Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

This is the perfect lemon meringue pie! With a delicious homemade pie crust, tart and smooth lemon filling, and a fluffy toasted meringue topping, it’s impossible to resist.

Lemon meringue pie slice

I write this as snow falls outside and winds whip around my house at 50 mph. 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!! 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.

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

How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie

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.

  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.

Lemon meringue pie

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. (These tips apply for my chocolate swirled meringue cookies, too.) 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 can be very picky.

Lemon meringue pie meringue topping on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Topping

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.

Lemon meringue pie recipe

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

Craving something smaller? Here is my lemon bars recipe.

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Lemon meringue pie recipe

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: one 9-inch pie
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is the perfect lemon meringue pie! With a delicious homemade pie crust, tart and smooth lemon filling, and a fluffy toasted meringue topping, it’s impossible to resist.


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

Instructions

  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 in a 9-inch pie dish. (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 medium speed for 1 minute, then increase to high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 more 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: 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
  3. Pie Crust: 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.
  4. Prepare Ahead of Time: 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.
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

286 Comments

  1. Wow Sally, what a lot of thought and care you put into this marvelous recipe. I made three of these the other day (I tripled the recipe and my arm nearly dropped of stirring the curd ). I gifted two to others and kept one for the family and got rave reviews from everyone who tried it….what a yummy pie I wondered if you know of a veg alternative to lard, I used all butter in the pastry this time which was totally devine but I think needs toning down for a savory pie? I love your pastry recipe so much though it has become my go to….. thank you again

  2. Hi Sally. Want yo make this next week as a request for a friend’s birthday who just loves Lemon Meringue Pie! Is the temperature you have given for a fan oven or should I reduce the temperature by 20 degrees, so 184 for the crust and 157 for the pie. Thank you

    1. Hi Barbara, I hope your friend enjoys the pie! All of my recipes are written for conventional oven settings (not convection/fan forced).

  3. Hello, I am a disaster when I bake anything. This time thanks to your complete and easy to follow directions on this pie I have finally reached success baking in my kitchen, it’s the best lemon meringue pie I have ever had, you are the best! Thank you for a new treat that I’ll be making for the rest of my life! Delicious pie just absolutely perfectly sweet and full of lemon flavor.. A hit with my mother in law for Mother’s day. Thank you Sally you are awesome.
    Edward Thomas

  4. Made this for my mama on mother’s day (it’s her fave kind of pie). amazing! I was worried about making the lemon curd, but it was easier than I thought! The lemon flavor is nice and balanced, not too sweet. Perfect spring treat! Thanks Sally!

  5. I am searching this recipe for a hint about what size pie pan this is for, and cannot find it. I have 8, 9, and 10 inch pans. Which would be best?

  6. I had a lot of success with this recipe, my first LMP. Thanks! One question for you, how do you get neat slices out of the dish? I found my crust stuck to the dish rather badly, so it was nearly impossible to get a slice out without ripping off half the bottom. I use a pyrex pie dish. Any trick to prevent this happening?

    1. Hi Liz, so glad you enjoyed this pie! Did you use this homemade pie crust with shortening and butter? There’s enough fat in the dough to prevent sticking to the pie dish. My guess would be perhaps some of the lemon filling seeped through the crust which made it stick. Make sure the crust is rolled thick enough. A pyrex pie dish is my preferred choice, so I’m glad you are using that.

  7. I made this pie yesterday (I’m not much of a pie maker) and it was Delish!!! I didn’t have any cream of tartar but used an equal amount of white vinegar and my meringue came out beautifully (no seepage!) and the filling set up perfectly. I used a Pilsbury refrigerated pie crust I had on hand and it worked well.
    Great recipe!!
    Best to have all your mise en place done before you start to make it easier.
    Thanks so much, this will be my “go to” Pie!!

  8. This was my first lemon meringue pie and it came out absolutely wonderful and one of the best I’ve ever tasted. I had made pie crust before but your recipe turned out a delicious flaky crust I’d never been able to make. Thank you this great recipe!

