No bake key lime pie bars are made with coconut cream paired with a graham cracker crust to create a decadent treat in an easier and healthier way. Gluten free and vegan options available.
We can all thank my husband, Neil for this recipe. Today (April 15th) is his birthday and while I was in the grocery store I couple days ago I came across some bags of key limes. I have NEVER seen key limes in the grocery store before. Maybe I am just really oblivious, but when I saw those I knew I had to pick them up and make something for him because key lime pie is his favorite dessert of all time. So with this recipe I tried not to stray too far from a traditional key lime pie (because when we like something we like THAT – not something that vaguely resembles it in taste you know?) but of course I had to make it healthier! This recipe is made healthier using a coconut cream topping, and I provide gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free options.
Lime vs. Key Lime
But first, I need to vent about this one. After zesting and squeezing over FIFTEEN key limes to make this recipe (who knew they were so little!?) I was seriously questioning my sanity. So I went ahead and tasted the juice (only the teeniest amount because I couldn’t waste that precious effort) and in my opinion it tasted exactly like lime juice. If anyone can tell me the difference between limes and key limes I am all ears, but until someone complains about it, I am going to make this recipe with limes next time and I suggest you do the same.
Let’s Make Some No Bake Key Lime Pie Bars!
So the only thing that strays from a traditional recipe I’d make on DWBH is the crust. I wanted to make this enjoyable for Neil and while he does love my healthy treats, I knew he’d appreciate the real deal. So I used real, gluten-full graham crackers, butter, and sugar. But here is what you can do instead:
Gluten free: If you want this recipe to be gluten free, you could start by just picking up some gluten free graham crackers! Otherwise I suggest some other no bake crusts I use. You can find examples in my no bake pumpkin spice cheesecake or my no bake pbj bars.
Vegan: If you are looking to have a vegan recipe, you could always use vegan butter. But if that is not what you are looking for, check the links in the gluten free option because those crusts are both also vegan!
Refined sugar free: I am all about not using refined sugar. It actually pained me a little to make this and serve it to Neil but I knew it would make him happy. But you can easily avoid it! In the crust you want something solid for sure – so I would swap out 1 for 1 with coconut sugar. And for the filling you can use just about anything! Either coconut sugar, Stevia, or even agave or maple syrup would do the trick.
Tips & Tricks
I wanted to share a couple of tips to make sure this goes perfect the first time:
- Make sure when you line your 8×8 pan with parchment paper, the paper is long enough that it spills over on at least two sides. This will be imperative for you to be able to lift the bars out of the pan. Otherwise they will be frozen in there!
- Make sure you drain the coconut cream otherwise it will be too thin. So DO NOT stir the can after you open it.
- Your topping will be very liquidy. I was worried about this at first and thought no way it would freeze well enough. It did! But I’d keep these in the freezer and only pull them out about 15-20 minutes before you are going to eat them, otherwise they will get pretty soft (and messy!)
If you try this recipe please leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts! If you remake it on Instagram be sure to tag me at @donutworry_behealthy so I can see your creation and send you some love right back!
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