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.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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 have used this recipe a few times and it has come out perfectly every time. I use a little more corn starch than in the recipe as I like the filling a little more solid It’s just too delicious I can’t stop eating it.

  2. The recipe says to bake the pie for 25-30 minutes or until the top was brown. My top is brown after only 5 minutes! Yes, the temperature is at 350 degrees. Should I take it out now or wait?

    1. Hi Lucy, you’ll want to keep it in the oven. You can lower the oven rack and even tent a piece of foil over the pie to protect the top from browning more/too fast.

  3. I’ve made this twice now. Came out exactly the same both times. I make a french pastry pie crust which is crazy flakey and sweeter. I used a pie crust I’d frozen and it came out just as perfect as a fresh one. Best lemon meringue pie ever

  4. Hi Sally- I tried this recipe-everything was great except the pie crust?? When I took it out of the oven after the first part of the blind bake the parchment stuck to the bottom crust so it all came out of the pie plate-scraped it off -pricked the bottom and put it back in baked it and used it anyway-filling and meringue helped but disappointed -don’t know what happened as the crust was fine to the point-‍♀️

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marianne! If the parchment is sticking to the pie crust, it may need a couple more minutes to blind-bake next time. Thank you so much for giving this pie recipe a try!

  5. Katie Soukup says:

    I made this pie, including the crust in the recipe, and it was delicious. I messed up the pie crust. I thought I blended it enough with the pastry blender but there were huge chunks of butter and shortening in the dough when I rolled it out. I also should have added more water because it was so crumbly. The only way I could roll it out was between two sheets of plastic wrap. But that was only after I completely messed up the first dough. I did use some of the first crust to help fortify the sides and prayed it wouldn’t be too tough.
    I blind baked the pie and when I took the beans out the bottom was really wet from the melted fats. So I decided to put it bake in the oven without the beans to cook it a little more. When it came out, there were a few holes
    in the crust. But I carried on. I had no problems with the filling or meringue. At the last minute I decided to pulverize some vanilla wafers that I happened to have and put a small layer on the bottom of the pie crust. I also sprinkled it with leftover lemon zest.
    This thing was a miracle pie. That crust was beautifully flakey! I didn’t taste the vanilla wafers at all, but the bottom of the pie had good structure. The filling was lemony with just enough tartness and sweetness. The meringue was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Jackie Taylor-Carper says:

    Will this filling recipe fill a deep dish pie crust??

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jackie! This recipe makes the perfect amount for a 9 inch pie dish (about 1.75 inches deep).

  7. Scott Kreutzer says:

    I see where this recipe calls for 2Tbs of unsalted butter..but I don’t see it used anywhere in the instructions…am I just missing it somewhere??

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Scott, see the middle of step 6 where we temper the egg yolks — “Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the butter.” Hope you enjoy this pie!

  8. Can I make the meringue by itself on parchment paper? I’m making mini pineapple pies in graham cracker crusts and am in love with your meringue recipe. I’ve made your lemon pie twice already. This time, I want to keep the meringue and switch to pineapple, but with the graham cracker crusts, I don’t want the filling reheating. But your meringue is to die for, so I want to add it somehow to the tops of these mini pies.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Boo, You know, we’ve never actually tried baking the meringue that way before. We *think* it should work just fine but can’t say for sure. If you test it, let us know. We’re so glad you enjoy it.

  9. Perfect recipe for my first lemon meringue pie. I made mistakes—like forgetting the butter until after putting the filling in the crust, then mixing it in with a fork—but it was still delicious. My new Pyrex pie plate seems too large for the recipe. Even with stiff peaks the meringue didn’t rise high enough to look dramatic. And it cracked in the middle after I put it in the fridge. Eager to try the whole business again.

  10. Diana Ahluwalia says:

    Hi sally!

    I live in india and have been following your recipes with a lot of success! So first…thank you for that!
    I have two questions for the lemon meringue recipe-
    1. Can i replace the pie crust with a shortbread? The pie crust just looks too darn tough n id like to cut the time required..
    2. If i dont want the meringue, do i still bake the pie crust with the lemon filling..? For how long and at what temperature?
    Thank you again! ❤️

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana! I think you may enjoy this recipe for Creamy Lemon Pie instead – it has a graham cracker (or digestive biscuit) crust and no meringue. Creamy and delicious. Otherwise, you could definitely try this recipe with a shortbread crust, no need to bake the lemon filling since the yolks have been cooked on the stove already. Let us know what you try!

  11. First time making this pie and it was amazing! Blind baked the crust, that’s a game changer as well as all your helpful tips making the meringue! I would definitely recommend making this! Watch the videos too! Thank you Sally!
    I would like to post a picture of my pie, how can I upload a photo?

  12. Hi! I’m trying this recipe with a graham cracker crust today and I was wondering if baking it with the oven rack on the lowest position might make the crust too dry or overdone. Should I adjust the baking time or temperature, or keep the recipe as it is? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Arthur, We would keep the recipe as is – would love to hear how it turned out for you!

      1. It worked out great! Loved the recipe, really easy to make. Looking forward to trying it again with the regular pie crust. Thanks for the recipe and the help!

