Key Lime Pie Bars

Key Lime Pie Bars

There are few desserts that make me think of carefree vacation days filled with sunshine and warm ocean breezes more than key lime pie. It has a smooth, light texture and is packed with a lime punch. The flavor of citrus – be it lemon, lime, orange, etc. – always makes me think of sunny days; it has such a bright flavor. Last year, I made my first key lime pie and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to assemble and bake. I’m a big fan of portable desserts and with summer picnics in full force right now, I thought that a key lime bar was long overdue.

Key Lime Pie Bars

Just as with the pie, these bars came together in no time at all. You’d think that a creamy pie filling such as this would require a tedious curd, but instead you simply whisk together a tiny bit of cream cheese, lime zest, sweetened condensed milk, an egg yolk and lime juice… pour into the crust and bam! Done!

While key limes can sometimes be hard to come by unless you live in a major citrus-growing area, you can also substitute regular limes for both the zest and the juice. The crust is made with animal crackers (my inner kid loved munching on the leftovers!), but if you can’t find them, you could easily use graham crackers or your favorite basic cookie for the crumb crust.

Key Lime Pie Bars

A crunchy crumb crust combined with a cool, creamy filling and zesty lime flavor is the perfect recipe for a hot summer day.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Key Lime Pie Bars

One year ago: Chinese Coleslaw and Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Brownie Recipes and Zucchini Pineapple Bread
Three years ago: Rocky Road Ice Cream
Four years ago: Italian Supreme Calzones

Key Lime Pie Bars

Yield: 16 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A recipe for Key Lime Pie Bars - all the wonderful flavors of the pie, but in easy bar form!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the Filling:
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Pinch of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
½ cup Key lime juice

For the Garnish:
¾ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing the extra foil to hang over the edges of the pan. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Make the Crust: Process the animal crackers in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. Add the brown sugar and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

3. Make the Filling: Stir together the cream cheese, lime zest and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Whisk in the egg yolk, then add the lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.

4. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the filling set and the edges are beginning to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the pan and lift the bars from the pan using the foil overhangs. Cut into 16 squares and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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54 Responses to “Key Lime Pie Bars”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on June 19, 2013 at 12:18 am

    They look incredible! I love that you used animal crackers in the crust! Not graham, gingerbread, shortbread, etc. But animal crackers :) And I am sure they are so good! I love key lime anything and it’s such a treat and havent had it in awhile. This makes me want to bake!

    Reply

  2. Tieghan on June 19, 2013 at 12:33 am

    They look awesome! Animal crackers for a crust is the coolest idea! I bet that they taste awesome!

    Reply

  3. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat on June 19, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Key lime is one of my favorite flavors ever! The animal cracker idea is genius, I haven’t had those in years. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  4. Marcie on June 19, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I love key lime desserts, and animal crackers sound like such a fun crust!

    Reply

  5. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on June 19, 2013 at 2:02 am

    These bars look like absolute perfection!

    Reply

  6. willemijn on June 19, 2013 at 2:52 am

    LOL, I shouldn’t be looking at this… My appetite grows within seconds. It looks delicious, O my.

    Reply

  7. Betsy @JavaCupcake on June 19, 2013 at 4:27 am

    OMG – these are drool worthy! The animal cracker crust looks soooo yum!

    Reply

  8. Leanna R on June 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

    To make these even more portable, I figured out that you can bake the crust in a cookie sheet and cut rounds out to fit push pops. Bake the filling the same way and layer them in the push pops alternating with the crust. Looks pretty and you can top it with whipped cream at the last moment. I did that for a party recently and they went over well.

    Reply

  9. Angelina on June 19, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Wow. That’s all I have to say. Beautiful and I bet they taste even better! Which is virtually impossible…but anything’s possible when it comes to your creations! Love it :D xoxo

    Reply

  10. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on June 19, 2013 at 7:11 am

    These are gorgeous and sound spectacular! Love this recipe!

