Last Updated May 31st, 2023 at 01:40 pm by Lisa
The buttery shortbread crust in these Coconut-Lime Lemon Bars gets toasty golden brown. Then topped with tart lemon and lime filling with sweet coconut. What could be better in a fresh fruit lemon dessert, with a tropical twist...
Table of Contents
Coconut-Lime Lemon Bar Recipe
With layers of a toasted coconut shortbread cookie crust, topped with the citrus curd filling, these are simply out of this world. Good!
These are the ingredients for the shortbread cookie crust. It is incredible and a dessert in and of itself. The crust for this recipe will be darker than a traditional lemon bar, due to the toasting of the coconut.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 (or 8 x 10) dish with nonstick spray. Or line the dish with a piece of parchment paper.
Pull the butter out to get it soft at room temperature.
PRO TIP: Zest citrus first. Then, juice the fruit, it is so much easier!
- flaked sweet coconut
- all purpose flour
- powdered sugar
- kosher salt
- soft butter
These are the ingredients you will need for the filling...
- all purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- large eggs
- lime zest - optional for garnish
- lemon zest - optional for garnish
- lime juice
- lemon juice
- garnishes: powdered sugar, more zest, toasted coconut
Ingredient Notes & Tips
Soft Butter: Soft butter makes mixing the shortbread crust easier, and helps to press it into the pan.
Coconut: Toasting the coconut adds depth of flavor, and "coconuttyness".
Granulated Sugar: In the filling helps to balance the sweetness with the fresh citrus juice and zest.
Powdered Sugar: Mixes into the crust well, and adds the sweetness you need in shortbread. And classic dusted-on dessert bars.
Corn Starch: Makes a more tender baked good result in the crust.
Flour: Flour is used in both the crust and filling. The flour in the crust helps to form the "cookie" shortbread texture and ¼ cup of flour is in the filling.
Salt: Brings out all the citrus flavors, and balances the sweetness.
Eggs: These create the citrus custard egg base filling, and bring most of the structure in while baking.
Zest & Juice: Fresh lemons juiced with their zest adds brightness to baking and great fresh citrus flavor. I highly recommend using fresh real lemons. For this recipe, I used Meyer, a dear friend gave me a bag from her tree. However, regular fresh lemons work perfectly in this recipe.
Lime Zest & Juice: Fresh lime/s juiced and their zest adds zing and pairs well with the coconut. Again, I recommend using fresh real limes, and not bottled citrus products or dried citrus peel.
PRO TIP: Toasting the coconut and baking the shortbread crust with coconut in it will give it a golden color, unlike traditional lemon bars which are usually paler in color.
In a skillet on medium-high heat, toast the coconut flakes for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
Keep stirring and don’t walk away, as soon as the coconut turns brown, remove it from the pan to prevent over toasting so part of the coconut is white and some slightly brown.
In a medium bowl, mix all the crust ingredients; sweet coconut, flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and sea salt.
Add 1 cup soft butter, and cut into chunks with a hand mixer or large spoon until butter is in small pieces. Use clean hands to mix it well to get the dough to come together.
Press the crust into the bottom of your baking dish, just up the sides a bit. Use a small measuring cup to level and push into the edges baking pan.
Bake till golden brown, 25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Leave the oven on.
Whisk together flour and sugar in a bowl using a hand whisk. Then whisk in eggs, lemon, and lime juice, and then the zest from the peel.
Whisk just before you pour the mixture over the cooled crust, that way the lemon and lime zest show on the top of your bars!
Bake for 25 minutes until there is only a slight jiggle, but not a lot of movement.
If it still jiggles a lot, bake for about 5 more minutes or they will be under-baked in the center. Most recipes call for lower bake time and temperature, and that is the issue.
Let cool on the kitchen counter for an hour or two, then chill for several hours or overnight in the fridge, and cut into bars using a small sharp knife.
Garnish with a dusting of sprinkled powder sugar through a small sieve, toasted coconut, lemon, or lime zest!
Lemon Bar Baking Tips
Best Baking Dishes?
