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Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars

Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 10:05 pm

These healthy key lime pie bars are made with a sweet and cinnamon-y graham cracker crust, tart lime juice and zest and creamy coconut milk. Frozen or chilled, they are delicious either way. 

a batch of key lime pie bars cut into squares

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Healthy key lime pie bars have been my favorite late summer treat this year. They are easy to make, require minimal baking and are oh so refreshing on a hot day.

These key lime pie bars have a crunchy gluten free graham cracker crust and a creamy no bake filling. They are the perfect balance between tart and sweet.

Unlike traditional key lime pie, these bars are gluten free, dairy free and made with healthier for you ingredients. They can be enjoyed chilled, for a consistency like traditional key lime pie, or frozen, for an extra refreshing treat.

The only non vegan ingredient in these bars is the honey in the gluten free graham crackers. If you are able to find graham crackers made without honey, you should be able to make this recipe completely vegan, too.

the gluten free graham cracker crust ingredients

Crust Ingredients

Graham crackers: The flavor of graham crackers goes so nicely with lime. I used gluten free graham crackers from Pamela’s for this crust.
Coconut oil: I am using coconut oil in place of butter to keep this recipe dairy free.
Maple syrup: for a touch of natural sweetness.
Salt: to bring out the flavors in the crust.

the key lime pie bar filling ingredients

Filling Ingredients

Key lime juice and zest: key limes are slightly less tart than regular limes. They are smaller and tend to be more yellow than regular limes. If you can’t find key limes, regular limes will work.
Cashews: the cashews are soaked in boiling water to soften them. Once blended, they will help create a smooth and creamy filling.
Coconut milk: you will want to use the thick creamy part at the top of the can only. Save the rest for a curry or soup.
Coconut oil: coconut oil helps to firm up the filling.
Maple syrup: for natural sweetness and to balance out the tartness of the lime flavor.
Salt: to bring out all the delicious flavors in these bars.

three healthy key lime pie bars stacked on top of each other on a plate

Equipment

8×8 inch baking dish
Zester
Citrus juicer
Food processor
Large mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Rubber spatula

How to Make the Graham Cracker Crust

1. In a food processor, blend graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt and mix well.
2. Pour graham cracker crumb mixture into a greased and parchment lined 8×8 inch baking dish. Press into an even layer to form a crust.
3. Bake crust at 350°F for 12 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely.
the gluten free graham cracker crust in the pan before baking

How to Make the Filling

1. Soak the cashews for the filling in water overnight or in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain cashews well.
2. In a food processor, combine soaked cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil, lime juice and zest, maple syrup and salt. Blend for two to three minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times. Blend until mixture is completely smooth.
3. Pour filling over the crust and smooth into an even layer. Top with lime zest and pop into the freezer to set.
the key lime pie filling in the food processor

Helpful Tips

Time saving tip: soak the cashews in boiling water versus overnight to save time. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the cashews and boil for 15 minutes. Strain the water from the cashews and allow them to drain well.

For the perfect crust: use the back of a large spoon to press the crust into the baking dish for an evenly distributed, packed crust.

Blending the filling: you may need to blend the filling longer than you think. If you try it and there are still small bits of cashews, it needs to blend for longer. The batter should be completely smooth and creamy before adding to the baking dish.

For easy cutting: remove the bars from the freezer 10 minutes before cutting. Remove the bars from the pan and cut using a sharp chef’s knife on a cutting board.

For serving: add a dollop of whipped cream or coco whip (a non-dairy coconut whipped topping).

an overhead shot of two healthy key lime pie bars with a lime wedge on top of each slice

FAQ

What is the difference between key limes and regular limes?

Key limes are smaller and have a thinner, more yellow skin (when ripe) than regular limes. Key limes have an aromatic scent and distinct flavor that is sweeter than regular limes but still bright, tart and citrusy.

How do I store these key lime pie bars?

Store these bars in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also store these bars in the refrigerator for up to three days.

How long do they last?

These bars will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. After that, they may start to get icy. Avoid storing these bars in the fridge for longer than 3 days, as the color will turn and they won’t taste as fresh.

How to do I defrost these bars? 

When ready to enjoy, take a bar out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Do not microwave or bake to defrost bars. Alternatively, you can enjoy this treat frozen.

A key lime pie bar with a bite taken out of one corner and two bars in the background

Substitutions

Lime juice and zest: if you cannot find key limes at the grocery store, regular limes will work instead.
Coconut milk: feel free to use coconut cream in place of coconut milk (it is the same as the top of a can of coconut milk)

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a batch of key lime pie bars cut into squares
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars

These healthy key lime pie bars are made with a sweet and cinnamon-y graham cracker crust, tart lime juice and zest and creamy coconut milk.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time52 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free key lime pie bars, gluten free graham cracker crust, gluten free key lime pie bars, healthy key lime pie, key lime pie bars
Servings: 9 squares

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Graham Cracker Crust

  • In a food processor, blend graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt and mix well.
  • Pour graham cracker crumb mixture into a greased and parchment lined 8x8 inch baking dish. Press into an even layer to form a crust.
  • Bake crust at 350°F for 12 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely.

Key Lime Pie Filling

  • Soak the cashews for the filling in water overnight or in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain cashews well.
  • In a food processor, combine soaked cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil, lime juice and zest, maple syrup and salt. Blend for two to three minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times. Blend until mixture is completely smooth. 
  • Pour filling over the crust and smooth into an even layer. Top with lime zest and pop into the freezer to set. 

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So different from the key lime bars I’ve made in the past, but they were fantastic! My kids love these.

  2. 5 stars
    Made these and they turned out amazing! Thanks for the boiling cashew tip, it was so helpful.

    1. thechowdown says:

      I’m so glad you found that helpful. I always forget to soak cashews the night before so it’s a lifesaver!

  3. 5 stars
    These key lime bars are my new favorite dessert! I had to buy another bag of key limes so I could make this again!

    1. thechowdown says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Jeri!

  4. 5 stars
    These coconut bars are amazing! I love the idea of using cashews as the fillings and it turns out so delicious

  5. 5 stars
    This is a really good recipe. I love key lime desserts and enjoyed these so much the first time I made them. Will definitely be making them again!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. thechowdown says:

      Thank you so much, Rebecca! I’m glad you enjoyed.