Think you can’t whip evaporated milk? It’s Easy with this Frozen Key Lime Pie!


Written by Chris

Easy Frozen Key Lime Pie

Creating this key lime pie recipe took me back to when I first started working for Nestlé (let’s just say it was a long, long time ago!). My first assignment was to determine if evaporated milk could be whipped. Short answer: yes, it can!

Not many people actually know this. In fact, when we were photographing this recipe, the food stylist had serious doubts whether this recipe would actually work – she hadn’t whipped evaporated milk before. She prepared a total of 6 pies just to be sure we could find that perfect slice. Well, as it turned out, we only needed one pie. This recipe is a breeze to put together and it holds very well in the freezer. You might be wondering what we did with all the extra pies…we ate them. Every. Last. Pie. Hey, there were light!

Easy Frozen Key Lime Pie, shown at top

Ingredients for 10 servings:


POUR evaporated milk into small mixer bowl; place beaters in same bowl. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until ice crystals form around edge of bowl.

BEAT at high speed until evaporated milk doubles in volume. Beat in sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and grated lime peel. Spoon into crust.

FREEZE for 6 hours or until firm. Garnish each slice of pie with lime slice. Cover any leftover pie and freeze for up to 1 week.

Cook’s Tip: Two prepared (6 ounces each) graham cracker crusts may be used in place of 9-ounce crust. Makes 16 servings.

This pie is a perfect summer pie, especially for holidays and celebrations. The last Monday in May, and the weekend preceding it, has come to mark the unofficial beginning of summer. It’s also a time when we pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service and those who serve today. So as we spend time with friends and family on this long holiday weekend, let’s keep those that serve our country close to heart.


Related Pie Recipes:

Pumpkin Mousse Ice Cream Pie recipe
Pumpkin Mousse Ice Cream Pie
Frozen Lemonade Pie recipe
Frozen Lemonade Pie



  1. Posted May 27, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting, but if you plan to refrigerate it… might as well use heavy whipping cream, which makes it better though less authentic.

    The historical development of condensed and it’s cousin evaporated milk is an interesting one… although in the age of refrigeration seems like a historical footnote.

    • Posted May 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your comments Roger! You are correct; this pie is authentic because it is frozen. I haven’t seen too many frozen key lime pies out there! And you can cut a lot of fat/calories by using lowfat evaporated milk. If you aren’t concerned with the nutrition angle and you plan to refrigerate, not freeze, yes, I am sure whipped cream will bring you excellent results.

      Have a great Memorial Day weekend,

  2. Posted May 28, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Just yesterday I was looking for an easy key lime pie recipe…Good thing I didn’t decide on one yet. Glad I found this, looks GREAT!

  3. Jane
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have to admit I knew this, but that’s only because I collect vintage cookbooks.

  4. Posted March 24, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi! Do you think the whipped evaporated milk can be used to frost a cake?

  5. Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you very much! The information is really useful 😀

  6. Posted June 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Rather than using sweetened condensed milk, do you think that another can of evaporated milk could be used along with some Splenda for sweetening? I’m concerned about sugar intake. Thanks.

  7. aziza
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    wow i’ve just learnt somting form u..i am surely going to make this..thanks

  8. Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Linda, this is a great question. The sweetened condensed milk plays two roles – it sweetens but it also adds to the creamy & thick (ice cream-like) mouthfeel. If you eliminate the sweetened condensed milk and double/sweeten the evaporated milk I am concerned that it will lose the thick & creamy mouthfeel. It will likely be on the icy side. I am really curious though – we will test this idea out in our test kitchens Monday. If you happen to try sooner, please let me know your results.

  9. Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m really interested to hear about eliminating the sweet. cond. milk too! Do you think you could use fat free evaporated milk to whip?

    • Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi there! I developed the recipe with lowfat evap because it added a little more body, but fat free evap milk can be used. If SCM gets eliminated, you will need to add back sweetener plus flavor with lime juice. If too much acid (lime juice in this case) is added, it can curdle the evap milk. The SCM acts as a buffer in this way. The SCM also adds a really nice ice cream-like mouthfeel when frozen. Having said that, I am still going to test this idea out on Monday when I am back in the test kitchen. I am thinking of trying this recipe w/o vanilla, plus lime juice. A little gelatin may do the trick! Stay tuned… I will share my results.

  10. Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Back with some results…
    I whipped the lowfat evap milk as the recipe states, but I also incorporated 1 cup Splenda for Baking – this is all we had on hand. (This is the sweetener that can be measured/used 1:1 in the same way as sugar.) I stirred in the lime peel and juice then spooned it into the crust. It froze beautifully. The level of sweetness was just right, but the mouth feel was lacking. This was more like a key lime ice milk. In a pinch, this works… but I do recommend using the sweetened condensed milk for optimal results. I could use a slice now!

