Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

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This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie has a tart lemon filling balanced with a sweetened meringue topping and buttery, flaky pie crust.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cutaway shot of lemon meringue pie showing layers of meringue and filling.

Who doesn’t love Classic Lemon Meringue Pie? Its tart, smooth lemon filling is perfectly balanced with a lightly sweetened meringue topping and buttery, flaky pie crust. Plus, it’s easy to make!

If you’re looking for a dessert that will wow your guests, look no further than the Classic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. It’s always a hit whether you serve it at a barbecue or take it to a potluck.

Cutaway shot of lemon meringue pie showing layers of meringue and filling.

This bright and tangy pie with a fluffy melt-in-your-mouth meringue is my idea of the perfect ending to a southern dinner of braised pork chops, turnip greens, and cornbread.

🥘 Ingredients You’ll Need


  • Pastry for 9-inch PieIf you have a great homemade pie crust recipe, that’s perfect! Otherwise, purchase either a frozen or refrigerated crust such as the Pillsbury brand. You’ll need to cook and cool the crust before starting the pie filling.
  • Grated lemon rind (or zest) and fresh lemon juiceBoth go into the pie filling to enhance the tart lemon flavor.
  • Eggs Most citrus curd pie fillingw use eggs and so does this one.
  • Sugar Plain white granulated sugar. We tend to use Domino’s in the south.
  • Cornstarch The thickener for the filling. 
  • Unsalted Butter Enriches the filling and rounds out the smooth flavor.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Classic Lemon Meringue Pie


Pie crust fitted into a pie dish.
  1. Prepare and bake a standard pie shell according to the recipe or package directions. Set aside.
  2. Zest and juice the lemon.

TIP: You will need two to three lemons to obtain the five tablespoons of juice. Since lemons are different sizes, they yield different amounts of juice. On average, one lemon contains about two tablespoons of juice.

  1. Beat the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix the cornstarch, salt, and ½ cup of sugar in the top of a double boiler. Gradually stir in the water.
  3. Place over boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not remove from heat.
  1. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  2. Immediately pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot mixture over boiling water blending thoroughly. Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and add the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice stirring until butter is completely melted. Set mixture aside and allow to cool to room temperature without stirring again.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.
  2. Using a hand-held electric mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form but not until dry.
  3. Gradually beat in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar.
  4. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, spread the meringue over the lemon curd filling, being sure to seal it to the crust.

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Whole finished lemon meringue pie on a white wood background.
  1. Bake until the meringue is a delicate golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and serve.

🍚 How to Store


A southern lemon meringue pie should be stored in the refrigerator. To store any meringue pie, insert a few toothpicks halfway between the outer edge and the center. Then loosely place a length of plastic wrap over the whole thing. The toothpicks should hold the plastic wrap up off the meringue. Store for up to 2 days.

💡 Recipe Tips


  • For an extra high meringue, use one additional egg white.
  • To keep your pie from becoming watery, (1) make sure that the filling cooks for the full time given in the recipe, (2) take care to seal the meringue completely to the crust – spread it all the way to the very edge, and (3) serve the pie on the same day that you make it – keep it covered until time to serve.
  • Making a meringue is really easy, just remember – don’t overbeat it! There’s a delicate balance to correctly beating a meringue. It should be beaten until stiff peaks form but not to the point that the egg whites are dry. As you gain experience and confidence in the kitchen, meringues will get to be second nature.
Cutaway shot of lemon meringue pie showing layers of meringue and filling.

