Sour Cream Lime Tart

For a girl that loves chocolate (and I mean, seriously, I take the female + chocolate stereotype beyond reality), this sour cream lime tart has no business taking a top spot in my favorite desserts of all-time. No business whatsoever.

But facts are facts. And the fact is: I adore this lime tart (ok, it’s really a pie but if you actually make it in a tart pan then you can go ahead and call it a tart and no one will sue you). Like, really adore it. My friend-made-through-blogging, Charlotte D., emailed it to me a few weeks ago and I kept leaving the recipe out in a very conspicuous place (read: taped to Brian’s steering wheel) to hint that I’d like it for Mother’s Day. It just kind of spoke to me when I read through the recipe in Charlotte’s email and I knew based on her description (“super gourmet version of a key lime pie type, my Mom found in a Mexican cookbook for a culture night years ago”) that I needed it in my life.

Sour Cream Lime Tart

Because Brian is a really smart guy, he took the hint and made it for me. What a guy! I think he was cursing my name and his steering wheel the night before Mother’s Day when he kinda, sorta burned the first batch of lime custard as I sat lounging 2 1/2 feet away in the living room (we have a small house remember) watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix and trying to ignore the scorching smell and the inclination to bolt into the kitchen and fix it (he doesn’t like my help or advice when he’s cooking). But forge on he did! And we were able to enjoy this ethereally light and creamy tart the next day. It has the perfect balance of sweetness to counter the bright lime flavor and tart sour cream, and the graham cracker crust is like the icing on the cake. Except not really because it’s crust, but you know what I mean. Buttery graham cracker crusts make almost any dessert better.

Perfect for the warm summer months ahead, this fresh, beautiful, cool and creamy tart needs to be part of your life, too. Trust me. It’s a good one; totally and completely good enough to trump that chocolate dessert you’ve had your eye on (although, you could just make both…).

Sour Cream Lime Tart

One Year Ago: Ginger Crinkle Cookies
Two Years Ago: Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Three Years Ago: Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Sour Cream Lime Tart {Or Pie!}

Yield: Serves 8

Sour Cream Lime Tart {Or Pie!}


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (4-6 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream, light or regular
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, light or regular
  • Fresh lime slices for garnish, optional


  1. For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients until the crumbs are evenly moistened and press them into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate. Bake the crust 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant (don't overbake or the crust will become crumbly). Cool completely on a wire rack while the filling is prepared.
  2. For the filling, mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cream, lime juice, and lime peel. Stir in the butter pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and bubbly, about the consistency of pudding, 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally to avoid a skin forming over the top. If you need to speed things up, fill a bowl with ice and water and place the bottom of the pot in the ice water (taking care not to let water spill into the pot) and stir until cooled. Fold the sour cream into the cooled lime mixture. Spread evenly in the cooled crust.
  3. For the topping, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the 1/4 cup sour cream. Spread over filling. Chill the tart/pie for at least 4 hours before serving and up to 24 hours. Serve with fresh lime slices, twisted, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Charlotte D. (thanks, friend!)

51 Responses to Sour Cream Lime Tart {Or Pie!}

  1. Mariah says:

    I made this. So good!

  2. Amy P says:

    I made this tonight and it was so good! I slightly decreased the whipped cream topping because I know I love stronger citrus flavours, and I liked the balance it ended up with so I’ll do that again. I might reduce the vanilla a little more though; maybe I just have strong vanilla but it competed a bit too much with the lime for me. It was a hit with everyone and I’d made a lot so they all got to take home a slice too. Thanks!

  3. Adrienne says:

    Hi everyone!

    Has anyone tried making this with key lime juice? I have left over key limes from making the key lime cheesecake (yum!) and was wondering if they’d work well here?


    • Adrienne says:

      Finally had the chance to make this -using key limes – and it turned out great. Nice and tart and creamy and dreamy and left me wishing I just ate it all myself instead of sharing it with my family at our weekly Sunday suppers. Now, granted, I have not made this ‘normal’ limes yet cannot make a comparison, but either way, this is just the greatest way for my clothes to stop fitting. I wanted to go shopping anyway.
      Thanks, as always, for such great recipes!

