July 1, 2020

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars made with tart lime juice and just the right touch of maple syrup. The creamy filling is poured on a delicious no bake cookie crust that is perfectly sweetened with dates. This recipe is vegan, dairy-free, gluten free, and Paleo. 

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars stacked on top of each other

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars: A Delicious Dairy Free Treat

Have I told you about my obsession with key lime pie? It is hands down my all time favorite dessert. Key lime pie is the perfect combination of sweet and tart that is the absolute best summer treat.

While I love key lime pie, I don’t always love the load of sugar that comes along with a slice. Plus, if you, or someone you know, can’t eat dairy, then eating a slice of key lime pie may not sound too appetizing. Thankfully, these easy no bake key lime pie bars are a dairy-free lower sugar version of traditional key lime pie.

These key lime pie bars are completely dairy-free and vegan. They have a no bake cookie crust and the creamy filling is made from soaked whole cashews and riddled with lime zest. 

Not only is this recipe delicious and easy, it is also gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and Paleo friendly. Everyone will love them! 

What is the Difference Between a Regular Lime and a Key Lime? 

You may have thought that key limes and regular limes were the same but in actuality they are actually different. Key limes are more aromatic and have a more floral juice than traditional regular limes. They are also a more slightly yellow color and have more seeds than traditional limes. 

If you can find key limes near you, feel free to use them in this recipe but if you can’t find them feel free to use the juice of regular limes!

Cookie Crust Ingredients for Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars

dates, almond flour, cashews, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor bowl

The no bake cookie crust for these key lime pie bars are made from a combination of real food ingredients instead of traditional graham crackers and refined sugar.

For the crust you will need: 

  • Whole raw cashews
  • Dates
  • Almond flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sea salt. 

The dates give the crust its sweetness and break down when added to a food processor to form a sticky sweet crust. The pinch of sea salt helps to balance out the sweetness for the perfect flavor. 

A Perfect Sweet Yet Tart Vegan Key Lime Filling

key lime filling in blender with lime zest

These bars get their creamy texture from whole cashews! When soaked and blended, the cashews break down to form a creamy filling that is completely dairy free. With the addition of a few more ingredients, they create a delicious filling that tastes like key lime pie. 

Here is what you’ll need for the key lime filling: 

Soaked Cashews: Let your whole cashews soak overnight in water to get that perfect creamy texture. 

Full Fat Coconut Milk: Use canned full fat coconut to help give the filling the right amount of creaminess.

Lime Juice: Of course, you can’t have key lime pie without fresh lime juice. The amount of lime juice depends on how tart you like your key lime pie. I like to start with ¼ a cup and add an additional ¼ cup at a time until it’s the desired tartness you prefer. Usually ¼ a cup to ½ a cup of lime juice should do the trick. 

Maple Syrup: These bars are naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup. Feel free to use a bit more if you like things on the sweeter side. 

Vanilla Extract: An obvious addition that adds just the right amount of maple flavor. 

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil helps to solidify the bars once cooled. 

How to Make These Easy Key Lime Pie Bars

Step One: The first step in making these key lime pie bars is to soak the cashews in water overnight. Soaking the cashews helps to soften them and gives the key lime filling a nice creamy texture. 

If you do not have time to soak the cashews overnight, you can pour boiling hot water over them and let the cashews soak for  three to four hours until tender. The filling might not be as smooth and creamy, but it will still work. 

Step Two: Add the crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. 

Use your fingers to press the dough into an 8×8 baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Put the crust in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the key lime filling. 

cookie crust in 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper

Step Three:  Add the soaked cashews, lime juice, lime zest, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut milk, and vanilla extract to your food process or high powered blender. Blend the filling until silky smooth and creamy. You want to make sure that there are no lumps or bits of cashew remaining in the filling. 

Next, give the filling a taste and adjust it based on your tastes. This is the perfect time to add more lime juice if you like your key lime pie to be more tart or add more maple syrup if you want the bars to be a bit sweeter. 

Step Four: Once the filling tastes how you want it to taste, pour it over the prepared crust crust. 

healthy key lime pie bars cut into squares

Step Five: Freeze the key lime pie bars overnight or until completely solid. When you are ready to serve, remove the bars from the freezer and sprinkle with a little extra lime zest. Then, use a sharp knife to slice the bars into 9 or 16 pieces. Serve and enjoy! 

Tips, Tricks, and Storage Details

These bars are incredibly easy to make but here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks to make sure that they come out absolutely perfect every time!

  • Use fresh lime juice! The bottled shelf-stable stuff is not going to work for this recipe.
  • Do not forget to remove the pits from your dates before adding them to the food processor. 
  • Do not over process the crust. It should be sticky, similar to a cookie dough, not smooth like a nut butter. 
  • Let the bars freeze until they are completely solid before slicing. It will be tempting to dive in right away but freezing them until firm makes the bars much easier to slice. 
  • Store these bars in the freezer. I like to freeze them completely and then add them to a storage bag. When you are ready to eat, pull one bar out at a time for a few minutes before you are ready to eat. 

key lime pie bars stacked on top of each other

More Delicious Dessert Recipes to Try

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Gluten Free Strawberry Crisp

Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Blueberry Pie Bars

Vegan Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

 

Print

Healthy Key Lime Pie Bars

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Cookie Crust: 

  • 6 pitted dates
  • ¾ cup cashews
  • ½ cup almond flour 
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ½ tsp sea salt 

Key Lime Pie Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole cashews
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk 
  • ¼½ cup lime juice (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 

Method

  1. Soak 1 1/4 cup of cashews in water overnight for the key lime pie filling.

  2. Add the crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Press the dough into an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Put the crust in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the key lime filling.

  3. Add the soaked cashews, lime juice, lime zest, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut milk, and vanilla extract to your food process or high powered blender. Blend the filling until silky smooth and creamy.

