Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2024)

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My Key Lime Pie Bars are outrageously delicious and you need less than 10 ingredients to make them! These squares are zesty, filled with lime juice, and are the perfect springtime dessert! And the crust is seriously irresistible!

Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (1)

Something about springtime just makes me CRAVE lime-y desserts that are citrusy and tangy. These key lime pie bars are always the first desserts I crave when spring finally hits. It makes me feel like the humid wind blowing through my hair came straight from the Florida Keys. Or like I’m on vacation or something!

Key Lime Pie Bars! Have you had them? For me, it all starts with the perfect crust and the creamy filling.

And my crust, I guarantee, is like no other you’d had before. That’s because I add a few not-so-traditional ingredients for key lime pies into the crust. I know you’re giving me the look, but let me say that cinnamon and ground pecans are going to take these bars to the next level. The Cheesecake Factory uses nuts in some of their cheesecake crust to make the flavor so unique, along with a pinch of cinnamon. The cinnamon flavor isn’t noticeable if you’re worried about that. Just a quarter teaspoon makes the crust so delicious but keeps the eater guessing what it is that makes these key lime pie bars so addicting. You’ll also find a few typical ingredients like a boatload of fresh lime zest and lime juice in the filling.

Overall, these are sweet but tart, and totally irresistible.

Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2)

How to make the best key lime pie bars:

Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (3)
Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (4)

Ingredients for key lime pie bars

  • Graham cracker crumbs:I like to buy whole sheets of graham crackers in a box and then break them down into fine crumbs in the food processor. You can also just buy premade graham cracker crumbs these days so it cuts down on the prep work a little bit.
  • Ground pecans:Adds nuttiness and texture to the key lime pie bar crust.
  • Granulated Sugar:Adds sweetness to the graham cracker crust.
  • Ground cinnamon:Just a pinch works so beautifully with the other crust ingredients.
  • Butter:You’ll need a stick of melted, unsalted butter to use from the pie crust.
  • Large Egg Yolks:You’ll need to separate 3 yolks from the eggs. I find it easier to separate the egg whites from the yolks while the eggs are cold. You can use the leftover egg whites for breakfast the next day or to make a meringue!
  • Sweetened condensed milk:Adds sweetness to the key lime pie bars and keeps the bars nice and firm. A lot of recipes call for cream cheese, but I opt for sweetened condensed milk here and it’s absolutely perfect.
  • Lime Zest:You‘ll need a good bit of fresh lime zest for this recipe. Make sure to use a good zester to help get the lime zest nice and fine. We’ll add this to the filling and whisk it together so that the flavor of the zest carries throughout the lime bars.
  • Lime juice:Feel free to use key lime juice or regular lime juice for this. Nellie Key lime juice is the stuff that comes in a bottle, usually in the juice section of the grocery store. Key limes have a slightly floral scent and make the bars so much more delicious, but I do understand they aren’t available everywhere. You can also use bottled key lime juice for this recipe, but I tend to like the freshly squeezed version better.
Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (5)

How to make the best key lime pie bars:

  1. Set yourself up with the basics.You want to start by preheating the oven. You’ll also want to grab an 8×8 baking pan for this recipe. Spray with cooking spray then line with a sheet of parchment paper. This keeps the sheet from moving around too much when you the press mixture of graham crackers into the pan.
  2. Make the crust.In a small bowl, combine the crushed-up graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Make sure that all the crumbs are evenly coated in the melted butter. This will make it much easier to press the crust into the prepared pan. Dump this out into the 8×8 pan and press it out to an even layer. It helps to use round bottom glass sprayed with cooking spray to aid in this step. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
  3. Make the key lime filling.In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks together for 2 minutes. You want to do this when they aren’t cold from the fridge, they mix much easier when they’re closer to room temperature. Then add the condensed milk and continue to whisk until the mixture is combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixer, and add the lemon zest. With the mixer running on low, slowly drizzle in the lime juice while the filling combines. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and then bake the key lime pie bars for 15 minutes.
  4. Have patience, let them cool.When the bars are out of the oven allow them to cool on a wire rack without attempting to remove them from the baking dish. The filling will continue to set as it cools.
Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (6)

FAQs about this recipe

Can you freeze key lime pie bars?

Yes, absolutely! Many readers have mentioned that they’ve made and frozen my key lime pie bars recipe successfully.

How do you get the slices to cut cleanly?

