Key Lime Pie Bars are a little sweet, very tart, and smooth and creamy over a crumbly golden (homemade) graham cracker crust. Can you believe these take only minutes to prep and bake?
Key Lime Pie is one of those desserts that was always under-appreciated in my household growing up, and I just don’t understand why.
Well that’s not exactly fair to say. My Dad has always liked and asked for key lime pie, but his requests fell on deaf ears to a family whose default desserts were almost exclusively chocolate chip cookies and brownies. We had plenty of apple pies, but never key lime, which is interesting to me considering how much easier the latter is to make.
For Father’s Day, I made my dad a Key Lime Pie again this year, and because it was so easy, I started experimenting with turning the pie into dessert bars.
It was honestly very simple to develop a winning key lime pie bar recipe.
I used my simple, favorite graham cracker crust recipe for the crust, which fit nicely into a 9″ square pan. The key lime filling is only four ingredients, you literally whisk together sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime zest, and sour cream
Total bake time is less than ten minutes for the crust and then less than ten minutes again for the filling.
Keep in mind that this recipe calls for key limes, which are different from regular limes in both flavor and size. Key limes are about the size of ping-pong balls, and juicing them can take quite a long time. Using a bottled key lime juice is acceptable, but usually I prefer to use at least a combination of fresh-squeezed and bottled.
Here’s a hand-saving tip if you decide to use fresh-squeezed: Use a garlic press.
Halve your key limes, place them in the press (rind-side up) and then squeeze the juices into a measuring cup. I’ll usually still run everything through a mesh sieve to catch any pulp or tiny seeds that escape through, but the press does a good job at minimizing that, too.
Even though these are bars, which are usually very grab-and-go-friendly, I recommend using a fork to eat them, as I found them to be a little bit too heavy to eat by hand. That may have also had something to do with the fact that I cut the whole pan into just 9 gigantic squares… but who knows.
Key Lime Bars
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (170g)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar tightly packed
- 6 Tablespoons butter melted, (85g)
Key Lime Pie Bar Filling
- 2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk (795g)
- ⅔ cup key lime juice (150ml)
- ⅓ cup sour cream (75g)
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x9 baking pan with foil. Set aside.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Add melted butter and stir well.
- Press evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan.
- Bake on 350F for 7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare your key lime filling.
Key Lime Filling
- In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, sour cream, and lemon zest until mixture is smooth.
- Pour into prepared pie crust and bake for 8-10 minutes, until mixture is set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator and allow to chill 4-6 hours before cutting.
- Top with whipped cream, if desired, and serve.
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