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Key Lime Poppy Seed Bars

Updated on March 30, 2009
Delicious key limes
Delicious key limes

Refreshing key lime is a popular ingredient for spring and summer recipes. Just last week, I enjoyed the most delicious Key Lime Poppy Seed Bars! Turns out they are easy to make, as well. And, because they don't require actual limes (key lime juice instead), you can stir these up anytime of year.

True aficionados will purchase key limes (or their close counterparts - see capsule below) and squeeze the juice themselves for the recipe. Some people say that purchased key lime juice just is not sufficient for baking.

What are Key Limes?

Small, juicy limes, about the size of a walnut, true Key Limes are grown in the Florida Keys. Most "Key Limes" that you will buy in your supermarket, however, are probably Persian Limes, or Mexican Limes because commercial production of Key Limes was largely wiped out due to a 1926 hurricane in Florida.

Key Limes and Persian Limes have a higher sugar content than lemons. Their peak season is June-August, although Mexican Limes can be found year round.

After purchase, they can be kept for about 2 weeks. Look for a leathery, light yellow rind.


  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 T. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut up)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. whipping cream or half-and-half
  • powdered sugar to dust on top

Commercially available key lime juice - but you may want to squeeze your own!
Commercially available key lime juice - but you may want to squeeze your own!


  1. Grease a 9-inch baking pan with butter and set aside
  2. Combine flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, brown sugar and poppy seeds and salt in a food processor.
  3. Add the 1/2 cup butter and pulse until coarse crumbs result
  4. Press mixture into bottom of prepared baking pan and bake at 350 F degree preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
  5. While baking, whisk together egg yolks, eggs and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan.
  6. Whisk in lime juice and salt.
  7. Add in 4 T. butter
  8. Continuously stir over medium heat until cooking thermometer reaches 165 degrees F.
  9. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in whipping cream or half-and-half.
  10. Pour mixture over baked crust.
  11. Return to oven for 12-15 minutes until set.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.
  13. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Garnish with slices of sugared lime, if desired.

The finished product - so tempting!
The finished product - so tempting!

Other Delicious Ways to Enjoy Key Lime

Key lime is a popular ingredient in marinades, or even just squeezed right onto grilled or baked chicken or fish. Its acidity can be a compliment to other flavors in savory recipes. Of course, many people are familiar with key lime drinks. Blended with rum, tequila or vodka, key lime can provide a provocative kick to a cocktail! Key lime may be best known, however, in tarts, sorbets, and - of course - Key Lime Pie!

Martha Stewart Makes Key Lime Tart

Head to your local grocery store right now when Key Limes are in season. Pick up a few and stir up some Key Lime Poppy Seed Bars! Or just enjoy the rare treat that is this small citrus fruit. Pucker up!


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    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      Hi Karen - thank you! I love key limes and this recipe is especially delicious. Thank goodness that we can always find fresh limes and lime juice in the grocery stores, no matter the season!

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 9 years ago from Central Oregon

      Another wonderful recipe. I can't wait to try it.

    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      Thank you Jeanette M! Limes are some of my favorite fruit. I love having fresh ones to squeeze in my diet coke. :) Steph

    • profile image

      Jeanette M 9 years ago

      New Day, this recipe sounds delicious! I love using limes in mexican foods such as fajitas too.

      You've made me very hungry!


    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      Hi sixtyorso! Yes, I was a bit conflicted about posting a dessert hub like this one since I focus on healthy eating. I do have diabetic cookbooks at my house that I use to cut down on sugar in recipes and did you know that Splenda brand cooks and measures like real sugar but with virtually no calories (*does that sound like an ad or what?) I usually go 1/2 and 1/2 with real granulated sugar and Splenda in my baking. Thanks for stopping by. New Day.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      I Love key lime pie but the sugar! Thanks for the recipe.

    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      Hi MummyAnn! I'm sure you could use regular limes instead. Or you could order some Key Lime juice or concentrate. I included links to products at Amazon. :-) (just in case - LOL). New Day

    • MummyAnn profile image

      MummyAnn 9 years ago from UK

      These sound delicious! I live in England so I will have to use just 'run of the mill' limes :-(

    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      Thank you oberbreckling! Lime juice is a tasty way to add flavor to salad dressings too. I'm going to have to stop by the store (actually, the farmer's market) soon.

      Constant Walker - sorry! But I had to. :)

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Hurt me!!!

    • profile image

      oberbreckling 9 years ago

      Hi New Day never question the power of lime juice I've used this for several things in the past and don't doubt that this is very good. Nice show she seemed a little nervous, but it all went together good! the crust was alittle thicker than I thought, so it's a good thing I watched the show or I would have never knew that. Great job New Day I allway's like a good show.