Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I write this as snow falls outside and winds whip around my house at 50 mph. I love how you’re the season of cozy, but winter… I am so over you.

Despite the current weather conditions, the calendar says spring and Easter are on the horizon. And as someone who lives and breathes her daily planner, that means it’s time to prepare for the change of seasons. Close up that fireplace, place some tulips in a vase, open those windows… whoa that wind! Let’s keep them closed!

Let’s welcome a fresh new season with a fresh new pie– the pie I’ve been taunting you with for weeks!! It’s finally here, my friends. The beautiful, the timeless, the Classic Lemon Meringue Pie. 

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

My lemon meringue pie recipe has a billowy and toasty meringue topping, a balanced sweet/tart lemon filling, and an extra thick and flaky pie crust. I worked on this recipe for a long time, making at least a dozen meringue pies in the past few months. Both my kitchen and head were exploding lemons. Whenever we had friends or family stop by, I’d force lemon meringue pie on them. “PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS” I begged while barely blinking.

Over the years and especially the past few months, I learned that lemon meringue pie can be a daunting process but it doesn’t have to be. Let me make this recipe easy for you by giving you a tested (and praised!!!) recipe, lots of helpful recipe notes, and a video so you can watch it come to life.

And, by the way, you should totally make this for pi day next week. (3.14) 🙂

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

LEMON MERINGUE PIE STEPS:

  1. Blind bake pie crust
  2. Prepare lemon meringue pie filling
  3. Whip meringue topping
  4. Spread meringue on top of filling
  5. Bake pie until toasty brown on top

Now that you have a general idea of the process, let’s learn why this lemon meringue pie recipe works and what mistakes to avoid.

HERE’S WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

There are 3 main roadblocks when making lemon meringue pie: a soggy pie crust, a watery lemon filling, and/or a weeping meringue. Let’s work through each.

  1. Let’s avoid a soggy pie crust: Start by properly blind baking the pie crust. You want to partially blind bake the crust because it will continue to bake when you bake the assembled lemon meringue pie. Watch me blind bake the crust I use for this lemon meringue pie in my separate blind baking blog post. Lots of tips and tricks there.
  2. Let’s avoid a watery lemon filling: This is where I always had the most trouble. Lemon meringue pie filling is basically a thinner version of lemon curd. You’ll temper egg yolks. And before you run away screaming, watch me do this in the video below. Promise it’s not scary. While lemon meringue pie filling should be blissfully creamy, we also want it to be stable enough to slice somewhat neatly. (Think: a slightly firmer version of pudding, but not as firm as jello.) There was a lot of back and forth with the water vs lemon juice vs cornstarch vs sugar amounts. Follow my lemon meringue pie filling below. It’s not too tart, not too sweet, and has the silkiest, yet not-too-watery texture.
  3. Let’s avoid a weeping meringue: There are many different types of meringue topping, but let’s use a French meringue. Beat egg whites into soft peaks, add sugar, then beat into stiff peaks. Unless you want to waste a bunch of egg whites in failed meringue attempts, read these tips: Make sure you begin with just egg whites. Not even a drip of egg yolks. Make sure the bowl you’re using is completely wiped clean. No oil or water residue. Make sure you add cream of tartar. This will stabilize your meringue. Make sure you add the sugar *after* soft peaks are formed. If added before that, the egg whites could stretch too much which prevents a stiff peak altogether. Make sure you spread the meringue topping so it touches the pie crust. This seals the lemon filling underneath and allows the crust to grip onto the meringue so the two do not separate. And, finally, don’t make lemon meringue pie on a humid day.

Lemon meringue pie, I love ya, but you’re incredibly picky.

Lemon meringue pie meringue topping on sallysbakingaddiction.com

MORE ON THE MERINGUE

The meringue toasts in the oven. A lot of recipes call for putting the whole pie under the broiler, but I prefer to bake it so that the egg whites have a chance to cook through. Also, see the end of step 6 in the recipe below. Make sure you spread the meringue topping on while the filling is still warm. The warm filling helps seal the two layers together, preventing separation.

Did you know? (1) Room temperature egg whites whip faster than cold egg whites. And (2) room temperature egg whites whip into a greater volume than cold egg whites. So make sure your egg whites are at room temperature before starting the meringue.

