This is the only lemon meringue pie recipe you’ll ever need!
A buttery homemade pie crust is filled with sweet-tart lemon curd, and all topped off with a fluffy toasted meringue.
It takes a little time, but this pie is a masterpiece and relatively easy to make!
Ingredients for Lemon Meringue Pie
- Crust: This pastry uses cold butter for great flavor and a flaky pie crust. Of course, pre-made or frozen pie crusts or graham-cracker crusts can be used if time is short!
- Sugar: Sweetens each layer of the pie, from the crust to the meringue topping.
- Butter: Adds a smooth finish to the lemon filling.
- Cornstarch: Thickens the lemon filling and helps keep the meringue from weeping.
- Eggs: Separated into yolks for the filling and whites for the meringue, they add richness and structure.
- Lemon juice and zest: Provide a bright, tangy flavor to the filling, making the pie zesty and refreshing.
- Vanilla extract: Adds a hint of sweetness and depth to the meringue.
A couple of tips to juice and zest a lemon:
Zest – The key to zesting is to remove only the yellow part of the lemon skin, as the white pith underneath can be bitter. Use a zester, a microplane grater, or the finest side of a box grater. Typically, you’ll get about 1 tablespoon of zest from each lemon.
Juice – To get the most juice from your lemons, ensure they are at room temperature. If your lemon has been refrigerated, simply microwave it for about 15 seconds before juicing.
Place the lemon on the counter and, using the heel of your hand, roll it while applying pressure. Cut the lemon in half and use a reamer or a fork to squeeze and twist, releasing the juice.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie
For the Crust
- Cut the chilled butter into the crust ingredients per the recipe below. Add a bit of cold water to form a dough. Roll out the crust, fit into a pie plate
- Bake until light golden brown. Let cool.
For the Filling
- Whisk the lemon curd ingredients (per the recipe below) in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
- Pour lemon filling into the baked pie crust.
For the Meringue Topping
- Cook cornstarch and water over medium heat until thick. Beat egg whites and sugar until glossy stiff peaks form.
- Stir in the cornstarch mixture and top the pie.
Bake the Pie
- Bake until the peaks on the meringue are light golden brown.
- Cool the pie on a wire rack before chilling completely in the refrigerator.
Tips for Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie
- Handle the pie crust as little as possible to prevent the heat from your hands from melting the butter and chill the dough before rolling it out. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork to keep it from bubbling up.
- When blind baking the crust, add a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dry beans or pie weights.
- Use clean (oil-free) and dry beaters and a bowl when making meringue. Any amount of oil or egg yolk will keep the egg whites from getting fluffy.
- Superfine sugar will dissolve faster in both the lemon filling and meringue.
- Ensure the meringue touches the edges of the crust all of the way around or it may pull away from the crust.
- If using pre-made lemon pie filling, heat it in the microwave before pouring it into the pie shell. The filling must be hot when the meringue is spread over the top.
Storing Lemon Meringue Pie
Keep leftover lemon meringue pie in the refrigerator for up to 2 days covered lightly in plastic wrap.
The pie crust can be baked up to a day early so it’s cooled enough for the filling. Double up on this pie crust recipe and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Lemon meringue pie can be frozen (technically, ANY pie can be frozen), but due to the corn starch in the filling and the nature of the meringue, it will not thaw well so it’s not recommended.
Did your family love this Lemon Meringue Pie recipe? Leave us a comment and a rating below!
Lemon Meringue Pie
This Lemon Meringue Pie recipe is cool, creamy, and tangy with a perfect cloud of toasted meringue on top!
For the Crust
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in chilled butter until it reaches pea-sized chunks.
Gradually add in cold water, stirring each time until the dough can be pressed together. Form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or freeze for 30 minutes until chilled.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Lightly flour the surface and use a rolling pin to roll a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry.
Gently press into the pie plate and over the sides. Trim the edges and crimp as desired. Poke the bottom and the sides with the tines of a fork all over to help prevent puffing (or line pie crust with parchment and use pie weights if you have them).
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pie crust is baked through and light golden brown. Set aside while you make the filling.
For the Filling
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, water, corn starch, egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Cook over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. It will be slightly thicker than pudding. This can take 10-15 minutes, but don’t rush it. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in butter.
Pour hot filling into the pie crust, set aside and prepare the meringue.
For the Meringue
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and corn starch. Cook over medium heat until thickened and clear. Set aside but keep warm.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites, vanilla and salt until soft peaks form.
Gradually add in the sugar, beating until stiff glossy peaks form.
Gradually add in the warm corn starch mixture, beating constantly, until completely incorporated and meringue is light and fluffy and holds stiff peaks.
Spread meringue onto hot pie filling (it’s important that the filling is still hot!) and spread right to the edge of the pie crust. The meringue must touch the edges all the way around.
Bake at 375°F for 5-8 minutes or just until the tops of the meringue are light golden brown — don’t overbake.
Let rest on the counter on a wire rack for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate for 5-6 hours until chilled, or overnight.
Slice and serve.
If using fresh lemons for juice; medium-sized lemons yield about 4 tablespoons of juice to equal ¼ cup (and 1 tablespoon of zest). When in doubt, get extra! The zest adds lots of lemon flavor so don’t skip this part!
Calories: 467 | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 63mg | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 570IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Lemon Meringue Pie is best enjoyed shortly after preparing, but it does need to be refrigerated to set. I like to make this pie the day before, then chill overnight uncovered. It slices easily but is still fresh. Leftovers can be stored on the counter for a couple of hours, but will ultimately need to be refrigerated. Your pastry may not be quite as flaky the next day, but it will still be delicious!
If you’re in a pinch, you can use a store-bought lemon filling or even a store-bought refrigerated pie crust to save yourself some time. The important thing is that your filling is hot when your meringue goes on, which prevents weeping.
This pie can be served either at room temperature or chilled.