Sweet, tart, and tangy, Lemon Key Lime Pie Bars …with a vanilla butter crust and lime salt on top. These bars are much like key lime pie but made with a few upgrades. They’re super easy, creamy, and made with an extra amount of tang. The filling is made with just a few simple ingredients. There are, of course, plenty of fresh limes. There’s also a secret ingredient…a touch of lemon juice. The crust is rich, buttery, and full of vanilla flavor, with the perfect touch of saltiness. Put everything together and you have the most mouthwatering key lime pie bars Just sweet enough, incredibly luscious, super creamy, and perfectly tangy. Finish with lightly whipped cream and lime salt for an amazingly salty-sweet key lime pie bar.
Surprise! Key lime pie bars! I feel like these are maybe a bit unexpected from me? I haven’t done many key lime pie recipes, so these feel very new and exciting to me. They’re also perfect for the spring and summer days ahead.
As a kid, the only person I knew who loved key lime pie was my grandpa. He’s always been very into key lime pie, and well, any fruit pie for that matter. But key lime and apple are two of his favorites.
I never understood either of his pie choices. I was raised to love a good, classic chocolate chip cookie pie, or a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. Yummm, right? Chocolate over key lime any day!
But times have changed. Over the last few years, I ventured into key lime pie territory. And while I still can’t say I’d choose key lime over chocolate, I will say that it certainly has its time and place. It’s actually pretty darn delicious when done right.
So, I’ve made the pie, but these bars are even more special, and for a few reasons.
Two things…fresh key limes at the grocery store, which I couldn’t believe I was able to come across.
And the desperate desire to be in Key West…as the snow currently falls outside my window.
(bars after baking)
Onto the details…
The amazing thing about these bars? They are EASY. So easy they’re hard to mess up.
You make the crust, bake, mix up a quick filling, and bake again. Then let the bars chill and top them with cream. So SIMPLE.
For the crust, I switched things up a bit and created a buttery, heavy on the vanilla, Ritz cracker crust. To me, this is better than a graham cracker crust any day. Simply mix the cracker crumbs with salted butter and a good splash of vanilla and bake everything up in a square baking dish. All done, super easy. That touch of vanilla and the use of salted butter are key.
But the real secret to this crust? A touch of brown sugar, which adds to that salty-sweet flavor, it’s delicious.
While the crust is baking, make the key lime filling. I always go extra tangy with my key lime filling. And for sweetness…I try to go just sweet enough. This means heavy on the lime with one very secret but key ingredient, a splash of lemon juice. Preferably pink lemon juice but any lemon juice will do. It’s an unexpected twist that makes for an even tarter key lime pie. Trust me on this. I know it’s not traditional, but I promise it really does make for a better key lime pie.
Once that’s mixed, bake the filling in the crust, and in fifteen minutes you’ll have key lime pie bars. So easy right?
Simple is the name of the game these days.
Also, a little note, while key limes are ideal, you can really use any ole’ lime to make these bars!
Now finish it up…
To serve, I like to spread a delicious honey whipped cream over top with a sprinkle of fresh lime salt. Nothing fancy, but it seals the deal on these key lime pie bars.
Once chilled, the bars come out almost perfect. They have a rich, salty-sweet, and buttery brown sugar crust with the creamiest most luscious smooth key lime filling that melts in your mouth. Beyond delicious.
So good that we overnighted a batch to my grandpa because I just knew he’d LOVE these more than anyone.
If you want to step up your presentation game, sprinkle over some edible flowers. Either way the bars are sure to be enjoyed by all…
And they’re pretty fun too!
Looking for other sweet bars recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Lemon Key Lime Pie Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Lemon Key Lime Pie Bars
Servings: 16 bars
Calories Per Serving: 191 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, melted
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 3/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon lime zest, plus 2/3 cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons lemon or pink lemon juice (or additional lime juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- zest from 1 lime
- flaky sea salt
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- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. 2. In a food processor, pulse the crackers and brown sugar into crumbs. Add the butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla, pulse to combine. Press the mix into the prepared pan. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes.3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk to combine. Carefully pour the mix into the baked crust.4. Bake for 15 minutes, until just set on top. Let cool slightly, then cover and chill in the fridge until set, at least 1-2 hours. 5. Before serving, using an electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the honey and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whip to combine. Swirl the cream onto the bars. In a bowl, mix the lime zest and a pinch of flaky salt. Sprinkle over the bars. Slice and enjoy! The bars will keep chilled in the fridge for up to 5 days.