Crazy for Crust

Margarita Bars

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Margarita Bars – May is fast approaching which means three things: Cinco de Mayo, hot summer nights, and margaritas. Or should we make that margarita bars?

The BEST Margarita Bars! It's an easy lime bar recipe with a hint of tequila and a graham cracker crust!

Have I ever told you about the time that a treadmill hit me in the face? #truestory

And before you get all, “Now Dorothy, get real. Treadmills can’t hit someone in the face. You must have eaten too many margarita bars and fallen on the treadmill. You just say it hit you in the face for laughs,” I’m going to tell you it’s the truth.

A treadmill hit me in the face once. And it was not fun. And no margaritas, bars or otherwise, were involved.

Easy Margarita Bars with a graham cracker crust.

It was probably 6 or 7 years ago when the treadmill got pissed off and decided to beat me up. It was in our garage and it was folded up, lock engaged. Mel and I were moving it and I was directing in the front while he was pushing from behind, where the belt is.

And all of a sudden the lock broke.

And the treadmill opened and the heavy side (where the controls are) flew at me and hit me in the face, right next to my eye. If it had been 1 mm to the right it would have actually hit me IN the eye.

This is the only time I’ve ever almost passed out when no margaritas were involved.

All I really remember during my haze is that Mel was yelling and Jordan was crying because I’d fallen on her toy pumpkin and she thought I’d broken it. Ah, kids.

I don’t remember what happened to the treadmill after that, but we no longer have it. I’m still a little shy around treadmills in general. I mean, it’s not every day one gets ornery.

Instead of walking in place these days, I prefer to eat margarita bars. They’re basically lime bars with a hint of orange and a hint of tequila. So, margarita.

The BEST Margarita Bars! It's an easy lime bar recipe with a hint of tequila and a graham cracker crust!

Making These Margarita Bars

I made these bars last week, ate two, and promptly sent the rest to Jordan’s school. Lime bars like this have no place in my house. I will literally eat myself sick on them. Same thing with lemon bars, lime curd, and lime cheesecake.

I think I like citrus more than I like chocolate. *gasp*

These bars are super easy and they’re the perfect dessert for summer, especially if you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo party.

The bars start with a thick graham cracker crust. I pre-bake it a little so it’s crunchy and not soggy after you add the margarita topping.

The filling is based off of my favorite white chocolate lemon bars except I turned them into your favorite summer drink by using lime juice, orange juice, and tequila. Let’s break the components down:

Lime Juice: please use fresh, if you can. You need lime zest but you can omit it if you really can’t find limes. I know they’re a pain to squeeze but using a lemon squeezer helps immensely.

My favorite margaritas always have orange liqueur in them, so I added 1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice to the mix.

And, lastly, tequila. I wanted these bars to have a more authentic margarita taste and for that you need tequila. You can omit the tequila if you want or need too. Just add more orange or lime juice (see the notes in the recipe).

I baked my bars in a 9×9 pan for a thicker look. If you want thinner bars, just us a 9×13 pan. Baking time will be affected.

Once the Margarita Bars cool you cut them and dust them with powdered sugar. Then serve them with a frozen margarita. Is that a paradox?

Easy Margarita Bars

These Margarita Bars are way better than getting hit in the face with a treadmill. Just sayin’.

Margarita Bars
3.67 from 3 votes
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Servings: 16 bars

Margarita Bars

These bars are full of lime and margarita flavor! There's a burst of citrus in the filling and a sweet crunch from the graham cracker crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted (no substitutions - use REAL butter)
  • 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar — divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice — from about 5-6 limes
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon tequila — optional (you can omit and use an extra tablespoon lime or orange juice instead)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar — for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 square pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter with a fork in a large bowl. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
  3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk the eggs with remaining 2 cups of sugar. Whisk in juices, zest, and tequila, then whisk in flour until no lumps remain.
  4. Note: you can omit the tequila if you wish. Use an extra tablespoon of orange or lime juice in it’s place.
  5. Pour lime mixture slowly and carefully over hot crust then continue baking for about 25 minutes until the top starts to brown and is no longer translucent. Cool bars completely before cutting. It’s easiest to cut cold bars, so I suggest chilling them before cutting. Dust the tops with powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 bar) — Calories: 250, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 72mg, Carbohydrates: 45g, Sugar: 38g, Protein: 2g

White Chocolate Lemon Bars

White Chocolate Lemon Bars

Lime Curd Pie

Lime Curd Pie

 Watermelon Lemonade Margarita

watermelon lemonade margarita

Sweets from friends:
Strawberry Margarita Bars by Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts
Margarita Cookies by Love from the Oven
Frozen Margarita Pie Bars by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

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73 comments

  1. Oh dear – hope your eye is ok! Treadmills are evil – that is why I stay away from them. Haha! Love these bars!

  2. Same, citrus is just so much fresher and “zingier”! Oooo, margaritas in a bar form sounds amazing, especially with the hint of orange. And with the juice from 5-6 limes, they are going to be perfect! And I hope a treadmill never beats you up again! x 

  3. Lemon and lime is like the dessert dark horse. You think it’s all about chocolate until you’re halfway through a key lime pie and there’s no stopping!
    Sorry about your treadmill trauma. I’ve had my butt handed to me via treadmill too, but not in that literal a sense. 😉
    Anything with margaritas. And drinking a margarita with these bars will just enhance the experience! They look so happy.

