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Key Lime Bars

255 A Key Lime Bars.jpg
255 A Key Lime Bars.jpg

Key Lime Bars


One of my all-time favorite desserts are lemon bars. Tart, sweet and utterly irresistible all at the same time. How can you not love them? This recipe uses key limes instead for a fun twist on the classic, and one that I think your family and friends will absolutely love!

Yield: 12 – 24 bars

Oven: 350ºF

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes + 4 hours refrigeration

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

zest from 1 lime, approximately 1/2 tablespoon zest

2 sticks (8-ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the filling:

2 eggs, lightly whisked to break yolks

3 egg yolks, lightly whisked to break yolks

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup key lime juice, like Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed


1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, to garnish

zest from 1 lime, to garnish


1.   Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2.   Line a 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper allowing a 2-inch overhang on each side to easily lift and remove the bars once baked. Generously spray or butter the parchment.

To prepare the crust:

3.   In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add flour, salt, brown sugar, and confectioner’s sugar. Pulse until combined and evenly incorporated. Add cold butter and zest, pulsing until dough just comes together in a ball.

4.   Transfer to prepared baking dish and using clean dry hands, press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan and 1/2-inch up the sides creating a crust.

5.   Place in preheated 350ºF oven and allow to bake until lightly golden in color, approximately 25 minutes.

6.   Meanwhile, make the filling.

To prepare the filling:

7.   In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine and constantly whisk eggs, cornstarch, sugar and key lime juice. Continue to cook until mixture becomes foamy and thickens, approximately 7 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and add butter whisking off heat until melted.

8.   Pour into prepared crust and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or more if time allows. Note: When storing in your refrigerator, make sure you place a kitchen towel or oven mitt under the hot baking dish so it doesn’t crack or melt the shelf. Also make sure you provide ample space between the baking dish and other perishable items, especially dairy and protein.

9.   Once set, use the parchment overhang to carefully lift the bars from the baking dish to a cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into desired size bars.

10.   For best results, store bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



Kitchen Note:  Feel free to substitute fresh lemon or lime juice in place of the key lime juice but do not use lime or lemon juice from concentrate. Nellie and Joe’s is the only key lime juice that I use as it is absolutely divine and doesn’t leave the aftertaste that most concentrates do. Nellie and Joe's can be found at most major grocery stores where the lime and lemon concentrate is sold.