  4. Amy says:

    Omg so good!!!!

    It chilled 4 hours then I ate it for breakfast.

  5. jamie says:

    I made it once with cream and everything else as written. It was wonderful!
    I just made it again today with milk and about 1/3 light sour cream and 1/3 regular and 1/3 plain whole yogurt (using up all my leftovers). Turned out great. It set up just fine and I don’t really notice a difference (I’ve made it twice this week) I also only put about 2 T. butter in the lime “pudding” part. …and only put 1/4 c. butter with the graham cracker crumbs. (maybe a bit more crumbly but was still just fine for me.) and omitted the sugar with the crumbs too. I put some leftover pieces in the freezer and found that I actually like it better frozen! I keep digging my fork into the piece I saved for my husband in the freezer. 😉

  6. Sarah says:

    Made this last night and LOVED it!! And I omitted the sugar from the crust and it turned out just fine. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sheila says:

    I put off making this pie for months because I could not believe that lime juice, lime zest, and sour cream would make a wonderful dessert. I am now a believer after making this today. Oh, so incredibily good and so different! Thank you!

  8. Katelyn says:

    I made this for my birthday “cake” yesterday and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing! (:

  9. Bri says:

    I am breaking my GF streak on Thanksgiving for this and your coconut cream pie. I am having dreams of this baby! Seriously my favorite dessert! I haven’t had a real dessert in over a month! I can make it until next Thursday…SQUEEEEE!!!!!!

  10. Bri says:

    Pretty sure this is my new favorite dessert. Incredible really! Is your luscious lemon cream pie as good? This recipe knocked my socks off! LOVED!

  11. Bri says:

    Mel, this looks divine! MUST TRY!

  12. Jami says:

    This is one of the most divine pies I have ever made. LOVED it! My hubby says we have to add it to the Thanksgiving pie list…but we’ll be having it for the 2nd time this month too. Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Shalynn says:

    I was a super huge fan despite my dislike of graham cracker crusts. The lime layer was so good even before adding the sour cream that I wanted to eat all of it out of the pot (by myself–ALL of it) and skip the crust and cream topping.

  14. Natalie says:

    I’ve made this twice. The first time, I followed the recipe exactly, and it was wonderful and fantastic! The second time, I tried making an orange version. It was good, but not nearly as good as the lime. I will definitely be sticking with the lime in the future!

  15. Holran says:

    Looks fabulous! Do you think I could substitute 2% milk or something else lower in fat and calories for the cream in the filling?

  16. BArvada says:

    Got me curious because the cornstarch thickened pudding recipes I’ve used require constant stirring while cooking to prevent lumps and burning A little search seems to indicate that stirring too vigorously with a whisk while cooking or stirring after the pudding is thick may cause it to go soupy. interesting! Looking forward to trying this pie tomorrow.

  17. linda bEebe says:

    I have alway read about the science of starch bonding such as in pudding that they turn soupy if stirred so I was leary of this recipe. All the reviews, and a long search for the perfect key lime pie, convinced me to try it and I’m glad I did. It is so creamy and delicious. Does anyone know how this is different than stirring cream pies being such a soupydisaster?

  18. Anne says:

    I made this for my dad for Father’s Day. I finally found a use for my 11″ tart pan. 🙂 The filling was amazing! I wish I’d doubled that and done half as much whipped cream… I had some leftover zest that I sprinkled on top instead of the lime twists for an extra punch of fresh lime flavor. Thanks for another (diet) killer recipe!

  19. Megan says:

    This pie is amazing! I have made it twice since you posted it and I’m making it again this weekend. Thanks for another delicious recipe!

  20. Sue says:

    This looks so good. Do you think a double recipe in a 9×13 would work? There is no way this pie would last very long around my house. Love your site Mel. Thank you!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Sue – yes, I think that would work, although you may not need to double the crust – maybe just 1 1/2 the amounts for the crust and double everything else.