  4. That treadmill was seriously evil!! These bars look amazing, perfect for Cinco de Mayo. I LOVE citrus desserts like key lime pie! I’ll definitely have to give these a try 🙂

  5. Another reason for me to stay away from treadmills! Oh my, I hope you were okay! These bars – I want these in my face! 
    Pinned! 

  6. I’m surprised you didn’t get any flack for sending “margarita” bars to Jordan’s school! Haha. Of course the alcohol is baked out, but I still think it’s funny! These are such a great idea, I bet a strawberry version would be amazing!!

  7. Whoa, margarita bars?! Yes, please! These look phenomenal!

  8. Mmmmmm these sound and look delicious!!  I’m glad your eye didn’t get hurt, that could have been really bad!!  Did you get away with no stitches??  I hope so!!

  9. You know I’m the margarita queen of all! And that I could combine my love of margaritas AND dessert all in one just makes me so happy! The graham cracker crust I bet is just buttery perfection with the lime filling, too!

  10. Daaaaannnnng, Dorothy. These sound amazing! I wasn’t expecting tequila. This are sure to be a hit!

  11. These look awesome!  If I ever take these to a function at my daughter’s  Montessori school, I think I will skip the margarita mix and call them lemon-lime bars.  Thanks for the substitution instructions!

  12. So tempting! I love everything with lime or lemon 😀

  13. My first experience with margaritas was on Cinco de Mayo of 2012. It involved a Ludacris concert, my two best friends, and a pitcher of homemade (STRONG) margaritas. Let’s just say we woke up the next morning to a big mess to clean up. These bars look like the responsible way to enjoy one of my favorite drinks. 😀

  14. Confession: I don’t like tequila.  Or, it doesn’t like me. One of the two.
    So I love that the tequila is optional here.  BUT, I also love the fact that well DESSERT WITH BOOZE.  So, I’m predicting vodka margarita bars in my future, because these look bomb! Pinned!

  15. Those tredmills can be fiesty suckers. I was once given a mean beating by a stair climber. Every time I walk by it, I cringe. These bars look amazing. I love me some tequila.

  16. Now this is a bar I could get down with! Love tequila! Any dessert with booze in it is a winner in my book!

  17. Sounds delish…could you use Nellie’s Key Lime juice in place of fresh lime juice? Use it for Key Lime pie all the time…Thanks

    PS…there is no such thing as a good treadmill!!

  18. Hahaha, margarita bars are better than treadmills anyway! Who needs ’em?! (me, I need them, but I also would rather eat margarita bars!)

  19. Thanks..will use the Key lime juice but no way am I replacing the tequila!

  20. I’m so sorry to say I totally chuckled at your tale, and am so glad you have both of your eyes to tell the tale! Now if you’ll excuse me, we should celebrate your survival with a bunch of these bars! 

  21. LOVEEE these bars soo much. Or maybe I just love another excuse to open tequila bottles. Either way these are gorgeous Dorothy!
    Pinned! 

  22. These bars pretty much complete me! 

  23. You like citrus more than chocolate. .  but not more than peanut butter, right?!!! Damn, these are genius!!! Margarita bars! I love these! 

  24. Oh yikes, hope you were okay. These bars would have helped ease the pain slightly. They look incredible! I love that you can enjoy a drink and a yummy dessert all in one! So brilliant!

  25. Love these bars! Margarita as a dessert? Yes, please!

    And I was totally hit in the face by a treadmill as a kid – also RIGHT BY MY EYE! I even have a little scar in my eyebrow to prove it. #twinsies

  26. I love how you squeezed a little tequila in here, Dorothy — these bars sound so tangy and delicious!

  27. What a tragic story! How are you not scarred for life?! How do you even face the gym?! 😉 
    I know it’s horrible of me but a laughed all the way through your story. Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I am one of those idiots who has actually flown off the back of a treadmill. 
    And these bars….this is my kind of margarita! Pinned! 

  28. Oh my! Apart from Lemon Meringue Pie, I’m not a huge citrus dessert fan, but these look divine!
    So simple to make too! I might have to give these a shot this weekend (no pun intended).
    Since I don;t actualy drink the tequila I have on my ‘drinks station’ I may aswell put it to good use elsewhere!

  29. Tequila? Wow! My fave! What if I add a tablespoon (or two) of tequila? Do I need to adjust anything else? 🙂

  30. These are delicious! Thank you for sharing. Mine didn’t come out as pretty as yours though. The filling was gooey so I had to eat them with a fork. I followed the recipe exactly and even cooked a little longer. Didn’t want to leave in too long as the crust would have burned. Any suggestions?

