Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars

*Thanks to everyone who entered the ice cream giveaway! The winner from my awesome Facebook fans is Kim Raynor (yippee!). And the random winner from the comments on the giveaway post is #402: Becca (favorite ice cream: peanut butter and chocolate)! Please email me within 24 hours at [email protected], both of you lucky little winners, and I’ll work out the details!*

I love lemon bars. Like, really love them. In fact, I love them so much, I’m kind of embarrassed I don’t have a recipe up for them on my site (not like it’s that hard to find a recipe for them around since they are quite popular, but still). When I was growing up, my mom made lemon bars all the time and they were hands down my favorite treat to see sitting on the counter after walking in from school or for after a Sunday dinner. I shall not confess how many I would eat at one sitting – sufficeth to say, I love the little beauties.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I tried this recipe for lime bars. Not altogether very different than the classic lemon bars, these lime bars have the delicious addition of buttermilk in the lime filling, which lends a wonderful creamy tanginess to the bars, perfectly complimenting the fresh lime juice and buttery, shortbread base.

When the bars first came out of the oven, I thought for sure they were a bust. They were ugly. Sorry, but they were. However, after chilling in the refrigerator and having a liberal dusting of powdered sugar applied, these bars have skyrocketed to my newest favorite indulgence. Light, refreshing, with that ethereal combination of cool, creamy filling and melt-in-your-mouth buttery shortbread, I have to admit, I’m loving on these lime bars nearly as much as my old lemon bar favorites.

Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars

One Year Ago: Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie
Two Years Ago: Caramel Crunch Bars
Three Years Ago: Fusilli alla Caprese

Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars

Yield: Makes about 16-24 bars

Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
  • Filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teapoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top of the dry mixture and using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a 9X9-inch pan and press the crust firmly to form an even layer. Bake the crust for 16-17 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by whisking together all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. Pour the filling mixture over the hot crust when it comes out of the oven and return it to the oven to bake for 18-20 more minutes, until the filling is set (it will not jiggle if the pan is shaken slightly).
  4. Cool the bars in the pan completely before dusting with powdered sugar, slicing and serving. These bars also taste excellent after they have been chilled.

Recipe Source: from Baking Bites

40 Responses to Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars

  1. Elizabeth W says:

    Do you think you could freeze these? We have a hard time eating a full pan while they’re still good.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Yup. I’m not sure what happened. Your bars look so lovely. Mine turned out terribly! 🙁 The lime taste was yummy, but the layer was all cracked and there was almost like a thin ‘skin’ on top so it ate with a bit of a strange texture. I really don’t know what I did wrong. I wanted to love these and share them with everyone!

  3. Adrienne says:

    Just pulled these out of the oven. I baked them the full 20 minutes and the seemed to need a bit more. But, my question is about the lime layer cracking. Like really cracked all over. Is this normal? I know the powdered sugar will cover it up but your picture doesn’t seem to be like that? Oh dear…

    • Mel says:

      Hi Adrienne – sorry these didn’t work out well for you. Do you think you might have over mixed the filling?

      • Adrienne says:

        Hi Mel!
        Thanks for replying! It is quite possible that I over mixed the lime layer of the bars… Thanks for the tip! I loved the limey flavour of these so much that I will definitely be trying to make them again and will pay more attention! Have a great weekend!

  4. Auntiepatch says:

    I have a lime tree full of fruit I didn’t know what to do with. NOW I KNOW!!!

    Oh, Mrs. Tucker said to say “Hi!”.

  5. Katie says:

    These are delicious. I like them even more than traditional lemon bars–creamier and tangier!

  6. Cheryl says:

    My squares have tasted great during the Process Of making them But I have green flecks throughout them.
    Is my zester too big?

    • Mel says:

      Cheryl – hmmm, large green flecks might mean the lime zest was grated too big – not finely enough – so yes, your zester might be bigger than mine. Either way, as long as they taste great, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  7. […] You can find the recipe over at my BFB’s site (she has no idea we’re best foodie buds): Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  8. Kathleen Spreen says:

    I’ve made these scrumptious bars twice. I line the pan with parchment paper so they’re easy to transfer to a flat surface before cutting into squares. I like to refrigerate them before slicing so you’ll get a clean cut. Instead of whisking the filling, I use a hand beater to break up the egg so those little white particles from the egg don’t appear on the surface. I’m curious if you could make these into margarita bars by adding a small amount of tequila. I’m passing this recipe to my friends so they can enjoy it too.

  9. Ann says:

    Sounds delicious

  10. Lisa Swope says:

    Made this 2 weeks ago…let’s just say YUMMMMM!!! My daughter declared it her new favorite dessert and requested it for her birthday!! Taking it along for Thanksgiving (along with the usual desserts) tomorrow..not expecting on any making it home!!!

