Lemon Meringue Pie
A creamy lemon pie topped with fluffy meringue, this Lemon Meringue Pie is surprisingly easy to make – even if you’ve never made meringue before! This classic pie is perfect for spring, the holidays, or anytime you want to impress your guests!
Easy Lemon Meringue Pie
If you’re looking for a classic pie to impress your guests, you can’t go wrong with lemon meringue pie. It’s made with just a handful of ingredients and is surprisingly easy to pull together. The meringue topping requires just 2 ingredients and, despite belief that it can be difficult to make, requires just a few minutes of prep. If you’ve ever felt intimidated by meringue pie, this is a great recipe to start with! (Plus I share all of my secrets for the best meringue below!)
With freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, this pie is light and bright in citrus flavor as well. It’s perfect for spring and summer, with a refreshing flavor that’s not overly sweet. And while this is easy enough to make anytime you’re craving pie, the perfectly golden brown finished product looks so fancy that guests will be impressed too.
What You’ll Need
There are just 7 ingredients used to make this classic lemon meringue pie!
- Crust- You can buy a prebaked crust or make your own homemade.
- Sugar – Balances out the tart citrus flavor in the filling and is also a key ingredient in the meringue.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the pie filling so it doesn’t run everywhere when you cut it.
- Lemon – Both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest give this pie the lemon flavor.
- Butter – I used salted butter since I didn’t add any extra salt.
- Eggs – Egg yolks are used in the filling while egg whites are used in the meringue topping.
What Pie Crust Should I Use?
That’s completely up to you. This recipe begins with a pre-baked pie crust so I didn’t include the crust in this recipe. You can grab one at the store from the refrigerated or frozen section or make your own. If you want to make your own, check out my easy no-roll pie crust recipe.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie
There are just a few steps to making this delightful lemon dessert.
- Make the lemon filling. Whisk sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the water while continuing to whisk. (No heat used.) Lightly beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl then whisk into the saucepan. In a separate bowl, measure the lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn the stovetop to medium heat, bringing to a low boil and whisking constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon, and whisk until smooth.
- Make the meringue topping. At the same time, before turning on the heat, begin preparing the meringue. Beat the egg whites until foamy, add in the sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Assemble the pie. Spread the filling into a pre-baked pie crust, followed immediately by mounds of meringue. Use a spoon to make dips to give it the swirled peaks and valley appearance. Press the meringue against the crust around the edges to seal it completely.
- Bake. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, keeping a close eye on it and removing it once browned to your liking. Turn halfway through for even browning if desired.
- Cool and enjoy. Let the pie cool completely before cutting and serving.
Tips for the Best Meringue Pie Topping
If this is your first time making lemon meringue or other types of meringue pie, here are a few tips to help perfect the meringue topping.
- Use room temperature egg whites. This is important because room temperature egg whips not only whip up faster, they are also much fluffier.
- Separate the eggs while cold. It’s easier to separate the egg yolks and egg whites while the eggs are cold, so I like to do this as the crust is baking and leave them on the counter. By the time I get to the meringue, they are at room temperature.
- Make dips in the meringue. For the classic swirly meringue look, use a spoon or spatula to create dips in the meringue.
- Seal the edges. You also want to press the meringue into the edges of the pie crust to seal the pie.
- Keep a close eye on the browning. Once you pop the lemon pie in the oven, be sure to keep a close eye on it. After 10 minutes or so, it can burn very quickly. Remove it when it reaches your desired level of brown.
Do I Have To Use Meringue On This Lemon Pie?
It’s not really a lemon meringue pie without the meringue! The tart lemon custard filling is meant to be offset by the light and sweet meringue topping. If you’d prefer to just enjoy a lemon pie, check out my blender lemon pie or no-bake frozen lemonade pie instead.
Can You Freeze Lemon Meringue Pie?
While some people say you can freeze lemon meringue pie, I don’t recommend it. I find that freezing and thawing changes the texture of not only the meringue but also the filling, making it a bit too watery for my likes.
How to Store
The truth is that lemon meringue pie is best enjoyed that day you bake it but you can store it for up to 2 to 3 days in the fridge. Note that the meringue can begin to separate from the pie filling but it will still taste great.
More Pie Recipes:
Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 9 ” pie crust pre-baked
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups cold water
- 4 egg yolks slightly beaten
- Zest of 1 lemon about 2 teaspoons
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of sugar and the cornstarch. Continue whisking while adding 1½ cups of cold water to the pan, stirring until combined. (DO NOT TURN ON THE STOVE YET, THIS IS DONE WITH NO HEAT)
- Separate egg yolks from the whites (reserving the whites for the meringue). Gently whisk or use a fork to break up the yolks and beat them just slightly.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the saucepan.
- In a small bowl, measure the lemon zest and lemon juice so they are ready to add to the pie filling mixture when it comes off the stove.
- Begin preparing the meringue. Place the egg whites into a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer. Use a whisk attachment (regular beaters on a hand mixer work, too!) and beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add ⅔ cup of sugar to the foamy egg whites and continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
- While the meringue is being prepared, turn the stovetop on to medium heat. Bring the filling mixture to a low boil, whisking constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to control the heating of the egg yolks in the mixture. Boil gently for 1 minute while stirring.
- Remove filling from the heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Whisk until smooth. The filling should be thickened and hot.
- Spread pie filling into the prepared pre-baked pie crust. Immediately mound the meringue over the hot filling. Use a spatula or spoon to make dips in the meringue – giving it swirled peaks and valley appearance. BE SURE to press the meringue against the crust around the edges to seal it completely.
- Bake the pie for about 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on it and remove it once it is browned to your liking – you may wish to turn the pie halfway through baking to help with even browning.
- Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting and serving.