I like to dip my knife in hot water before attempting to make cuts. Cut all the way down to the crust with a very sharp knife, then wipe the knife between cuts to help keep things clean. It also helps to redip your knife in hot water between cutting pieces.

Does this recipe have enough crust?

I think compared to most key lime pie bar recipes, my recipe has an abundance of crust – some might say too much. Something to consider if you usually prefer significantly more filling to crust. I’m the kind of girlie that wouldn’t mind pushing the filling-to-crust ratio closer to 50:50. But this recipe has a 60% ratio of filling to crust and I love how they slice up beautifully!

Can I make these bars with any other citrus fruit?

I’ve also made these into lemon pie bars and they are absolutely fantastic! I love topping them with a dollop of whipped cream.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

  • Easy Mini Fruit Tarts
  • Texas Blueberry Cobbler
  • Classic Southern Banana Pudding
  • Quick Warm Cinnamon Apples
  • Easiest No Bake Nutella Pie
Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (7)

Original recipe shared March 2015, updated May 2023.

Yield: 16 squares

Key Lime Pie Bars

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time40 minutes

My Key Lime Pie Bars are outrageously delicious and you need less than 10 ingredients to make them! These squares are zesty, filled with lime juice, and are the perfect springtime dessert! And the crust is seriously irresistible!

Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (8)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (12 large rectangles)
  • 2 tablespoons ground pecans
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest (about 3 limes)
  • ½ cup key lime juice (regular limes are fine too)

Instructions

  1. PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray an 8x8 square baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. CRUST: In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Make sure all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, leave the oven on.
  3. FILLING: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the yolks for 2 minutes. Add the condensed milk and continue to whisk for another 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, add the lime zest. With the mixer on low, drizzle in the lime juice, let the mixer run for 2 minutes once added. The pie mixture will be slightly thicker when done. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15-17 minutes. The filling will finish setting when the bars cool, but it shouldn't be too liquidy.
  4. SERVE: Cool completely on a wire rack. Filling will set as it cools. Refrigerate for at minimum of 2 hours, and ideally overnight. Slice and serve chilled.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!

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originally published on May 22, 2023 (last updated Mar 12, 2024)

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175 comments on “Key Lime Pie Bars”

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  1. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (14)

    Annie @ Annie's Noms Reply

    These look wonderful! As soon as the sun comes out here I dream of citrus desserts and all things fresh and zingy – I need to try these bars!

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (15)

      AJ Reply

      My grandson made these with me , & they are a hit! Will definitely be making these again.

  2. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (16)

    Jenna Reply

    I made these and they were fantastic. However, I used an 8×8 pan and the amount of graham crackers the recipe called for and the bars didn’t come out looking even like they do in your pics. Do you have any tips for getting bars like this to come out looking nice and not completely destroyed when you try to cut them and lift them out of the pan? TIA!

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (17)

      Marzia Reply

      I allow the bars to cool completely in the refrigerator (usually longer than 2 hours) also I use an extremely sharp knife and I wipe my knife on a paper towel between every cut. Hope that helps 🙂

      • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (18)

        Drew L. Reply

        I have found that if you dip your knife in very HOT water, then wipe it off, you get a very clean slice of anything that can be sticky either from sugar or egg. This method provides smooth sides to your slices.

  3. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (19)

    Ross Parsons Reply

    I will follow your inner Yoda and give these little beauties a try. The photos look good enough to eat too.

  4. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (20)

    Therese Nelson Reply

    Can this recipe be easily doubled? What size pan would you use? Thank you. Feeding a crowd!

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (21)

      Marzia Reply

      Yup, you can double the recipe easily but I do suggest still baking it in 8×8 pans. Perhaps the disposable ones if you don’t have two? A 9×13 or similar won’t work as the crust and key lime mixture will both end up being thicker and that will then change the baking time.

  5. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (22)

    Robin Reply

    Will it turn out fine if I use a hand mixer? I don’t own an electric mixer with whisk.

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (23)

      Marzia Reply

      Absolutely! You may need to beat it just a bit longer for it to thicken up but it’ll definitely work just fine! 🙂

  6. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (24)

    Vanessa Reply

    These were amazing!! We were celebrating 4th of July (except we are in australia) and looking for something american but not the usual apple pie. This was great! Anyone in oz wanting to make them- we used just normal limes and digestive biscuits in the base. Yummmm!

  7. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (25)

    Debbie Reply

    My daughter is allergic to nuts, would it still be good without the pecans ? Would I omit the cinnamon too?