    Reply

  11. marie @ little kitchie on June 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Key lime pie is always such a crowd pleaser, and I love it in portable form for easy party traveling! So cute, too! :)

    Reply

  12. Pru on June 19, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Mmmmm, yummy!!!
    I always have limes in my fridge, and coconut in my freezer… :-) And my girl Sophie (10 month old black lab) always has animal crackers in her cookie jar. While part of me thinks I could just use Sophie’s animal crackers for the crust, the cookies I have for her are the non-cinnamon, non frosting kind. I think that cinnamon/frosting kind would be outstanding in this recipe. In fact, the crust looks like those are the ones that you did use.
    This just looks so delish, I need to make it tonight. :-)
    Have a lovely day everyone.. <3

    Reply

  13. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on June 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Ooh! LOVE this recipe for Key Lime Pie Bars, Michelle! Key Lime Pie rules. And, I like the fact you used animal crackers to make the crust. I’ve used Lorna Doone and Nilla Wafer cookies before, but never animal crackers for a crumb crust. Nom!

    Reply

  14. Jamie @lifelovelemons on June 19, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Ohhh amazing! Perfect for summer!

    Reply

  15. Catherine on June 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

    YUM! I’ve been using this recipe for years – with a few modifications. I usually purchase Persian limes (larger and great taste) from Sam’s or Costco and have a “zesting and squeezing” party. The zest I put into a freezer bag (no need to measure ahead of time as it doesn’t stick together). I measure the lime juice into separate freezer bags, squeeze out the air and pop them into the freezer – I’m ready to go with fresh lime juice and zest any time! The second modification is to the crust – loved the animal crackers, but kept thinking I would LOVE a ginger cookie taste with the lime – OMG – delicious. I use Trader Joe’s Ginger Thins – a sleeve and a few extra from the second sleeve gives me enough for the crust. Oh, wow! They don’t stay on the plate long!!!

    Reply

  16. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on June 19, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Love that addition of toasted coconut!

    Reply

  17. Leah | So, How's It Taste? on June 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Oh wow, these look heavenly!

    Reply

  18. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Love the animal cracker crust. I’m totally obsessed with key lime lately!

    Reply

  19. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on June 19, 2013 at 10:17 am

    These look AMAZING! I have just discovered I liked key lime anything and this sounds like a great recipe!

    Reply

  20. Xavie on June 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

    This sounds like an amazing recipe, I think I’ll make if for the 4th of July. One small, picky note… as someone who used to live in the FL Keys, I don’t think those are Key Limes pictured with the dessert. Key Limes are about half the size of a regular lime, and the difference in flavor between the two limes is huge! Sorry to be picky, but I’d hate for someone to grab regular limes at the store and try the recipe and not get to really try a Key Lime.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 22nd, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Yes, key limes are much smaller. They’re actually quite difficult to find up here unless you’re lucky enough to live near a very large grocery store that carries a wide variety of “exotic” product. This recipe can definitely be made with regular limes if key limes are not available in your area.

      Reply

  21. Rayna on June 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

    These look fantastic! My mom loves anything with lime, so I’ll be sure to whip these up for her on a sunny summer weekend. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  22. Emily on June 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    These look fabulous! Can’t wait to give them a try!

    Reply

  23. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on June 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    key lime desserts are always a hit – I love the animal crackers in the crust!

    Reply

  24. steph@stephsbitebybite on June 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I wanna sink my teeth in to these!

    Reply

  25. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on June 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Pretty pictures, these bars look so good. And animal crackers for the crust? AMAZING.

    Reply

  26. Colleen on June 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I would never have thought of using animal crackers and just love that idea. How clever. They are delicious on their own…and then paired with key lime? Over the top! I can already taste them.

    Reply

  27. Christy@SweetandSavoring on June 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    The animal crackers were a cute addition! And what perfect bars for a summer party :)

    Reply

  28. Karin on June 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    How timely!! Someone JUST gave me two bags of key limes that they couldn’t use. I will definitely be making this in the next day or so! Thanks for the recipe, it looks delicious.

    Reply

  29. Carina on June 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Love key lime pie! The bars look amazing!

    Carina
    http://www.foodfortwo.net/

    Reply

  30. Moira on June 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    These look fab! Love the animal cracker crust idea-they were my favorite treat growing up!

