Key Lime Pie Recipe (Gluten-Free & Paleo) - Dr. Axe

Key Lime Pie Recipe


Key lime pie makes me think of spending warm, sunny days with my family in Florida. This creamy, sweet and acidic pie provides bold flavors and health benefits, too. In fact, limes are thought to boost your immune system and even help improve the health of your heart.

When mixed with condensed coconut milk, gluten-free arrowroot flour and maple syrup, the lime juice used in this key lime pie recipe creates a thick and creamy texture that makes this pie so popular. And at only 12 grams of sugar per slice, that’s around one-third the typical slice you’d get in a store or restaurant.

If you’ve tried my gluten-free lemon meringue pie or my vegan banana cream pie, this one has to be next on your list. Not only is it decadent looking, because of the vibrant sliced limes on top, but it’s also absolutely delicious.

What Is Key Lime Pie?

Traditionally, key lime pie is made with juice from the small key limes that grow throughout Florida. Compared to the Persian limes that we see year-round in our grocery stores, key limes are smaller, lighter and more acidic.

Key limes also have a stronger aroma than Persian limes and are known for their unique flavor. Although the scientific name for key limes is Citrus aurantiifolia, they’ve become known as key limes because of their popularity in the Florida Keys.

Key lime pie is traditionally made with a combination of key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, sugar and pie crust that’s made with all-purpose, white flour. In an effort to make my key lime pie recipe as healthy as possible, I use maple syrup as a natural sweetener, condensed coconut milk that provides healthy fats and arrowroot flour that makes my pie gluten-free.

I also typically use lime juice and zest from the Persian limes that you find in your local grocery store in an effort to make this recipe accessible. Plus, the maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt in this recipe contributes greatly to the robust flavor.

Key lime pie recipe ingredients - Dr. Axe

Instead of relying on store-bought pie crusts made with refined sugar and flour, I make my gluten-free pie crust that’s made with gluten-free flours, grass-fed butter, date sugar and eggs.

Did you know that when the acidic lime juice is mixed with the coconut milk and arrowroot flour, it causes a reaction that makes the filling of the pie thicken? This is why key lime pie doesn’t need to be baked. So, give my recipe a try … eating this key lime pie will make you feel like you’re sitting on a sunny patio in Florida.

How to Make Key Lime Pie

Your first step in preparing this key lime pie is to combine 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Simply whisk the starch and oil for about a minute until it creates a roux.

Key lime pie recipe step 1 - Dr. Axe

Next, add 2 cups of evaporated or condensed coconut milk (or you can substitute cream of coconut). You want to whisk this mixture continuously until it thickens and forms a custard-like consistency. This should take about 10 minutes of whisking.

Now add in ½ cup of key lime juice, 1 teaspoon of lime zest, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ cup of maple syrup and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.

Key lime pie recipe step 3 - Dr. Axe

Keep whisking the mixture for about five minutes until it becomes even thicker.

Well, that was easy, wasn’t it? Your pie filling is done. Now, just pour it into your gluten-free pie crust and allow it to cool.

Key lime pie recipe step 5 - Dr. Axe

Once it’s cool, chill your pie in the freezer for about an hour. I like to top my key lime pie with two to three sliced limes for garnish. This is a really colorful finishing touch.

Key lime pie recipe - Dr. Axe

And just like that, your key lime pie is ready to enjoy!

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Key lime pie recipe - Dr. Axe

Key Lime Pie Recipe

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Key lime pie makes me think of spending warm, sunny days with my family in Floria. This creamy, sweet and acidic pie provides bold flavors and it’s also an accessible, healthy version that everyone will appreciate!


  • 1 Gluten-Free Pie Crust
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cups evaporated or condensed coconut milk (or cream of coconut)
  • ½ cup key lime juice (or use regular limes)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 23 limes, sliced for garnishing


  1. First, make up the gluten-free pie crust using my recipe. (Or make your own type of crust.)
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine arrowroot and coconut oil. Whisk to create roux.
  3. After about one minute, add coconut milk. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens into a custard-like consistency, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add lime juice, lime zest, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until mixture thickens even more, about five minutes.
  5. Pour mixture into pie crust and allow to cool, then chill the rest of the way in the freezer, about one hour.
  6. Top with sliced lime for garnish and serve.