  21. lisa says:

    LOVED this recipe; in fact I’m making one for my Dad again today! It was my favorite so far of the dozen’s I’ve probably tried! I loved the smooth silky texture and the flavor was spot on… thanks again for another great recipe!!

  22. Amber says:

    I made this tonight and it was AMAZING. Seriously delicious. Tart and yummy and just as promised. Thanks!

  23. Anneli says:

    I have been reading your blog for the past two years and I never comment but this pie was too delicious to pass up!

    It was so creamy and good!

    Next time I’m going to make mini tart versions to give away! Share the key lime love!!

  24. Debbie says:

    Sorry to bother, but salted or unsalted butter? Can’t wait to make!

  25. Laura says:

    I made this a few nights ago and it was wonderful! Thank you for such wonderful recipes!

  26. Deb says:

    Amazing Mel! Made this for company tonight and there was fighting over the last piece. I love how your recipes are so trustworthy I can make them for company without testing them first 🙂

  27. Kellie says:

    I made this last night for my book club and it was an absolute hit! So delicious! It’s definitely a new favorite! I think I’m finding an excuse to make it again this weekend… 🙂

  28. grace says:

    all right, so i don’t like lime in desserts (but squirted over tacos? yes, please!). i wonder if orange would be good, maybe like a dreamsicle?

  29. Kathy says:

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Have you ever ended up with a really bitter taste when using lime peel? I made your keylime bars the other week and the initial taste was fantastic, but they had a bitter after taste. I am not sure if I did something wrong or just used a bad lime.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Elizabeth – the really bitter taste from lemon or lime is most likely caused by zesting too deep on the peel. Anytime I zest and hit into the white layer of the rind, it becomes bitter so I only barely grate the peel to get off just the bright color and it makes a huge difference.

  31. Lauren in OH says:

    This is totally delicious! I made it last night and it was a big hit.

  32. Kim in MD says:

    Wow…I have missed SO much! This looks like the perfect refreshing summer dessert!

  33. carrian says:

    Good heavens that looks wonderful! Gorgeous pic too, Mel!

  34. How awesome is this pie!? And totally awesome because I just posted a Sour Cream Lemon Pie today!! We are totally on the same page sister! 🙂

  35. lisa says:

    LOVE me some lime pie!! I canNOT wait to try this!

  36. Holly says:

    I am so excited to try this! I have a Sour Cream Lemon Pie recipe that I love and I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out with Lime. Thanks for getting there first and making my attempt easier! It’s going on the Father’s day menu.

  37. Audrey Mueller says:

    Perfect! My husband loves all things lime so I’ll be making this for Father’s Day! Hooray!

  38. Valerie A. H. says:

    I’m also a serious chocolate lover but I really do like Key Lime Pie so I know this is probably killer good. I’m in!!!

  39. Tahnycooks says:

    This looks divine!!!! I love sweetened sour cream! Key lime is one of my all time fav’s! Thank you!

  40. annie says:

    In fact as follow up to my above post I bet the crust for your Black Bottom Pudding Pie might work to do a chocolate-crusted version!

  41. annie says:

    Oh I am soooooo making this! In fact I’ll make TWO for July 4th party in a few weeks. One exactly as you posted and one with chocolate crust. Chocolate and lime is actually very good together when done right. Thank you, Mel!

  42. Jen T says:

    You are a woman after my own heart–chocolate and key lime are my favorites–not necessarily together, but so good! This is going on my menu for this week! Thanks!

  43. Krista says:

    One of the best desserts I’ve ever had was a slice of key lime pie, frozen on a stick and dipped in chocolate!

  44. Katie says:

    Key lime pie is one of my husband and mine’s favorite desserts! Can’t wait to try this version!

  45. Becky says:! That looks amazing! When I was pregnant with girl #3, I totally craved key lime pie, so this speaks to me 😉

  46. Key Lime Pie is my FAVORITE!! And this is gourmet? Count me in, sista!!

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