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 on a silver plate

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

overhead image of lemon meringue pie

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.

lemon meringue pie in a glass pie dish

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 in a glass pie dish

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.

meringue topping for lemon meringue pie in a glass stand mixer bowl

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 slice on a silver plate

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 slice on a silver plate

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 375°F (190°C) and adjust your oven rack to the lowest position. 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 pie on the lowest oven rack for 20-25 minutes. (If the meringue is browning too quickly, tent a piece of foil over it as best you can without the foil touching the meringue.) When pie is done, 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

447 Comments

  1. I made this today! And it turned out absolutely perfectly! It is in the chill phase right now, so I haven’t actually tasted it. However, it looks and smells significantly better than even my favorite diner lemon pie. Thank you for all the extra tips and tricks and videos! 

  2. Hi Sally,
    So excited to try this, it’s one of my favourite desserts! I was wondering, does the filling itself need to be baked for stability reasons or anything? I was planning on making this in cupcake form and was just going to use my blowtorch on the meringue, but i wasn’t sure if the filling will suffer by not being baked?
    Thanks for always providing such incredible recipes! Every single one has always been a hit!

    1. Hey Stephanie! This is a great question. The filing itself doesn’t need to be baked. The egg yolks are cooked on the stove.

  3. This is the BEST pie EVER. I have never made lemon meringue pie before, and am a total novice in making pie in the first place. I decided to attempt making it for a group of huge critics whose expectations were extremely high, and I’m happy to say I was successful! Followed the instructions step by step. Thank you so much Sally for sharing this, I’ll definitely be making it again in the future 🙂

  4. I finally made this for Easter! I had some meringue weeping issues, but the flavor was right and the curd was spectacular! Thank you for the recipe!

  5. I made this for Easter and it was a HUGE HIT AND SO DELICIOUS! Thank you for another great recipe with great pictures, steps, and video!

  6. Have you considered creating a recipe for key lime meringue pie? Now THAT would be amazing! =)

    1. Sounds so good! In the meantime, you should take a look at my key lime pie recipe. I love it. It’s so creamy!

  7. Brenda Landa says:

    Hello Sally,

    Thank you so much for all of your awesome recipes! This is the first pie I have ever baked so I am so excited to see the end result! So far it looks beautiful!! The only thing is that you say to bake it for 25-30 min, but my meringue was completely browned after 10 minutes in my 350F oven. Do you think it will be okay? Thank you again!!

    1. Hi Brenda! Your meringue browned very quickly! If you decide to try the pie again, I would lower the oven rack as well as the oven temperature down 25 degrees F. How did the pie taste?

  8. Just made this now and its cooling. The pie crust turned out perfectly and is delicious! My meringue was brown after about 15 minutes, so I took it out early. Does the inside have to reach a certain temperature or harden up?

    1. Hi Matthew, the inside of the meringue shouldn’t harden up. 15 minutes is pretty quick. How did it taste? If you decide to try it again, lower the oven temperature so you can cook it for longer.

  9. Chelsea Wallingford says:

    Just made the recipe and I can’t wait to try it! My meringue was browning at 7 minutes so I dropped it to the lower rack. Didn’t think to lower the temperature. I turned the oven off at 15 minutes and I’m leaving it in for a few extra minutes as the oven cools. It looks beautiful!

  10. Does the baking fully cook out the raw egg whites in the meringue?

    1. Baking the meringue makes the egg whites safe to eat, yes.

  11. OMG! My 91 year old grandmother has been requesting a “good” homemade lemon meringue pie that reminded her of her youth all year. She asked me to make her one for Thanksgiving. I am NOT a pie baker but I found this recipe, along with the tutorial videos and decided to give it a try. THANK YOU. It was a hit! She loved it! I followed it exactly to your direction Thanksgiving morning. It was fun to watch the meringue turn “silky” and the pie smelled amazing baking. I will NEVER EVER buy a frozen pie again. Needless to say, I’ve been asked to add this to the dessert line up for Christmas. Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I’m going to check out some of your other recipes. God Bless!

  12. Emma @ Savor the Flavour says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Sally! I was kind of nervous to attempt this notoriously tricky pie, but your instructions were so easy to follow, it helped me to be more confident. The pie turned out looking great, and my friend really enjoyed eating it!

  13. Sally,thank you so much for this recipe! I had a craving for baking Lemon Meringue Pie after hearing it repeatedly mentioned in Little house on the Prarie. Your recipe worked like a charm and my first lemon meringue pie (handwhisked meringue 🙂 was a success! It was absolutely delicious and my family just loved it.
    Thank you again and my best wishes to you!

    1. You are welcome, Anannya! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  14. The lemon meringue pie recipe is our favorite. Thanks Sally!

  15. Best pie ever!! I made it for my mom’s birthday and she loved it, which isn’t a surprise because all your recipes are foolproof! Thank you for making my day brighter with your amazing recipes, posts, and pictures!

  16. I’ve always been a fan of Lemon Meringue Pie and have fond memories of making it with my Mum, but from a packet mix! Today I made your recipie for our Mothers Day lunch with my new stand mixer and it was a massive hit. Thanks for taking the time to give us these great recipes.

  17. Kathleen Sokolovic says:

    Just made this for Easter. It was lovely. I made your homemade crust recipe as well. This is the best pie I have ever made!

