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Key Lime Bars


This recipe is based on the famous Key lime pie from Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach. If you can't find Key limes, use regular fresh lime juice.

  • Yield: Makes about 16


  • 1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (about 23 Key limes total)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons


  1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)

  2. Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.

  3. Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

  4. Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime.

Cook's Notes

The bars will keep, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • edawn01
    6 JAN, 2017
    This recipe is awesome! The Keys are my favorite vacation spot, and these bars take me right back! A lot of comments saying they are too sour, they aren't. Make the recipe how the site suggests, with the whipped cream on top, and they are perfect! If you love authentic Key Lime pie, you'll love this recipe!
  • leangreenbean83
    19 JUL, 2016
    I assumed everyone who said this was too sour just didn't actually like citrus, and because I love a good pucker that I would still enjoy this recipe. But the truth is, it's just unpleasantly sour, and could have really used some additional sugar in the filling in addition to the condensed milk. Powdered sugar on top helps a little, but not enough.
  • mareferg14733
    17 JUL, 2016
    I absolutely love this recipe! The crunchy graham cracker crust is a perfect contrast to the tart lime filling. I used 2/3 cups lime juice as the recipe states, though half regular limes and half key limes. The end result is very tart but I cut it into tiny squares and these little powerhouses of flavor are just right. I skipped the whipped cream and garnish, though I'll add them if I want to make these look impressive.
  • AleenaBakes
    24 MAY, 2015
    When I made this, 2/3 cup was wayy to much juice. I added an extra half a can of condensed milk and it was perfect.
  • SexySweet
    23 MAY, 2014
    I made this recipe today as Martha Stewart is the first person I turn to as a reliable source for any recipe. I was disappointed as I tasted the end result and thought that the amount of key lime juice (2/3 C) was way too much. It was far too tart even for me and my friends. However the graham crust and the overall texture of the bar were spot on. I went back to research other key lime bar recipes and many had called for nearly half the juice so I am not sure if it was a typo. I will try again..
  • MrBillTheBoss
    24 MAR, 2013
    Oh Jesus, Thank You For Blessing Us With The Beautiful and Georges..."Mrs. Anita Pelaez" and Her Original Recipe Key Lime Pies. Put Simply, The Finest Key Lime Pies On The Face Of The Earth! Nobody Does It Better Than Anita Does! So Keep The Faith Baby and Enjoy Anita's Key Lime Pies. Praise The Lord For Anita's Key Lime Pie Factory and Grill In Asheville, N.C. Near The Biltmore Estate. God is Good, God Is Great, Let Us Thank Him For The Magic Of Anita Pelaez and Her Key Lime Pies. Ahmen.
  • Happy baker
    14 MAR, 2013
    I love this recipe. It is so delicious. I am going to make them for St. Patrick's Day!
  • bakinginks
    10 AUG, 2012
    I've used this recipe a few times this summer. It is even better than the one I had been using for a pie. In fact, when I recently went to Florida (not the keys though) I ordered a slice of key lime pie at a bakery thinking I was in key lime pie territory. I ended up throwing it out because it didn't compare to the one I'm making in the midwest! I use bottled key lime juice along with my own recipe for homemade whipped cream and it's perfect.
  • witheroney
    3 AUG, 2012
    I have made this recipe for three different parties this summer- twice with fresh squeezed key lime juice and once with the bottled juice. While I had a slight preference for the fresh limes, each time I made it the bars were the first dessert to go! At one party, they never made it out of the kitchen! The crust itself is so appealing that I almost buried my face in it the moment it came out of the oven! Add confectioners sugar to the whipped cream if you like it on the sweet side. YUM!!!!
  • ferlie
    24 JUL, 2012
    To anon414........the sweetness in the filling comes from the condensed milk. It is very rich and sweet. Not sure why your squares were not. Did you maybe use evaporated milk instead? Good baking!!