Key Lime Desserts have been around for over 100 years…so obviously, a lot of people love them! I am one of those people. I love the tart, tangy brightness of the limes mixed with the rich, creamy goodness of the cream cheese filling…and it is all set off perfectly with a graham cracker crust. Yum! There are tons of different recipes for Key Lime Pie…baked, not baked, with eggs, without eggs, whipped cream on top, meringue on top…the possibilities are endless. But they all have one thing in common…they all taste great! Today, I am going to show you a super quick, super easy way to make key lime desserts. I love to serve them in little mason jars because they are the perfect size for these rich desserts.
First, let me mention that you can make these two different ways. You can make them WITH lime curd on top, or without. If you want to make them WITH the lime curd (and why wouldn’t you?!?), just click on my quick Key Lime Curd recipe…and make a batch of it first. It is ready in less than 10 minutes and it will add a ton of yumminess to these little desserts. Or you can leave it off, and these desserts are actually still really good…but the curd really sets them apart.
So first, we are going to make the crust. It is a simple mixture of butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Just cream the butter and sugar together and then mix in the graham cracker crumbs on the lowest setting of your hand mixer. Put about 1 tablespoon of the crust mixture in each of twelve small mason jars. The ones I use are about 3” high and work perfectly for this.
Next, you are going to beat the cream cheese until it’s fluffy and smooth, then add sweetened condensed milk, and beat again. Once it is creamy and well mixed, add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes to make sure everything is well blended and perfectly smooth and creamy. Then, just fill your little jars almost to the top. If you are adding the lime curd on top, be sure to leave about 1/4″ of space at the top so it will fit.
Then, just add a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs and a wedge of lime…and you are done! You can eat these right away, but they are actually better if you let them chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. If you are going to be serving them at a later time, just leave off the whipped cream on top, put the lids on the jars and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to serve. They keep really well and will look perfectly fresh when you open them.
One last note…if you cannot find key limes or key lime juice to make this dessert, you can certainly use regular limes and regular lime juice instead. It will still be yummy, but it will be a slightly different flavor than the typical key lime dessert is known for. Enjoy!
“Dessert is like a feel-good song, and the best ones make you dance.” – Chef Edward Lee
Salty kisses and sandy hugs! xoxo – Michele
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 8 Tbs butter, diced
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- ⅓ cup key lime juice (use regular lime juice if key lime is not available)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- zest of one lime
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cream butter an sugar together with hand mixer
- Add graham cracker crumbs and mix using lowest speed on mixer
- Press 1 Tbs of crust mixture into bottoms of small mason jars
- Beat cream cheese with hand mixer until fluffy and completely smooth
- Add condensed milk and beat until creamy
- Add lime juice, sugar, lime zest and vanilla extract
- Mix until creamy and completely smooth
- Fill jars approximately ¼ inch from the top with filling
- If using lime curd, add ¼" of curd on top of filling
- Put a dollop of whipped cream on top of each dessert
- Garnish with graham cracker crumbs and lime wedges
- For best flavor, chill for 1-2 hours before serving
- If serving much later, leave off topping and garnish, put lids on jars until serving time
- This can also be made in an 8x8 pan if you prefer not to use the small jars