Gluten Free Key Lime Pie is perfectly tart and sweet, creamy, and refreshing. No one will notice that it doesn’t have sweetened condensed milk, is gluten free, and even vegan!
As you are reading this post Paul and I are on our way to South Carolina….by car. Yes, we are road tripping it all the way from Iowa to South Carolina! And I don’t mean that we are making frequent stops to do any sightseeing; we are on a tight schedule so we are only making stops when absolutely needed. Someone please save me!
Once we arrive in South Carolina it will be worth it. Long lazy beach days spent reading, hammocking (that’s so a word now!), swimming in the ocean, hanging out with my family, and eating delicious food – because there are always tons and tons of amazing food when my family is involved. I better go on a lot of walks, maybe a few runs!
It’s perfect that this post about Gluten Free Key Lime Pie is going live as we are traveling to South Carolina – because it’s the whole reason I made it! My dad is gluten intolerant, which is part of the reason I do a lot of gluten free recipes on the blog. One of his favorite desserts of all time is key lime pie, the ultimate summer dessert. Usually we buy a frozen key lime pie and it satisfies our craving, but it is pretty darn hard to find frozen or pre-made key lime pie that is gluten free. Last year, my dad was pretty disappointed when he couldn’t have his slice of key lime pie. I would be, too, so I got to work!
My goals for making a Gluten Free Key Lime Pie:
- The crust had to be gluten free (obviously)
- For the filling I wanted to ditch the sweetened condensed milk – I try to avoid refined sugars as much as possible and prefer to be in control of the level of sweetness.
- It needed to be simple to make – I don’t want to spend an entire day baking a pie while on vacation.
The first goal wasn’t too difficult – there are so many gluten free crusts out there, but I wanted it to taste like a traditional graham cracker crust. I slightly adapted Minimalist Baker’s recipe for Almond Oat Crust. It’s simple to make, is gluten free, and tastes very similar to a traditional graham cracker crust. It’s perfect with the key lime pie! Thanks, Dana!
The second goal was a little more challenging. A traditional key lime pie filling is made with sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and heavy cream. There really isn’t a one-for-one substitute for sweetened condensed milk. This is when I decided it might be just as easy to make the filling dairy free/vegan. It took me a few tries – 4th time is the charm – but I finally got it right. The filling is a combo of coconut cream from canned coconut milk, coconut oil, agave nectar for sweetness, lime juice and zest, and arrowroot starch for a little extra thickness.
The third goal was easily achieved when I decided to make it vegan. No baking is required (well, except for the crust, but we can handle that). All you do is add the filling ingredients to a small sauce pot, heat them up a little and run the mix through a blender so the oils don’t separate. Pour into your already-baked crust, refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours and then dig in – okay, waiting for it to set is the hard part!
One more note about this Gluten Free Key Lime Pie:
I did not use key limes. I used big, fat, full-sized limes! Before the key lime pie police who live in Key West, Florida come and arrest me, just hear me out. You can’t always find key limes in the summer, which is when we most want key lime pie, right? Also, key limes are so tiny that it takes you forever and a day to squeeze enough juice from them. So let’s make life easier and just use regular limes, agreed? I did test one of the recipes with the real key limes and guess what? I didn’t notice one difference between the two! Shocker, I know! If you can get your hands on those cute little key limes and you want to be all legit and rock, go ahead, but if you’re in a hurry I give you permission to use regular limes. Trust me, I have had key lime pie in Key West, so I know what key lime pie should taste like.
Friends, I know you will love this Gluten Free Key Lime Pie. It’s:
Easy to make
Doesn’t taste like coconut, despite all the coconut cream in the recipe
And is the perfect treat for summer!
If you give this recipe a try, don’t forget to leave a comment below and rate it! I hope you are enjoying your summer!
