Key Lime Cupcakes have all the flavors of key lime pie in a pretty little cupcake. Bright and fresh lime flavor that’s a little tart, a little sweet, that makes  for a bright summery dessert. A citrus dessert is the best kind of dessert when it’s hot outside. Who wants to eat a heavy or warm dessert that weighs you down?  These cupcakes are fluffy, light and very enjoyable.

Key lime cupcakes on a white cake stand

Key limes are smaller than regular limes and they are also slightly sweeter which brings amazing flavor to these cupcakes. Key lime juice and zest is in the cupcakes and the cream cheese frosting.  Yes, I used cream cheese frosting for extra flavor.

A closeup of the green and white frosting with lime zest

Being smaller than regular limes, it does take longer to juice key limes and it takes more limes to get the juice, but the results are worth it because there is nothing better than freshly squeezed juice. Only 3 tablespoons are needed for the whole recipe, so it’s not that bad of a task.

1 key lime cupcake on a cake stand

Lime zesting tip

Be sure to zest the limes BEFORE you juice them because it is next to impossible to get zest from a deflated lime, and a mini one at that!

Your eyes are not deceiving you, there is a slight green tinge to the frosting. I wanted to give the frosting a hint of lime green and I achieved this by adding a little green and yellow natural food coloring to get a vibrant lime green to a little of the frosting. I then pasted it onto the inside of the piping bag, then filled with the white so as you pipe, it mixes in a little of the green to get this two-tone effect.

You don’t have to do this, you don’t even have pipe the frosting, but I just can’t help myself. I was feeling creative that day.

A selection of green and white key lime cupcakes

Make these cupcakes for your next pool party or bring them to a friend’s summer party. They’ll be a hit!

If you’ve tried these Key Lime Cupcakes or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how they turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key lime cupcakes on a cake stand in green and white striped cups

Key lime cupcakes have all the flavors of key lime pie in a pretty little cupcake. Bright and fresh lime flavor that’s a little tart, a little sweet, that make  for a bright summery dessert.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • For the cupcakes:
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (156ml) milk, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons key lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1 ¾ cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons key lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon key lime juice
  • Green and yellow food coloring (optional)


  1. For the cupcakes:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.  Line a 12-muffin tin with liners.
  3. To a bowl add the butter and sugar and beat until light and pale using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until mixed. Add the milk and mix well. Add the key lime zest and juice, beat until well mixed. 
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and salt a little at a time and beat on low until well mixed and smooth. Don’t overmix once you add the flour. If the mix is too thick, add a little more milk. You want a pourable consistency, but not too runny.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to add divide the batter between all the cups, a little over halfway filled.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. When a toothpick inserted in the center it should come out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
  8. For the frosting:
  9. Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar while beating. Add lime juice zest. Don’t overmix or it will be too soft to pipe.
  10. To get the two-tone piping, transfer 2 tablespoons of the frosting to a separate bowl and mix with the green and yellow coloring until it is lime green.
  11. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes to make it firm for piping
  12. Add the piping tip of choice to a piping bag (I used a start tip). Hold the tip and turn the bag inside out over your hand, add the green frosting to one side of the bag, close to the tip. Use a separate spoon to add the white frosting to the other side of the bag. Whatever ratio you use, you want more white than green. Pipe onto the cupcakes.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving Calories 295Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 90mgSodium 446mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 7g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.

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