James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Shortbread Bars: The Recipe

What is Passion Fruit (Lilkoi)

Preparing Passion Fruit

For baking, I need a seedless pulp. A 30-second whirl in the blender turns it into juice and leaves the seeds intact. I pass the combo through a fine-meshed wire strainer and voila!,  I get a lovely orange-colored juice. The ¾ cup of juice came from 12 lilikoi.

Finding Passion Fruit

How do you get unsweetened passion fruit juice or puree if you’re not in Hawaii? I’ve found several sources, and all come frozen. Goya brand is the least expensive, and Hispanic markets often carry it. Check the package to see if any sugar has been added. If it has, decrease that amount from the recipe. Passion fruit is also known as Maracuja or Maracuya, so check for that name, too. Whole Foods markets, I’m told, carries frozen passion fruit juice or puree. Call first to make sure. Amazon.com is also a good place to search for passion fruit puree. Click on the Groceries & Gourmet food link and type in passion fruit puree. You’ll find several pricey sources because it’s frozen and must be shipped overnight.

Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Bars

These are best served cold. Store the pan of baked bars in the refrigerator and cut and dust them with powdered sugar just before serving. If you want to make lemon or lime bars, substitute either for the lilikoi juice.
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 24 bars


Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour spoon flour into dry measuring cups to overflowing and level off
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter sliced into 12 to 15 pieces

Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh passion fruit juice
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a 13 x 9 x 2-inch ungreased baking pan.


  • For the shortbread crust, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt and add the butter slices.
  • Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the butter is broken up into medium-size pieces, about ¼-inch. If your kitchen is warm and you find the butter getting too soft while you work it, put the bowl into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Pour the crumbs into the ungreased baking pan.
  • Press firmly and evenly on the bottom to make a compact layer. You’ll see pieces of butter here and there.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.


  • While the crust bakes, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl to combine well. Add the granulated sugar and whisk in well. Add the lilikoi juice and flour and whisk until smooth. Try not to create large bubbles. Pour over the hot crust and return the pan to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.
  • The odd spots here and there are from large bubbles that popped during baking. Not to worry, they’ll be hidden under a dusting of powdered sugar.
  • Cool the pan completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for an hour or two until cold. If you want to serve the next day, cover the pan tightly with foil and refrigerate.
  • Loosen the sides of the dessert with the tip of a sharp knife, going around the pan more than once if necessary. The top of the filling is sticky. To make cutting easy, I rub soft butter on the blade of my knife. It cuts through the bars without tearing.
  • Remove bars from the pan, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.






13 thoughts on “Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Shortbread Bars: The Recipe”

  • I love these and baking now. I’m upset that your final note wasn’t at the beginning because I went out and purchased $20 in fresh fruit and there’s a Mexican store around the corner! Love and learn!

  • Lilikoi can be expensive outside of Hawaii. Try bottled juice available at most Latino markets. Use bottled just as you would pulp

    • The short answer is no, Debbie. They’re way too sweet and that special tang from lilikoi puree/juice just won’t be there. Bottled lilikoi juice is available at Aunty Lilikoi (www.auntylilikoi.com) and you use it straight from the bottle. Happy Baking!

    • I have recommended Aunty Lilikoi many times and order from the company myself. I love visiting the store on Kauai!

  • Have experienced the filling pulling away from the crust, I have several times and don’t know how to remedy this. Want to give your receipe a try but scared it will turn out just like the rest of the lilikoi bars I have tried to bake. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Hi, Lily
      Which recipe has the filling pulling away from the crust? And please let me know what problems you’ve had with lilikoi bars. Let’s fix them!

  • This recipe appeared on Facebook while I was drinking fresh passion fruit with mint tonight. The passion fruit and mint are from my garden. I live on the tiny island of Saba, Dutch Caribbean; and am happy to find this recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

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