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 4½ to 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3 cans full-fat coconut milk, placed in the refrigerator 2 days ahead*
- ½ cup coconut water reserved from draining the cans of coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Pinch fine sea salt
- ⅓ to ½ cup agave nectar (or honey), depending on preferred sweetness
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch**
- 1 tablespoon lime zest / key lime zest, reserved (2 small limes, or 4 key limes)
- Juice of 3-4 large limes or 15 key limes (1/2 cup of juice). (I used a 1 pound bag of key limes)
- Optional: Top with coconut whipped cream, fresh lime zest, and lime wedges
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 inch pie plate, set aside.
- Add oats, almonds, salt, cinnamon, and coconut sugar to a food processor. Process until a fine meal forms, about the consistency of sand.
- Add the melted coconut oil, starting with the 4½ tablespoons. Pulse until a loose dough forms. You should be able to squeeze the dough and it should hold together very nicely. If too dry add a little more coconut oil.
- Transfer the crust to the greased pie plate. Spread evenly and press down firmly using a flat-bottomed object like a measuring cup. The dough should be well packed and should come up the sides of the pie plate, about halfway but not all the way up the sides. If the crust gets too thin it becomes crumbly for slicing. Use your clean fingers to shape and carefully pack the edges of the crust.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then increase the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove and allow the crust to mostly cool.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Two days prior to making the key lime pie place all three cans of full fat coconut milk in the coldest part of your fridge (back of the fridge).
- While your crust is baking remove the cans of full-fat coconut milk from the fridge, turn them upside down and open the can. Pour the coconut water into a container, reserving 1/2 cup of it for the recipe (reserve the rest of the coconut water for other recipes or for using in smoothies, or discard). Once the coconut water has been drained off, flip the can back over and open the other end. Both ends should be open. Use a spoon or knife to push / scoop the solidified coconut cream into a small sauce pot. Repeat this process with the other two cans of coconut milk. The total amount of coconut cream should roughly equal 2½ cups when measured.*
- To the sauce pot also add the reserved ½ cup coconut water, coconut oil, sea salt, and agave nectar. Turn the heat on to medium and stir until all of the coconut cream is melted; do not allow it to come to a simmer or a boil. Once the coconut cream is warm and melted remove from the heat. (If the oils are still separating at this point, that's okay).
- Add the arrowroot starch to a small bowl. Scoop some of the warm coconut liquid mixture into the bowl with the arrowroot starch and use a fork or whisk it thoroughly until no lumps remain (some small ones are okay). Gradually whisk the arrowroot mixture into the coconut cream mixture.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the coconut cream mixture together, about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until all of the oils are blended together (this creates an emulsion so that the oils don't separate). Alternatively you can transfer the mixture to a blender to blend, being careful to work in batches, only filling your blender half way at a time to prevent an explosion. Allow the filling to cool mostly to room temperature.
- Once the filling has cooled stir in the lime juice and reserved lime zest. At this point taste the filling and adjust to taste. Add a little more agave nectar if you want it to be sweeter or add a little more lime zest for more tartness.
- Pour the filling into the prepared, cooled crust. Cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the pie filling to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to chill for 6 to 8 hours or until set.
- Minutes before serving remove the plastic wrap from the fridge and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the filling. Garnish with fresh lime zest, if desired. Place your pie into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to make the pie a little easier to slice. Carefully run a butter knife around the edge of the crust to loosen. Cut the pie into wedges. Garnish with coconut whip and lime wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Store leftover pie well covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. The pie tends to become soft and melty the longer it sits out at room temperature or in the heat, so keep the pie stored in the fridge right after serving.
Also, if you can find coconut cream which Thai kitchen makes, then use that + 1 regular full-fat can of coconut milk, instead of so many cans of coconut milk. You just want about 2½ cups of the coconut cream total.
**You may be able to sub corn starch for the arrowroot starch. However, I have not tested it, so I cannot guarantee the results.
Prep time does not include hands off time needed for the cans of coconut milk to chill in advance or the pie to chill after assembly.
Crust slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker.
Pie filling heavily adapted from Martha Stewart
Nutrition Facts are calculated for 1 out of 8 slices of pie, without coconut whipped cream.