These Key Lime Bars taste like Key Lime Pie but in bar form. They’re creamy, zesty, and much easier to make than the classic pie.
It costs around $6.02 to make these Key Lime Bars. The recipe makes nine servings for approximately $0.66 per serving.
Table of Contents
Key Lime Bars
You’ve stumbled upon an absolute gem of a recipe for key lime bars. Picture this: buttery graham cracker crust that is topped with a tangy and creamy filling, delivering a symphony of flavors to your tastebuds.
This recipe offers more than just culinary prowess—it invites you on a nostalgic journey. With each bite, you’ll be transported back to carefree summers and cherished memories.
Seize this opportunity to elevate your dessert game with this recipe. This recipe will make you the star of any event.
Why You’ll Love These Key Lime Pie Bars
- Easy To Make: The recipe is relatively simple and straightforward to follow. The recipe also uses common patry ingredients.
- Flavorful and Tangy: Key lime bars are known for their tangy and refreshing flavor. The combination of the tartness from the key lime juice and the sweetness of the filling and graham cracker crust creates a delightful balance of flavors.
- Creamy and Smooth Texture: This recipe produces key lime bars with a creamy and smooth texture. This texture is achieved through the combination of ingredients like condensed milk, cream cheese, and eggs, resulting in a velvety texture that melts in your mouth.
- Versatile Dessert: The bars are a versatile dessert option that you can enjoy on various occasions. You can serve them as a refreshing treat during the summer or as a sweet ending to a meal year-round.
Ingredients and Estimated Cost
Per Serving Cost: $0.66
Recipe Cost: $6.02
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs – $0.55
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar – $0.09
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter – $0.56
- 4 oz cream cheese – $1.49
- 1 Tablespoon lime zest – $0.69
- ⅛ teaspoon salt – $0.01
- 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk – $1.94
- 1 egg yolk – $0.21
- ½ cup key lim juice – $0.48
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in June 2023.
How To Make Key Lime Pie Bars
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
- First, preheat the oven to 352 degrees F, and line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with two sheets of foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Using a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Evenly press the crumbs into the pan and bake for about sixteen to twenty minutes.
- Allow the crust to cool while you whisk together the cream cheese, lime zest, and salt until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk, and lime juice.
- Then, pour the filling over the crust and bake it for fifteen to twenty minutes.
- Let the bars cool for about one hour at room temperature and then cover the pan with foil.
- Chill the bars in the fridge for two hours before slicing and serving.
Key Lime Bars Recipe Variations and Substitutions
Crust Variations and Substitutions:
Graham cracker crust alternative: You can experiment with different crusts, such as using crushed vanilla wafers, animal crackers, gingersnap cookies, or shortbread cookies instead of graham crackers.
Nutty crust: Add some finely chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts to the crust mixture for extra flavor and texture.
Filling Variations and Substitutions:
Juice substitution: If you can’t find key limes or key lime juice, then you can use regular limes or lime juice.
Lime zest alternatives: If you don’t have lime zest, you can use lemon zest or a combination of lemon and orange zest to add a citrusy aroma.
Dairy-free option: Substitute the cream cheese with dairy-free cream cheese or coconut cream for a vegan or lactose-free version.
Fruit variations: Instead of raspberries, you can top the bars with other fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries, depending on your preference and seasonal availability.
Tropical twist: Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top of the bars to add a tropical touch and enhance the flavor profile.
Citrus zest: Grate some additional lime or lemon zest over the whipped cream for an extra burst of citrus flavor.
Chocolate drizzle: Drizzle melted white or dark chocolate over the bars for a decadent and visually appealing finishing touch.
Serving and Storage Tips
SERVE: Dust the bars with powdered sugar just before serving to add a touch of sweetness and a decorative touch. For an extra indulgence, top each bar with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a lime wedge for garnish, a few fresh raspberries, and a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Of course, all toppings are optional.
STORE: Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but they are best enjoyed within the first couple of days for optimal taste and texture.
FREEZE: To preserve the bars for a longer period, you can also freeze them. Wrap individual bars or the whole pan tightly with plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
THAW: Before serving frozen bars, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can then bring them to room temperature or serve them chilled, according to your preference.
Key Lime Bars FAQs
Key limes have a more distinct flavor than regular limes. Regular limes tend to have a mild flavory while a key lime has a more tangy flavor making them perfect for zesty desserts like these Key Lime Bars.
These bars have about 305 calories per bar. For the full nutrional value see the bottom of the recipe card.
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Key Lime Bars
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups and spoons
- 8×8-inch baking pan
- wire rack
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup key lime juice
PREPARE THE PAN:
- Move oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 degrees F.
- Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil so that there is a foil overhang on all sides.
- Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray, and set the pan aside.
MAKE THE CRUST:
- In a small bowl add the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Stir until the mixture is combined and the graham cracker crumbs are evenly moistened with the butter.
- Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and use your hands to press the crumbs firmly into an even layer.
- Bake the crust until it’s deep golden brown in color, about 16-20 minutes.
- DO NOT TURN OFF THE OVEN! Move crust to a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
MAKE THE FILLING:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, lime zest, and salt until the creamy and smooth.
- Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk, and lime juice and whisk until combined and smooth.
BAKE, CHILL, AND SLICE:
- Pour the filling over the slightly cooled crust and smooth into an even layer by carefully tilting the pan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Move the Key Lime Bars to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, this will take about 1 hour.
- Then, cover the bars with foil and chill for at least 2 hours.
- When you’re ready to serve the bars, use the foil overhang to lift the bars from the pan and slice into 9 squares.
- Serve with any of the following garnishes: powdered sugar, whipped cream, lime wedges, fresh raspberries, and/or toasted coconut (all optional).