A stack of margarita bars on a white plate with a margarita in the background.

Margarita Bars

Margarita Bars – put your favorite fiesta drink into a chewy dessert! These coconut lime bars with a shortbread crust are a vacation in every bite!

A stack of margarita bars on a white plate with a margarita in the background.
Margarita Bars

Margarita Bars – put your favorite fiesta drink into a chewy dessert! These sweet bars are full of lime and coconut and are a vacation in every bite!

Note: This post first appeared on May 4, 2012. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.

Margarita bars sliced on a marble cutting board.

Around this time of year, I begin daydreaming. My mind wanders to stretches of undisturbed sand, the sound of the ocean crashing rhythmically on the shore. I imagine myself lounging, the warmth of the sun toasting my skin, toes half-buried in the sand, and the coolness of a cocktail greeting my lips. I daydream of margaritas and salted glasses. I dream of vacation.

Care to join me? I don’t have anything booked, but I do have something that might quench your thirst for some R&R. How does a margarita bar sound?

Wait. Not that kind of margarita bar. This kind of Margarita Bar:

Margarita bars sliced and stacked on a plate.

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I have sweet little margarita bars that boast of a crumbly crust, the peppy sweet and sour of margarita, and the island flavors of chewy coconut. It is a vacation in every bite, even if the next trip is months away. And it will surely be a hit at your fiesta! Salud!

How to Make Margarita Bars (Coconut Lime Bars)

I love the idea of cocktails in dessert form, don’t you? The original recipe, as featured in the January 2001 issue of In Style Magazine, called for store-bought liquid margarita mix. In an effort to make it a little more wholesome, I made it with homemade margarita mix but found the bars to be far too sweet. This adaptation calls for fresh lime juice and much more zest, for that perfect balance of sweet and sour, just like a real margarita. Now you’ll just have to have the tequila on the side!

Step by step instructions for how to make margarita bars.

The shortbread is extra tender from powdered sugar and lots of butter. The dough comes together quickly with a pastry cutter, but you can also use your hands to work the butter into the flour and sugar until you have crumbs. While the shortbread parbakes, you can work on the filling.

Step by step instructions for how to make margarita bars.

The filling is much like any lime bar — eggs, sugar and lime juice. For extra flavor, I use both lemon and lime zest.

Step by step instructions for how to make margarita bars.

The coconut gets spread on top of the lime filling, and will sink into the bars as it bakes, making it chewy and coconut-ty. I prefer using unsweetened shredded coconut, but if you prefer a sweeter margarita bar, then opt for sweetened coconut.

Step by step instructions for how to make margarita bars.

Now for the hard part: once the bars have baked, you need to wait for them to cool completely. Ideal overnight, if you want your bars to cut into nice, neat squares. But if you can’t wait and cut into them early, I don’t blame you. I’ve done it before! 

Margarita bars sliced on a marble cutting board.

More Coconut Dessert Recipes

Baked Coconut Doughnuts
Coconut Shortbread Cookies
Ginataang Mais: Filipino Coconut Rice Pudding with Corn
Coconut Raspberry Scones
Chai Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

More Margarita Inspiration

Rhubarb Mint Margarita
Watermelon Lime Margaritas

Note: This post first appeared on May 4, 2012. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.

A stack of margarita bars dusted with powdered sugar on a white plate.

Margarita Bars

Margarita Bars – put your favorite fiesta drink into a chewy dessert! These coconut lime bars with a shortbread crust is a vacation in every bite!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Chilling Time 10 hours
Total Time 11 hours
Servings 16 people
Calories 187kcal

Ingredients

For the shortbread crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut in cubes

For the filling

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (use sweetened if you prefer a sweeter bar)

Instructions

Make the shortbread crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8×8″ baking pan by lining it with two layers of parchment paper or aluminum foil, so that the ends overhang on both sides. Tip: Lightly coat the pan and between layers with baking spray to prevent the parchment from shifting. Set aside.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of flour and confectioners sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter into the flour mixture, until you have coarse crumbs. Pour the crumbs into the baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a very light golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside while you make the filling. Keep the oven on.

