Key Lime Pie Bars

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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. 😉

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!

Key Lime Pie Squares

6 ingredient Key Lime Pie Squares - you will fall in love with these zesty, easy-to-make bars!

*Use Gluten free gingersnap cookies to ensure bars are gluten free, if desired.*

Yield: 16 squares

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)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x9 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. Makes 16 squares. Store squares in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 1 week, if they last that long!

Recipe Notes:

*What to do with the extra egg whites? I made an egg white omelet. Or you can make thesethese, or these.

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241 Comments

  1. Loved!! Made for 4th of July. The perfect summer treat. So easy and absolutely delicious. Tons of compliments. I used a blender instead of a mixer and it worked fine.  Thank you! 

  2. The filling was outstanding, but the crust was way too crumbly. Not sure what I did wrong. Used graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter but they just pretty much stayed crumbly and never solidifed into a crust, so were really messy to eat. Great flavor though! Will definitely try again using more butter and maybe an egg to help bind the crust.

  3. What did i do wrong? I used 14 ounce sweetened condense milk like the directions have mentioned and it was beyond sweet.  First bite was delicious but after that it was just overwhelmingly sweet.

  4. I made these yesterday and wow, they are amazing!!! I used half Anna’s ginger thins and half graham crackers. Packed the crust in tight with the bottom of a drinking glass. Used light cream cheese because that’s what I had on hand. Beat with a regular ol’ spatula. Used regular fresh limes. Baked in an 8×8 for about 6 extra minutes. Absolutely delicious! Tart yet oh so creamy. Love it! Thank you for sharing!

    P.S. Made financiers (easy little French cakes) with the egg whites. I didn’t even have to whip the egg whites.

  5. Hi Sally! Im waiting for my pie to cool down before chilling. I went over 18 mins in the oven as my oven is on a slightly lower temp..the edges are brownish…center jiggle a little…but i notice theres a lot of bubbles on the surface…what did i do wrong? (ps.it smell heavenly in here) thank you xx

  6. Way too much crust. Very crumbly like another reviewer said, added another Tble of butter but still was crumbly.  Wouldn’t fit in a 8×8 pan.  Ended up putting it in an 8×11 pan.  But, when all done the crust was twice as high as the key lime filling. Makes me think that the recipe is wrong and the graham crackers should be reduced to 1 cup instead.  Good tasting and will definitely try again but will use less graham crackers. 

  7. Hi Sally – SO love your recipe blog – many many ‘go-to’s in the Baking kitchen of Sass !!

    Question – what would you think about a coconut addition to this recipe? 1/2 cup folded in the filling pre-baking, perhaps?

    I can NOT get enough coconut these days and MisterMan-O-Mine is all about the lime….
    I thought we might get mutual sweet tooth satisfaction with this idea…

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    PS – Another thought….re: the bakers with crumbly crusts…is it possible the pre-bake crust step was missed?

    1. I fear the texture of coconut in the smooth lime filling might not be ideal, but that’s totally up to you! It would be great worked into the crust though. Or you could toast coconut and sprinkle it on top of the finished bars as they cool. Let me know if you try anything!

  8. I want to make this in a 13×9 would the filling be too thick versus the crust? I know I have to double everything. If I wanted to do it on a sheet pan would I quadruple the recipe?

    1. I’m unsure about quadrupling the recipe and if the bars would bake nicely considering the volume of batter. Doubling in a 9×13 works well– I do it all the time.

  9. I made these tonight and they turned out great! I doubled the recipe using a 13X9 pan and baked them for about 30 minutes. I chilled them for 3.5 hours before cutting. They were perfectly set and the crust wasn’t too crumbly. I did add an extra almost 3 tablespoons of butter to the crust however. I’ve entered them into a bake off competition tomorrow! Hoping they win!! Thanks for the delicious recipe! 🙂

  10. Sally, I love this lime recipe! I am torn between making these bars or the key lime pie recipe in your book. Can I make these bars in a 9×9 pie plate to get the best of both worlds? 🙂 thanks Sally

    1. Hey Stephanie! The “pie shaped” bars would be a little thin in a 9-inch pie dish, but you can absolutely do it!

  11. Made key lime squares, normal and GF version, both just as good, an excellent recipe.
    We do not do many key lime recipes in Australia, so was a lovely change Thank you 

  12. Hi Sally! I was wondering how far in advance I could make these? I need to make them on Wednesday and serve them on Saturday…will they still be good? 

  13. If you are substituting for Ther graham cracker crust, this recipe requires more butter. I ended up usin a full stick and I still needed just a bit more. 

  14. Hi Sally.  The crust looks darker than would be with gingersnaps or graham crackers.  Did you use a chocolate crust.  Key Lime anything is my FAVORITE so I shall try these.

  15. I thought these were great! I was concerned about all the comments regarding the crust so I did use a different gingersnap crust recipe. The flavours were so perfect together. I will definitely be making these again.

    I will note though that the can size of sweetened condensed milk in Canada and the US are different. So if Sally or anyone has any suggestions on what to do with just over half a can, please let me know.
    I made coconut macaroons with the egg whites.  

  16. I made these for a Hawaiian/tropical-themed church fundraiser party, along with the Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies from this same site. The crowd went crazy for them! I’ll definitely make them again for some other special occasion.

  17. Is baking the crust ahead of time and refrigerating fine or does the filling have to be added while the crust is warm, as stated in the instructions…? Thanks.

    1. If making the crust ahead of time, it doesn’t need to be warm before pouring the key lime filling on top. You can, however, warm it in the oven for 1-2 minutes prior to pouring the filling on top. It doesn’t make that much of a difference.

  18. Question — for the crumb crust, do you mean that you use 2 cups’ worth of cookies and then crush them in a food processor, or do you crush enough cookies to create 2 cups’ worth of crumbs? Thanks!

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