Lime Shortbread Bars

4.41 from 5 votes

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Lime Shortbread Bars are the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors combined into one gooey dessert. They are made with a delicious key lime juice mixture and poured over a warm shortbread crust.

Sprinkle some powdered sugar and lime zest on top for a beautiful presentation.

lime shortbread cookie bars

Eat the whole pan yourself or take them with you to the next baby shower or St Patrick’s Day party you attend. All citrus lovers will adore these tangy lime bars!

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Citrus desserts can fall short because they’re too sweet but with a punch of sour lime juice, this lime bars recipe is a keeper.

You can even add a little fresh lemon juice or lemon zest to make them into lemon lime shortbread bars!


Here are the ingredients to make these delicious lime margarita bars.

lime bars ingredients

For the crust:

  • Flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Butter

For the Filling: 

  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Lime juice (from key limes if possible)
  • Flour
  • Lime zest
  • Green food coloring 

How to Make Lime Shortbread Bars: 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Combine the crust ingredients and mix well with a fork. You can let the butter soften a little to make it easier but don’t melt it completely.

crust mixture

Press dough into the bottom of a parchment-lined 9×13 inch baking pan. Leave a little excess parchment paper to help with easy removal later.

press shortbread into pan

Bake for 10-12 minutes until it’s golden brown.

While the crust is baking, beat the filling ingredients together in a separate bowl using an electric mixer.

mix lime topping layer

If you want to add green food coloring, go ahead and stir a few drops into your lime mixture and blend well.

add green coloring to lime mixture

Remove the crust from the oven and pour the filling mixture over the hot crust.

pour lime mixture over cookie layer

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the lime mixture is set.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.

Gently remove the bars from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar.

cool completely and remove from pan sprinkle with powdered sugar

Let it cool completely on a flat surface or in the refrigerator. 

Cut the bars into squares and enjoy!

lime shortbread bars square

Tips for Success

Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the best key lime shortbread bars recipe.

Use extra parchment paper that hangs over the sides for easy removal from the pan after they’re done baking. 

Bake the sweet shortbread crust in a square baking pan to get thicker lime bars.

Use green food coloring to make the bars look more lime-y or leave it out for a pale yellow look instead.

If you want smaller bars, cut the squares down the middle before serving.

Lime bars smaller on cutting board

What Kind of Limes to Use  

There are many different varieties of limes you can use to make this delicious recipe with fresh lime juice.

The regular Persian lime you find at the grocery store is a bit sweeter and larger than Key limes or Mexican limes, while key limes and Mexican limes are slightly more sour and are smaller.

If you can find them, they are generally preferred for making the lime curd filling for the lime layer because of their bright citrus flavor which makes these bars on the tart side.

Other Types of Crust for Lime Curd Bars  

This lime bar recipe uses a combination of flower, confectioners’ sugar, and butter to form a buttery shortbread crust.

You can also use crushed cookies to create a sweet and crunchy layer instead of the shortbread base.

Or, try making a gingersnap crust, hazelnut crust, or one using graham crackers. All of these options make delicious bars. Simply crush them up and mix with melted butter. Then press into the bottom of the pan.

What’s the best way to cut key lime pie bars?   

Cutting nice clean lines makes your lime bars beautiful and there are a couple of tricks to doing so.

We’ve all cut through a pan of brownies or other gooey dessert and ended up with jagged lines and brownies stuck to your knife. It’s possible to make clean cuts by using these steps next time.

how to cut lime bars into squares

The colder the better: Chill the bars for at least two hours before cutting into them with a sharp knife. If they’re still warm in the middle, they won’t cut as nicely. 

Lightly coat the knife with oil: Another option is to pour a small amount of oil onto a paper towel and run the towel over the blade of a large chef’s knife. This will help keep the bars from sticking to the sides of the metal knife. 

Use a plastic knife: If you don’t want to oil your knife, you can use a plastic knife instead. The plastic repels the lime filling and doesn’t allow it to stick as much as a regular knife.

How to Store

Wrap the lime bars in plastic wrap or keep them separated in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to one week.

You can eat them right from the fridge, or allow them to warm up slightly on the counter first.


Can you freeze lime bars? 

Freezing lime bars is an excellent way to save them for later. You can freeze leftovers or freeze an entire batch of bars.
After baking and cooling, cut them into squares, place them in an airtight container without touching and freeze. You may want to use parchment paper to layer them in the container as well.
To thaw, take out as many bars as you’d like and put them in the refrigerator or on the counter.
You can eat them cold or at room temperature.

Why are my lime bars runny? 

Most likely your lime bars are a bit too gooey if you didn’t bake them long enough. Be sure to bake them until the center is cooked through and then cool them in the refrigerator until they’re completely set.

What other citrus flavors can I use to make these bars? 

Lime bars are tangy and delicious but you can substitute the lime juice for another citrus juice like grapefruit, orange, or even classic lemon bars.

If you liked these lime shortbread bars, you’ll love these other desserts! 

If you loved this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or comment below! 🌟

Lime Shortbread Bars Recipe

4.41 from 5 votes
This easy lime bars recipe has a sweet and tart topping with a delicious shortbread crust making it the perfect summer dessert!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 12 Bars


  • 1 Electric Mixer
  • 1 9×13 Pan
  • Parchment Paper



  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Zest of one lime, optional
  • 2-3 drops of green food coloring, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Combine crust ingredients and mix well
  • Press into bottom of greased or parchment-lines 9×13 inch baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes
  • While crust is baking, beat filling ingredients together using an electric mixer
  • Remove crust from oven and pour filling on top
  • Then, return to oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until filling is set
  • Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 minutes
  • Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar
  • Let cool completely (can refrigerate if you want to cut them cold)
  • Cut bars, and remove from pan


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 


Serving: 1bar, Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 113mg, Potassium: 60mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 441IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to

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4.41 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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