  4. Give the filling a taste and adjust the level of sweetness or tartness to your taste. You can add more maple syrup or add more lime juice to suit your taste buds.

  5. Pour the key lime filling over the prepared crust. Freeze the bars overnight or until completely solid.

  6. When you are ready to serve, remove the bars from the freezer and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into 9 or 16 pieces. Top with more lime zest and enjoy!

Keywords: healthy key lime pie bars, easy key lime pie bars, dairy free key lime pie bars, vegan key lime pie, gluten free key lime pie

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Recipe rating

    44 comments
  1. Hi!! I made your key lime bars recipe, it was SOOO amazing! I loved it and it tasted almost exactly the same, but with a nutty flavor at the end. I didn’t have time to soak the cashews ( and i didn’t understand why ), so I just stuck them in the blender separately and combined the cashews with the rest of the recipe. To me, it turned out exactly the same. Thank you so much for this recipe! How did you think of this recipe??! It is so good!!! Thank youuuuuu!!!

    • You’re so welcome, Milena! I’m so glad they turned out well! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  2. So good, tastes just like key lime pie! I made it both with and without the coconut oil and it tasted the same both ways. I also used light coconut milk instead of full fat for a lower calorie dessert.

    • Hi, Talia! I have not but you are welcome to give it a try. I imagine you would have similar results!

  3. This was amazing. I love key lime.. this was healthy while still giving all the yummy key lime flavours. I had never used cashews in this way but this was great. Trying to eat more vegan, so will definitely use this recipe as a staple dessert.

    • I’m so glad this has become a regular favorite for you, Saron! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I’m about to soak cashews overnight for this recipe. If there is liquid remaining tomorrow, do I pour that off or add it as well? I’m really looking forward to tasting these 🙂

  5. So so GOOD!!! I had a bag of limes about to go rotten and looking for a recepie i found you and omg 😲 so amazing!

    Hubs abd lil one cant event tell the difference between the traditiinal key lime pie and this!

    Thank you!!!

  6. This was SO good and tasted just like key lime pie! I’ve made this so many times and it turns our awesome every time.

  7. Hi , I’m looking to make these . I’m based in the UK and your ingredient weight measurements are in US cups – are you able to provide me with the equivalent measurements in grams / ounces please . Thank you

  8. I made these bars bc they seemed easier than a pie. Quick to make and delish. Will def make again,thank you!

  9. Obsessed! I was hesitant with these because of the cashews but you couldn’t even tell. the family devoured these.

  10. This recipe is everything! I had to cut out dairy for awhile while breastfeeding and I missed having all of my favorites things. I came across this gem and gave it a whirl. It was easy to make and I had everything on hand. Boy was I surprised on how amazing this came out! Who needs to make the tradition recipe when there is this gem. Highly recommend you give this one a whirl. You won’t be disappointed .

  11. We made this delicious recipe on Sat August 22, 2020, but we didn’t use the raw cashews.
    Thank Detroit, MI

  12. Really awesome dairy free recipe! I am always skeptical of dairy or gluten free recipes, but this one was amazing! I added almost 1/2 cup of lime juice to give it the tartness I like and it came out perfectly. And you can lick the bowl without worrying about any undercooked ingredients, so that’s always a plus. I don’t have a food processor, so I did the crust and filling in my ninja blender – and it was still pretty simple. I will definitely keep this on my list for desserts in the future. Can’t wait to try more recipes!

  13. These are so so good! I was worried I didn’t get my filling smooth enough even though I blended it for quite awhile but once frozen it wasn’t chunky/grainy texture. Next time I might double the crust just because I would like it thicker but omg the flavors are delicious! I used 1/2 of lime because I love how tart it is.

  14. Hi Ashlea! Thrilled to have found you!! What can I substitute for the almond flour? Have you ever made your own cashew flour?. I’m thinking that would work – help?!

    • Hi, Teri! I’ve only made these with almond flour. I’ve never made my own cashew flour. If you have an allergy to almonds, I would recommend trying oat flour instead. Hope that helps!

  15. This dessert was super easy to make and the results were delicious! I loved the fact that it is cut into little bars that I can take out when I want a little something. Great summer treat!

  16. I’ve seen lots of recipes using soaked cashews but this is the first one I’ve made. Why didn’t I do this sooner??? These are creamy and delicious. The crust has the best flavor and the cool, creamy lime compliments it so well. These will definitely be a go-to treat!

  17. Made these Kay Lime Pie bars and was BLOWN away by the flavor and texture. You would NEVER know these were made with wholesome ingredients. I am absolutely obsessed and will make these time and time again. Im telling you, you’re missing out. They taste AMAZING!

  18. Made these last week and they were such a hit! My crust wasn’t as sticky/dark as your pictures and I think it might have been because my dates were in the fridge and not as sticky. Love tartness and went on the heavy side of your juice recommendation and they were delicious! Will definitely keep these in rotation for an easy and delicious summer dessert!

  19. Wow, these are so good! Thank you for coming up with such a delicious recipe! I love that it’s lower sugar! For the crust, I swapped the dates for 1/4c maple syrup (I think I could have used a little less) and I used 1/8c maple syrup for the filling. I also ended up using 1/2 c of lime juice. Even my husband loved these!

  20. These taste great! My bars are about 1/2 as thick as the picture. The flavor makes up for the smaller size.

    • [Kiah: There are literally hundreds of thousands of recipes out there using raw cashews. I feel like some personal research and homework on your part would have been wise… before posting your comment.]

      Anywho….This recipe is AMAZING! Just finished whipping these up. I haven’t tasted the final product yet, they’re in the freezer right now. But the batter tasted delicious. I love limes and how refreshing they are for this hot time of year. Thanks for sharing!

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