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Best Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Indulge in the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe. It starts with a flaky crust, vibrant and tangy lemon filling, and beautiful fluffy meringue.

Love pie recipes? Try my banana cream pie, French silk pie and razzleberry pie recipe.

Lemon meringue pie in a glass pie dish.
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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

This lemon meringue pie recipe has something to offer everyone. It’s a timeless classic just like meringue cookies that’s perfect for the holidays.

The pie has three irresistible layers. First, a flaky buttery homemade pie crust. The middle layer is a smooth lemony filling. Finally, the whole pie is topped with fluffy sweet meringue that is baked until lightly golden!

Each part isn’t too time-consuming, but make sure you account for the chilling time at the end before serving. For more refreshing lemon desserts try these luscious lemon bars, easy lemon poke cake, or my favorite lemon blueberry zucchini bread!

Recipe Ingredients

You should be able to find all of these ingredients easily at your local store.

Lemon meringue pie ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Pie crust: I use my 9-inch homemade pie crust for this recipe. You can make it just before baking or store it in the freezer when you’re ready to bake your pie. My all-butter pie crust recipe is also a good option. You can use a frozen pie crust if you don’t want to make your own. Just let it thaw first before baking.
  • Eggs: You’ll need to separate the egg yolks from the whites. It’s easiest to do this when the eggs are cold and then leave them to warm up to room temperature before you begin making your pie.
  • Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to the filling will help to thicken it up.
  • Lemon zest: When zesting lemons, make sure to only remove the outer yellow part of the skin, avoiding the bitter white pith. A microplane or fine grater works best for zesting.
  • Lemon juice: Using freshly squeezed lemon juice is key to achieving the vibrant lemon flavor. Avoid using bottled lemon juice, as it may contain additives and lack the fresh taste. 
  • Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar is an essential stabilizer for the meringue. It helps create a sturdy foam that holds its shape and prevents the meringue from deflating.

Variations

Homemade lemon meringue pie is one of those desserts that’s a classic for a reason. As much as I love my original recipe, I also like to experiment by adding different flavors and textures when the mood strikes. If you’re looking for a twist on this old favorite, you might like some of these ideas: 

  • Raspberry lemon meringue pie: Add a layer of fresh raspberries on top of the lemon filling and then top with the meringue. The sweet-tart combination is perfect.
  • Blueberry lemon meringue pie: Stir some blueberries into the cooked lemon filling or sprinkle a layer on top of the filling before adding the meringue. I love how the blueberries pop in your mouth with each bite!
  • Lemon lime meringue pie: Combine both lemon and lime juices in your filling for a real citrus burst.
  • Cookie crust lemon meringue Pie: Use crushed cookies or graham cracker crumbs and some melted butter to make an easy press-in crust.

How to Juice and Zest a Lemon

Knowing how to zest a lemon properly can make life a little easier for you. As long as you have a microplane or box grater with a fine grater side, you’re set. Make sure to only remove the yellow part of the skin.

Use that same lemon to slice in half and use a lemon juicer if you have one. If not, use a fork and move it around the flesh of the lemon half, squeezing out the juice as it moves from side to side. Make sure to do this over a bowl to catch the juice.

How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie

I know that there are a few steps with this recipe, but don’t worry, it’s actually very easy to make! Just follow my step-by-step instructions and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the best lemon meringue pie you’ve ever made at home!

Showing how to make lemon meringue pie in a 4 step collage.

The Crust

  1. Pierce the crust with a fork, line it with aluminum foil, and pour in some pie weights to weigh down the bottom of the crust. Freeze for 5 minutes. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Lemon Filling

  1. Whisk the room temperature egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened and remove from the heat.
  3. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture into the whisked eggs and pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to boil again over medium heat and whisk for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter until smooth. Keep the filling warm.
Showing how to make lemon meringue pie in a 4 step collage.

Meringue Topping

  1. Beat room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar for 5 minutes until soft peaks form. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes until glossy stiff peaks form.

Assemble and Bake

  1. Spread the warm lemon filling evenly over the baked pie shell.
  2. Spread the meringue evenly over the top of the filling right to the edge of the crust.
  3. Bake until golden, then cool and chill.

Tips for the Best Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Eggs: Separate the eggs while they are cold from the fridge. It will be easier this way. Then leave the yolks and white out to come to room temperature. Making meringue with room-temperature egg whites is faster and produces a fluffier meringue!
  • Clean and dry bowl: Make sure the bowl you are whipping your meringue in is clean and dry. There should be no trace of egg yolks in the egg whites and no oil or water residue in the bowl. If your bowl isn’t clean, the egg whites just won’t get the volume you need.
  • Warm filling: It’s important to spread on the meringue topping while the filling is still warm. It will seal the two layers together which will help to prevent separation and a floating meringue cloud that slides around on top of your pie.
  • Humidity: Humid weather is the enemy of meringue! Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the level of humidity in the air, so I would recommend making a different dessert on a humid day. This cool lemon icebox pie will cool you off in no time!
Lemon meringue pie in a glass pie dish.

