Recent DEtection TRansformer-based (DETR) models have obtained remarkable performance. Its success cannot be achieved without the re-introduction of multi-scale feature fusion in the encoder. However, the excessively increased tokens in multi-scale features, especially for about 75% of low-level features, are quite computationally inefficient, which hinders real applications of DETR models. In this paper, we present Lite DETR, a simple yet efficient end-to-end object detection framework that can effectively reduce the GFLOPs of the detection head by 60% while keeping 99% of the original performance. Specifically, we design an efficient encoder block to update high-level features (corresponding to small-resolution feature maps) and low-level features (corresponding to large-resolution feature maps) in an interleaved way. In addition, to better fuse cross-scale features, we develop a key-aware deformable attention to predict more reliable attention weights. Comprehensive experiments validate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed Lite DETR, and the efficient encoder strategy can generalize well across existing DETR-based models. The code will be released after the blind review.