    • Hm, I’m not sure why they would be so gooey! Were they runny or just sticky? Mine were definitely sticky/gooey (I could have eaten them with my hands but it would have been messy) so I ate them with a fork. If they were runny, I’m not sure. If you followed the ingredients exactly then it must have just been the baking time. All ovens cook differently, so unless they’re browning too much, you can probably leave them in a little longer!

  31. Hi! This recipe looks amazing! I was wondering if it could possibly be substituted with a pre-made margarita mix instead of just the lime juice/orange juice mix? The mix I have is virgin margarita mix. I’m wondering if it would have more a a flavor punch. I didn’t see any other comments/questions like this, so I figured I’d ask 🙂 

    • I’m pretty sure you could Brianna, as long as you use the same liquid called for. The only thing would be sweetness. If I remember correctly, that mix is pretty sweet right? You might want to reduce the sugar slightly, just so it’s not overpowering!

  32. Oh yes, definitely. Great idea! 🙂 Thank you!

  33. These are so freaking good! Made them for Father’s Day and my nephew asked me to make them again today. They’re the perfect cool treat for this ridiculous Sacramento heat.

  34. Could you double the recipe for a 9×13 pan to get the same thickness as the 9×9 pan?

  35. I made these bad boys this morning. The batter tasted amazing, but now that they are out of the oven and cooled, I have questions. took my pan (9×13) out at 2 minutes left because it tends to over bake things (not my fault, of course ;)). The top was browning and had a nice solid layer, so I thought I was good to go. Well, I chilled them for about 20 min and then took them out and they seem like a gooey mess. Is it just my fault for taking them out too soon? I put them in the freezer to see of that helps. Please tell me they just need to chill longer and I didn’t ruin them. That would make this pregnant lady sad! I have to celebrate Cinco De Mayo somehow, right?

    • That is so strange! I’m not sure why that happened, it didn’t happen when I made them. I’ve used other crumbled cookie crust to make similar recipes with success. Did you may any substitutions at all?

  36. I just made these and I have no idea how this happened, but the graham cracker crust and the lime topping transposed and the crust ended up on top with the lime on bottom. Still tasty, but they really don’t look as nice this way. 

    • Were yours super sticky and messy too? The tin foil on the bottom was a very bad idea for me as I had to peel it off of every bite. Super pain!

    • That is so strange! I’m not sure why that happened, it didn’t happen when I made them. I’ve used other crumbled cookie crust to make similar recipes with success. Did you may any substitutions at all?

  37. It was very strange.

    The only substitution I made was orange cream liqueur in place of the orange juice – my only thought was that it was more dense than orange juice perhaps and weighed it down to bring it to the bottom. The crust was made exactly as is, but didn’t stick together as nicely as I’d have liked and maybe that was part of it too (could’ve been older crackers or something?).

    Just so odd. It is quite a bit messier with this result. 

  38. The only substitution I guess you could say I made was adding more crust ingredients (about a 1/4 more of each) so it would still be a thick crust for a 9×13 pan. Otherwise, I did everything exact on. I have had them in the fridge for a couple more hours, so we’ll see. They will be fine and still taste good, just not as pretty and was going to take them to my birthing class tonight. 

  39. The moral of the story is that they were still AMAZING and as long as we keep them in the fridge/freezer, they are good. Definitely keeping this recipe! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  40. Same thing happened to me! I followed the instructions precisely, yet the filling and the crust transposed. The crust was crunchy on the top, and the filling gooey on the bottom.
    However, it tasted really good 🙂
    Just not as pretty and very hard to cut and take out of the pan.

  41. These were delicious; I was looking for a “safety” recipe (I make Lemon Bars all the time, and rather than just sub right out to make margarita bars, I stumbled across this recipe.

    This was amazing, and doubled beautifully for a 9×13″ pan; next time, I’ll probably be fine with a single, as this definitely resulted in some hearty bars!

  42. Do you think they would still turn out if I used triple sec in place of the orange juice?

  43. Worked out perfect! I made them in a 9×13 pan and added a teaspoon of baking powder to the filling and didn’t have the overly gooey problem other people mentioned. Thanks for a great recipe! 

  44. Hi there,

    These look amazing.  If I want to double the recipe, would a 9×13 pan be okay for this? Also, need to travel with this dessert. Would it be okay to freeze and then leave in the refrigerator until needed? 
    Thanks so much!
    Tammy

  45. Thanks so much again Dorothy! I ended up making this in a 9×9 dish and added the 1tsp on baking powder as someone else had said. It turned out perfect and was a big hit. Served it with a tequila lime whipped cream 😊

  46. These look incredible!! Any recommendations on how to make the crust gluten-free? Normally I would try GF graham crackers, but my local store only carries the crackers in cinnamon and chocolate flavors, and I can’t imagine these tasting that great with either of those. Thanks! 😉

  47. I made these and they turned out runny. I followed the directions to the exact letter. Why do you think that happened?

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