Key Lime Bars

July 24, 2009

I made these to bring to a lunch with friends (hello! you know who you are). The crust is very thick, which is a plus in my book, and everyone thought they were just tart enough without being too tart. My husband said that this is better than the key lime pie we had in Key West. And you know what? It is! I found the recipe here and it originally came from Martha Stewart here. And now it’s here too, if you scroll down a little.

key lime

This is more pie-like than bar-like if you ask me…definitely something to eat on a plate with a fork.

I tinkered with the ingredients a little bit; these changes are reflected in my version of the recipe:

  • I deleted the extra 2 1/2 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs because there weren’t instructions for what to do with them, and I can’t believe they’re needed in the crust.
  • Reduced the butter in the crust to 4 tablespoons…gotta save a couple of calories where I can, and the crust turned out nice and crunchy.
  • Clarified the ingredients to show 1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk (rather than 1 cup (14 oz)).

As far as preparation:

  • I made these in a metal pan; the original recipe calls for glass.
  • I baked the crust and then the crust + filling for about 4 more minutes than the recipe states.

Key Lime Bars

1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (I omitted because I didn’t have limes)
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes) (I used bottled key lime juice)
1 can sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
Whipped cream for topping the bars
Key lime slices for garnish, optional

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch square baking dish by spraying with cooking release spray. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)

Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.

Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Cut into 9 squares. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime. Store up to 3 days in the refrigerator; garnish just before serving.

PS: Don’t throw out those egg whites! Here’s a great tip on freezing them to use later.


  1. These sound fantastic. I am definitely in favor of a thicker graham cracker crust, yum!

    Thanks for pointing out the link error on my post (really, I do appreciate it); I thought it looked a little weird when I was doing it, but it was almost midnight so I didn’t bother to test it. Definitely make the sorbet, it’s so good.

  2. I love key limes. Your bars look wonderful.

  3. They look delicious!
    I agree with you, I love a thicker graham crust!

  4. what a great compliment from your hubby! I use Martha’s key lime pie recipe so I am sure this one is good too

  5. I just went to a cooking demo class last week and after making and serving us a bunch of summery dinner dishes and salads, she ended with a KILLER key lime tart that was heavenly. Yours looks awesome. I can’t wait to make a key lime tart!

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