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📖 Recipe

Cutaway shot of lemon meringue pie showing layers of meringue and filling.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie has a tart lemon filling balanced with a sweetened meringue topping and buttery, flaky pie crust.
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 379kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 Pastry for 9-inch pie baked and cooled
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice 2-3 lemons – see notes
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 cup plus 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar (divided use)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Bake a standard 9-inch pie shell according to the recipe or package directions. Set aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Mix the cornstarch, salt, and ½ cup of sugar in the top of a double boiler. Gradually stir in the water. Place over boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not remove from heat.
  • Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Immediately pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot mixture over boiling water blending thoroughly. Cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the butter, lemon rind, and lemon juice stirring until butter is completely melted.
  • Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool to room temperature without stirring again.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form but not until dry. Gradually beat in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar. Spread the meringue over the filling, being sure to seal it to the crust.
  • Bake until delicately browned, approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature and serve.

Notes

  • You will need two to three lemons to obtain the five tablespoons of juice. Since lemons are different sizes, they yield different amounts of juice. On average, one lemon contains about two tablespoons of juice.
  • For an extra high meringue, use one additional egg white.
  • Making a meringue is really easy, just remember – don’t overbeat it! It should be beaten until stiff peaks form but not to the point that the egg whites are dry.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 198mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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A slice of lemon meringue pie on a decorative serving plate.

— This post was originally published on May 29, 2009. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

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15 Comments

  1. I made a lemon meringue pie from Shirley Corriher’s Bakewise for my mom’s birthday. She’s still talking about it. I swear, it was one of the best tasting and prettiest things I have ever baked. I’ll have to give your recipe a try. Thanks!

  2. Someone at our Church always makes the best lemon pie. I can’t find out who makes it so I can get the recipe. I’m going to try yours, maybe its the one. Sure does look good. Thanks and have a good day.

  3. Droolworthy, and I loved the way you thought of your Dad. I’ve been thinking a lot about family members and food memories. I just posted about my Grandma and her biscuits and reading about your Dad brought memories of my own and his love for fig preserves on his biscuits and how he used to crumble cornbread into a glass of buttermilk and make a meal of it, with a green onion eaten alongside. Thanks

  4. I so much love the tartness of lemon, as does my youngest son. It is great to have memories of a love one evoked by something special they enjoyed.

  5. Oooo… looks at the filling on that. It’s been a while since I’ve had some pie. Too back replicators haven’t been invented yet. Forget slices. I’ll take the whole pie.

  6. This looks amazing. My hubby loves LOVES Meringue pie….Thank you for sharing such an amazing recipe.

  7. I love lemon meringue pie, for all the same reasons as you. Daddy, Daddy and Daddy.

    Here’s the recipe for chocolate pie. Remember, this is Uncle Bud’s favorite. (This has to be deep dish pie)

    1 store-bought refrigerated pie pastry (at room temperature)

    6 eggs
    1 stick butter
    not quite 2 cups milk
    1&1/2 or so cups sugar
    1/4 cup flour (sifted)
    1/4 cup cocoa (sifted)
    dash of Albany Drug Company vanilla

    Separate eggs. Whites need to stand at room temperature about 30 minutes.

    Roll out pie pastry so that it will stretch to fit a deep dish pie plate. Fit it in the pie plate and flute the edges. Prick all over with a fork. Put in freezer for 10 minutes. Line the pastry with parchment paper and add pie weights or dried beans. Cook according to package temperature for about 10 minutes. Take out and remove pie weights (beans). Shield edges with foil. Cook about another 10 minutes or so until golden brown. Watch to make sure that it does not burn.

    While pie crust is cooling, mix 4 eggs yolks, milk, sugar, and butter in large heavy sauce pan. Begin to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As the mixture comes up to temperature, sift the flour and cocoa into the pan. Add vanilla. Continue stirring constantly (preferably with a heavy wisk) until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and pour into pie crust. Cover the surface of the pie with plastic wrap to prevent “skin” from forming on pie filling.

    Rapidly whip 6 egg whites, while gradually add in 6 tablespoons of sugar and a scant dash of vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks. Remove plastic from pie and top with meringue. Make sure to seal meringue to edge of pie crust.

    Bake for about 10 minutes or until meringue is golden.

    Enjoy!

    As always, I love the recipes and the photos.

    Miss P