  11. Five Friday Finds :: Morsels of Life says:

    […] Buttermilk Lime Shortbread Bars – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe I know it’s getting cold and heading into fall, but I just couldn’t resist these Lime Bars!  […]

  12. Tiffany says:

    So I went ahead and tried this recipe, and it’s definitely a keeper! I was nervous I wouldn’t like the lime, but it was fabulous! My husband said this will be a regular dessert for us from now on!

  13. Oh yum, I love myself a good lemon bar as well, but these look like a must try as well. I am going to pin this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Morsels of Life says:

    These look delish! Lemon bars are one of my favorites, and I’m looking forward to trying lime too!

  15. Ruchita says:

    I made these last night to use up some extra limes I had and they turned out great! My husband pestered me to taste them even before they had cooled down all the way and he said they were delicious. 🙂

    A few of notes…

    1. I only had an 8×8 pan, so I had to increase the cooking time by about 5-7 minutes so the filling was cooked.
    2. I sprayed the pan with Pam baking spray before adding the crust to make for easy removal.
    2. Instead of buttermilk, I added close to a tablespoon of vinegar to the milk. However, next time I want to make them with buttermilk to compare the difference.

  16. Natalie says:

    I just made these and they smell yummy! For some reasons, there are spots of pure white (egg?) in some areas. I’m sure this can be doctored up with some powdered sugar. Not sure what happened but I expect they will taste delish anyway. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Natalie – you know, when I made these the first time, I noticed similar spots and I think I mentioned in my post that when I pulled them out of the oven, they were a bit on the ugly side. But once the powdered sugar is sprinkled on top, all the flaws were hidden. I hope you liked them!

  17. ooo i better make these soon, im getting so sick of the regular lemon bars!

  18. Rachelle says:

    Just made these tonight… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them…trying to not eat the entire pan.

  19. Cammee says:

    This recipe is right up my alley. I love everything lime, I even eat the little green buggers straight up. I will be making these this week for sure!

  20. Tiffany says:

    I LOVE lemon bars, not so sure about lime…do you think this recipe will work subbing lemon for the lime? At least until I’m brave enough to try the lime?! I have a cake recipe that uses buttermilk, but I always have a ton leftover in the container. Now I have an excuse to use it up!

    • Mel says:

      Tiffany – if I were you, I’d probably look for a lemon-specific recipe because I’m not sure how the substitute of lemon juice would turn out in these bars. However, if you get brave enough to try it, let me know how the bars turn out!

  21. grace says:

    i, for one, am SICK of lemon bars, so this lime variety is a welcome change. nice.

  22. peachkins says:

    amazing! This just looks amazing!

  23. Oh my goodness! I wish you would STOP posting all these delicious, sugary desserts! Not really, I just can’t wait to try them all. Mmmmm, these look absolutely summery and delicious. Pinning it right now!

  24. Kathy H says:

    Yum! Lemon is my chocolate & lime is a close second. I will be trying these the next time we have someone around to help me eat them, my hubby doesn’t think it is dessert unless there is chocolate involved!

  25. What a cute blog! Those bars look great, too!

  26. Catherine says:

    just made these and waiting for them to cool down. can’t wait to try them!! i love anything with lime!

  27. Paula B. says:

    My mom made wonderful lemon bars and I, too, absolutely love them. However, I have rarely made them as I feel so many things can go slightly wrong: mushy crust, filling doesn’t firm up, flavor’s not right…guess I’m just a scaredy cat. Lovin’ the lime tho, so I am going to give this a try!

  28. Jen says:

    Yum! Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try them. And since it sounds like you’re an expert on lemon bars, I’d love your go-to recipe for that. It’s always nice to have a tried and true version.

  29. Rachel Moody says:

    Oh a LIME bar!! How much better could a ‘lemon’ bar be?!? 🙂 I think I’ll be stopping to get some buttermilk and whipping these up tonight!

  30. Lisa says:

    I am so excited to try these! YUM! They look amazing!

  31. Leigh Anne says:

    Ooooh yum! I heart anything lime…..gonna have to get some buttermilk & try 🙂 Thanks for sharing….I’d love to have one for breakfast right now!

  32. katiebee says:

    Can’t wait to try these and I just bought buttermilk! Thanks for sharing so many great recipes. I’ve tried several and have always been pleased with the results~

    Happy Weekending!

  33. Kim in MD says:

    I love lemon bars, too! I have never had lime bars, and the addition of buttermilk makes these bars sound especially delicious! These would be perfect for a Southwest theme party (which may be the theme of my October party). They look and sound amazing, Mel! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  34. Mel,
    I’m with you on this one. I’ve always been a chocolate girl, the more the better, but in recent years I’ve been choosing fruit things over my chocolate. Lemon and lime things especially have become a bit of a “thing” for me. I love lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon chicken, lemon pudding; and now lime is squeezing itself in there as well.

    These look amazing and I’ll have to put them on my growing list of limey things I want to make.

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