  9. I used this recipe this morning for my sons birthday cake. He wanted a lemon meringue pie instead of a traditional cake. The directions are spot on and it tastes wonderful. Thank you!

  10. Hi! I have a quick question- I planned on making this pie this afternoon for a birthday party tomorrow but read in the last part of your directions that this pie does best being served on the same day. Will it not do well one night in the refrigerator? Thanks for your time and assistance! I’m a little nervous to be making this pie! 😉

    1. Hi Tenae! The best way to make this pie ahead of time, especially if it’s for an occasion, I recommend making the pie up until the meringue portion today, then finish with the meringue and baking tomorrow. Refrigerate the lemon filled pie overnight, then warm in the oven for about 5 minutes since it needs to be warm before adding the meringue on top. (So the two do not separate.)

      1. Ok great! Thank you so much for your prompt response! I will give it a whirl! Thanks again!

    1. I couldn’t see the video either until I viewed the site on a laptop, where it appeared fine. It wasn’t appearing on my phone.

  11. Hi Sally, thanks for the recipe. It worked out great. I usually cook and also bake – but usually nothing more than bread or pizza (which is also bread, of course). It´s my SO who usually bakes pastry, and after many attempts at lemon pie, gave up, usually failing at the pie crust and the filling. And then I find this recipe, which calls for what I think it´s an unusual approach: baking the pie AFTER spreading on it the filling and the meringue. That called my attention, and there was no harm in trying once again – we would eat whatever came out of the oven. But everything turned out great: no soggy pie crust, and no watery or chewy filling (yeah, that´s a thing too). Not only that: it was at least as good as the best lemon pie that I have tried – and there were many. So, again… thanks!
    BTW: I think the link to the video is missing. It can be found, of course, with a search engine by “sallys + lemon meringue pie”. Jut so you know there´s no link, or at least I wasn´t able to find it in the webpage.

    1. Hi N! I’m so glad that you loved this lemon meringue pie recipe, thank you for sharing your feedback! The video is right above the recipe. There is no link to the video. Give the video a few seconds to load and make sure any ad blockers are temporarily paused.

  12. I was going to try this recipe but I print recipes out and yours is not printer friendly helpful tips that do not need to be printed out, such as “watch my video” and notes. I wish the recipe was separate, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t watch the video but I don’t need to waste ink and paper on instructions that are unnecessary. 🙁

    1. Hi Maria, I’m glad to help. Use the PRINT button to pull up a new print page that only prints out the recipe. Or feel free to copy/paste the only instructions you’d like to print into a word document.

  13. Love your recipe, sounds divine but at what temperature do you bake it after you put the meringue on top ?

    1. The recipe says to reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees after blind baking the pie crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

  14. I am not much of a pie maker but I have a small potted Meyer lemon tree that had 2 huge ripe lemons that were ready to eat and I wanted to use them for something special. (I waited for 6 months for them to ripen!) I am celiac so I had to use a different recipe for a gluten free crust but I followed your recipe exactly for the filling, meringue, and baking. It’s beautiful and, honestly, the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever tasted.

  15. I have never made LMP before, so my partner & I watched your tutorials, read & re-read the recipe then gave it a crack. Oh my goodness, what a result! We took it to a dinner party and we’re instant celebrities!
    The pastry is amazing and the filling has a gorgeous, well balanced flavour-not too sweet as I have tasted in so many ‘bought ones’.
    We just can’t fault this recipe…or thank you enough for providing such fabulous guidance. We will be making this pie again and again… it rocks!!!

  16. Baked this pie after watching the videos and followed the recipe precisely. Wow! Absolutely delicious. This pie crust recipe will be the only one I use from here on!

  17. Hey Sally. Your site has become my first stop for reliable and easy to follow baking recipes for some time. Just popping in to say thanks for your diligence in research and testing and keep them coming. Your efforts are appreciated.

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