Did you know that when the acidic lime juice is mixed with the coconut milk and arrowroot flour, it causes a reaction that makes the filling of the pie thicken? This is why key lime pie doesn’t need to be baked.

  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 12.4g
  • Sodium: 228mg
  • Fat: 30.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 23.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.5g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 2.2g
  • Cholesterol: 54mg

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  1. Lisa on

    I made this and did exactly as the recipe said. My pie filling was not yellow like your photos. Mine was brown from the maple syrup and the brown coconut sugar. Also, it never did thicken to the point of being sliceable. It remained like a thick liquid that I had to spoon out and eat with a spoon. The taste is good. Just like key lime pie. But the color and consistency is far from what it should be.

  2. Lesleyannefaith on

    Evaporated milk is quite different from condensed milk, so I wonder about the amounts. I’m sure they are NOT interchangeable. I’d love to see replies to peoples questions. Thank you

  3. Harold Gray on

    On my first attempt I failed to add the maple syrup…the maple syrup is only mentioned in the directions section and omitted in the first section of the directions…a little confusing to me.

    Perhaps you will consider adding the addition of maple syrup in the first set of directions with the lime juice, lime zest, vanilla, and sea salt.

    Thanks much for the recipe all the same.

    Much appreciated,

    Harold Gray

    • Harold Gray on

      Resolved my issue with maple syrup – I added it to whip cream for a topping decorated with quartered slices of lime…
      turned out pretty good…
      thanks much for the recipe and the maple flavored whip cream😊

  4. Cindy on

    Great recipe. I look forward to making this.
    I wasn’t aware of using arrowroot to make a roux. Always added it to cold liquid and heated it to thicken.
    Learn something new every day!

  5. Susan on

    You say use evaporated or condensed coconut milk. And then to use a half a cup of maple syrup. Isn’t the condensed coconut milk a lot sweeter than the evaporated Coconut milk? How does a half a cup of maple syrup effect the recipe? In the written out recipe on how to make the pie you do not add the syrup. Thanks Can’t wait to make the recipe..

  6. Nancy Fellows on

    For me, maple syrup is too many sugars so I will try it with monk fruit instead. Sounds good otherwise. Thanks,

  7. Lori on

    I’ve made a very similar recipe using lite coconut milk in can; (less fat) but add a mashed avocado after cooking before pouring into crust.

  8. Gerise on

    I’ve never seen condensed coconut milk. Is it generally in health food stores or something you make yourself? Also, I’d love to do a crustless version and just pour in ramekins. Do you see any problem with that?

  9. Pamela Shorland on

    I love to enjoy Key Lime Pie whenever I see it at a cafe.
    Wow!…I thought, now I finally have a paleo recipe for it….but no 🙁
    Here in Australia we do not have condensed or evaporated coconut milk.
    Are you able to share how to make the condensed/evaporated coconut milk, or could I just use normal coconut milk?
    Perhaps I just need to add more sweetener to the coconut milk?

    • Cheryl WRIGHT on

      I saw this recipe online you just add honey or maples syrup ! The recipe calls for maple syrup so maybe it is ok if you just use that !

  10. Cindy Hammett on

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I have read through the recipe, Ingredient List and How To Make The Key Lime Pie Recipe. I do not see in which of the specific steps you are adding the 1/2 Cup of Maple Syrup. I would like to try this recipe, but don’t know where to add in the Maple Syrup. It seems you are very specific on when the ingredients are to be added and then whisked. Could you specify in what step you would add the Maple Syrup. Thank you.

    • Pamela Shorland on

      Hi Cindy,
      The recipe states maple syrup is added at step 3,
      along with the lime juice & zest, vanilla & salt.
      Good luck.


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