Bars + Brownies Desserts Pies + Tarts Spring Summer

Key Lime Pie Bars

key lime pie bars on parchment
Key Lime Pie bars in slices

My family is now torn between two desserts. Dessert one is classic chocolate cake; those of us with Fall and Winter birthdays always request it. But some people, those with spring and summer birthdays, beg for dessert two: key lime pie.

Their hearts are not lulled by warm, dark chocolate, instead, they insist on  cool, tart citrus.

The first time I made a key lime pie, years ago, I didn’t think anyone would get crazy about it. It sounded refreshing: a perfect dessert for a hot summer night. I brought it to a family event and it was gobbled down in record time. A week later I was asked to make it again, and it now it has become a cult classic. I’ve traded housework and yard work for this pie. It’s a serious dessert.

This version of Key Lime Pie is in bar form, with mint whipped cream. But if you want it to be classic, bake it instead in a 9 inch [23 cm] pie plate and omit the mint extract and creme de menthe from the whipped cream.

key lime pie bars on parchment

More Pie Bar Recipes:

key lime pie bars on parchment

Key Lime Pie Bars with Mint Whipped Cream

Servings: 12 bars
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 4 hours
Tart and sweet key lime pie in bar form, atop a graham cracker crust! Topped with a cool mint whipped cream.
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate



  • 1 1/2 cups [150 g] graham cracker crumbs or 11 whole graham crackers pulsed in a food processor
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons [65 g] unsalted butter melted and cooled


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup [120 g] fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract optional
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • One 14 oz [396 g] can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 to 2 drops green food coloring (optional

Whipped Cream

  • 4 oz [113 g] cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons creme de menthe
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups [360 g] heavy cream


For the crust

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 325F [165C]. Grease an 8 in [20 cm] square baking pan and line with a parchment sling.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter to the crumbs and stir until all the crumbs are coated. Use a measuring cup or sppon to press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly.

For the filling

  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lime juice, heavy cream, vanilla, lime zest, salt, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth and fully combined. Add the food coloring (if desired) and stir evenly to distribute. Pour the filling onto the warm crust. Bake 14 to 17 minutes, until the center is set but still a bit wiggly when jiggled.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Top the chilled bars with the mint whipped cream, and serve.

For the whipped cream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese on medium until smooth. Add the sugar, creme de menthe, mint extract, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until combined. Increase to medium and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and switch to the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream, whisking until fully combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat until stiff peaks form, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, 3 to 4 minutes.


*The lime zest and juice will lightly color the bars green, but if you want a brighter color, you can add a drop or two of green food coloring.

Note: The lime zest and juice will lightly color the bars green, but if you want a brighter color, you can add a drop or two of green food coloring.

  • Reply
    Mara Gosch
    Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Do you still have the original key lime pie recipe?? I used it for years and never saved it!

  • Reply
    Monday, May 1, 2023 at 10:17 am

    Wondering if anyone has tried a vegan or lactose-free substitute for the sweetened condensed milk that worked? I tried to make this using canned coconut milk sweetened condensed milk but unfortunately it never set up – I kept baking longer but that just made the crust overcooked and hard, so the whole thing ended up being a waste. Too bad because I’ve loved every other recipe from 100 cookies and was really looking forward to this one (and from the taste of the filling I tried I’m sure it would have been delicious if it had turned out)! Everything else in the recipe I kept the same so I imagine the coconut milk based substitute was the culprit and wonder if it needs a thickener added to help it set up.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    5 stars
    gorgeous! I have to opt for this one over the chocolate cake, any day! thank you!

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 5, 2023 at 7:06 pm

    5 stars
    Another wonderful recipe from Sarah! I’ve been making key lime pie for years and this is the best recipe yet.

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Monday, March 6, 2023 at 8:32 am

      I’m so glad you like them, Margie!

  • Reply
    Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! I love a good key lime pie.

  • Reply
    Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Simple like the original dessert, but not authentic. This is a lime pie, not key lime – this is not a gripe, as there is a much brighter, floral flavor to the pie. You can pump it up by adding vanilla extract or a squeeze of lemon but there is one ingredient you need for this pie – KEY LIMES! You’ll need about 1 lb and a half for this recipe and look for the sweet yellow ones.

  • Reply
    Monday, November 19, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Hi! I’m wondering if this could be made in advance, maybe by a day or two? Or would that change the quality/consistency when you eat it? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Chef Jil
      Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 11:24 am

      I’m wondering the same thing.

      • Reply
        Sarah Kieffer
        Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 11:49 am

        Yes, they can be made a day ahead. Anymore than that you will lose the crispness in the crust.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 12:02 am

    great and great looking recipe i am very interested for making

  • Reply
    Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Just made this pie but had to sneak a taste even before it was totally cooled….yummmmm! Soooooo good!! I can’t wait to eat a whole piece after it’s cooled. It’s so clean and real tasting, not fake at all like so many pies out there. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Reply
      Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

      I’m so glad you liked the pie! 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    hi! 🙂 I was wondering if you can use bottled key lime juice instead of fresh for this recipe? do you think the taste would suffer a lot? i’m super excited to try making this soon, it looks so easy! thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    As I come back to this recipe for the umpteenth time, I feel I should say this is the easiest pie to make and is so so so delicious. I bring it to potlucks and parties all spring and summer long and I too get requests for it.

  • Reply
    Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t know what I did wrong 🙁 I made this today, and I followed all of the instructions, but I just went to check it after 15 minutes on the final bake, and it is still liquidy. It doesn’t seem to have set at all 🙁

    • Reply
      Monday, October 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Ashley – So sorry for the late reply! For some reason this didn’t show up in my inbox, and I didn’t know I had comments waiting for me. I’m not sure what the problem could be – did you accidentally use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed? Did you let it keep baking to see if it would set up?

    • Reply
      Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      I tried the blood orange version of this recipe on here and mine did not set up at all either. There are definitely missing directions because the filling must need to be whipped or set out for quite a long time for it to thicken up because I whipped mine like in the directions, until it is tinted light orange, and let it set at room temperature for 20 minutes but it was just soupy.

  • Reply
    Made in Sonoma
    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I just saw your guest post on My Little Celebration, and I had to come over here to check out your blog.

    I really love this post, and now I’m craving key lime pie!

  • Reply
    Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
    Friday, August 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I just found you through America’s Test Kitchen Blogger Spotlight and I am blown away!! Your photos are stunning, your food looks divine!!
    All the best, I can’t wait to see whaty ou whip up next 🙂 ~Megan Pence
    Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

  • Reply
    luke and pamela
    Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    i forgot to tell you – it was great! i made one mistake which was grabbing a bag of key limes instead of just limes, so i had to use way more than what the recipe said and it ended up being a little more tart than i think it was supposed to but, still, SOOOOOOO good.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Someday, please, will you make this for me? I have never had key lime pie. But I love lime and I love pie.

  • Reply
    luke and pamela
    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 12:50 am

    i am making it now. 🙂

  • Reply
    luke and pamela
    Monday, August 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    this seems too easy! i’ve never made a cold pie before even though they are my favorite! totally putting it on my grocery list.

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