Key Lime Pie Bars

Introducing my 6 ingredient key lime pie bars, a square version of my favorite key lime pie recipe. Cream cheese adds the most delightful cheesecake flavor and a spiced gingersnap crust is a wonderful contrast to the tangy lime filling. You will fall in love with these zesty, easy-to-make bars!

Key lime pie bars

I just returned home after a trip to St. Lucia for my friend’s wedding. You can imagine how fresh and delicious the food tasted, including their key lime pie. It had this incredible fresh whipped cream on top and a thick banana cream sauce and chocolate sauce swirled on the plate. To die for! The first thing I threw into my shopping cart after I got home was key lime juice. I’ve had a 4 day craving for more key lime pie and after I made these key lime pie bars, I surely got my fill.

Key lime pie bars

When I took the first bite, I stepped back in my kitchen and told Kevin, “these key lime pie bars are best thing I’ve ever baked.” The combination of cool, creamy, tart lime filling sitting atop a spicy sweet gingersnap crust is unbelievable. And I made sure to make an extra thick gingersnap crust. So good!

Like key lime pie or mini key lime pies, these key lime pie bars are truly one of the most refreshing, flavorful summer desserts. And you know what? They are insanely easy to make. Why spend hours slaving away in your kitchen? With this bar recipe, you don’t have to.

Key lime pie bars

Key lime pie bars

Gingersnap Crust or Graham Cracker Crust

The crust is made from gingersnap cookies and butter. I used hard and crunchy gingersnap cookies that I found at the store in the cookie aisle. If you use homemade gingersnaps, make sure they are crunchy. You could also use graham cracker crumbs in lieu of the gingersnaps. However, I strongly recommend the sweet/spicy gingersnap cookies to pair with the key lime.

Key Lime Pie Filling

The filling is tart, creamy, and sweet. The perfect balance of all three. Not sour in the slightest. For the best flavor, make sure you use key lime juice. It is usually with the regular lime and the lemon juice in the juice aisle.

The filling is simple– just 4 ingredients, minus the lime zest. You need key lime juice, egg yolks, fresh lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, and cream cheese. Cream cheese isn’t a typical ingredient and I don’t use it in my favorite key lime pie recipe, but I wanted the bar’s filling to have a slight cheesecake taste. There’s only 4 ounces of cream cheese in the filling (1/2 of a block) and that small amount manages to produce the creamiest key lime pie bar in the world. Make sure you don’t use fat free.

Lime zest gives the filling some colorful speckles, not to mention even more lime flavor. You need the zest from one regular lime or 2 key limes. Then you can slice it up and use as garnish on the chilled key lime pie bars. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Key Lime Juice

After baking the squares, cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator. What torture – two hours until you can dig in! Trust me, they’re worth the wait.

Key lime pie bars

Are you hungry yet? Because I don’t have any key lime pie bars left to share!

Print

Key Lime Pie Squares

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 squares
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

6 ingredient key lime pie squares! You will fall in love with these zesty, easy-to-make bars– a square version of my favorite key lime pie recipe. Cream cheese adds the most delightful cheesecake flavor and a spiced gingersnap crust is a wonderful contrast to the tangy lime filling.


Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups finely crushed *crunchy* gingersnap cookies (or graham crackers)
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted

Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (about 1 lime)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ยฐF (177ยฐC). Line a 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the sides, and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Pulverize the crunchy gingersnap cookies into a fine crumb with a food processor. Pour into a medium sized bowl and mix with the melted butter. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes as you make the filling.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on high speed until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest until combined. Pour into the warm crust.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges of the bars begin to brown. Allow the bars to cool at room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, place the the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 2 hours.
  5. Once chilled, lift the bars out of the pan using the aluminum foil overhang. Cut into squares.ย Makes 16 squares. Store squares in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 1 week, if they last that long!

Notes

  1. Gluten Free: Use Gluten free gingersnap cookies to ensure bars are gluten free, if desired.
  2. Egg Whites: What to do with the extra egg whites? I made an egg white omelet. Or you can make these,ย these, or these.

Keywords: key lime pie bars, key lime squares

240 Comments

  1. When I made this recipe, it was my first time ever eating key lime pie. I figured what’s not to like about lime and graham cracker?
    I used graham crackers instead of ginger snaps and I made it into a pie instead of bars. The texture of the filling reminded me of the yoplait key lime pie yorgurt, which I loved!

    1. I’ve never tested with another form of milk, but you definitely need it’s thickening properties in order for the bars to set up correctly.

