This is the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, as it begins with a buttery, flaky pie crust, is filled with a sweet yet tangy lemon filling, and topped with mile high toasted meringue. It’s one of my favorite lemon desserts.
Homemade lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite pies of all time. There is nothing like a creamy lemon filling (very similar to a curd) topped with pillows of fluffy meringue.
One of my earliest baking memories is sitting on a stool next to my dad while he taught me how to make a lemon meringue pie from scratch. There’s something so special about making recipes that hold a place in our hearts, as they remind us of a beautiful memory.
While this pie does have three very distinct steps (crust, filling and meringue), and while each step requires a bit of time, it truly is an easy lemon meringue pie recipe that is sure to come out perfectly every single time.
Three Reasons to Make This Classic Lemon Pie with Meringue Topping This Spring:
- The filling is made with heavy cream and milk, which means this is an ultra rich and smooth lemon pie filling. Most lemon meringue pies are made with water, but the heavy cream and milk yield a luxurious filling.
- The meringue is tall and light as a feather. I’m a firm believer that there should be a ratio of more meringue to filling, and this pie does not disappoint.
- Honey. This recipe uses both sugar and honey in the filling, because honey pairs incredibly well with fresh lemon. It creates an evenly sweet pie that isn’t too tart, but isn’t too sweet either. And let me tell you, a lemon meringue pie with honey? It’s an absolute winner.
How to Make a Lemon Meringue Pie From Scratch:
- Crust: I am partial to a homemade pie crust, which does require a bit of chilling time, but the flakiness and flavor is hard to beat.
- You can make the pie dough ahead of time.
- Or, you can use a store bought crust.
- Blind Bake the Crust: The crust needs to be blind baked. The filling is cooked on the stove, and the meringue is toasted in the oven for only a short while, so the crust will be undercooked if it’s not blind baked.
- Filling: The lemon filling is made on the stove with cream and milk, which makes the lemon filling much creamier and richer than a lot of classic lemon meringue pie recipes (which often use water).
- Meringue: I love a lot of meringue on top of a pie, and this recipe piles the meringue high and deep. It’s toasted in the oven until golden brown (you can toast it until it’s lightly golden or until it has a deeper brown—it’s up to you and your preference).
- Cool: Meringue can sweat (or weep) if not cooled properly (or if it’s a humid day). Once the meringue has toasted, let the pie cool for one hour, until it’s at room temperature. Then chill it for 3-4 hours, uncovered.
- you can serve the pie at room temperature, but just note the filling and meringue might be a bit more unstable than if you let it chill before serving.
- if you need to chill for longer, place toothpicks in the meringue and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is resting on top of the toothpicks. This will keep the plast wrap from destroying the meringue topping.
- all purpose flour
- unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- ice water
- granulated sugar
- honey: the honey pairs so well with the lemon flavor, and it makes this pie extra special. Most recipes call for only granulated sugar, but trust me, try it with both honey and sugar.
- lemon juice
- heavy cream: it makes a very rich and creamy filling.
- milk: just like the heavy cream, this makes a rich lemon filling that gives this pie an extra depth of flavor and texture.
- egg yolks
- vanilla extract
- unsalted butter
- lemon zest
- egg whites
- vanilla extract
- cream of tartar: this helps stabilize the meringue topping
- granulated sugar
- Eggs: You need to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites while the eggs are cold, because cold eggs separate easier than warm eggs.
- be very careful not to let any yolk mix with the whites, otherwise the egg whites will not whip into stiff peaks properly.
- let the egg whites reach room temperature—they’ll whip into stiff peaks easier.
- Meringue: You want to spread the meringue over the top of the pie while the filling is still warm. This will help the meringue adhere to the pie better so that it doesn’t slip off when cut into slices.
- Also, spread the merginue to the edges of the pie. This helps seal the pie and keeps the meringue from slipping off.
- Lemons: Use fresh lemons for the filling. If you use older lemons, they won’t zest well and the juice will be more bitter, especially when cooked.
How to Store Lemon Meringue Pie:
- Store leftover lemon meringue pie in the fridge. As mentioned above, place toothpicks around the edges of the meringue and cover with plastic wrap (this keeps the plastic wrap from destroying the meringue).
- Do not freeze lemon meringue pie.
How to Cut Pie with Meringue Topping:
- Dip a knife in hot water before slicing into the pie. This will help to keep the meringue from getting messy and running into the lemon layer as you slice.
How To Make Lemon Meringue Pie Topping:
- I like a TALL meringue topping, so this meringue calls for 6 egg whites. However, the lemon custard filling uses only 4 egg yolks. You will have two extra yolks.
- Separate the eggs while cold. Let the egg whites come to room temperature. Use a hand mixer or standing mixer to whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.
- Egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar are mixed together. With your mixer, whisk until the egg whites are foamy.
- Add granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition.
- Continue whisking on med power until the meringue has reached stiff peaks (this means the meringue peaks stick straight up and don’t fall or curl over).
