Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust


These Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust are a delicious, refreshing twist on the classic lemon version, and strike a perfect-pucker balance between sweet and sour. They’re a cinch to make, can be made ahead, and are freezer friendly!

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 a more tart, floral juice. Also, the zest of a key lime has more zing.

Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust | Give it Some Thyme - a refreshing, delicious and easy dessert recipe you can make ahead and is freezer friendly! #keylimebars #keylimerecipes #lemonbars #refreshingdesserts #easydesserts #shortbread #giveitsomethyme

When it comes to looks, key limes are about the size of a walnut and no larger than a golf ball, as shown below.

Key Limes vs Regular Limes

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 Lime Juice and Zest

How to get started…

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.

Dough in pan

Second, press the dough on the bottom and about a half inch up the sides 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!

Dough Pressed into Baking Dish

The crust will take on a nice golden hue once baked.

Dough Base Baked

Pour the filling over and pop back in the oven!

Filling Poured Over Baked Base

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. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar and you’re good to go. Enjoy!

Remember to PIN THIS to save the recipe for later!

Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust | Give it Some Thyme - a refreshing, delicious and easy dessert recipe you can make ahead and is freezer friendly! #keylimebars #keylimerecipes #lemonbars #refreshingdesserts #easydesserts #shortbread #giveitsomethyme

You may also like…

Before you go, stay in touch on InstagramPinterest and Facebook, and subscribe above to join our email community for all the latest updates!

Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust - Give it Some Thyme

Key Lime Bars with Shortbread Crust

These Key Lime Bars with a sweet, shortbread crust are a delicious, refreshing twist on the classic lemon version.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 2-inch bars
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 flour
  • ¼ cup key lime juice, strained
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish. Line with parchment paper with 2-inch overhang.
  • In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter, flour, and powdered sugar together on low speed until dough starts to form clumps.
  • Flour your hands to press dough into bottom and ½-inch up sides of parchment lined baking dish.
  • Bake in preheated oven until light golden brown, 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.


  • While crust bakes, 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 well combined. Pour key lime mixture over crust.
  • Bake 22-25 minutes until edges are lightly golden and center is set.
  • Cool in baking dish on rack. Then chill at least 1 hour before serving. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
  • Use parchment paper overhang to remove from pan and cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with quartered lime wedges and additional zest, if desired.
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @giveitsomethyme or tag #giveitsomethyme!

This page contains affiliate links. Meaning, whenever you purchase an item after clicking an Amazon link through this website, we receive a small percentage from Amazon. It doesn’t cost anything extra to you! It simply helps maintain the blog. Thanks so much!


  1. This recipe was so easy and OMG, very tasty. The shortbread crust is perfect with not being too sweet and the filling was a perfect blend of flavors. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  2. These bars look perfect. There’s something amazingly about the combo of sweet and buttery shortbread and refreshing key lime filling. Well done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.