key-lime-pie-bars

Bars & Brownies Currently Craving

Key Lime Pie Bars

June 20, 2021

These perfectly tart and tangy key lime pie bars are a breeze to make and are delicious served straight from […]

These perfectly tart and tangy key lime pie bars are a breeze to make and are delicious served straight from the fridge on a hot summer day!

key lime pie bar squares on baking sheet with lime zest sprinkled on top

It’s summertime friends {oh, how we’ve missed you!} and the time is now for all the easy and delicious desserts eaten straight from the fridge. Or better yet, the freezer! Hotter temps call for cold treats and these key lime pie bars have sum-sum-summatime written all over them.

If you’ve been following around here for a while, it’s not news to you that I have a love/hate relationship with pie. Not pie itself, but the actual act of pie making. But these super simple triple layer citrus bars are everything you love about a classic key lime pie with way less fuss. One bite and you’ll want to put these one pan wonders on repeat all summer long. So without further adieu, let me tell you how to make them.

close up of cross section of key lime pie bars topped with whipped cream and lime zest

What makes these key lime pie bars so good?

These bars are sweet, tart and tangy all over and I am here for it. It’s a rare occasion that I pass on chocolate for a dessert of any other variety but these key lime pie bars are the real deal. Here’s why you’ll love these bars:

  • Light and refreshing. These bars are light and tangy and filled to the brim with bright, citrusy flavor!
  • Three delightfully delicious layers. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that these bars have three layers. Each layer is easy to master and almost impossible to mess up.
  • Easy to make ahead. These bars are the perfect make-ahead treat to feed a crowd! Just keep them chilled until ready to serve.
  • Better than pie! These bars are simple to serve and you don’t even need a fork!

If you need further convincing to try these bars, let me add that I’ve upgraded the traditional graham cracker crust with a sweeter version made with crushed vanilla wafers and a touch of brown sugar. It’s the perfect pairing to the extra thick layer of creamy key lime filling. So delish!

Make these bars bakers and I promise you’ll never go back to pie.

sliced key lime pie bars on parchment paper surrounded by key lime slices

Ingredients

These easy one pan bars are just like your favorite key lime pie but soooo much easier to make and fun to share! Here’s what you need to make a batch of sweet, tart and perfectly tangy key lime pie bars : 

  • vanilla wafer cookies
  • butter
  • sugar
  • egg yolks
  • fresh lime zest and juice
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • heavy whipping cream
close up of key lime squares on top of baking sheet

Do I have to use key limes?

Key limes are best for these bright and tangy citrus bars but let’s be real…key limes can be hard to find. While key lime juice is a bit more floral and aromatic than your average grocery store lime, any ‘ol lime will do for these bars. You’ll need quite a few limes to get one cup of juice so be sure to stock up!

freshly sliced bars covered in whipped cream and lime zest

How to serve

You can eat these bars straight from the fridge, just like you would with a regular pie. Or upgrade your freezer stash and store the bars in the icebox for a cold and refreshing treat on a hot summer day. They’re the perfect warm weather treat and great for serving a crowd!

sliced key lime pie bars showing three layers

Enjoy these easy and delicious bars. Turning up the oven this summer might not be first on your list of things to do but I promise these bars will be worth it!  

Happy baking!!

If you love these Key Lime Pie Bars, you’ll also love these delicious citrusy desserts:

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes

Meyer Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

Strawberry Lemon Loaf Cake

Print
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key-lime-pie-bars

Key Lime Pie Bars

  • Author: Heather | Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 28 + chilling time
  • Total Time: 53 + chilling time
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

These perfectly tart and tangy key lime pie bars are a breeze to make and are delicious served straight from the fridge on a hot summer day!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Cookie Base

2 cups vanilla wafer cookies, finely ground (250 g)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Key Lime Pie Filling

1 tablespoons lime zest, packed (67 key limes)

5 large egg yolks

22 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 14-ounce can and 3/4 cup from 2nd can)

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

 


Instructions

For Cookie Base

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350˚ F.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. Allow the parchment to hang over the sides by about 2 inches for easy removal of the bars once chilled. Set aside.

Grind the vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Mix together finely ground vanilla wafer cookies, melted butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. The texture should be similar to wet sand.