  2. So, So, SO! I just got back from Key West. (I’m actually wretchedly depressed to BE back, but never mind!) In between slathering myself with sunscreen, shaking sand out of my suit and drinking more rum than a small distillery could output in a day, I sampled exactly SEVENTEEN pieces of Key Lime pie. I was on a quest to actually discover The Best Slice, you see. Well, SALLY of SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION, I might as well have STAYED HOME thanks to you and your ways! I made these squares last year and adored them, but I thought FOR SURE that down in the Keys where they make these pies ALL DAY, EVERY DAY that I would discover something a little tangier or creamier or what-have-you. But nooooooooo! Despite the thousands of calories I consumed, you are still the crowned queen of all things sweet & delicious! These square are the undisputed CHAMPION.
    However, that said, I did come across some wonderful key lime pie slices frozen on a stick and dunked generously in chocolate. And what I’m wondering – in my state of post-vacation blues – is if there is any way I can make your miracle Key Lime Squares and also dunk them in chocolate. Thoughts? Suggestions? HALP ME. I need to get fatter. It’s an emergency.

    1. Hahahaha I’m cracking up London. 17 pieces of key lime pie? That has to be some kind of record for 1 vacation. It’s so funny – I’ve had key lime pie that exact way before and it is AMAZING. Dark chocolate and key lime pie is seriously underrated. It is SO good! I have never recreated it at home. I fear these bars may not be solid enough to cover in dark chocolate. What about adding dark chocolate chips on top of the crust and then pouring the key lime filling on top and baking? You still get the same tastes together ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’m in the middle of making these and realized my pan is 8×8. Will that work and if so, is there anything I should adjust?

  4. I made these last night and LOVED them! Unfortunately, my bf- a key lime-obsessed man- found them too tart. How can I cut the tartness for his pieces? I thought about just adding some whipped cream on top, but are there other alternatives? Thank you!

  5. I made these for Easter…they were the most delectable thing I have eaten! They are so delicious! I made another batch for work and my husband begged for a batch for home too. He also asked me to make them for his work potluck. The ginger snap crust is so yummy it goes perfect with the key lime. This is a new favorite!

    1. Sally has recommended in the past to use an oven thermometer to make sure you are baking at the temp you think you are. My oven runs hot, so I bake at 25 degrees lower and for 20 min until it jiggled but didn’t slosh. It sets up more as it cools and finishes setting in the fridge. Even if it isn’t quite bars, people will love eating with a spoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. SALLY of SALLY’s BAKING ADDICTION. You are wonderful. I have been saying, for years, that I don’t enjoy baking. I love to cook, but I always felt constrained by…well…the constraints of baking. Your site is a gem. I love your explanations of things–it makes me enjoy the exacting nature of baking, AND makes me capable of adjusting for my tastes, etc. I also love your passion for what you create. For the first time…I am baking and loving it! Unfortunate for my waistline and my hubs’ waistline, but what can you do?

    Anyway, we LOVED these Keylime Pie Bars. I’ve already baked up 3 batches for different events.

    Some issues/changes I had to make:

    Bake time: In case anyone else is finding this–I had to bake for about 22-23 minutes before these were done. However, I have an electric oven, and I’ve never checked it with a thermometer for accuracy. It might be a little under.

    Crust: My crust seemed too dry/crumbly with just 3 tbsp of butter. I ended up adding an additional tablespoon, and then it was moist enough to form the crust. Maybe I’m just crazy…

    Garnish: Since I try to avoid inedible garnishes, I actually candied lime wedges on top, and people seemed to love it. Just sharing an option!

  7. Hi Sally, Great blog and book! I know you like feedback, so here it goes. I love all of your recipes, efforts, appreciation of your blog followers and book, and sparkly personality. But….why the teethmarks in your food photos? I just can’t enjoy looking at someone else’s partially eaten food. It takes away from your otherwise fabulous shots. I recently read an article on this topic of teethmarks in food photography blog and it was listed as a “don’t do” as a professional guideline. Anyways, love everything else! Hope you consider this feedback to be constructive.

    1. Thanks Logan! That’s actually a fork mark, as shown in the third photo when I cut a piece off the corner.

      1. Ok, glad to know and that’s better than teethmarks, ha, but the shot still has that leftover look of being partially eaten by someone else. Maybe if the fork was shown holding the first bite of food, that would portray something more appetizing. Anyways, thanks for being receptive to feedback, even for the small details.

  8. I made these tonight and they were perfect for a warm
    Memorial Day night! Next time I will try with a graham cracker crust to see
    how that tastes! The gingersnap crust will be hard to beat, though!

  9. Excellent Sally, as usual. The only thing I want to improve is the crumbling of the crust. People loved it so much they were scooping every last lime ginger crumb up with a spoon. Obviously loved by all except forks. :). Maybe yours turned out different or you were like us and just grabbed a spoon.

    1. Hey Cole! It really depends on how crunchy or thick the gingersnap cookies are – some of my crust crumbled and we did eat a little bit out of the pan with a fork! Anyway, thanks for reporting back. Glad you enjoy these!

  10. I just made these for my Dad today because he loves key lime pie so much, and they were absolutely delicious! The only problem I had with them was the crust! I had to use graham crackers, and i wonder if that’s why the crust was basically just the ground up cracker with no hold/solidity? It wasn’t even a crumble really, just the finely crushed cracker. I added another tablespoon of butter to it because i thought it would hold together better, but that didn’t help at all. Is there something else I can add to make the crust an actual crust instead of just crushed graham cracker stuck to the filling? Obviously the whole thing was delicious anyways, but it was hard to get every last bit of “crust”! Thanks!

