Key Lime Shortbread Bars. These bars are made of a sweet and tart key lime layer topping a sweet shortbread crust that you can easily cut into bars. So easy and delicious and perfect for parties!

Key Lime Shortbread Bars Recipe

Key lime pie has always been one of those desserts that my husband immediately picks on a dessert menu. He inherited his love for it from his father. Light and fluffy, sweet with enough tart that it makes your mouth pucker just a bit, I have to admit I love it just as much as they do.

And these key lime shortbread bars?

You better believe they are a definite favorite. That pillowy key lime layer tops a sweet shortbread crust that you can easily cut into bars for serving. I love that it makes 15 delicious bars perfect for parties and get togethers. Here’s my Key Lime Shortbread Bars recipe. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!

Key Lime Shortbread Bars Recipe

Key Lime Shortbread Bars. These bars are made of a pillowy key lime layer topping a sweet shortbread crust that you can easily cut into bars. So easy and delicious.
5 from 6 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 15
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


For the shortbread crust:

For the key lime layer:

For the whipped cream (optional):

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the shortbread crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Mix together butter, flour, and confectioner’s sugar. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.

For the key lime layer:

  • Reduce oven to 325º F.
  • Whisk egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl until well-combined.
  • Beat egg whites with an electric mixture until they begin to foam. Gradually add in granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy and soft peaks have formed. Gently fold into egg yolk mixture and carefully spread onto completely cooled shortbread crust.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set throughout. Remove from the oven and chill on a wire rack. Lightly cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours.
  • For serving, cut into squares and top with whipped cream and lime slices or lime peeling slivers.

For the whipped cream:

  • Add heavy cream into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken. Slowly add in confectioner's sugar while beating on high speed. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
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Robyn xo

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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29 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Must have one of your Key Lime Shortbread Bars asap! Your presentation is so beautiful, love the whipped cream and candied lime peel.

    1. Thank you so much, Allie. It is great for all these upcoming holidays – Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and just because! Love it.

  2. I love anything lemony/limey for dessert. Unfortunately I’m the only one so I don’t make them very often.

    I’ll save this recipe for a time when they are more willing to eat it.

  3. Girl I absolutely adore key lime pie and are the perfect way to have them with that shortbread crust. This is driving me crazy!!!

  4. Those look almost too good to eat, Robyn … of course I would demolish it without a second thought! 🙂 (ps I think there is a small typo: lime “peeling” slivers).

  5. My friend went to Key West and brought me back a bottle of key lime juice. I was so excited to see this recipe pop up. Made them last week; two girls have already asked about the recipe. Very light and delicious

  6. I made these scrumptious bars twice over the long weekend, once for company at our house, and the second time, to take to a barbecue at the home of friends. Everyone raved about them, especially the shortbread crust. I have only one comment to make that I learned when I made the bars the first time: if you are not using a nonstick pan, I suggest greasing the sides of the pan after the crust has cooled and before you are ready to pour the filling into the pan. I did not do that the first time, and I had a heck of a time getting the bars along the sides of the pan to come out cleanly–and they didn’t look very nice either. The second time, I ran a strip of butter around the sides of the pan, above the crust. Worked like a charm, the bars pulled away from the sides slightly and they came out more easily and looked much prettier. Maybe a glass baking dish would not have had the same problem, but I like my metal pan for baked goods. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and a nice alternative to the heavier traditional key lime pie. Five stars!

  7. Hi I can’t seem to find key lines in the uk so can I make this with ordinary lines ? Thanks.

  8. I made these yesterday. Very delicious! The shortbread base is a lovely change from the usual graham cracker crust used for key lime pies. By folding in the beaten egg whites it makes the key lime topping very fluffy. I, personally, don’t think the whipped cream is necessary at all. In fact, it seems to lessen the lovely flavor of the key lime.

    This recipe says how easy the bars are to remove from the pan. That was the case when they cooled, but weren’t yet refrigerated. After being refrigerated for several hours, it became difficult to get the shortbread off the pan bottom. Maybe a non-stick or metal pan would help. I used a ceramic pan.

    1. Hi Cindy!
      I’m so glad you gave these a try and enjoyed them! You can definitely leave off the whipped cream if you wish. I’m not sure why yours stuck as I’ve not had that happen when I’ve made them.
      Thanks so much!

  9. These look delicious. I am cooking ahead, hosting a bbq for 40, can these be made ahead and frozen?

    1. Yes, they should freeze just fine Laura. Wrap tightly with freezer wrap. I would wait until after thawed and before ready to serve before adding the whipped cream topping with the lime zest though for best results. Thanks!

  10. Used a Pyrex pie plate. The recipe filled container to the brim.
    I needed just under 30 min. for key lime batter to set.
    Was very nice; no whip cream required.
    Instructions please to make the decorative sugared lime peel slivers.

    PS: If one favors really light texture could I increase 1 more egg white? 

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Nancy! I’ve not tried adding the extra egg white you mention and not sure how it will turn out. Thanks! xo

  11. Not what I thought it would be. Texture is way to soft and foamy for my liking. The filling wasn’t firm, and the bars didn’t cut clean. They are delicious but I probably won’t make them again. 

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t like these, Jess. As I stated in my post, these are light and fluffy, not firm. But yours should not have been foamy.

  12. I made these last night and WOW. I love the flavors – so delicious, light, tangy and combined with the buttery shortbread crust they are perfection. I am a sucker for citrus desserts as I love things on the more tart side. These were right along my flavor profile and my boyfriend loved them too! I pretty well followed the recipe other than used regular limes, no lemon, and was a little under on the sugar for the crust. Will make again – a new favorite!

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I’m glad these are a new favorite of yours. They are always a hit with my family, too.

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