Use either glass or ceramic (not metal pans-they give off a metallic taste) for this recipe, a 9 x 13 works well, if you want the bars to be tall and thicker, you can use an 8 x 10 as I did, but you will need to bake the crust and the filling/crust about 5 minutes longer.
Your dish and oven will all affect the baking time, so be sure to check them at 20 minutes and give them a gentle shake.
How To Tell When Lemon Bars Are Done?
Bake them until there is only a slight jiggle. If they move too much, they still aren't baked enough. After baking, allow them to set up and cool on the counter for 2 hours, then chill in the fridge.
Top Lemon Bar Tips & FAQs
Use a hot wet, very sharp knife on to cut your chilled bars. A serrated blade works well. Be sure to chill them overnight to get neat edges.
You can keep them on a platter during a party for a couple of hours. Citrus curd desserts bars have an egg custard base, and should be kept cool in the refrigerator for any longer than 2 hours.
And they last for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Do you notice the white foamy top of air bubbles, on top of your baked lemon bars? It happens because the air from the eggs rose to the top. This won't affect the taste, sometimes it helps to gently mix the mixture before pouring on the top of the crust, or just sprinkle confectioners sugar on top!
Yes! Just wrap in parchment paper, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap and seal in a zip top bag. They are even good cold right out of the freezer.
More Fruit Desserts & Lemon Recipes
If you love lemons, take a look at my 15+ Lemon Recipe Collection! Raspberry Sorbet is a real fruit dessert, that is dairy-free, vegan, and has no refined sugar.
Classic French Madeleines are small signature shell shaped butter cakes that are absolutely delightful. Pack them for picnics, in school lunch boxes, or enjoy them as snacks with a cup of tea or coffee.
You can taste the real strawberry flavor in this Fresh Strawberry Cake, as it skips ingredients like food coloring and jello gelatin and uses strawberry jam and real strawberries!
I love desserts and so many times I don't have time to bake, so that's when I turn to no-bake desserts; Peach No-Bake Cheesecake. Bake this Blueberry Pie Recipe outdoors on your gas or charcoal grill. It works just like an indoor oven and keeps your house cool on scorching hot days.
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Coconut-Lime Lemon Bar Recipe
- 2 cups flaked sweet coconut
- 1 ½ cups AP flour
- ¾ cup powder sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup butter soft, cut into chunks
- ¼ cup AP flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons lime zest make optional for garnish
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest make optional for garnish
- ¼ cup lime juice 1-2 limes
- ¼ cup lemon juice 1 regular or Meyer lemon
- powder sugar
- lemon or lime zest
- toasted coconut
- Pull the butter out to get it soft at room temperature.
- In a skillet on medium-high heat, toast the coconut flakes for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Keep stirring and don’t walk away, once just turning brown remove from pan to prevent over toasting so part of the coconut is white and some slightly brown.
- Zest limes and lemons. Then, juice the lime/s and lemon.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 (or 8 x 10) dish with nonstick spray. You can also line the pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the lemon bars
bake the crust
- In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer or large spoon until butter is in small pieces. Use clean your hands to mix it well to get the dough to come together.
- Press crust into bottom and of your baking dish, just up the sides a bit. Use a small measuring cup to level and push into the edges of the baking pan.
- Bake till golden brown, 25 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Leave oven on.
mix the filling
- Whisk together flour and sugar in a bowl using hand whisk. Then whisk in eggs, lemon and lime zest, and lemon and lime juice.
- Whisk just before you pour the mixture over the cooled crust, that way the lemon and lime zest show on the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes until there is only a slight jiggle, but not a lot of movement. If it still jiggles a lot, bake for about 5 more minutes or they will be under baked in the center. Most recipes call for lower bake time and temperature, and that can be the issue.
- food processor plastic wrap aluminum foil paddle attachment stand mixer electric mixer pulse wire rack
- After baking, allow them cool on the kitchen counter for an hour to set up, then chill in the fridge overnight. Cut into bars using a sharp knife.
- Garnish with a dusting of sprinkled powdered sugar through a small sieve, toasted coconut, lemon or lime zest!