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Irresistible Key Lime Shortbread Bars Recipe


Key Lime Shortbread Bars are a delightful treat combining the buttery goodness of shortbread with the tangy zest of key limes. Perfect for a summer gathering or as a refreshing dessert after dinner, these bars are sure to impress. Follow this detailed guide to create your own batch of these delicious bars.



For the Shortbread:

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

For the Topping:

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Juice of 3-4 key limes or regular limes (about 1/4 cup), strained
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • Powdered sugar and/or extra lime zest for garnish


Step 1: Prepare the Shortbread Base

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing some overhang for easy removal later.
  2. Mix Shortbread Ingredients: In a medium bowl, cream the room-temperature butter until smooth. Add the flour and powdered sugar, mixing until the dough comes together.
  3. Press into Pan: Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking dish, creating a uniform layer.
  4. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly while you prepare the topping.

Step 2: Prepare the Key Lime Topping

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, lime juice, granulated sugar, flour, cornstarch, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, and lime zest until smooth and well combined.
  2. Pour Over Shortbread: Pour the lime mixture over the slightly cooled shortbread crust, spreading it evenly.

Step 3: Bake the Bars

  1. Bake: Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the topping is set and just beginning to turn golden at the edges.
  2. Cool: Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely in the baking dish.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Garnish: Once cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar and additional lime zest, if desired.
  2. Cut and Serve: Use the parchment paper overhang to lift the bars out of the baking dish. Cut into squares and serve.

Cooking Notes

  • Zesting Limes: When zesting the limes, avoid the white pith as it can be bitter.
  • Juicing Limes: Roll the limes on the countertop before juicing to help release more juice.
  • Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Coconut Key Lime Bars

  • Add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to the shortbread mixture for a tropical twist.

Gluten-Free Key Lime Bars

  • Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend in both the shortbread and the topping.

Vegan Key Lime Bars

  • Use vegan butter in the shortbread and substitute the eggs with flax eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water).

Keto Key Lime Bars

  • Use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and replace the sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener like erythritol.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use regular limes instead of key limes?

  • Yes, regular limes can be used if key limes are not available. The flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

Can I freeze Key Lime Shortbread Bars?

  • Yes, these bars freeze well. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.

How do I know when the bars are done baking?

  • The topping should be set and no longer jiggly. The edges may start to turn a light golden color.

Can I make these bars ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! These bars can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

What’s the best way to cut these bars?

  • Use a sharp knife and clean it between cuts to ensure neat squares.

How can I make these bars more limey?

  • Increase the amount of lime zest or add a bit more lime juice to the topping.

Key Lime Shortbread Bars are a perfect combination of tart and sweet, with a buttery shortbread crust that will melt in your mouth. This easy-to-follow recipe ensures you can make these delightful treats with minimal effort. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing summer dessert or a unique addition to your dessert repertoire, these bars are sure to please. Enjoy experimenting with the variations and share this delicious treat with friends and family!