All the brightness of the Sunshine State's favorite pie packed into a cupcake.


Credit: Photographer and props: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary

1 hr 5 mins
25 mins

For a summery dessert that holds no punches when it comes to flavor, look no further than our bite-sized take on Key lime pie. (Okay, well, maybe five-bite-sized if you actually use the table manners your Mama taught you.) A creative combination of all-purpose flour and a "flour" made of crushed graham crackers serves as the base of the cake in this Florida-inspired treat, and it's topped with a zingy buttercream whipped together from fresh Key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk, an inventive—and equally delicious—riff on the sky-high meringue that typically decorates a Key lime pie. In short, it's everything we love about the hallmark dessert, but without the extra cooling and chilling time and the added bonus of being finger-food-friendly (hello, pool parties!). A note from the Test Kitchen: If you can't find fresh Key limes at your local grocery store, you can always substitute them with bottled Key lime juice.


Graham Cracker Cupcakes
Key Lime Buttercream
Additional Ingredient


Prepare the Graham Cracker Cupcakes:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup (2 1/2-inch) muffin tray with paper liners. Whisk together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

  • Beat granulated sugar and butter with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just combined after each addition, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla until just combined, about 15 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Beat in graham cracker crumb mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with crumb mixture and beating until just combined after each addition, about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin trays, filling each cup about three-fourths full.

  • Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin tray 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tray; let cool completely on a wire rack, about 20 minutes.

Prepare the Key Lime Buttercream:
  • Beat butter with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until just combined, about 1 minute. Add Key lime zest and juice; beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium; gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute.

  • Spoon Key Lime Buttercream into a piping bag or a large ziplock plastic bag with a 1-inch hole snipped in a corner; pipe onto cooled Graham Cracker Cupcakes. Lightly dust edges of Key Lime Buttercream with additional graham cracker crumbs, and garnish with Key lime slices.