It's the best mix of a traditional key lime pie with your favorite drink. Easy to make, incredibly creamy and smooth, sweet but tangy, it has a unique aftertaste from tequila. It can be eaten frozen, cold, or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream. Use a graham crust if you like sweet margaritas, or a pretzel crust if you like salty ones.
I'm so obsessed with finally making a margarita pie with tequila, I almost ate half of it after the pictures were taken.
It's the best way to eat dessert for Cinco de Mayo, hands down! Well, maybe together with the creamiest caramel chocolate flan, if I'm honest.
About this tequila lime pie
The popular drink known as Margarita (which means daisy in Spanish, did you know that?) has tequila, lime juice, and a splash of triple sec or a similar orange liqueur.
So, how did this lime pie come to be?
It's a twist on our old, faithful, crowd-pleasing key lime pie recipe, spiked with the above-mentioned alcohols and a crust that can be different depending on how sweet or salty you like your classic drink.
And even when I use sweet graham cracker crumbs for the base of this easy recipe, I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt when serving it for those on the salty margarita side.
Oh my god! So amazing. It turned out much better than I thought it would.
This is the easiest pie crust ever, made with two ingredients: ground cookies (or salted pretzels), and melted butter.
- Graham cracker crust: the classic one is perfect if you like sweet margaritas. It's a super easy 2-ingredient crumb crust recipe that pairs very well.
- Salted pretzel crust: for salty margarita lovers like me, a crust made with crushed pretzels is the answer. It's the same process as the graham cracker crust above, but using ground salted pretzels.
Creamy pie filling
Just 5 ingredients for this ultra-smooth and delectable lime filling with a hint of tequila.
- Sweetened condensed milk: it's a must ingredient and can't be substituted. Use the regular type, such as Carnation condensed milk or Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, not unsweetened or evaporated milk.
- Limes: I use the small green limes that are easy to find, called Persian limes. Originally this pie was made with key lime juice, but the fruit is not easily available and it's usually bottled. I'd rather use fresh lime juice and not use key limes. But that's me.
- Tequila: any tequila you normally use is fine for this margarita pie recipe. I like Jose Cuervo gold tequila.
- Triple sec or orange liqueur: I use Cointreau or Grand Marnier if I don't have triple sec, and the result is wonderful. You can find these citrus and orange liqueurs online.
- Egg yolks: from fresh, large eggs.
Bake or no-bake dessert?
It can be both, but there are a few details within each one.
- Baked margarita pie: the graham cracker crust and the condensed milk filling are briefly baked. This is my choice always because the cookie crust is firmer and easier to remove from the pan, and there is no risk of eating raw egg yolk in the filling.
- No-bake margarita pie: you can simply refrigerate the crust and ensure the egg yolks you use are pasteurized.
- Room temperature: unless it's a hot space, this is a good temperature to serve this pie. The flavors are sharper, in my opinion, you can taste them better.
- Very cold or frozen pie: this is my choice for hot days. I love an almost frozen margarita pie, very, very cold. Similar to how I love the drink itself.
- Whipped cream: it's a great addition when serving it, dollops of sweet whipped cream and a thin slice or wedge of lime (image below). Nothing beats natural cream in my opinion, but you can use cool whip if you like it; it's a good shortcut.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Balance: make sure the amount of lime juice and zest balance the extreme sweetness of the condensed milk. This pie needs to have a strong citrus flavor. Not make you pucker, but if you taste it and it's all sweet condensed milk flavor it's no good. So I use a whole cup of citrus juice. If limes are not in season you might want to add some lemon juice and/or zest. I know it's not exactly lime pie per se, but it will be so good you won't even care.
- Oven: bake it for a few minutes, usually takes less than 10. Just as the center is firming up, but still slightly jiggly, take it out. It will cut perfectly but still be incredibly creamy!
- Ratio: make sure the ratio of cookie crust and filling is good. It depends a lot on your palate, but too much crust and not enough filling is usually not a good idea.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the cookie crust:
- 2 cups ground graham crackers or salted pretzels (about 7 oz or 200g)
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 (two) 14-oz cans (400g each) of sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup (180g) fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 3 teaspoons triple sec or orange liquor
- Zest of 2 limes + some more for decorating
- 5 egg yolks, room temperature
- Sea salt, for serving (optional)
- Whipped cream and lime slices or wedges, for serving (optional, see Notes below)
- Have ready a 9-inch pie plate (24cm) with removable bottom. I use a metal tart pan with 1-inch sides because it's a short pie, so if you use the traditional glass pie plate or ceramic pie dish, the crust won't reach the top of the pan edges unless you use a smaller-sized pan.
- Preheat oven to 350º F /180ºC.
- Crumbs: the easiest way is to use a food processor to finely grind the graham crackers or the pretzels.
For the crumb crust:
- Mix ground cookies or pretzels in a medium bowl with the melted butter until it has the texture of wet sand. If it’s too dry add an extra teaspoon of melted butter or two. It should be on the wetter side to firm up.
- Dump this crumb mixture in the pan and press onto the sides of the pan and bottom, making sure you don’t miss the angles where the bottom and sides meet.
- Start with the edges and work your way up to the center of the pan, it’s the best way to make sure you don’t run out of cookie mixture for the angles and sides. You can use your hands (my way) or a measuring cup together with your hand to press the sides and create a compact wall up the sides. Make sure it’s well pressed and no spots remain without cookie mixture.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until it starts to dry and brown. Reserve on a wire rack while you make the filling.
- Keep the oven turned on.
For the filling:
- Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl, add the egg yolks and mix with a wire whisk or spatula. Don’t beat.
- Add the lime juice and mix well. The mixture will thicken almost immediately.
- Add the tequila, liquor, and lime zest and mix well.
- Pour the condensed milk mixture into the prepared crust (no need to let the crust cool completely, it can still be warm) careful not to overflow it.
- Put the pie back into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes more, until it firms up but the center still juggles slightly. Watch it carefully.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack, wrap in plastic, or put a piece of plastic wrap on top lightly touching the surface and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- Take it out of the fridge 10 minutes before ready to serve it so it's easier to remove from the pie dish. Carefully unlock the sides of the pan from the crust (it might feel as though it's stuck but it will be fine) and place it on a smooth surface. I usually leave the bottom of the pan and transfer it to the serving plate, but you can very carefully lift the pie with a large spatula and transfer it to the serving plate.
- Grate some zest on top and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt if you want to.
- Or serve it with slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Balance: make sure the amount of lime juice and zest balance the extreme sweetness of the condensed milk. This pie needs to have a strong citrus flavor. Not make you pucker, but if you taste it and it's all sweet condensed milk flavor it's no good. So I use a whole cup of citrus juice. If limes are not in season you might want to add some lemon juice and/or zest. I know it's not exactly lime pie per se, but it will be so good you won't even care.
Oven: bake it for a few minutes, usually takes less than 10. Just as the center is firming up, but still slightly jiggly, take it out. It will cut perfectly (as you can see in the photos here) but still be incredibly creamy!
Ratio: make sure the ratio of cookie crust and filling is good. It depends a lot on what your taste is, but too much crust and not enough filling is never a good idea.
Whipped cream: I like to use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream with a little cream cheese to make it more stable. You can find the recipe in the post for strawberry shortcake cupcakes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Crust making time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pies & Tarts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 438
- Sugar: 35 g
- Sodium: 278.6 mg
- Fat: 21.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 53.3 g
- Fiber: 1.1 g
- Protein: 10.1 g
- Cholesterol: 163.8 mg
Keywords: margarita pie