Key Lime Bars

key lime bars

I want to start off by saying there is nothing particularly healthy about these bars (I just happen to REALLY love them). Which brings to mind this quote “there are no bad foods, only bad portions.”  A quote I wholeheartedly agree with. Of course I think there are some foods which are healthier than others, but I 100% believe all foods can fit into an overall healthy diet as long as you don’t over do the quantity that you eat. The only problem with these bars is that they are so delectable, the portion can be hard to control. This is my recommendation. Make these bars. Cut them into 12 nice slices and have one. Savor every bite of crumbley buttery crust and smooth creamy topping. Then give the rest to your Grandma/neighbors/skinny best friend. Better yet, bring them to a nice Easter party this weekend. The party guests will love you. Just don’t let them dwindle in your fridge, because they may not be dwindling for long.

key lime bars
First bake the crust, then pour that luscious tangy filling in.

One thing that makes these bars so special is the crust. It’s not a graham cracker crust, it’s made from animal crackers! The flavor is slightly more subtle than graham cracker and really allows the lime flavor to shine. You may notice that these lime bars are not green. Turns out, lime juice is basically clear and doesn’t really change the color of  food. If you would like your lime dessert to be green you can add a drop or two of green food coloring. I have done this before, and people tell me it tastes “more limey,” although I use the exact same recipe every time. For the sake of being natural I left the dye out this time, but it looks and tastes great either way.

These bars are from the magazine Best Summer Desserts by America’s Test Kitchen. I usually make them every summer for 4th of July, but this year, I realized there is no need to wait for summer for something this good! So I will be savoring one, and then bringing them to all of my spring parties.

Key Lime Barskey lime bars

Key Lime Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 5 ounces animal crackers
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1.5 tbsp grated lime zest plus ½ cup lime juice (5-6 limes)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 (14 ounce ) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • lime zest for garnishing
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. Grease 8" by 8" square baking pan
  3. For the crust, pulse animal crackers in food processor until broken down, about 10 pulses. Process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds. Add sugar and salt, process to combine. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until evenly moistened.
  4. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan.
  5. Bake until deep golden brown 18-20 minutes.
  6. Let cool on wire rack while making filling.
  7. For the filling. In medium bowl stir cream cheese, lime zest, and salt until well combined. Add condensed milk and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.
  8. Pour filling into crust. Smooth evenly. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  9. Add lime zest garnish.
  10. Chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

6 thoughts on “Key Lime Bars

  1. Nice blog Heather – lot of great info regarding food, as well as great recipes! Keep up the good work and I definitely plan on trying this!

  2. I love your comment about no bad foods, only bad portions. When folks ask me how I can cook so much and still stay in pretty good shape, I say “small plates!” which is so true! These scrumptious looking key lime bars totally look like they belong on one of our small plates. 🙂

  3. I want these for a mid-afternoon snack right about now! And wholeheartedly agree with the proper portions over good/bad foods. Especially when it comes to sweets. Love how you used animal crackers in the crust!

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