      2. I’m wondering why you would bake the pie the whole time on the lowest rack? I have had bottoms burn from being in that position too long. I think it is good at the beginning to brown your crust, but I have better luck moving the pie up after about 10-15 minutes because I have burned crusts leaving them on the bottom the whole time. After the oven has heated to the proper temperature, the main source of heat comes from the bottom. I am interested in your answer. Thank you.

  13. Used digestive biscuits for the base absolutely fabulous.

  14. Hi Sally, I tried your recipe: crust and lemon filling were amazing but the meringue had a strange consistency: It was gluey, like a marshmallow.. I was wondering: maybe not cooking the meringue would be best?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laurie! Did you bake your pie on a particularly humid day? The weather can play a large role in how a meringue will behave. We prefer to bake it so that the egg whites have a chance to cook through, but some bakers broil the meringue instead.

  15. I tried this recipe, my first time making a lemon meringue pie and it turned out great! I was so excited about how good it looked!

  16. Hi,
    Wondering if you can use lard in place of shortening?
    Thanks Cindy!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cindy! Lard should work in place of the shortening without any other changes in the pie crust recipe. Enjoy!

  17. Can I make all the component parts ahead of time and assemble and cook tomorrow? So blind bake the pastry (do I store in fridge overnight?) Make the lemon pie filling and leave in the fridge then assemble tomorrow and make the meringue at the last minute?

    1. You can get started on the crust– see Make Ahead Instructions. The filling must be warm when you pour it into the warm crust so if you make it ahead of time, warm and stir it on the stove for a couple minutes before using. I recommend making the meringue fresh right before you assemble and finish baking the pie.

  18. Hi there if I’m just wanting to use the lemon filling and not a merengue topping do I still need to bake the lemon filling in the oven or just chill it?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, no need to bake the lemon filling since the yolks have been cooked on the stove already. Or, you might enjoy our Creamy Lemon Pie recipe instead!

  19. Hi Sally,
    I love this recipe but now I’m making it for someone who can’t have egg whites, so I won’t be adding the meringue topping. So should I fully bake the pie shell then add the filling and cool?

    1. Hi Kathy, thank you! The filling still needs to bake in step 8 and I recommend at least 20 minutes for it. Simply leave off the topping.

  20. Wow. What a huge disappointment! Followed instructions to double up the edges and they fell off or melted into an ugly mess during the par bake. Could it be that you should frees the crust first. Chilled it for an hour. Let’s see how the whole thing comes out. Using a gas oven, Could that make a difference?

  21. My meringue was browning so I tried to “tent” it with foil. When the time was up, I went to remove the foil and it pulled off the top of the meringue, ruining the appearance of the pie. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Bob, was the foil touching the meringue when you tented it on top?

  22. The meringue on top needs a bit more sugar than just 1/2 a cup, it turned out way too eggy. Otherwise, very good!

  23. Hi! I was wondering why the merengue sometimes has an “eggy” smell? I mean, yes…it IS eggs. LOL But sometimes, the smell is off putting. Is there something I can do to prevent that?

  24. Michelle Gallagher says:

    So I followed your recipe to the T for lemon meringue took out of over it looked beautiful out on wire rack went to dinner came home and meringue flopped. I’m so mad. How do you get the meringue to stay as high as it is when you take it out of the oven?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, Thank you for trying this recipe. I wonder if the meringue wasn’t beaten long enough. This is an easy fix for next time. Also, see #3 above “Let’s avoid a weeping meringue” — there may be some advice in there that will be helpful as well.

  25. This was my first attempt at Lemon Meringue. Turned out beautiful. Thank you for the great recipe.

  26. The lemon filling was perfect: smooth, cuts cleanly, mouth-puckeringly tart. (Too sour for my kids, but exactly how I like it.) Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the meringue or the method. My crust came out underbaked even though I blind baked at an even higher temperature than asked for. 5 whites also produces way too much meringue for the amount of filling, in my opinion. I appreciate that the recipe calls for 5 full eggs, but since they need to be separated anyway, I’d just as well save the extra whites for something else. I’ll use the filling recipe again, but next time I’ll fully bake my crust before filling, and simply do a broiled meringue, which also looks much nicer and doesn’t crack like this one did.

  27. I made this pie for Easter dinner and it was delicious! The lemon filling set up perfectly and kept its shape while cutting. I did have some issues with moisture beading on the meringue after I put it in the fridge but it was still good. This has become my go-to blog for trusted recipes!

  28. ASHLEY GONZALEZ says:

    Can i make the pie the day before and then the meringue next day?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ashley! You can — 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.) Hope this helps!

  29. Ann H. Walker says:

    Hi Sally,
    My mother made lemon meringue pies a lot. I want to tell you her secret for the meringue to insure it didn’t weep after being baked and cooked.
    She added sugar, but not as much as you normally would. She would use karo to replace part of the sugar. She would taste for sweetness as she would add sugar and karo. It actually makes the meringue creamier. Try it sometime. I’ve never told anyone this secret before.

  30. Hi Sally, can you add meringue powder to the egg whites to help stabilize them? Have you ever tried that? Does it work?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, we haven’t tested that so we can’t say for certain. We find the meringue to be plenty stable with the addition of cream of tartar, but if you give anything else a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

1 6 7 8 9 10 11

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×