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Rich, ultra-creamy, and bursting with tropical sweet-tart citrusy goodness, my No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake Pie is a summertime dessert miracle. This easy recipe takes just 10 minutes of prep and 8 simple ingredients to make, but it’ll taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. One bite and you’ll fall in love with this zesty key lime no bake dessert!

“This was really good! I bought an extra large graham cracker crust and doubled the cheesecake filling. What couldn’t fit in the pie crust I served as a dessert dip and served it with graham crackers and waffle cones. Topped my pie with an extra creamy cool whip and fresh lime zest. I was AMAZING! Wish I made two pies because it was gone in seconds. I will definitely make this again. Thanks.”

– TINA
Overhead photo of a no bake cheesecake with key lime.

Updated: This recipe was originally published in August 2022. I made updates to the article below to include more information about making key lime no bake cheesecake at home. 

About this recipe for no bake key lime pie

With recent record-breaking high temperatures sweeping the globe, even the idea of turning on my oven makes me sweat. Luckily, I’ve discovered a simple way to make my favorite summer dessert without ANY heating elements necessary. 

This recipe for no-bake key lime pie comes together in an instant thanks to a few smart supermarket hacks. Using a combination of marshmallow fluff, defrosted frozen whipped topping, and cream cheese gives the pie filling a thick, custardy consistency without any eggs or cooking!

Think thick, citrusy mousse meets cheesecake – super smooth, rich, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth texture with a sweet, tangy, tart, flavor perfectly reminiscent of the tropical Keys – all nestled in a buttery graham cracker crust. Seriously, friends. It’s. So. Good.

If you’re looking for more simple, no-bake desserts, try these delicious fan-favorites next: Pumpkin Mousse, Tiramisu Trifle, Easy Banana Pudding Recipe, Berry Yogurt Parfait Cups, and Sweet Cream Cheese Dip.

Why you’ll love this easy no bake pie recipe

As if the taste alone weren’t enough, this no bake pie recipe is:

  • Incredible taste! A beautiful balance of sweet and tart flavors, this ultra-creamy, luscious, perfectly rich no-bake pie is everything you want in a summer dessert and more!
  • Takes Just 10 Minutes Of Prep! The longest part of this recipe is waiting for the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  • Requires Only 8 Ingredients. Yes, just eight easy-to-find ingredients, like cream cheese, fluff and key limes or regular limes.
  • Quick & Easy! Minimal prep, a stand mixer does all the work, and there’s no baking required – key lime pie recipes don’t get any more simple than this!
  • Can Easily Be Made Vegan And/Or Gluten-Free! With just a couple substitutions you can easily make this recipe for key lime pie to suit your dietary needs.
Overhead photo of the ingredients in recipe for no bake key lime pie.

What are key limes?

Light yellow in color, packed with seeds, small, spherical, thin-skinned, and brightly aromatic, Key Limes are quite different from the typical Persian limes we tend to get at the store. Also known as Mexican limes or West Indies limes, these little babies only yield about 2-3 teaspoons of juice per fruit, compared with 2-3 tablespoons in a normal lime.

Since they only grow in California and Florida (they get the name key lime from Key West, where they grow abundantly) from June to September, they’re a seasonal treat. It’s true that they grow year-round in Mexico, but their thin skin means they don’t travel or store very well, so you likely won’t find them in the produce aisle outside of summer. 

While you *can* swap in regular Persian limes for Key limes in this recipe, their juice isn’t quite as floral. As such, I recommend purchasing Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice if you can’t find fresh ones and using regular limes for the zest.

Ingredients for no bake cheesecake key lime

As promised, you need just 8 simple ingredients to make my no-bake cheesecake, key lime-style. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cream Cheese – Use full-fat block-style cream cheese for the best flavor. 
    • Substitution: Neufchatel Cheese can be used for a slightly lighter filling. Or you can swap in vegan cream cheese.
  • Marshmallow Fluff – Also known as marshmallow creme, this delightfully sticky sweet dessert topping adds lovely body to the pie filling.
    • Substitution: Homemade vegan marshmallow fluff.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla has much greater depth of flavor than artificial vanilla. 
    • Substitution: You can also use vanilla paste or powder if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Fresh Lime Zest – Citrus zest is chock-full of essential oils and adds a ton of bright flavor to the filling. If you can’t get Key limes, regular limes will work just fine. Just be sure to only zest the green parts; the white pith is quite bitter.
  • Key Lime Juice – Remember that fresh key limes have only 2-3 teaspoons PER LIME, so you’ll need quite a few. You can also buy bottled key lime juice to save on prep time.
    • Substitution: Regular lime juice will work in a pinch, but stick to freshly squeezed for the best flavor. 
  • Kosher Salt – If you’re using finer-grained salt, check out a salt conversion table
  • Frozen Whipped Topping – Commonly sold under the brand name Cool Whip, this stabilized whipped cream-esque substance is pure magic.
    • Substitute: Feel free to swap in a vegan brand, or make your own Cool Whip using gelatin, heavy whipping cream, and sugar. Or swap in any other stabilized whipped cream, with “stabilized” being the key word here. Regular whipped cream won’t be as firm as we need!
  • Graham Cracker Pie Crust – Please note that this recipe calls for a 10-inch crust, NOT the normal 9-inch size. The difference might seem minimal, but the 10-inch pie pan will hold up to 2.5 cups more filling than the 9-inch.
    • Pro-tip: For even more servings, consider buying two 9-inch shells from the store and multiplying the filling ingredients by 1.5 (one and a half).