Time saving tip: You need 5 egg yolks for the lemon filling and 5 egg whites for the meringue topping. Separate the 5 eggs while they are cold. (Cold eggs separate easier! Remember NO egg yolks in the meringue, not even a smidge.) Leave the egg whites out on the counter. Blind bake the pie crust and prepare the lemon filling. By the time you’re ready to start the meringue, the egg whites will be room temperature.

Meringue can be tricky, but you’re a baker and you can absolutely handle this.

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Want to watch me make the lemon meringue pie filling, topping, and assemble the pie? Here you go!

I promise, as long as you read the recipe before you begin and watch the helpful video above, you’re good to go. Don’t be overwhelmed, I’m very thorough!!

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients:

  • Homemade Pie Crust*
  • 5 large egg yolks (use the whites in the meringue below)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) water
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (38g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Meringue

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Pie crust: I like to make sure my pie dough is prepared before I begin making lemon meringue pie. I always make pie dough the night before because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling out and blind baking (next step).
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Partially blind bake your pie crust. (Follow blind baking instructions through step 9.) Tip: You can get started on the lemon meringue pie filling steps while your crust is blind baking. But making the filling is time sensitive because you will temper the egg yolks, so if multi-tasking isn't your thing, just wait until your crust is done blind baking before beginning the filling.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (177°C).
  4. Watch the video above to see how I work through each of the following steps.
  5. Make the filling: Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set aside. Whisk the water, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. The mixture will be thin and cloudy, then eventually begin thickening and bubbling after about 6 minutes. Once thickened, give it a whisk and reduce heat to low.
  6. Temper the egg yolks: Very slowly stream a few large spoonfuls of warm lemon mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Then, also in a very slow stream, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Turn heat back up to medium. Cook until the mixture is thick and big bubbles begin bursting at the surface. See my video above as an example. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter. Spread filling into the warm partially baked crust. Set aside as you prepare the meringue. (Don't let the filling cool down too much as you want a warm filling when you top with the meringue in step 7. The warm filling helps seal the two layers together, preventing separation.)
  7. Make the meringue: With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, then continue beating on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes. Spread meringue on top of filling. (I like to make decorative peaks with the back of a large spoon. See video above.) Make sure you spread the meringue all the way to the edges so that it touches the crust. This helps prevent the meringue from weeping.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the meringue is browned on top. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before placing in the refrigerator to chill. Chill for 4 hours before slicing and serving.
  9. Cover any leftovers and store in the refrigerator. Lemon meringue pie tastes best on day 1 because it doesn't keep very well. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, the meringue will wilt and separate over time. Best to enjoy right away.

Make ahead tip: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also blind bake the crust ahead of time, see how to blind bake pie crust for details. Lemon meringue pie is not the best pie to freeze. The filling and meringue's texture are never quite the same.

Recipe Notes:

*My homemade pie crust recipe makes 2 pie crusts. If you use my "dough strip" method explained in the blind baking tutorial, you will need 1 and 1/2 pie crusts. Or you can skip that little trick and just use 1 pie crust.

Prep all of your ingredients before you begin, including grating the lemon zest and separating the eggs. Don't multitask unless you're confident! The filling is time sensitive and you want to make sure everything is ready when you need to add it. Prep all of the meringue ingredients as well. You want them on hand, especially the sugar and salt, the very moment you need them. Don't walk away from the bowl of egg whites as they whip. Meringue can beat into stiff peaks quite quickly.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Glass Pie Dish | Pie Weights | Glass Mixing Bowls | ZesterSaucepan | Whisk | Cooling Rack

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Learn how to make classic lemon meringue pie with a creamy and sweet lemon filling, delicious meringue, and homemade flaky pie crust! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

84 Comments

Comments

  1. Reshana on March 7, 2018 at 12:44 am

    This pie looks incredible! You really are so brillant!

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you so much Reshana!

  2. Kristen on March 7, 2018 at 1:09 am

    I am sooo excited for this recipe, Sally! I’ve been in such a lemon mood lately so I’ve made your lemon ricotta cookies and your lemon bars. I also love meringue so this is right up my alley! Can’t wait to try it.

    P.S. I think your forgot to mention when you put plastic wrap on top of the warm lemon filling. I see you mention when to remove it but I’m missing when you place it! 

