Desserts,  Meatless (Vegetarian and Vegan),  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Margarita Bars

This post has been compensated as part of my ongoing partnership with Barlean’s. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Take traditional lemon bars to the next level with the addition of fresh lime and orange, plus a salty-sweet garnish. Shot of tequila optional, but encouraged!

I feel like I blinked and February was g-o-n-e.

Between travel, sick days, and school cancelations due to this crazy winter weather, it’s no wonder I feel like my productivity has plummeted over the last few weeks.

Sometimes you just need a little extra TLC, and these Margarita Bars are the perfect way to show yourself a little love.

Overhead view of a stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, and fresh citrus.

My family loves lemon bars, and I thought it would be fun to try to create a spin on them inspired by one of my favorite cocktails – the margarita.

My husband makes a killer margarita, and he’s been doing this salt/sugar mix with lime zest added in around the rim of the glass lately.

I decided to take that idea up a notch and make a mix that includes lime, lemon, and orange.

Overhead view of mixing bowls and a juicer with fresh oranges, lemons, and limes.

Now just to be clear, there is no tequila in these bars, but they go great with a shot alongside.

Especially one rimmed with that salty-sweet citrus mix.

A round cutting board with fresh citrus and a spoon and jar full of a citrus zest, salt, and sugar mixture.

These bars include a healthy dose of citrus. When I was preparing the recipe, I zested a full lime, lemon, and orange, placing half of the zest from each into the bar mixture and half into a bowl of sugar and salt.

I sprinkled a bit of the mixture on top of the bars after they cooled off, and saved the rest in a jar for future happy hours.

A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

The other thing that makes these bars different is the use of one of my favorite buttery, non-butter products – the Butter Flavored Coconut Oil from Barlean’s.

I’ve talked about this deliciousness before – not only is it great for making popcorn that will rival that of any movie theater, but it can be used as a 1:1 substitution for butter in all recipes up to 375°F.

I set out to put that substitution to the test by completely swapping out the butter in the shortbread crust for these bars and it totally worked!

Overhead view of sliced dessert bars on a cutting board.

After the margarita bars set, you can cut them into 9 squares. Note that I have never been much of an even bar cutter.

I figure the variety of sizes makes it obvious that it’s homemade, and gives you the option to have a piece that’s a little larger or a little smaller without feeling like you have to eat two of them.

If you’re making these for a party, you can also cut them into smaller rectangles to make them beautifully bite-sized.

Perfect alongside a shot of your favorite tequila for a sensational springtime dessert!

A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

What do you love more – dessert time or cocktail time? Any other classic cocktails you’d like to see desert-ified? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

2 photos - one overhead view of a dessert bar with a shot of tequila and fresh citrus and one of the bars on a cutting board.
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A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

Margarita Bars

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Joy the Baker)
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 Bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Take traditional lemon bars to the next level with the addition of fresh lime and orange, plus a salty-sweet garnish. Shot of tequila optional, but encouraged!



For the Crust:

For the Topping:

  • 2 large eggs3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Zest of 1 lime, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • Zest of 1 orange, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

To Serve (Optional):

  • Tequila


  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8×8-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper (so that it over hangs slightly from the pan) and grease the parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. For the Crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter flavored coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour and salt and beat on low speed until it’s incorporated into the dough.
  3. Dump the crust into the prepared pan and use your fingertips to press the dough into the bottom of the pan, spreading it around in an even layer and and making sure you get it into all of the corners. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just browned around the edges.
  4. While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar until well combined and slightly thick.  Add the flour, half of the lime, lemon, and orange zest, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Whisk until blended.
  5. Carefully pour the filling over the still warm baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and no longer jiggling in the center.
  6. While the bars are baking, combine the remaining lime, lemon, & orange zest with 2 tablespoons salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Use the over hanging parchment paper to lift the margarita bars out of the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 9 squares. Sprinkle a line of the salt/sugar mixture diagonally across each bar.
  8. Serve the bars with a shot of your favorite tequila alongside, if desired, rimming the shot glass with the sugar-salt-zest mixture.


To store the bars, place in an airtight container separating each layer with wax paper. Store the remaining sugar-salt-zest mixture in an airtight container, and use it to rim your favorite cocktails.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 297
  • Sugar: 27.9 g
  • Sodium: 879.6 mg
  • Fat: 13.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.2 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 41.3 mg

Keywords: margarita bars, lemon bar recipe, citrus bars, dessert

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy

    Well these certainly sound like fun. They would be perfect for any party…and great for movie night too. The flavours are fantastic…and adding that shot of tequila would be the icing on the cake for sure.

  • Elaine @ Dishes Delish

    Oh, my word! Margarita bars? I’m in. I love the thought of these bars and how easy they look to make. And I didn’t even get into how delicious they look! I will be trying your recipe for sure!

  • Patti @Patty Cake's Pantry

    These margarita bars look so good. I can’t wait for spring and summer, and citrusy flavors always make me think of spring. I immediately pinned this recipe because it looks so good, but I think I’ll just have mine with a cup of tea. I think I might eat the whole pan, and if I had a shot of tequila with each bar, I’d be unconscious before I achieved my goal.

  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health

    one of my friend is obsessed with lemon bars..and she like margarita too so i think it will be right up her alley.

  • Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen

    Such a great idea! I love the flavors you have going on in these bars – although I am quite partial to margaritas! 😉

  • Monica | Nourish & Fete

    Yum! I definitely want to come to happy hour at your house – these bars are fantastic, and I’m loving that citrus zest mixture for rimming glasses! Great recipe. 🙂

  • Tamara Andersen

    Living in south Texas as I do, I’m all about the citrus. Your margarita bars look luscious! I love the combination of lemon, lime, and orange!

  • Amanda

    What a fun twist on citrus bars! I’m going to have to check out this butter flavored coconut oil, too. It sounds like it would have so many fantastic uses.

  • Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life

    What a fun idea! I’m loving your orange and lime twist on the traditional lemon bar! And with a shot of tequila? Sounds like the perfect happy hour sweet.

  • Elena

    What a great idea for a party! I love boozy desserts and these bars look so delicious! With a shot of tequila for sure 😉

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