    Reply

  31. Nessa on June 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Key lime is the best- these look awesome!

    Reply

  32. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking on June 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    You read my mind. But what you created looks even better than what I have been craving! I am going to see if I can rustle up enough limes to make these bars tomorrow!

    Reply

  33. Renee @ Awesome on $20 on June 20, 2013 at 2:22 am

    I love citrus desserts in the summer. I’m a sucker for the key lime tart at Barnes & Noble Cafe. I bet this is much better. I’m definitely giving this a try.

    Reply

  34. Dina on June 20, 2013 at 10:35 am

    love key lime cheesecake so i would love these!

    Reply

  35. Aman on June 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Ah, I love this! Looks so yummy, will def be trying this out myself! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

    Reply

  36. Sasha on June 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Oh my gosh. These look incredible! I wonder if there really is something distinctive about Key limes though. I’ve never had one :/

    Reply

  37. Laura Dembowski on June 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Yes please to anything key lime! Love that you made animal cracker crust.

    Reply

  38. Roy on June 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I made this on Saturday. Very tasty. I couldn’t find key lime but lime worked fine. I just found your site a week ago. I really enjoy your recipes and insights. Thank you.

    Reply

  39. Brandy Yekel on June 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I made these Friday evening for Saturday family picnic. They were a huge hit. I used regular limes, rather than key lime. Will probably become a summer staple for me to take to picnics. I was thinking about using oranges instead of limes. :-D

    Reply

  40. Nusrat Azim on June 28, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Extreme cuteness alert ! Look at those snow white pretty little thingies ! Would execute your recipe with pleasure ASAP :)

    Reply

  41. Ivy on July 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

    New to this site, and so happy I found it! I love key lime pie in the summer, and these looked just delicious! I made them this past weekend, and they did not disappoint! Were easy, and so good…like having a piece of key lime pie in one bite. I used Nilla Wafers for the crust (I have a mini lemon cheesecake recipe that calls for a Nilla Wafer crust and I thought it would work with these, too, and it did!) Yum! But…I wasn’t sure how to figure out how many cookies equaled 5 oz? I assume 5 oz is the size of small package of animal crackers, but I had an 11 oz box of cookies. I counted out 24 cookies, made about a cup of crumbs, and it turned totally out fine. Would love an exact measurement on the crumbs, though. :-) Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 1st, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Ivy, I weigh everything, but next time I will measure out the crumbs.

      Reply

      • Ivy on July 4th, 2013 at 10:42 am

        Great! Thank you so much. Making them again today. :-)

        Reply

  42. Lindsey on July 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I made these for a Fourth of July party and everyone loved them! Thanks for such a great (and simple) recipe!

    Reply

  43. Sandy on July 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    These look so cute and delicious! I like portable desserts (easier to carry to work and if I am in the mood share with coworkers and friends :).

    Reply

  44. Twix on August 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Can I double this to make one large pan?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 27th, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Yes, I think you could do that easily.

      Reply

  45. CallmeaFoodie on September 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    These were delicious !!!

    Reply

  46. Beatriz G on October 30, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Hello :)
    I would like to know: what happens to the bars after the “2 days” you mention?
    I just made these yesterday and I’ll be eating them today when I get home from work. I think they won’t last long but I would like to know just in case.
    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 31st, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Hi Beatriz, They could start to weep.

      Reply

      • Beatriz G on October 31st, 2013 at 6:48 pm

        Thank you :) I’ll eat them soon, then. They are delicious, by the way :P
        I recently discovered your blog and I’m loving your style :) Your coowboy cookies were the ones that hooked me :P
        I’ll be trying some of your recipes these holidays.

        Reply

        • Beatriz G on October 31st, 2013 at 6:50 pm

          Ups, typo in cowboy…

          Reply

  47. Melissa on January 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I made these tonight….Amazingly good. I used regular limes but will definitely try key limes next time since I live in South Florida. Love the toasted coconut. :)

    Reply

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