How to Slice Your Pie

We know this pie is going to taste fantastic and we also want it to look good on the plate after all the effort you put into making it!  Let me share some helpful tips to help you slice your meringue pie.

1. Chilling is your friend. Make sure the pie is thoroughly chilled before slicing it.

2. Run your knife (preferably a sharp, non-serrated one), under warm water and dry it with a kitchen towel.

3. Use gentle pressure to cut through the pie being careful not to squash the layers together.

4. Wipe the blade of the knife with a wet paper towel or kitchen towel after each cut to keep the pieces clean.

Lemon meringue pie sliced in dish.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use store-bought pie crust for this recipe?

Absolutely! While a homemade crust is my preference, I completely understand the need for convenience. Go ahead and use a pre-made pie crust – just make sure it’s deep-dish to accommodate the luscious lemon filling and fluffy meringue.

My lemon filling is runny. What am I doing wrong?

I assume that the cornstarch wasn’t properly incorporated. Make sure you cook the filling until it’s thick and bubbly, and stir the cornstarch mixture thoroughly before adding it to the hot lemon mixture. This will ensure a smooth, perfect consistency.

How do I avoid a soggy crust on the bottom?

No one likes a soggy crust! To prevent this, I recommend pre-baking your pie crust before adding the lemon filling. Just prick the crust with a fork and bake it until lightly golden. This will help create a barrier and keep your crust crispy.

My meringue sometimes shrinks away from the edges. How can I fix that?

Shrinking meringue can happen! To prevent this, spread the meringue to the edges of the pie crust while making sure it attaches to the crust. Baking the meringue until lightly golden will help it set properly and minimize shrinkage.

Can I use a torch to brown the meringue if I don’t want to bake it again?

Yes, you can use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue instead of baking it again. Once the meringue is spread over the warm filling, gently torch the top until it reaches your desired level of golden perfection.

Can I freeze the pie for longer storage?

I don’t recommend freezing lemon meringue pie as the texture of the meringue may change upon thawing, resulting in a less enjoyable pie. It’s best to enjoy the pie within a day or two of making it.

Storing

I always think that lemon meringue pie tastes the best when it is eaten on the day it’s made. It’s definitely in its prime when the meringue is fresh!

If you want to store the pie just a little bit longer, then cover it loosely with plastic wrap and place the pie in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The longer it’s in the fridge, the softer the meringue will get and it will start to weep into your curd, so don’t leave it too long!

Slice of lemon meringue pie on a white plate.

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Lemon meringue pie sliced in dish.

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

5 from 4 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Indulge in the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe. It starts with a flaky crust, vibrant and tangy lemon filling, and beautiful fluffy meringue.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool + Chill Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 10

Video

Ingredients 

Lemon Filling

  • 5 large egg yolks , at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Meringue

  • 5 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack. Pierce the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Cover the base with foil and then place 1/4 cup pie weights or dried beans inside. Freeze 5 minutes before baking.
  • Place pie dish on baking sheet in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans and brush edges with an egg wash (see notes) if desired. Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until crust is golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 325℉.

Lemon Filling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until foamy.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, or until well thickened. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixture into egg yolks until combined. Repeat until 1/2 of the cornstarch mixture is whisked into the eggs. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to combine.
  • Whisking continuously, bring to a boil over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter until combined and smooth. Cover to keep warm while making the meringue.

Meringue

  • Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed 1 minute. Increase to high speed and beat 4 minutes, or until soft peaks form
  • Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and continue beating on high speed 2 minutes more, or until glossy stiff peaks form.

Assemble + Bake

  • Spread the warm lemon filling evenly into the pie crust. If the filling is no longer warm, reheat it while whisking constantly. The warm filling makes it easier for the meringue to adhere to the top.
  • Spread meringue evenly over the top of the filling (making decorative swoops, if you like), being sure the meringue touches the edge of the crust to help prevent weeping.
  • Bake on the lowest rack 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. If the meringue starts to brown too quickly, tent with foil but being careful not to touch the meringue. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack before transferring to the fridge to chill 4 hours.

Notes

Baking tips:
  • Eggs: Separate the eggs while they are cold. Use the egg yolks in the filling and leave the egg whites out while you blind bake the pie crust. By the time you make the meringue, the egg whites will be room temperature.
  • Warm filling: It’s important to spread the meringue topping on while the filling is still warm. It will seal the two layers together, preventing separation.
  • Meringue prep: Make sure there is not even a drip of egg yolks in the egg whites. The bowl must be completely clean and dry, with No oil or water residue. 
  • Humidity: The weather will make it more difficult to make meringue, so I would recommend making a different dessert on a humid day.
Storage: This lemon meringue pie tastes is best eaten the day it is made. You can cover and store the leftovers in the fridge, but the meringue may wilt and separate. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 194IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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