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (26)

      Marzia Reply

      It’s totally your call on the cinnamon, Debbie. You can add it or omit it, either is okay. Personally, I’d add it in as the cinnamon really makes the crust so much tastier! 🙂

  8. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (27)

    Kimberlee Parmenter Reply

    Hello! I’m excited to try this as a birthday treat for my husband who loves key lime pie. I have a question though. I’m confused about the parchment paper part. Do you place the paper in the bottom of the pan and put the graham cracker crust on top of it? Sorry, I obviously don’t bake a lot lol. Thanks!

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (28)

      Marzia Reply

      Yup, that’s absolutely right! So just spray the pan with a little cooking spray, then place the 8×8 cut out of parchment paper inside the bottom of the pan. The cooking spray helps the parchment stay put and the parchment prevents the crust from sticking to the pan. Hope your hubby loves the key lime pie bars 🙂

  9. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (29)

    Patty Reply

    How far in advance can you make these?? I’m making Jambalaya for book club (The Promise by Ann Weisgarber – historical fiction about Galveston – fabulous) and thought these would be a refreshing dessert.

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (30)

      Marzia Reply

      I’ve made them up to 2 days in advance and they were just as delicious (actually, even more) than the day I made them! Hope you guys love them!:)

  10. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (31)

    Jessica Reply

    Can you use the already ground up graham crackers that come in the boxes? And if so what measurement would it be? Thank you.

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (32)

      Marzia Reply

      Already ground graham crackers should be fine. I’m unsure about the measurements because I always use sheets. Perhaps the box has a conversion chart from graham cracker sheets to cups?

  11. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (33)

    Taylor Hill Reply

    I accidentally used walnuts instead of pecans buuuut they still taste amazing. I used ground graham crackers and measured 1.25c out and also creamed my butter instead of melting it since i don’t own a microwave. I only grated 2 limes for the zest because thats all i had and it was still great. Also i had to use a 9 inch pie pan, my graham cracker crust layer was a bit thinner and i sliced in wedges. I noticed my bars had green flecks and a noticible tint to them more than your pictures, overall they were perfect though, i will definitley make them again! I have a picture but it doesnt look like i can attach it.

  12. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (34)

    Nikki Prenoveau Reply

    Has anyone tried coconut cream instead of condensed milk?

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (35)

      Elizabeth Reply

      I tried using coconut cream instead of the condense milk. It didn’t set in the time for this recipe. And coconut cream isn’t sweetened so you will want to add some sugar (otherwise it will be way too bitter and tart and not sweet). I had to cook down the liquid mixture for a couple hours on very low heat to get it to thicken up, and I added a little bit of flour mixed with water to help with thickening. I would not try it this way again. I need to experiment with more recipes to find a good dairy free one.

      • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (36)

        Alina Reply

        I buy condensed coconut milk from my local health food store. It’s dairy free and sweetened.

  13. Pingback: The Best Lime Bars | Noble Pig

  14. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (37)

    Michelle Traudt Reply

    Could you make these ahead, bake them and then freeze them? I would love to make the. A week ahead for an event coming up.

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (38)

      Steve Reply

      I made a batch of these and froze them. Amaaaaazing. They take 10-15 mins max to defrost and are as delicious as when first made. I have a constant supply in the freezer now…

      5

      • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (39)

        Olivia Burkholder Reply

        Hi Steve did you slice them and then freeze?

  15. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (40)

    Brenda Reply

    These look AMAZING!!! My family and I are brand new LOVERS of anything key lime!!! ? And, I know they’ll really enjoy these!!
    But, I do have a question? I noticed you posted a copyright disclaimedisclaimer below the recipe for little Spice Jar. It says we would have to rewrite the recipe in our own words. My question is…if I pin this recipe to one of my dessert boards, to make at a later date, will I get a notice from Pinterest’s Administrators that the recipe was removed because of your copyright? I’d hate to pin it, then go to make them and not have the recipe! So, if I’ve misunderstood, then please forgive me. But, can you please clarify this for me? It’s 3:00 am in the morning and no pen in sight. Thank you! ?

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (41)

      Marzia Reply

      Thank you! Nope, you won’t be flagged by Pinterest Brenda! This only applies to other bloggers/websites that choose to share the recipe on their own site! Feel free to pin all the content that you like and I hope you enjoy the Key Lime Pie bars!:)

  16. Pingback: 16 Action Steps We Use To Get Ahead Financially : The Saturday Weekend Review #185 - Canadian Budget Binder

  17. Pingback: Key Lime Pie Bars - Be Extra Healthy

  18. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (42)

    Kathy Reply

    Can this be frozen ahead of time and thaw for wedding?

