optional for added flavor)
- Whipped cream (heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract)
- Lime slices or zest for garnish
Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie Recipe
The recipe below is dairy-free and vegan.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or crushed digestive biscuits)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 1 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- 14 ounces of dairy-free sweetened condensed milk (e.g., coconut milk-based condensed milk)
- 1/2 cup silken tofu, blended until smooth
- Grated zest of 2 key limes (optional)
- 1 cup chilled coconut cream, whipped
- Lime slices or zest for garnish
- Start by preheating the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted vegan butter in a medium bowl. Press the mixture gently and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove and let it cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together key lime juice, dairy-free sweetened condensed milk, blended silken tofu, and key lime zest (if using) until smooth and well combined.
- Add the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is set but still slightly jiggly in the center.
- Remove the pie and let it cool at room temperature. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight to set.
- If using the optional topping, whip the chilled coconut cream until it forms soft peaks. Spread or pipe the whipped coconut cream on top of the chilled pie. Garnish with lime slices or zest as per your taste.
- Serve the dairy-free key lime pie chilled, and enjoy!
Dairy-Free Substitutes for Making Key Lime Pie
Milk substitutes for sweetened condensed milk
Coconut milk-based sweetened condensed milk: This is a popular option because it’s thick, creamy, and has a slightly sweet flavor that complements the tartness of the key lime pie well.
Almond milk-based sweetened condensed milk: This dairy-free option has a mild & nutty flavor that tastes great in a key lime pie.
Soy milk-based sweetened condensed milk: This dairy-free alternative has a slightly thicker consistency than almond milk and can be used in key lime pie.
Homemade sweetened condensed milk: You can make your dairy-free sweetened condensed milk using your preferred plant-based milk (e.g., oat, cashew, or rice milk) combined with sugar and a thickening agent such as cornstarch or tapioca starch.
Butter substitutes for the crust
Vegan butter or margarine: Many brands offer dairy-free butter alternatives made from a blend of oils. Choose a high-quality vegan butter with a good flavor and consistency for the best results.
Coconut oil: This can be used as a 1:1 substitute for butter in the crust. Opt for refined coconut oil to avoid any coconut flavor in your pie.
Vegetable shortening: Shortening has a similar texture to butter and can be used in the crust, but it lacks the rich flavor of butter. You can add some salt to the crust mixture to enhance the taste.
Remember that the texture and flavor of the pie may vary slightly depending on the specific dairy-free substitutes you choose.
Dairy-Free Pies other than Key Lime Pie
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cream Pie
A rich and velvety chocolate filling made with dairy-free milk and chocolate, this pie is easy to make but may require slightly more time for the filling to set compared to key lime pie.
Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is a classic autumn favorite with a smooth, spiced filling made with pureed pumpkin and dairy-free milk. It’s easier to key lime pie but has a warmer, spiced flavor profile.
Dairy-Free Coconut Cream Pie
With a creamy, coconut-infused filling, this pie is slightly easier to make than key lime pie because it doesn’t require baking. However, it needs time to chill and set in the refrigerator.
Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie
A tangy lemon filling topped with fluffy meringue, this pie is similar in taste to key lime pie but requires more effort due to the meringue component, which needs to be whipped and baked separately.
Dairy-Free Apple Pie
Made with a flaky pastry crust and a sweet, cinnamon-spiced apple filling, this pie is more time-consuming to prepare than key lime pie due to the peeling and slicing of apples, but it offers a comforting, classic flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Pies do not Contain Dairy?
Many fruit pies like apple, peach, or cherry can be made without dairy. Look for dairy-free alternatives like vegan chocolate cream or coconut cream pies for creamy pies.
Is Dairy-Free Key Lime Pie Good for You?
While it’s a healthier option than traditional key lime pie, it’s still a dessert and it is high in sugar and fat. Hence, it is better to eat in moderation.
Is Key Lime Pie Vegan?
Traditional key lime pie is not vegan, containing condensed milk and eggs. However, you can find or create vegan key lime pie recipes using dairy-free and egg-free substitutes.
Is Key Lime Pie Vegetarian?
Yes, traditional key lime pie is vegetarian, as it does not contain meat or fish products but includes dairy and eggs, which are allowed in a vegetarian diet.
Is Key Lime Pie Gluten-Free?
The standard crust is made with graham crackers or biscuits containing gluten. To make a gluten-free key lime pie, use a gluten-free crust with gluten-free cookies or almond flour.
What things can you serve with Key Lime Pie?
Serve key lime pie with whipped cream, fresh berries, or a fruit coulis. Try pairing it with a scoop of sorbet or coconut ice cream for a fun twist.
Should I Serve Key Lime Pie Warm or Cold?
Key lime pie is typically served chilled, allowing the filling to set and develop a creamy, smooth texture.
Can I Freeze Key Lime Pie?
Yes, you can freeze key lime pie. Wrap it in a plastic or aluminum foil, and place it in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.