Some recipes to put those extra yolks in:
Other Lemon Recipes To Try Next:
How to Blind Bake Pie Crust:
- Blind baking is important in this recipe because the pie does not cook in the oven—it’s only in the oven for a few minutes to toast the meringue topping.
- Once you roll out your pie dough and place it in your pie dish, use a fork to gently poke holes in the bottom of the crust. This helps keep the crust from bubbling up with air pockets while it bakes.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the crust. Fill the bottom of the pie with pie weights or dried beans.
- The parchment paper protects the crust (and won’t stick to the crust), and the beans or pie weights keep the crust from sinking down the edges of the pie plate.
How To Blind Bake a Pie Crust Without Pie Weights or Dried Beans?
- If you don’t have pie weights or dried beans, then use another pie dish or oven-safe circular dish.
- Roll out the pie dough and place it in your pie dish. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork, and place a sheet of parchment paper over the crust.
- Using a circular pie plate or dish that is slightly smaller than the pie plate your crust is in, gently place it on top. The weight should keep the crust steady as it blindly bakes in the oven.
- This isn’t always a foolproof method, but it’s a good alternative if you don’t have pie weights on hand.
Final Tips and Reminders:
- This recipe calls for 4 egg yolks and 6 egg whites. You will have two leftover egg yolks.
- Separate the egg yolks and egg whites while the eggs are cold. They will separate easier.
- Make the pie dough ahead of time. You can make the dough 3-4 days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator to use when you’re ready to make the pie.
- Don’t skimp on the lemon zest. Use 2 full teaspoons.
- Keep an eye on your pie while toasting the meringue. It can go from white to burnt very quickly.
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 4-5 Tbsp ice water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks*
- 1 cup milk (2% or whole milk is best)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites*
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix flour and salt together. (If you’re using a fork or a pastry cutter instead of a standing mixer, use a med-large bowl.)
- With your mixer on low (or with a fork/pastry cutter), work the cold butter into the flour a little at a time, until the flour mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add ice water to the flour mixture, 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue adding ice water just until the dough comes together (I used all 5 Tbsp).
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form the dough into a small disc (the disc shape makes it easier to roll out). Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3-4 days if you’re making the crust in advance).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large circle, about 1/4” thick.
- Gently roll the dough loosely around your rolling pin, and transfer the dough to your 9” deep dish pie plate. Unroll the dough and gently press into the pie plate.
- Cut off any excess pie dough on the edges, making sure to leave about 1/2” of overhang.
- Tuck the overhang underneath the dough (this makes a nice and thick crust edge), and crimp the edges.
- Use a fork to prick the bottom of the pie crust.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the pie, and fill the bottom of the pie with pie weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the parchment paper and pie weights.
- Continue baking for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is just lightly brown.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350, and if possible, adjust your oven rack to the lowest setting (don’t forget to use oven mitts).
- In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar, honey, and cornstarch together (it will be thick and clumpy due to the honey). Do not turn on the heat yet.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, milk, heavy whipping cream, and lemon juice together.
- Over medium heat, whisk the liquid mixture into the sugar mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil (over medium heat), whisking constantly.
- Once boiling, cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Remove from heat. Add butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, and mix until combined and smooth.
- Pour filling over the crust, and smooth into an even layer.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the filling to prevent the custard from getting a film on top. (Make the meringue topping right away, as the meringue will stick to the filling better when it’s warm.)
With a hand mixer or standing mixer (using the whisk attachment) on medium-low speed, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract together until the mixture is foamy.
Add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, to the egg whites, whipping after each addition. Then, continue whipping the mixture on med-high speed until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are smooth, glossy, and have formed stiff peaks (about 2-4 minutes).
- Remove the plastic wrap from the filling.
- With a spoon or rubber spatula, spread the meringue on top of the pie filling. Make sure you spread all of the way to the crust so the filling is completely covered.
- Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown on top.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then, chill for 3-4 hours, uncovered. If you plan to store in the fridge for longer, cover with plastic wrap (place toothpicks around the edge of the pie so the plastic wrap can rest on the toothpicks instead of on the meringue).
- Slice and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.
*Separate the egg yolks and egg whites while the eggs are still cold--they separate easier this way. I separate the eggs while the pie crust is baking in the oven.
*Let the egg whites sit for 30 minutes before whipping to stiff peaks for meringue--the egg whites will whip faster when the egg whites are at room temperature.
*Finally, the filling calls for 4 egg yolks and the meringue calls for 6 egg whites. You will have 2 extra yolks you do not use for this recipe. If desired, you can make the meringue with 4 egg whites. Reduce the sugar to 4 Tbsp and the vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp. The meringue will not be as tall as how it's photographed if you reduce the egg whites.
Some Other Lemon Pie Favorites:
Marlene Harguth says
I also like TALL meringue on my pies so I use Wilton’s meringue powder (found at WM in the party aisle) and add what would be equal to 2 egg whites to the egg whites. No leftover yolks that way.