These coconut lime bars start with a soft and buttery shortbread crust that’s then topped with a tangy, creamy lime filling and finished with a sprinkling of toasted coconut. They’re crunchy, creamy and perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth!
Why you’ll love these cheesecake bars!
These bars are simple to make and remind me of a creamier key lime pie. The fresh lime cuts through the heaviness of all the cream cheese and the coconut adds a little sweetness and tropical flavor! Once you sink your teeth into these delicious cheesecake bars, you’ll understand why they’re so good!
Ingredients you’ll need for easy coconut lime bars:
For the shortbread crust:
- Brown sugar: granulated sugar will work too, but I like the extra depth of molasses flavor that brown sugar has.
- Shredded sweetened coconut: if you like it a little less sweet, unsweetened coconut works too!
- All-purpose flour: absorbs moisture and strengthens the crust.
- Baking powder: for leavening.
- Salted butter: cold and cut into cubes.
- Water: hydrates the mixture and helps the crust hold together.
For the lime cheesecake filling:
- Cream cheese: softened to room temperature.
- Granulated sugar: for sweetness.
- Eggs: helps stabilize the filling.
- Vanilla extract: for flavor.
- Lime juice and zest: fresh limes are best!
- Flour: 1 tbsp is all you need!
For the sour cream drizzle:
- Sour cream: this is the base of the drizzle.
- Granulated sugar: for sweetness
- Lime juice and zest: for extra lime flavor!
- Shredded sweetened coconut: toasted in the oven.
How to make the best coconut lime bars:
- Make the crust: To the bowl of a food processor, add brown sugar, flour, shredded coconut, baking powder and cubed butter. Pulse this until combined, then add the water and pulse again to form the crust.
- Form and bake the crust: Press the crust into a 9×13 baking pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
- Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lime juice, zest, and flour. Mix until smooth.
- Assemble and bake: Pour the filling on top of the partially baked crust and bake for 10 minutes.
- Make the sour cream drizzle: Combine sour cream, sugar, and lime juice plus the zest. Drizzle on top of the partially baked bars, then bake for another 10 minutes.
- Toast some coconut: Add 1 cup of shredded coconut to a sheet pan and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, stirring hallway through (this can burn quickly so keep an eye on it).
- Chill the bars: Remove the bars from the oven and let cool before transferring to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Top with the toasted coconut before slicing into squares and serving!
My top tips!
- Don’t forget to add a little water to the shortbread crust! Without it, the mixture will be too dry and won’t hold together. You want the texture of the crumbs to be crumbly but hold together when you squeeze them.
- Firmly press the crust into the pan. Using a flat-bottomed glass of measuring cup helps pack the mixture down and creates a flat surface to pour the cheesecake filling onto.
- Use room-temperature cream cheese! It’s extremely important to let the cream cheese soften before making the filling because if the cream cheese is too stiff, it’ll make the mixture lumpy and won’t incorporate well.
- Drizzle on the sour cream topping halfway through the baking process. This prevents the drizzle and the filling from separating or splitting while baking.
- Chill the bars before topping with toasted coconut. This will ensure the coconut doesn’t soften for become mushy in the fridge!
These coconut and lime cheesecake bars would be great served with a little freshly whipped cream as well! If you’d like to make some, just add 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp granulated or powdered sugar and ½ tsp vanilla extract to a stand mixer and whip until the mixture reaches stiff peaks.
If all you have this a bottle of lime juice, then it’ll work but keep in mind you’ll be losing a lot of the time flavor from not having any zest, so I’d recommend adding a couple more tbsp’s of juice to balance that!
I recommend sticking with a shortbread crust for this recipe because it does a better job of holding all the heavy filling but if you don’t mind the crust crumbling a bit, then a graham cracker crust would be delicious as well!
Sure! You can make them up to 5 days ahead of time, then cover and store them in the fridge. Just be sure to hold off on adding the toasted coconut on top until you’re ready to serve. This way it’ll stay nice and crunchy!
Coconut Lime Bars
For the shortbread crust:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 8 tbsp salted butter cold, cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp water
For the lime cheesecake filing:
- (2) 8 oz packages cream cheese softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 lime juice and zest
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Sour cream drizzle:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 lime juice and zest
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut toasted
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- To the bowl of a food processor, add brown sugar, shredded coconut, four, baking powder and cubed cold butter. Pulse this until combined, then add the water and pulse again to form the crust.
- Press the crust into a 9×13 baking pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
- While the crust bakes, make the filling. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lime juice, zest, and flour. Mix until smooth and creamy (a hand held or stand mixer helps here).
- Pour the filling on top of the partially baked crust and bake for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the drizzle from sour cream, sugar, and lime juice plus the zest. This gets drizzled on top of the partially baked bars, then the bars are baked for another 10 minutes.
- In the last 10 minutes of baking, add 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut to a sheet pan and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, stirring hallway through (this can burn quickly so keep an eye on it).
- Remove the bars from the oven and let cool before transferring to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Top with the toasted coconut before slicing into squares and serving!