These key lime pie bars are a delicious and refreshing dessert that combines the tangy taste of key lime filling with a sweet, buttery cookie crust. This recipe is simple to make and requires only a handful of ingredients. Even if you're not an experienced baker, you can whip up a batch of these stunning key lime pie bars in no time.
Key lime pie bars are perfect to enjoy during the warmer months of the year when you're craving a light and refreshing dessert. They are especially popular to make in the spring and summer when key limes are in season. The combination of tart lime filling and sweet cookie crust is amazing! Garnish your key lime pie bars with lime zest, fresh lime slices or whipped cream for an extra burst of flavor.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Key lime pie is packed with a unique citrus flavor that is refreshing and delicious! The key lime juice adds a tartness to this sweet, creamy dessert.
- Key lime pie has a smooth and creamy texture that melts in your mouth. This luscious filling contrasts nicely with a crumbly and chewy graham cracker crust.
- This recipe is super easy, doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and is relatively quick to make! The pie filling is made with only 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and Greek yogurt. That’s it!
- Key lime pie is a tasty, chilled dessert to enjoy on hot summer days. Its bright, citrusy flavor makes it a perfect choice for gatherings and events during the warmer months.
- You can customize this recipe and add different toppings to mix things up. Key lime pie can be topped with fresh whipped cream, meringue or fresh berries. You can even swap different cookies for the crust. I like to use gingersnap cookies to make this a winter dessert.
- You can easily make this recipe dairy-free and gluten-free with super simple ingredient swaps. You’ll want to use coconut sweetened condensed milk and dairy-free yogurt to make this dairy-free. To make this key lime pie gluten-free, you’ll just need to swap the cookies for a gluten-free alternative. You can find gluten-free graham crackers, gingersnaps and other cookies at most grocery stores.
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- Key lime juice
- Lime zest
- Graham cracker crumbs (can substitute other cookies such as gingersnap cookies)
- Brown sugar
- Salted butter
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Need to make a substitution or missing an ingredient? Here are some ways you can alter this recipe to fit your unique dietary needs.
- Dairy-free? Substitute the sweetened condensed milk for coconut sweetened condensed milk in the filling. You can use vegan butter or coconut oil instead of butter in the crust. Finally, use dairy-free whipped cream for topping.
- Gluten-free? Make sure you use gluten-free cookies for the crust. You can find gluten-free graham crackers and more options at most grocery stores.
Here are a few ideas for customizing this recipe and making different flavor variations:
- Coconut: Add shredded coconut to the graham cracker crust and sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the bars for a tropical twist.
- Ginger: Use crushed gingersnap cookies instead of a graham cracker crust for a spicy ginger flavor.
- Chocolate: Use crushed chocolate wafer cookies instead of a graham cracker crust for a delicious chocolate and lime combination.
- Raspberry: Top the bars with a layer of raspberry jam or fresh raspberries for a fruity twist.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
How To Make Key Lime Pie Bars
Step 1: Mix together the cookie crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl. You can use graham crackers, gingersnap cookies or other wafer cookies for the crust.
Step 2: Cookie crumb mixture should resemble wet sand. Gingersnap cookies are pictured above, but the recipe traditionally calls for graham crackers.
Step 3: Line an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper. Press the cookie crust mixture into the dish using the bottom of a round glass or a dry measuring cup. Bake and cool the crust.
Step 4: Use a large whisk to mix the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth.
Step 5: Pour the prepared filling onto the baked and cooled crust.
Step 6: Bake filling and let cool at room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Let cool completely before slicing into bars and garnishing with lime zest.
- Use the bottom of a glass or a measuring cup to easily press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of your baking dish.
- If you don't have an 8x8" baking dish, you can try making these bars in two standard loaf tins (like one you would use for banana bread). I have not tried this so I'm not sure how the ratios would divide up or how thick your crust would be.
- I do not recommend using a 9x9" baking dish as your crust will be too thin.
- Don't overbake your key lime pie filling or it could crack and dry out.
- Let the cooked pie bars cool at room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
- If you need to speed up the cooling process, you can place your baking dish of cooled key lime pie bars into the freezer for 30 minutes or so before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about this recipe? Here are some additional tips and commonly asked questions:
While this recipe does not call for dairy-free ingredients, it can easily be made dairy-free by swapping one ingredient used in the filling. Traditional key lime pie recipes usually include sweetened condensed milk, which is a dairy product. However, there are also vegan and dairy-free versions of this ingredient that will make this recipe free of dairy. You will want to use coconut-based sweetened condensed milk instead.
While this recipe does not call for gluten-free ingredients, it can easily be made gluten-free by swapping the ingredients used in the crust. For example, the crust can also be made using gluten-free graham crackers or other gluten-free cookies.
If properly stored, it can last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. To maximize the shelf life of your key lime pie, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Key lime pie is best enjoyed during the first 3 days after baking.
Yes, you can use regular limes to make a key lime pie, although it will not have the exact same flavor. Key limes have a slightly sweeter and more distinct flavor than regular limes. Regular limes may create a slightly more bitter tasting filling.
If you want the authentic key lime pie taste, it's best to use key limes or store-bought key lime juice. I highly recommend using the key lime juice as this makes this recipe much simpler to make. By using store-bought juice, you don’t have to juice a bunch of limes by hand. Remember that we need ¾ cup of key lime juice for this recipe. That would be a lot of limes to squeeze to get the same amount of lime juice!
This recipe does not require any special equipment. You will need an 8x8" baking dish, parchment paper, a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk and a rubber spatula.
Key lime pie bars need to be refrigerated. Store the key lime pie bars in an airtight container or cover your baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Key lime pie is best enjoyed a few days after baking.
Store completely cooled key lime pie bars in an airtight container or freezer storage bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from freezer and let thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or more. Once fully thawed, top with fresh whipped cream and enjoy!
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