  18. I made a rookie mistake and didn’t keep an eye on my Aga oven range on the final step. My meringue got too brown so I had to quickly salvage it by taking off the top layer (thankfully, there’s plenty of meringue) and using my kitchen torch to lightly brown what was left. It was not pretty but it sure tasted good. Live and learn…

  19. Hi Sally! Would this recipe keep well overnight? I am making it for a friend’s birthday but the party isn’t until Saturday night and the only time I will have to make this is tomorrow during the day. Will it keep well or will the meringue fall?

    Thanks!

    1. Lemon meringue pie tastes best on day 1. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, the meringue will wilt and separate over time. Best to enjoy right away!

  20. Heather Peterson says:

    I’m thinking of making mini pies using a cupcake pan. How long would you bake them? I saw another recipe that suggested 10 minutes… does that sound ok? I’d prefer your method to theirs, but was wondering about shortening the bake time.

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe as mini pies so I’m unsure of the bake time needed- but that sounds so fun! Let me know if you try it!

      1. Heather Peterson says:

        I did it! It was AMAZING!

        I used store bought pie crust (3 crusts for 12 mini pies).

        I cut the crust into circles and pressed into a regular size muffin/cupcake pan that had been greased and floured. Then I cut strips out of the leftover crust and doubled the thickness of the sides and crusts’ edges, pressing the two layers together firmly.

        I filled muffin liners with rice and put inside the crusts and pressed down firmly. Then I baked at 400 for 12 minutes.

        Then I removed the rice/liners and poked fork holes in the bottom of the crusts and put back in the oven without the weight of the rice for 12 more minutes. I had my husband watch carefully to make sure they didn’t puff up. I wanted to cook them until they were 90% done but not brown and 12 minutes was the right amount.

        I made your lemon curd and meringue and filled the pies as recommended. The amount was good for 12 mini pies. I had a little left over and made an extra as a test case.

        I baked the pies at 350 for 25 minutes and they were PERFECT! Adorable and so delicious 🙂 I put them on the lowest rack of the oven so the meringue wouldn’t over-brown before the crust finished and it worked out great 🙂

        I finished baking about 12 am the night before a dinner party and stuck the whole pan in the fridge after it had cooled a bit. The pies were excellent the next day. The meringue was not sky high as before, but the taste was perfect 🙂 The filling set up beautifully. Thank you so much… I will be making these frequently!

  21. My husband is a huge fan of lemon meringue pie so I knew I needed an amazing recipe to impress him. This was perfect! He said it might have been the best lemon meringue pie he ever had. Thank you for the recipe and all the helpful hints! I will definitely be repeating this recipe!

  22. John Williams says:

    I live where the humidity is 85% year round. (Ecuador pacific Coast) Can I make any adjustments to make this recipe work?

    1. An extra Tablespoon of cornstarch would help!

      1. John Williams says:

        Thanks, I’ll give it a try.

  23. This is the most delicious and prettiest lemon meringue pie I have ever made! I will definitely make it again

  24. Estelle Chait says:

    I absolutely love your turquoise mixer and glass bowl! And of course…this pie looks fabulous. I’ve only ever made lemon meringue as mini bite sized and never a full pie, but…I think it might be time, especially because my lemon tree out back needs a picking!

  25. Hi! I have a convection oven, was wondering if I could skip the blind baking step and bake it alltoghether in a single step? How much time would you suggest to bake?

    1. Hey Laura! Blind bake the pie crust regardless if you’re using a convection oven or not.

  26. I hate follow recipes and I’m an impatient cook. But Sally this recipe was amazing. I’m so grateful for the trouble you went to detailing every tiny step and why I should be bothered to do it the way you say. It truly paid off and completely sold me on following your blog.

  27. Linda Albert says:

    Have a quick question, , I make Lemon Meringue pies quite often, but have never added butter to the filling.
    What does it do for the filling?

    1. Hi Linda! Besides adding a buttery flavor, the butter helps solidify the lemon filling.

      1. What if I’d like to bake two at once?

  28. Brittany Mountain says:

    Sally,
    I love you so much for this recipe (as well as the included pie crust/blind baking recipes and tips). My husband absolutely adores lemon meringue pie and he’s been begging me to make it for his bday for years; but it’s always been such an intimidating pie to make. But this year I decided to face my fears and attempt it. I knew exactly where to go for help since I’ve been following you for years now. As always, you broke down this recipe so perfectly and the video was super helpful as well (I may have watched it three…hundred times hahaha).
    Anyway, my pie came out beautiful and delicious and I’m so proud of myself for trying it. But I couldn’t have done it without you!!! I so appreciate you!

    1. Hey Brittany! What a comment, thank you! This is so wonderful to read and you should be so proud! This is definitely a more advanced recipe and it requires a few different steps. So glad you made it and enjoyed it too!

  29. Absolutely delicious!!!!! I made the crust using 250gms butter to 2 1/2cups flour, salt and water, soooooo good. Best lemon meringue pie i have made, really worth making.

  30. Angharad Allsop says:

    As usual, Sally’s recipe is tip-top! Her all butter pastry will now be my go to pastry- it is light and flaky and does not over cook during the blind baking process, especially with her special double edge technique.
    The lemon filling and meringue are delicious too and all combine to make the perfect lemon meringue pie.
    Thank you Sally x

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