    1. Hi January! That has me worried – even with the butter your crust was still falling apart? Graham cracker crusts are supposed to be crumbly, but mine usually stick together quite nicely. How about using my graham cracker crust recipe next time – and really pack it into the pan nice and tight. Pre-bake for 5 minutes, too. Here is the crust recipe: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/06/smores-brownie-pie/

    1. Hey Julie! You can either bake two batches in 8 or 9 inch baking pans OR double in a 9×13 pan. I am unsure of the bake time in a 9×13 pan, though.

  11. Hi Sally!
    First off I know this is a really old recipe and also that you’re probably very busy, so I’m not sure if you’ll reply or even see this, but I plan on using this recipe for this coming weekend and I just had a quick question: My family and I are going away up north to a cottage for a birthday party and I was thinking of making these and bringing them for dessert, but it’s a three hour car ride and it’s very hot and humid (I’m from southern Ontario, & it’s about 33 degrees right now). So my question is do you think they would make it? Or how would you suggest I transport them? I was thinking of putting them in a container and then inside of a cooler for drive, but I’m not sure.. Thanks so much in advance, and I love your blog xx

    1. Hey Megan! These bars would be perfect – I suggest you make them the day before, let them chill overnight in the refrigerator. Cut them the next morning and store in a closed container… and put the container in a cooler. They will be fine as long as they are cool.

  12. I made these last night and my husband and I have already eaten half the pan…soo yummy!!! I love all of your recipes Sally!! I swear we have the same taste buds ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Just searched key lime pie recipes on Pinterest because I’m randomly craving it and this popped up! It’s really beautiful and I swear I can tell the taste from the photos ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m definitely going to try this out. Thanks Sally!!

  14. Hi Sally!
    I made this last night for a charity bake sale at work and everybody loved them! They weren’t very square so they were more like bars, but I’m usually too impatient for baking so I’m really pleased.
    Definitely going to be making them again!

    Charlotte

  15. I am so happy with how these turned out! I was like shocked at how good they were and how simple the recipe was! I only had grahm crackers so I used those and added a little bit more butter to make sure it would stick together. This is the first recipe I’ve tried from here and I already am so excited to try more. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  16. Tried these today and they were delicious! Super tasty & easy to make. The impatient side of me wishes it didn’t take a few hours to cool, but it was so worth it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hi Sally! Your recipes are wonderful and I can’t wait to try these key lime bars. Will an 8×8 pan work? I’m thinking I’ll have to bake a little longer since the bars will be thicker…

  18. This is my FAVORITE recipe on your site! I bake these often (1 – 2 times a month) for my family and friends here in Florida. It is the perfect blend of tangy, creamy, and spicy with that gingersnap crust. There’s actually always a bag of gingersnaps in my pantry now JUST so I can make these on call! lol Funny story – I was baking late into the night for Christmas 2014 when I realized I somehow bought “Key LEMON” juice by mistake (what in the world??). I ended up juicing little key limes all night so that I could still make the three batches I needed. lol

    1. Perfect Kelley. I’m so happy you love these key lime squares! They’re definitely one of my favorites too. And I’ve never heard of or seen key lemon juice?!?!

  19. Hi Sally!Your blog is so awesome. My daughters and I love to bake and I get all our recipes from you. A question for the key lime bars, I am planning to make them as part of the dessert buffet of a party that I am hosting. Can I make this in advance, like say, 2 days before? and how should I store them? I am going to double the recipe, can I bake it in one large pan? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Farrah, you can make the bars ahead of time. Keep them covered tightly in the refrigerator until serving. Use a 9×13 pan if you double the recipe.

  20. Hi Sally, I love love love this recipe! My boyfriend would love them too so I’m hoping to send him a batch by mail, it doesn’t say in the recipe so I’m assuming they can’t be frozen…is this the case? If they can’t, then no problem I can make your amazing peanut butter brownies and freeze them for the journey so that they arrive fresh! Thanks for your help, Rosie xx

  21. Just wondering—Have you used the egg whites to make a meringue topping for these bars? Or perhaps just a meringue dollop?

  22. I thought they sounded really yummy and fun but I just didn’t care for them. I made them to take into work for a luncheon but after sampling the finished product I opted to make something else instead. They were just too tart. I think of key lime as more subtle with a surprising twist. And I didn’t care for it paired with the gingersnap crust. But that’s just my opinion. Everyone else here loves them so Yay !!!

  23. I used to make a key lime pie with a gingersnap crust so this is right up my alley! Sadly, my grocery store was out of key lime juice…so I went with just lime. They may not be as fab, but the lime and gingersnap should still be good! Thanks for sharing and reminding me!

  24. The recipe says to use a handheld mixer. Does it make a difference if you use a standing mixer to beat it? If so, would you use the beater attachment? (not paddle?)

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