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (43)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Kathy! I haven’t tried freezing them before so i’m unsure. But coincidently, the commenter above you (Jen) mentioned she’s frozen them before successfully.

  19. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (44)

    Jen Reply

    These bars are amazing! Tart and luscious! The first time I made these, I followed the recipe exactly as written; the bars were delicious but I didn’t crunch up the crackers small enough (using a rolling pin) and the crust/bars didn’t hold when when cutting and removing from the pan. Since then, I made a tweak to my process and have had consistently excellent results. I now use cinnamon graham crackers and reduce the amount of ground cinnamon to 1/8 tsp. I use my food processor and chop the pecans first (I usually only have whole pecans on hand). Then I add the sugar, cinnamon graham cracker sheets and 1/8 tsp cinnamon into the nuts and process till it’s fine. I melt the butter in a large bowl and then add the graham cracker mixture. I use the 8 x 8 disposable foil pans that are non stick; no spray, no parchment and I’ve never had an issue with the bars sticking. I also make sure to really pack the crust well, so it helps stay together when cutting. Aside from that first tweak of compiling the crust, I follow the rest of the recipe to a T. These freeze well, too. Thanks for a great recipe!

    5

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (45)

      Marzia Reply

      Glad to hear you enjoyed them Jen! Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (46)

      Dana Reply

      I made these bars last weekend and my only complaint was the crust falling apart. I read your comment and did what you said with the food processor and it worked like a charm! Thank you, Jen!

  20. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (47)

    sheshe Reply

    I made this recipe but I substitute the graham cracker for a oatmeal cookie crust, and also added cream cheese to the filling. I line a cupcake pan w/ parchment paper added the crust and filling, came out very good.

  21. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (48)

    Dawn Reply

    Hi! I would love to make these. I only have graham crackers already crushed. Do you know how many cups it is in place of the squares? 🙂

    • Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (49)

      Marzia Reply

      It’s in the ballpark of 1 2/3 cup but please know that you may need more/less butter to get the crust to form properly as this will change the recipe a bit. It’s difficult to give an exact measurement of the crushed crumbs so I’ve always gone by rectangles instead.

  22. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (50)

    Emily Reply

    Hi Marzia. Our readers will love this. I have included your wonderful recipe in our Crafty Like Granny weekly Craft roundup 🙂 https://craftylikegranny.com/creativity-never-goes-out-of-style/ Cheers Emily

  23. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (51)

    Carol Reply

    Easy to make and delicious. What more needs to be said?

  24. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (52)

    Juli Reply

    These are AMAZING! I’ve made them 5 times now, and they are delicious every time! The crust is a show stopper! My family said they would eat the crust alone if I made it, lol! I always use a hand mixer and it works perfectly. I have tried to make a little extra thicker crust by adding some more graham rectangles and it was still delish just a little crumbly (I don’t think I increased the butter enough) I’ve cut back on the lime juice and zest for a friend who is on the fence about key lime and she loved it! When I used the already crushed graham crackers it did come out more crumbly so I always use the rectangles now. I really can’t stress enough how good this crust is! This is by far the most requested dessert I make! Thank you for sharing!

    5

  25. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (53)

    Twyla Reply

    Love this dessert (and I am a dessert hater usually) have made this a few times last time didn’t have lime but the husbeast wanted them so I used lemon instead of lime they were WICKED good!!

    4.5

  26. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (54)

    Robyn McCully Reply

    Absolutely THE best! Easy to make refreshing dessert (35 year Florida resident and we KNOW great key lime!)

    5

  27. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (55)

    Amy Reply

    I accidentally used almonds for the crust, yummy accident. Also, I topped them with whipped cream.

    5

  28. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (56)

    Adriana Reply

    These are fantastic! I was skeptical that the base would be greasy, but no, it was crunch and caramelized. Just the right combination of sweet and tart. I may try gingersnaps and almonds in the next batch.

    5

  29. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (57)

    Connie Reply

    So delicious!! They were a big hit and I’m definitely making them again. I might make them in a 9×9 pan next time, the crust was a bit thick to cut but ultimately it was fine. I followed the recipe exactly.

    4.5

  30. Key Lime Pie Bars Recipe | Little Spice Jar (58)

    Beth Sterner Reply

    I made these bars this past weekend and they were a HUGE hit! Perfect dessert for the start of summer 🙂

    5

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