Make the filling

  • In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons flour, lime juice, and lime and lemon zests using a hand-held mixer or whisk by hand until well blended. Pour into the freshly baked crust. Sprinkle the coconut on top.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the center is just set. Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
  • Transfer to the refrigerator and chill, ideally overnight. This will make it easier to cut clean slices.
  • Dust with confectioners sugar and carefully remove from the pan using the parchment/foil sling. Slice into squares and serve.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Lulu’s Margarita Bars, InStyle Magazine, January 2001.
I love the idea of cocktails in dessert form, don’t you? The original recipe, as featured in the January 2001 issue of In Style Magazine, called for store bought liquid margarita mix. In an effort to make it a little more wholesome, I have made it with homemade margarita mix, but found the bars to be far too sweet. This adaptation calls for fresh lime juice and much more zest, for that perfect balance of sweet and sour, just like a real margarita. Now you’ll just have to have the tequila on the side!

 

Margarita Bar Tips/FAQs

  • What kind of coconut should I use? I use unsweetened shredded coconut, and find the bars to be the perfect amount of sweetness for me. But if you want a sweeter, more decadent margarita bar, then you can use sweetened shredded coconut!
  • How long do they need to chill before slicing? Ideally, the longer the better. I recommend letting it come to room temperature on a wire rack, then transferring to the refrigerator to chill overnight. The main reason for this is that chilled bars are easier to slice into neater squares. If looks aren't important (or you just can't wait, and I don't blame you) then, you can certainly slice the bars sooner after they have cooled completely.
  • How should I store Margarita Bars? Store your sliced bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 211IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

Comments

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Sharon

    The recipe instructions say to “whisk together 1 cup of cloud and confectioners sugar.” I’m just guessing, but is the “cloud” intended to say “flour”?

    Reply
    • Liren

      Sorry about that, Sharon! Yes, it’s 1 cup of flour, and I have updated the recipe. Thanks for catching that!

      Reply
  2. kita

    I started to read about your day dreams, got to sand and had to skip ahead! I simply can’t think of the beach anymore or I will explode! Vacation – much needed. And one of these little bars too ;D

    Reply
  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    What unique bars! Although I’m not much of a drinker, I would probably love the sweet version of margarita even better. Beautiful summer-ish post, and perfect one for weather like this weekend here!

    Reply
  4. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Liren these look amazing!!! I love cocktails in dessert form too, and any recipe containing citrus. Who needs tequila on the side with these. Yum!

    Reply
  5. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – both kind of margarita’s sound good to me. I must try your bars soon – they look so tasty and refreshing – a spin on the traditional lemon bars – love it! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

    Reply
  6. Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything}

    I’m already halfway to a sunny beach and after seeing your bars there’s nothing more I want than to sink my toes in sand, enjoy the ocean breeze while sipping on a margarita ( I doubt the serve YOUR margarita bars at the pool-side bar)
    Delicious and beautiful!

    Reply
  7. Katie @ Epicurean Mom

    Tangy bars are my definite weakness! These are perfect! Can I sneak a little or a lot of tequila into this recipe?? ;-) Happy almost Cinco De Mayo Liren!

    Reply
  8. Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers

    Well, I don’t hear any tinkling of glasses to make cheers for Cinco de Mayo with these margarita bars but I do want to eat them! I never had cocktails in dessert form and this seems like a really wonderful idea.

    Reply
  9. Cassie

    These look so wonderful, Liren. I love these flavors, and now I am craving a margarita. The bars look perfectly moist! Beautiful photos, as always.

    Reply
  10. [email protected]

    Liren, love these bright and “Springy” photos. I feel refreshed just looking at them. These bars sound delicious – and a nice change from the usual lemon version. Tequila isn’t my thing, but these bars sure are!

    Reply
Kitchen Confidante®

Kitchen Confidante uses cookies to serve you the best possible experience. By using our website, we understand that you accept their use and agree to our cookie policy.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close