  3. Clare on March 7, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Ive been waiting for this recipe Sally. Cant wait to do give it a go this weekend. A family favourite and great I get another recipe straight to my go to baker of choice
    Absolutely loving the pie crust advice, which for my Gluten Free needs is on your part an absolute genius move and makes my bake a whole lot easier.
    Where would my bakes be without you

  4. Dottie on March 7, 2018 at 4:05 am

    Can’t wait to try this. My Mom made the best and I am so sad I never learned her recipe before she passed. All her recipes were in her head. Any recipe of hers I learned I stood beside her and measured and wrote it down. 

  5. MWP on March 7, 2018 at 6:11 am

    This looks amazing! This is my mom’s favorite and I must try to make this soon for her

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you so much! I hope your mom loves it 🙂 Happy baking!

  6. Patricia @Sweet and Strong on March 7, 2018 at 7:06 am

    This pie is so beautiful!  I totally thought of trying to bake a pie next week for pi day.  

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      This would be the PERFECT pie for pi day! 🙂

  7. Sarah on March 7, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I’d love to try to make this, but I’m the only one who would eat it, and I can’t eat a whole pie by myself! And I’m sooo done with winter too, we’re supposed to get a foot or more!

  8. Natalie on March 7, 2018 at 8:36 am

    This lemon meringue pie looks absolutely amazing! I love how high the meringue layer is – it’s my favorite part 🙂

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you, Natalie!!

  9. Yehoshua Paul on March 7, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I’ve bookmarked this for a weekend when I have lots of spare time. Sounds amazing, but seven hours total is a lot (even including chill time).

  10. Michelle on March 7, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I’m excited for spring too! It shouldn’t be snowing in March (just don’t look out the window). I had a recipe years ago for an ORANGE meringue pie, and it was *delicious*. You basically used orange juice instead of lemon juice. Do you think I’d be able to switch that in without altering the recipe? Or should I reduce the sugar? Thanks, but now I’m craving an orange meringue pie. 😉

  11. Cheryl on March 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Very impressed with all your tips, things I learned over 50 years before there were food blogs. I use both flour and cornstarch, add boiling water and cook in a double boiler. Not Tempering the egg yolks was a mistake I made early on. I have gotten adept at preparing the meringue while the filling cooks so I put my meringue on a very hot filling to prevent that weeping and separation. Yes, bake the meringue so much better than just broiling!

  12. shawnna Griffin on March 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

    hey girl- this pie looks amazing!

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you!

  13. Laura on March 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I love lemon meringue pie and I’m not sure I’ve ever made one all by myself from scratch! It’s definitely going on the list. Though perhaps not in the near future because I can’t manage much multitasking with a clingy baby! Kudos for managing a time-sensitive recipe with a little one.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 10:55 am

      It wasn’t easy!! Let me know if you get the chance to try it.

  14. Nicole on March 7, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Your video definitely makes it look easy! Still intimated by pie crust and making a pie from scratch…. but I think you are wearing me down.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      You can absolutely do it! 🙂 let me know if you try it!

  15. Melissa on March 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I love lemon recipes and will have to make this do you think I could use a graham cracker or vanilla wafer pie crust, instead of the flaky homemade pie crust??

  16. Parie on March 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

    This looks absolutely amazing!!!!!!! I cannot eat corn ya to dietary/health restrictions – is there any substitute for the cornstarch? Arrowroot powder? Gravy flour? Others I’m not thinking of? I really appreciate any suggestions and plan to make it for pi day!

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Parie! My suggestions would be flour or arrowroot powder, but please know that I haven’t tested either of these options. Let me know how it goes!

  17. Tricia on March 7, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I have only come to like the lemon-flavored pies in recent years. My family doesn’t like lemon so I have been buying a store brand (MC) which is delicious and eating it within two days. Pies are my favorite dessert, not so much cake. I have been looking for a lemon-meringue pie recipe and yours looks like it would taste heavenly. So, I will make this recipe for Easter, which was my plan so that my dil, who also likes lemon, will help eat it. BTW, your recipes are great.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      I hope your family enjoys this pie – perfect for Easter 🙂 Happy baking!

  18. Hayley on March 7, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Confession time: I’ve NEVER had a lemon meringue pie. I don’t know why – my mom made them frequently enough when I was growing up, but I always ate some meringue off the top and left the rest of the pie… hurts me to think about now. I can’t wait to give your recipe a try since we lost her original recipe anyways…. This time gonna eat the meringue, pie, crust in all 😉

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Sometimes our tastes are just different as kids! Mine certainly were. Let me know when you try the recipe and what you think!

