Key Lime Bars with Kiwi and Shortbread Crust


These Key Lime Bars topped with kiwi are a delicious, refreshing twist on classic lemon bars, and strike a perfect-pucker balance between sweet and sour. They’re a cinch to make, can be made ahead, and even frozen. Ideal for entertaining!

Key Limes

Do you have to use key limes? Of course not. Regular Persian limes will work. However, key limes, also known as Mexican or West Indian limes, are more aromatic with more tart, floral juice. Also, the zest of a key lime has more zing. When it comes to looks, key limes are about the size of a walnut and no larger than a golf ball, as shown below. Plus, they have more seeds than regular limes so pour the juice through a fine strainer to make sure none sneak into the filling.

Key Limes vs Regular Limes

Key Lime Juice and Zest

The Bars

The crust is a basic shortbread dough that’s all of three ingredients. Love that! Two tips to keep in mind though… First, line the baking pan with parchment paper with a two-inch overhang on each side. This will keep the bars from sticking to the pan and make it easy to transfer the whole thing to a cutting board. They are much easier to cut this way, and you’ll spare your pan a repeated assault with a sharp knife. Second, press the dough on the bottom and about a half inch up the sides of the pan so the filling doesn’t seep down the sides and end up on the bottom of the crust resembling an inside-out pop-tart. Believe me, I know this from experience! Below shows all my fingerprints on the unbaked dough, and the slightly golden color of the filling once baked.

Key Lime Bars with Kiwi Shortbread Dough    Key Lime Bars with Kiwi Filling Baked

Let the pan cool completely on a rack, then cover and chill at least one hour. The colder the tart is the cleaner the cut you’ll get when serving. Dust with powdered sugar and top with wedges of kiwi, and you’re good to go! These Key Lime Bars are perfect for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day celebrations. Some other menu ideas are our Chorizo and Fingerling Potato Skewers and Baked Tequila Lime Tacos. Enjoy!!

Key Lime Bars with Kiwi

Key Lime Bars with Kiwi

Key Lime Bars with Kiwi
Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
These Key Lime Bars topped with kiwi on a sweet, shortbread crust are a delicious, refreshing twist on the classic lemon version.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Kim Peterson
  • 1 ½ sticks, ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • cup powdered sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup key lime juice, strained
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper with 2-inch overhang. Mix together butter, flour, and powdered sugar. Flour your hands to press dough into bottom and ½ inch up sides of parchment lined pan. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 15-17 minutes. Let cool on a rack, and maintain oven temperature.
  1. In the same bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and foamy. Add sugar, flour, key lime juice, zest, baking powder, and salt. Mix until light and thick, about 2 minutes. Pour mixture over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes until edges are lightly golden and center is set. Cool in pan on rack. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Use parchment paper overhang to remove from pan to cut into squares or triangles. Dust with powdered sugar and top with kiwi wedges and additional zest.

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