  11. Gail Axtell
    Posted November 14, 2011 at 6:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    It’s not Key Lime Pie unless you use Key Lime juice. You can’t use the regular Persian limes we are familiar with. Key limes are very small and only available fresh at certain times of the year. You can get bottled Key Lime juice. It is a fair substitute. But don’t call it Key Lime pie if you don’t use Key Lime Juice. And the end result is yellow, not green.

    • Posted November 14, 2011 at 7:02 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Gail, thanks for your comment. Key limes are in fact used in this recipe and in the recipe image (if you look closely, you will see that the pie is not green and that the only green is coming from the zest). We juiced A LOT of key limes for this recipe! 🙂 Regular limes do work and that is why we specify “lime juice” in the recipe ingredients. We know key limes aren’t always readily available (and it’s time consuming to juice them) and we want consumers to know that regular limes work just fine.

  12. madeitwithlove
    Posted November 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I wish we could have a Carnation cream which could be used for piping flowers and for frosting. Now there’s an idea worth developing!

  13. elvis
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Can I make the pie without freezing it?
    Usually I make a cool whip based key lime pie recipe which you refrigerate.

    • Posted June 22, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Elvis,
      This pie does need to be frozen. If refrigerated, it will likely deflate and make a big mess (it will still taste great though!).

  14. nineyverney1
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    It’s not a key lime pie unless you use KEY lime juice. It’s just a lime pie. Key limes are as small as marbles, are very hard and the skin is yellowish. There is a season for them, just a few months, they are not always available You can buy the key lime juice bottled in the grocery store, but is has to be KEY Lime juice. Otherwise it is not an authentic key lime pie.

    • Posted June 22, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink | Reply

      Fresh key limes were used in this recipe, but seeing that they are small and you need a lot of them, we indicate you can use regular limes (this is what most people will do anyway). Regular limes work just fine, and in my opinion, are spectacular in this recipe.

      • nineyverney1
        Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink

        If you have ever been to the Florida Keys and tasted a real, authentic Key lime pie, then you would know what I am saying. Persian limes don’t taste the same as Key limes. The pie made with Persian limes may taste great, but it won’t taste like an authentic Key lime pie. It will just be a lime pie. There is a difference and it is misleading to your readers to call it a Key lime pie when it is not made with Key limes.

      • madeitwithlove
        Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

        I’d love to taste real Key lime pie, but in the absence of Key limes we just have to make do with what is available. I’ve never ever seen Key limes in the UK, so I guess I will never know how the real deal tastes!

      • nineyverney1
        Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:59 am | Permalink

        madeitwithlove Look in your supermarket in the juice aisle for bottled Key lime juice. Better, bigger stores should have it. Chris is right when she says real Key limes are small and hard to juice. A pretty authentic Key lime pie is produced by Edward’s, and is available in the frozen pie section here in the States. You could also Google for a shop in Florida that will ship an authentic Key lime pie to you overnight.

      • madeitwithloce
        Posted June 23, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Thanks for your comments, but the problem is I have never seen Key lime juice here in England in our juice aisles, and I wouldn’t want to go to the expense of shipping products over from the States. The Edwards brand you mentioned is not available here, but to be honest, I don’t like eating commercially prepared desserts. I’m strictly a home bake from scratch person, however if the opportunity ever arises I will be sure to try real Key lime pie (home made of course!), thank you for your interest and suggestions.

    • marimarmaza
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been making this recipe for years with both tipes of limes (which ever I have on hand) and they taste just as good. In my opinion they taste the same!

    • marimarmaza
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been making this recipe for years with both tipes of limes (which ever one I have on hand) , and the result is just the same. Delicious!

  15. madeitwithlove
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    O mg, recipe sounds too good to miss, this is definitely a keeper. Thank you, yummies!!!

  16. alice
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hello, I am looking for a lime pie that I can bake, I do not have eggs or sour cream, all I have is evaporated milk and the sweetened condensed milk. I also do not have refrigeration available to me at this time. ( I live in a country that is very simple) So I was wondering if I could bake this and it still hold its shape and have a firm texture.

    • Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Alice – I really don’t think you can make a “baked” pie using the ingredients for this recipe. This is really meant to be a no-bake pie. I do think it’s possible to make lime bars though (you would just need the sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk). Or perhaps maybe consider making Magic Bars? You could use a graham crust, top with sweetened condensed milk, then sprinkle with about 2 cups of chocolate morsels, 1 cup of shredded coconut and about 1 cup of chopped nuts. This would bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. I hope this helps.

  17. Jenna
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Can u make a whipped topping with sweetened condensed milk? if so how? thanks!

    • Posted February 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jenna! Sweetened condensed milk won’t whip, but you can sweeten whipped cream with it. Just beat 1 cup of whipping cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Hope this helps!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Frozen Key Lime Pie […]

  2. […] Think you can’t whip evaporated milk? It’s Easy with … – 27/5/2010 · Think you can’t whip evaporated milk? It’s Easy with this Frozen Key Lime Pie!… […]

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