These lime bars are so bright & delicious! Gooey citrus on a buttery lime shortbread crust with a sprinkling of sweet confectioner’s sugar.
You can’t beat this lime bar recipe! A taste of sunshine in every bite! Inspired by our super popular lemon bars, they go great with a meal of grilled pork chops and macaroni salad with bacon and tomato!
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Lime Bar Recipe Ingredients
- Butter – You’ll want salted butter for this recipe and it needs to be cold (but not frozen) for best results.
- Flour – Regular all purpose flour. Make sure you’re not using self rising or cake flour.
- Cornstarch – Double check that it’s cornstarch and not baking powder or cornmeal. Those are easy oopses!
- Sugar – Regular granulated white sugar.
- Salt – I prefer a fine grain kosher salt for baking.
- Lime zest – If you prefer a plain shortbread crust, you can skip the zest.
Lime Curd Topping
- Sugar – For the filling we will again use regular granulated white sugar.
- Flour – Again, regular all purpose flour. Make sure you’re not using self rising or cake flour.
- Eggs – I always use large eggs in my baking.
- Lime juice – You’ll definitely want to use fresh lime juice in this recipe.
- Lime zest – Don’t skip the zest in this part of the recipe, please!
- Optional – Food coloring if you want them green, and powdered sugar for dusting the tops of the bars immediately before serving.
How Do You Make Lime Bars (Step-by-Step)
⭐ First, combine cold butter, flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and lime zest and mix together until mixture resembles coarse meal.
⭐ Next, press dough into pan and then poke all over with a fork. Bake until edges are golden brown and the middle is firm to touch.
⭐ Then, while crust is baking prepare lime curd topping. Whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, lime juice, and lime zest. Set aside until crust is done.
⭐ Next, once crust has baked, pour lime mixture over the top and bake until set and no longer jiggly.
⭐ Finally, remove from oven and allow bars to cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar and slicing.
Can lime bars be made a day ahead?
Yes, they can be made in advance. In fact, I prefer to make them at least a day ahead so I know they are fully cooled and set before slicing. They will last up to four days in the refrigerator.
How do you know when lime bars are set?
You know the bars are set when the edges are starting to turn golden (but not dark), and the curd filling no longer jiggly in the middle. If the center is still runny you will want to let the recipe cook a few more minutes.
Can you overcook lime bars?
Yes, they can be overcooked. Be sure to remove the bars from the oven when the edges are beginning to brown and the middle is set.
How do you cut lime bars?
Make sure the bars are completely cooled. Then remove from the pan by gently pulling up on the edges of the parchment paper. Set uncut bars on a flat surface and use a sharp lightly oiled knife to cut the bars. Swipe the knife with additional oil if it stops running cleanly through the bars.
Some folks swear by using plastic knives to cut them – I know it works for brownies, so maybe we should try it for these too!
Storage and Leftovers
Do I need to refrigerate lime bars?
Yes, it should be refrigerated both to set after baking, and when not being served. They will keep up to four days in the refrigerator.
How long can you freeze lime bars?
You can freeze the bars for up to about four months. If freezing after cutting, use parchment paper between the squares to keep them from sticking together. Defrost the bars overnight in the refrigerator for best results. Dust with powdered sugar after defrosting.
If freezing leftover bars, make sure they have not been out at room temperature in longer than two hours. If so, they should be discarded.
Tips and tricks
✅ Make sure the eggs are fully whisked into the curd topping, if not you will end up with a scrambled egg consistency.
✅ Line the pan with parchment paper and leave enough sticking out of the sides to work as ‘handles’ – this will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan.
✅ Wait until just before serving to dust with with powdered sugar, otherwise the moisture from the curd will make it “disappear”.
✅ Use a sharp knife and swipe it with vegetable oil before slicing the bars to get the best clean cuts. Reswipe with oil as needed.
Frequently asked questions
Are lime bars supposed to be gooey?
The curd layer on top should be slightly gooey, but not runny. If the curd is runny it should be cooked a few minutes longer. The shortbread crust should not be gooey.
What are the white bubbles on top of my bars?
Sometimes you will see bubbles and a bit of white on the surface of your curd layer. This is totally normal and is from the air that got whisked into the eggs. No big deal, just dust with powdered sugar before serving an you won’t even notice it!
What to eat with lime bars (serving suggestions)
More delicious lime recipes
- Key lime cheesecake
- Classic key lime pie
- Strawberry lime popsicle spritzer
- Cilantro lime steak
- Cilantro lime chicken
- See all our recipes that are made with limes!
More yummy dessert bars
- Monster cookie bars
- Magic 7 layer bars
- Frosted sugar cookie bars
- Salted caramel chocolate shortbread bars
- See all our dessert bar recipes!
Tools we love
- Santuko knife – My favorite knife for cutting vegetables! This knife is the perfect size and shape, handles great, and is super reasonably priced. Also, I just love that it’s fun and colorful!
- Knife sharpener – Let me tell you about this knife sharpener! I won it at a conference almost ten years ago, and I still use it several times a week. It’s one of my go-to housewarming gifts and everyone I know just loves it.
- Electric mixer – I love love love love love (x’s 100) my stand mixer. Really and truly. But my daily work horse is this handheld electric mixer.
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How to Make Lime Bars
- 1 cup salted butter cold and cut into cubes
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 eggs beaten
- 2/3 cups fresh lime juice the juice of about 7 limes
- 2 tablespoons lime zest the zest of about 6 limes
- green food coloring optional
- Powdered sugar optional topping
- In a medium sized bowl, combine cold butter, flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and lime zest.
- Using a pastry cutter or two knives, mix all of the ingredients together until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- This will take a couple of minutes so be patient while it all comes together. For best results, make sure that the butter is cold, but not frozen.
- Once your crust is complete, take a 9x13 parchment lined pan and place crust into the pan. Press down with the palm of your hand and bring the crust to the edges of all sides of the pan.
- Poke the crust all over with a fork and place crust in the oven to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes until edges are golden brown and the middle is firm to touch.
- While crust is baking prepare lime topping. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, eggs, lime juice, and zest. Add a drop or two of green food coloring, if desired. Make sure the eggs are completely incorporated into the mixture. Set aside until crust is done baking.
- Once crust has baked, pour lime mixture over the top and place pan back into the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. Bars should be set and no longer jiggly.
- Remove from oven and allow lime bars to cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar and cutting.
- Some recipes call for the crust to cool completely before it goes back into the oven. I haven’t seen a difference with either method and I haven’t had problems pouring the lime curd over the top of the crust while it’s still hot and placing it back into the oven.
- For a thicker crust/lime topping ratio, you can use an 8x11” pan and increase the cook time on the crust and topping 5 - 10 minutes.
- It’s very important to thoroughly mix the eggs into the lime topping or the bars will end up like scrambled eggs.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You may freeze these for up to 3 months. I don’t recommend using powdered sugar on frozen bars until they are taken out of the freezer and thawed. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator after freezing.
- The lime topping has a smooth and silky texture that pairs well with the crunchy crust. The zest in the crust ties all of the flavors together!
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