  19. Yvonne D. on March 7, 2018 at 11:49 am

    It’s 8:45 a.m. and I want lemon meringue pie more than anything right now!

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      coffee and cereal/eggs/toast/whatever is so overrated anyway. 😉

      • Yvonne D. on March 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm

        I’m not a fan of coffee, cereal, or eggs so my “breakfasts” are unusual by most people’s standards. But the pie would more like breakfast dessert…



  20. Joli on March 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I Love lemon ice box with graham cracker crust. I don’t care for pudding type pies.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Yum!

  21. Angela on March 7, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I just LOL’d at so many sentences in this post- and was equally in awe of you! I love how your posts are equal parts entertaining and educational. You should have been a teacher!!! Can’t wait to try this, looks like a perfect Easter dessert. Your lemon curd recipe is to DIE FOR so I can only imagine how luscious and delicious your filling is here.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Your comment is so kind, Angela, thank you!!!! I appreciate it so much.
      Please let me know if you give this lemon meringue pie a try 🙂

      • Angela on March 12, 2018 at 9:04 am

        I made it yesterday (posted and tagged you on IG) and it was AWESOME! Honestly, it is not something that I would have ever felt confident enough to attempt before you posted this recipe and video. I watched the video about 20 times like a mad woman (not blinking, trying to memorize, getting flour all over the IPhone, you know how it is) so that I felt confident in each step and it did not disappoint. My parents absolutely loved it, they said it was so nostalgic of pies their parents used to make. how great of a compliment is that!?!? This one is going in the permanent recipe book for me! And- I love your pie crust, it’s the only one I use, but the blind baking tutorial/ using extra crust to prevent shrinking also worked so well! I didn’t want to invest in the pie weights until I saw how effective this was so I used dried beans, but I think I’ll spring for the extra $10 and buy some on Amazon!



      • Sally on March 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm

        Reading this just made my day! So happy you tried it!!!



  22. Susie on March 7, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    This line just made me feel so warm and fuzzy, “Meringue can be tricky, but you’re a baker and you can absolutely handle this.” I love that I AM a baker… because of you! Love this blog! <3

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Heck yeah!!

  23. Barb on March 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    This pie looks amazing. I plan to make it for Easter. Every holiday, I plan dessert first!
    So anxious for Spring today- it is snowy here in Michigan.

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      I do, too! Dessert is the best part after all 😉 Stay warm!

  24. Willa on March 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    I agree with Angela, I made your lemon curd a few weeks ago OMG how is it that all your recipes are amazing. Will definitely make this pie for Easter dinner . Thank you Sally,

    • Sally on March 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 Happy baking Willa!

  25. Allison on March 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Sally pretty soon I am buying 2 of your cookbooks ” ires.cookies…. and sallys cookie addiction”. I just can’t wait because I looove and live for desserts ! 🙂

  26. Amy on March 7, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    I love meringue pies my favourite is caramel meringue pie

  27. Debi on March 7, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    WOW !! THAT IS THE BEST LOOKING LEMON MERINGUE PIE I HAVE EVER SEEN !
    DROOLING FOR A BIG SLICE OF THAT !
    Food porn for sure !

  28. Ann Hyatt on March 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    OK Sally, this is awesome. This is what I asked for a couple of months ago when you asked us which recipes we wanted to see…I’ll just pretend this recipe is the result of my request 😉 Cannot WAIT to give this a try!

    • Sally on March 8, 2018 at 6:32 am

      It totally is 😉

  29. Traci Walther on March 8, 2018 at 12:41 am

    This pie is gorgeous! I’ve bake 2 lemon meringue pies they are out pretty good but I can be picky about the texture of the filing and yours looks incredible! I can’t wait to bake this and I must say I love your idea to bake it up on pi day!

    • Sally on March 8, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Please let me know if you try it, Traci! Post a picture in the FB group!

  30. Tamara p of thentherestwo.com on March 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

    This looks so yummy!  I just may have to make this for my mother-in-law who is 80, as a going away gift as she ♥️ anything and is presently making a huge move from Indiana down to Georgia!

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