Recipe Review

I Tried the 4-Ingredient Cheater Key Lime Pie, and It’s an Ingenious No-Bake Dessert

published Jun 23, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Lime Cracker pie piece on plate with fork cutting out bite.
Credit: Lena Abraham

This four-ingredient dessert from J. Kenji López-Alt is one of those recipes that sounds too good to be true. Because it’s unbelievably easy to put together (you don’t even need to whip cream!) and features ingredients I can source from my local corner store, I didn’t need much convincing to give this dessert a shot. 

The recipe originally came from López-Alt’s wife’s aunt, who makes it with Dulcales, a square buttery Colombian cracker that has a similar flavor to Ritz. After a bit of poking around on the internet looking for the inspiration for this dish, I realized I’ve had a very similar dessert — Carlota De Limón — which is made with Maria cookies. More convinced than before that this recipe would be delicious, I got right to work.

Credit: Lena Abraham

How to Make Lime Cracker Pie

In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and freshly squeezed lime juice. It should become thick, like the texture of cake batter, after 30 seconds to one minute of whisking.

In the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate or 11-inch oval casserole dish, spread some of the filling in an even layer. Top this layer with a single layer of Ritz crackers, and continue to layer filling and crackers, ending on a layer of filling, until you are out of filling.

Sprinkle the top of the pie with fresh lime zest, then refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Credit: Lena Abraham

My Honest Review of Lime Cracker Pie

With nicely salty cake-like layers nestled between zesty, ultra-creamy filling, it’s essentially a shortcut key lime pie — and a good one, at that. After sitting overnight in the refrigerator, the pie is easy to cleanly slice (or scoop); the crackers provide structural support, while the filling remains smooth and creamy. It’s rich, yet features bright, refreshing flavors — it’s a perfect dessert for a dinner party. I loved it!

3 Tips for Making Lime Cracker Pie

  1. Anything can be a serving dish. As with many icebox cakes, this pie does not require any specific shape or size of serving dish. Any combination of high-sided dishes like bowls, ramekins, or even glassware can be used to build this dessert.
  2. Make it in advance if you can. This pie is really good after sitting for just 2 hours, but it’ll be at its best if it sits overnight in the fridge. Not only does the texture of the crackers become more cake-like, but it also takes on a more intense (read: delicious) lime flavor.
  3. Double down on the citrus with extra lime zest. Adding a sprinkle of lime zest after each layer of filling will help distribute and amp up that zingy flavor that makes this dessert really sing.