Transfer the cookie mixture into the pan. Using the flat part of a spatula, press the cookie crumbs evenly into the square pan.

Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Set aside and let cool for 30 minutes.

For Key Lime Pie Filling

In a large bowl, add the egg yolks and zest. Beat with a hand mixer on medium for 4-5 minutes, until the eggs lighten in color and thicken in texture.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to beat on medium for another 3 minutes.

Whisk in the lime juice.

Pour the filling on top of the cooled cookie base. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes until the filling is set but the filling will still wiggle as a whole when you gently shake the pan. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

For Whipped Cream Topping

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the heavy whipping cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Remove from the mixer and finish mixing by hand with a whisk. Do not over mix.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the key lime custard. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Chill for 20 minutes before slicing. Once chilled, use the parchment overhang to remove the bars from pan. Use a sharp knife to slice into squares. For best results, clean the knife with warm water and dry with a clean towel between each slice.


Notes

Store bars tightly covered in the refrigerator.

May be frozen.

Keywords: key lime pie bars, citrus bars, key limes

  • Reply
    Ivy
    July 18, 2023 at 6:30 am

    My filling keeps melting. Am i using too much lime juice or not baking it at the right temperature? Do we put it in at a higher temperature than the cookie base?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 18, 2023 at 11:26 pm

      Yes, that will work! Enjoy!!

  • Reply
    Jenn
    July 2, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    What brand do people use for the keylime pie filling, I’m having a hard time finding it

  • Reply
    Kara
    June 16, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    Can I double this recipe and make in a 9×13 pan?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 17, 2023 at 9:45 pm

      Yes! Enjoy!!

  • Reply
    Katie E.
    June 5, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    These key lime bars are amazing!!! I made them for a family event and everyone loved them. Tangy, sweet and delicious! I will definitely be making these again!
    My sister-in-law even said they are in her top dessert list now!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 11, 2023 at 2:43 am

      These bars are definitely a crowd pleaser! Thanks so much for trying my recipe!!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    March 21, 2023 at 3:56 am

    Im worried about the cutting part.
    How do we get a clean cut on the bottom and ensure the parchment doesn’t stick and mess with the form of the cut squares? What do you lift them out with ?

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    February 18, 2023 at 8:11 am

    Can I use bottled key lime juice?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 18, 2023 at 10:35 pm

      Hi! I highly recommend using juice from fresh limes!

    • Reply
      Anonymous
      March 16, 2023 at 2:27 am

      I always use Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice. It’s fantastic!

  • Reply
    Garrett
    September 2, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    When making the Whipped topping, will it thicken when chilling in the fridge for 20 minutes? When you mix the sugar and heavy whipping cream together, it’s as runny as milk and didn’t want to screw it up.

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 13, 2022 at 5:50 am

      The whipped cream topping should be fairly thick and stable once it’s whipped. If it’s too runny, you likely haven’t whipped the topping enough.

  • Reply
    Shreya
    August 27, 2022 at 2:46 am

    Will it last on a 3 hour car drive with the whipped cream on top?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 6, 2022 at 4:09 pm

      You’ll definitely want to keep the bars chilled in a cooler!

  • Reply
    Cecilia H.
    June 10, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    It wasn’t clear to me if the crumbs need to cover the side of the pan (like a pie) or just the bottom. Can someone clarify if it would work by just covering the bottom? Thanks

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 12, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      I just cover the bottom of the pan with the cookie crumbs. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Allie
    September 16, 2021 at 2:26 am

    These turned out great! My crust tastes good but was too hard to cut. I used the rectangle vanilla wafer cookies. I also saw the circle vanilla wafer cookies at the store. Does it matter what kind?

    • Reply
      Jessi Fox
      May 13, 2022 at 8:06 pm

      The circle cookies are what this recipe is calling for. Nabisco and Keebler both have these kinds of cookies.

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    August 23, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    These are delicious and easy. My husband said restaurant quality. Make these if you want to impress.

  • Reply
    Heidi
    July 22, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Can I freeze these with the whipped cream on top? Also can I use the key lime juice in the bottle?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 23, 2021 at 6:38 am

      I would not freeze them with the whipped cream on top. The texture will get a little funky. And I highly recommend fresh lime juice over bottled. Enjoy!

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