Key lime pie variations

  • Vegan Variation: Swap in plant-based cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and whipped topping.
  • Gluten-Free Variation: Use a gluten-free crust, or make your own using gluten-free graham crackers. 
  • Pretzel Crust Variation: Go for more of a salty-sweet feel by swapping in pretzels for graham crackers in your crust. 
  • Bars Variation: Use a 9×13 to turn these into no-bake key lime pie bars instead!
Overhead photo of a key lime cheesecake filling inside graham cracker pie crust.

How to make a key lime cheesecake no bake?

This no-bake key lime pie recipe comes together in record time! Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Beat cream cheese: In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until just creamy.
  2. Add marshmallow and vanilla: Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract to the bowl. Beat until just combined.
  3. Add key lime and salt: Add the key lime juice and zest, plus the kosher salt to the bowl. Beat on low to combine.
  4. Fold in cool whip: Add half of the cool whip (or whipped cream) to the bowl. Fold a few times using a rubber spatula. Add the remaining cool whip and continue to fold until just combined.
  5. Pour mixture into crust: Carefully pour the key lime cheesecake filling into the graham cracker crust. Use the rubber or an offset spatula to spread and smooth the top of the pie.
  6. Chill: Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and let the lime pie chill for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight (8+ hours).
  7. Decorate: Decorate the top of your “cheesecake” with dollops of whipped cream (or cool whip frosting), key lime zest, slices of lime, and graham cracker crumbs, if using.
  8. Serve: Slice into 6 or 8 equal-size wedges, serve, and enjoy!

Tips for the best no-bake key lime dessert

  • Cream Cheese: For the smoothest key lime pie filling, please make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before whipping. This takes about 90 minutes at room temperature on the counter.
  • Cool Whip: Make sure you that you thaw the tub of cool whip before proceeding with this lime pie recipe. For the best results, thaw for at least 4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge. If you are in a pinch, you can leave the tub out on the counter for 30 minutes (don’t stir!).
    • DIY Cool Whip: If you want to make your own homemade cool whip that works great, too!
    • Cool Whip Substitution (whipped cream): Please note that homemade or store-bought whipped cream isn’t as stable as Cool Whip; it’s also not as sweet in flavor. However, it will work in a pinch.
      • Homemade whipped cream: Whip 1 cup of COLD Whipping Cream with 2 TBS Confectioner’s Sugar + ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract to stiff peaks!
  • Cool Whip Frosting: For the most stable, creamy pie topping, transform some of your cool whip into frosting – it’s as easy as adding cream of tartar!
    • If you prefer a lighter topping, yogurt whip cant work too; however, it is NOT stable.
  • Crust: If you prefer a crispier crust texture you can bake the graham cracker crust before adding the pie filling. Just make sure the crust is completely cool before proceeding with the recipe.
Overhead photo of a no bake pie cheesecake without any dessert toppings.

FAQ: frequently asked questions

Can you freeze this key lime cheesecake no-bake pie?

Sure! Just hold off on adding the whipped cream topping until you’re ready to serve. To defrost the key lime pie cheesecake, pop it in the fridge overnight.

How does a no bake key lime cheesecake thicken?

Since we aren’t making the traditional custard filling, we rely on making this pie with Cool Whip, marshmallow fluff, and cream cheese to stabilize it.

Is key lime pie cheesecake supposed to be green?

Actually, no. Key limes are rather yellow on the outside (instead of deep green like Persian limes), plus the custard filling is usually made with egg yolks. As a result, traditional key lime pie is more yellow than green! 

In this no-bake version, we use a lot of white ingredients – cream cheese, frozen whipped topping, and marshmallow fluff – so the filling ends up being more of an off-white/ecru color.

Overhead photo of a fully prepared key lime cheesecake from this no bake recipe.

Serving key lime no-bake cheesecake

Once your magical no-bake key lime cheesecake pie has chilled in the fridge for about 3-4 hours, it’s ready to serve. Slice into 6-8 hefty portions and serve!

For added richness, top with some light and fluffy French chantilly crème (a.k.a. homemade sweetened whipped cream). Whip 1 cup of COLD whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) + ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to stiff peaks. Cold is key here — cold fat is more stable than warm fat, so the air pockets caused by whipping will hold better.

If you prefer your pie with a silky dessert sauce, try drizzling your no bake pie with a fruit puree. I personally love strawberry and raspberry sauce here.

The bright, citrusy flavor of the filling and the salty-sweet crust makes this key lime cheesecake a perfect pair for just about any grill-out, Mexican, or Tex-Mex favorites.

