Here’s how to make lemon meringue pie from scratch, with a bright, creamy lemon filling and a cloud-like meringue topping. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious!
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Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just beginning your journey in the kitchen, everyone should know how to make classic lemon meringue pie. It’s a dessert that always impresses guests and it’s perfect for any special occasion, whether it’s springtime, summer, or even the holidays!
While there’s a bit of work involved, the recipe is easy to follow and yields a delicious, irresistible pie that’s full of bright, citrus flavor.
Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Everyone has their favorite pie. For some, it’s a classic apple pie, while others might prefer pumpkin pie or cherry pie. But for me, lemon meringue is the ultimate pie and definitely up there as one of my personal favorites! Why is it so good? There are a few reasons: the zesty lemon flavor, the fluffy meringue topping, and the buttery crust. If you’ve never tried lemon meringue pie before, homemade is definitely the way to go!
Although as I mentioned above, there’s really no season for this recipe, if there’s one dessert that screams “summer,” it’s lemon meringue pie—maybe because it’s the color of sunshine! This classic pie has the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors, and it also manages to be rich without being overly indulgent or decadent, which makes it perfect for warm weather get-togethers.
Ingredients For Lemon Meringue Pie
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the Pie Crust:
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter – This needs to be chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes.
- Ice water – As cold as possible!
For the Filling:
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Fresh lemon juice
- Lemon zest – I recommend using a fine microplane grater.
- Egg yolks – Reserve the egg whites for the meringue.
- Unsalted butter – Cut this butter into cubes, too.
For the Meringue:
- Egg whites
- Cream of tartar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Crust
- Mix the dry ingredients and butter: Add half of the flour to a medium mixing bowl with salt and sugar, then stir it until combined. Place the butter in the flour and stir with a fork, then cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender until a coarse, sandy texture forms. Add the remaining flour and continue to cut in the butter.
- Add the water: Sprinkle ice water over the dough while using a spatula to press the dough together. If you pinch the dough and it stays together, it’s ready. You don’t want to work the dough too much.
- Refrigerate: Cut the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic. Place the dough in the refrigerator.
- Roll out the crust: When ready to use, remove one portion of the dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 12-inch round, about ⅛-inch thick.
- Form and chill: Place the pie crust on the pie plate, pressing on the bottom and sides. Trim and pinch the edges to crimp. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Dock the crust with a fork and lay a sheet of parchment paper over it. Fill with pie weights or uncooked rice or beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and pie weights. Continue to bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool to room temperature before filling.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Filling
- Start the lemon mixture: Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of water and the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
- Add the egg yolks: Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the sugar mixture slowly while stirring constantly with a whisk. Put the tempered yolks back in the saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula.
- Finish the filling: Remove the pot from the heat and stir in butter and lemon zest until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated. Pour the filling into the pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the wrap directly onto the surface of the filling. Refrigerate.
How to Assemble and Top Lemon Meringue Pie
- Start the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Whisk together until everything is combined. Then place the bowl over a double boiler. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved and feels warm to the touch. Make sure that the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl.
- Whip the meringue: Put the bowl into the mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the vanilla and whisk on medium-high until you have stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Assemble and finish: Remove the plastic wrap from the pie and, using a spatula, mound the meringue onto the filling. Make sure to cover it so that it goes all the way to the edges of the crust. Use swirls and peaks to make it look pretty. Toast it with a kitchen torch or by using your oven’s broiler until it is golden brown. Let it cool for about 4 hours in your fridge.
How to Store Lemon Meringue Pie
Store lemon meringue pie loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can freeze lemon meringue pie for up to 3 months, but keep in mind that freezing will change the meringue texture, so it’s not ideal.
It tastes a little bit like lemon curd topped fluffy, cloud-like meringue. Between the pastry crust and the filling, it also has a nice, buttery flavor.
Yes, you should put lemon meringue pie in the fridge—in fact, you have to! Lemon meringue pie is meant to be served chilled and should not be stored at room temperature.
Your lemon meringue pie will need to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before you dig in. The waiting is hard, I know!
More Desserts for Lemon Lovers
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter chilled and diced into ½-inch cubes
- 6 tbsp ice water
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 5 egg yolks reserve egg whites for meringue
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter diced
- 5 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- Add half of the flour to a medium mixing bowl with salt and sugar and stir to combine.
- Add butter cubes to the flour mix and stir with a fork to coat the butter.
- Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender working until you have a sandy texture similar to breadcrumbs.
- Add remaining flour and continue to cut in butter until flour is evenly distributed and looks like pea-sized crumbs.
- Sprinkle ice water little by little while using a spatula to press the dough into itself. If you pinch the dough and it stays together, it’s ready. It’s important not to overwork the dough.
- Cut dough in half and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate both until ready to use.
- When ready to use, remove one half and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 12-inch round at ⅛-inch thick.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Gently place the pie crust into the pie tin pressing evenly on the bottom and sides. Trim and pinch the edges to crimp. Let chil for 2 hours.
- Dock the crust with a fork and lay a sheet of parchment paper over. Fill with pie weights or uncooked rice or beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and pie weights. Bake again for 10-12 minutes or until the edges and crust are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of water and the lemon juice and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat until very thick.
- Add the egg yolks to a medium sized mixing bowl. Temper the yolks by slowly adding the sugar mixture and stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the tempered yolks back to the saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer while constantly stirring with a rubber spatula.
- Remove from the heat and stir in butter and lemon zest until the butter is fully melted and incorporated. Pour the filling into the pie crust and cover with plastic wrap being sure to push the plastic directly onto the surface of the filling. Refrigerate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt and whisk to combine. Over a double-boiler, continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved and feels warm to the touch. Be sure the water is not touching the bowl.
- Place the bowl into the mixer with a whisk attachment fitted. Add the vanilla and whisk on medium-high until you form stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the pie and, using a spatula, mound the meringue onto the pie making sure to cover the entirety all the way to the edges of the crust. Using the spatula, make swirls and peaks in the meringue. Toast the meringue using a kitchen torch or by using the broiler on your oven until toasted and golden brown. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 4 hours.