Storing key lime cheesecake pie

Once made, this no-bake key lime pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Alternatively, you can store the no bake dessert in your freezer for up to 1 month. To serve from frozen, allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight. 

Straight on photo showcasing the creamy texture of a slice of no bake key lime dessert.

As the great Sloane Crosley – author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake – once said, “Why sit at a table that doesn’t have key lime pie on it if you don’t have to?” I completely agree! And now you don’t even have to turn on the oven to get it there. You’re welcome, friends!

Until next time, friends! Cheers!

Cheyanne

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More key lime recipes!

If you love tart and zesty key limes as much as I do, you’ll want to try these tasty tart recipes next:

Fool-proof recipe for key lime pie cheesecake👇

Overhead photo of no bake key lime pie decorated with cool whip and lime zest.

No Bake Key Lime Pie (Cheesecake)

Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Bright, zesty, and bursting with sweet-tart citrusy goodness, my No-Bake Key Lime Pie is a summertime dessert miracle. This easy pie recipe takes just 10 minutes of prep and 8 simple ingredients to make, but it’ll taste like you spent hours in the hot kitchen!
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Equipment

  • 1 Stand Mixer OR Large Bowl with Electric Mixer
  • 1 Rubber Spatula

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces Full Fat Cream Cheese (block-style) – at room temperature (2 blocks)
  • 14 ounces Marshmallow Fluff OR Marshmallow Crème (2 jars)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Lime Zest – packed & heaping (about 1 medium lime or 3 key limes)
  • ¼ Cup Key Lime Juice (substitute: regular lime juice)
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups Cool Whip – thawed; DIVIDED (144 grams total) (substitute: 1 cup whipping cream whipped to stiff peaks with granulated sugar)
  • 10- inch Graham Cracker Pie Crust (SEE NOTES)
  • Optional Topping: Cool Whip Frosting (substitute: Whipped Cream)
  • Optional Garnish: Key Lime Slices + Zest, Crushed Graham Crackers,

Instructions

  • Beat cream cheese: In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until just creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once.
  • Add marshmallow + vanilla: Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture. Beat on medium for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue to beat on medium for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just combined.
  • Add key lime and salt: Add the key lime juice and zest, plus the kosher salt to the bowl. Beat on low until just combined, about 1 minute.
  • Fold in cool whip: Add HALF of the cool whip to the bowl. Fold a few times using a rubber spatula. Add the remaining cool whip and continue to fold until just combined.
  • Pour mixture into crust: Gently transfer the key lime pie mixture into the graham cracker crust. Use the rubber spatula or an offset spatula to spread and smooth the top of the pie.
  • Chill: Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and let the pie chill for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight (8+ hours).
  • Decorate: Decorate the top of your “cheesecake” with dollops of whipped cream, key lime zest, slices of lime, and graham cracker crumbs, if using.
    (Tip: If you would like to remove the no-bake pie from the pan, please be very careful and do so before you start decorating the top.)
  • Serve: Slice into 6 or 8 equal-size wedges, serve, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Cream Cheese: For the smoothest key lime pie filling, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature BEFORE whipping. This takes about 90 minutes at room temperature on the counter.
  • Cool Whip: Make sure you that you thaw the tub of cool whip BEFORE proceeding with this recipe. For the best results, thaw for at least 4 hours (or overnight) in the fridge. In a pinch, leave the tub out on the counter for 30 minutes (don’t stir!).
    • DIY Cool Whip: If you want to make your own homemade cool whip, I recommend these two resources: (Please note, you’ll need gelatin for these recipes.)
      • https://www.lemontreedwelling.com/homemade-cool-whip/ OR https://www.thriftyfrugalmom.com/homemade-whipped-cream/ 
    • Cool Whip Substitution (regular whipped cream): Please note that homemade whipped cream isn’t as stable as Cool Whip; it’s also not as sweet in flavor. However, it will work in a pinch.
      • Homemade whipped cream: Whip 1 cup of COLD Whipping Cream with 2 TBS Confectioner’s Sugar + ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract to stiff peaks!
  • Cool Whip Frosting: For the most stable, creamy topping, transform some of your cool whip into frosting – it’s as easy as adding cream of tartar! Get the recipe here: https://www.nospoonnecessary.com/cool-whip-frosting/
  • Crust: This recipe uses a 10-inch pie crust; not the standard 9-inch! You can bake the graham cracker crust before adding the pie filling if you prefer a crispier crust texture; just make sure the crust is completely cool before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Storage: Cover pie and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Note, the key lime pie filling may weep a little. Simply blot the excess with a paper towel before enjoying.
Recipe Yield: 6-8 slices of Key Lime Cheesecake Pie
Nutrition information is an estimate based upon 8 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 483kcal    Carbohydrates: 119g    Protein: 10g    Fat: 48g    Saturated Fat: 14g    Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g    Monounsaturated Fat: 23g    Cholesterol: 60mg    Sodium: 729mg    Potassium: 345mg    Fiber: 2g    Sugar: 56g    Vitamin A: 800IU    Vitamin C: 2mg    Calcium: 113mg    Iron: 3mg

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