Easy Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Growing up, I remember my family gathering around the big oak table, all eager for a slice of my mom’s famed lemon meringue pie. To this day, whenever I take a bite of that sweet and tangy goodness, I’m transported back to those warm, lazy summer days.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Want to take a childhood taste? I’ll share my secrets for making a basic lemon meringue pie that’s sure to become a new family tradition of yours.

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie recipe

Here are just a few things you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Zesty refreshment: This pie is perfect for warm weather. It provides a cool, refreshing treat that’s sure to hit the spot.
  • Visual appeal: This lemon meringue pie is as stunning as the luscious key lime pie. The contrasting layers of bright yellow lemon filling and cloud-like meringue make for a stunning presentation.
  • Versatility for different occasions: Whether you’re celebrating a special birthday or just need a sweet pick-me-up for a weeknight dessert, this lemon meringue pie is always the perfect fit.
  • Fun to make: I have to admit, making this pie is a real treat. The process of making the different components is a fun and fulfilling experience that showcases a variety of baking skills. You’ll feel like a pro in no time.
  • Go well with many things: For those who love citrus flavors, this pie is a delightful treat that pairs well with many other lemon-inspired desserts. If you enjoy the tangy sweetness of lemon meringue, you might also love lemon blueberry cheesecake bars or the rich texture of iced lemon pound cake.

8 Steps to Make Lemon Meringue Pie


Here is what you need for the best lemon meringue pie, broken down by filling and meringue layers:


  • Cornstarch (⅓ cup): This thickener ensures that your filling is set properly and doesn’t ooze when sliced.
  • Egg yolks (5 large): They enrich the filling and give it a smooth, creamy texture. Don’t throw away the whites; save them for the meringue.
  • Fresh lemon juice (⅗ cup): Always squeeze it fresh for the brightest lemon flavor. The bottled lemon juice just doesn’t compare.
  • Lemon zest (1 ⅓ tablespoon): This packs a punch of intense lemony aroma and flavor, so zest your lemons right before you use them for the freshest taste.
  • Granulated sugar (1 cup): You’ll need it to balance the tartness of the lemon.
  • Unsalted butter (2 tablespoons): Softened butter melds into the filling and adds richness and a silky finish.
  • Water (1 and ⅓ cups)
  • Salt (¼ teaspoon) to taste


  • Egg whites (5 large): Make sure they’re at room temperature to achieve the best volume when whipped.
  • Cream of tartar (⅔ teaspoon): This stabilizes the egg whites and helps them hold their stiff peaks.
  • Granulated sugar (½ cup)
  • Salt (⅛ teaspoon): Just like in the filling, a touch of salt sharpens the other flavors.

Don’t forget that you’ll also need a flaky pie crust for the base (Oh, and just one crust, by the way, since we’re leaving the top open). Whether you prefer your homemade crust or grab a pre-baked one from the store, it should be fully baked and cooled before filling.


Make the Crust

Step 1

Begin by preparing your dough in advance using my easy recipe. I recommend making it the night before, as it needs to chill for at least 2 hours.

kneading the bread flour

Step 2

Set the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C). Roll out your chilled dough and line a 9-inch pie dish. Using parchment paper and pie weights, blind-bake the crust for about 10 minutes.

Remove the parchment and weights and continue to bake until the edges are a deep golden brown and the center is lightly golden, approximately 10 to 12 additional minutes. Allow the crust to cool to room temperature.

Make the Filling

Lemon Meringue Pie wet ingredient

Step 3

You can start making the filling while the crust is in the oven. However, due to the egg yolks, it’s a bit time-sensitive. If multitasking isn’t your forte, wait until your crust is baked.

After you’ve finished the crust, reduce the oven to 350°F. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium mixer bowl or measuring cup. Set them aside for now.

Step 4

Combine lemon zest, juice, salt, cornstarch, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. At first, it’ll appear cloudy and thin but will start thickening after about 5 minutes. Gradually temper the egg yolk mixture by adding several spoonfuls of the cornstarch mixture to the yolks, then slowly whisk the tempered yolks back into the saucepan.

Step 5

Increase the heat to medium and cook until the mixture thickens and large bubbles burst on the surface. Remove from heat and mix in the butter. Finally, spread this hot lemon filling evenly into your partially baked crust.

Lemon Meringue Pie assemble

Make the Meringue

Step 6

Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream of tartar and egg whites at medium speed for 1 minute, then switch to high speed until soft peaks form, typically around 5 minutes.

make whip cream frosting

Listen up! We only want the egg whites, not even a sneaky little yolk drip. Make sure the bowl is squeaky clean, with no water or oil hiding in there. Otherwise, you might end up with a weepy meringue, and nobody wants that!

Step 7

Add the salt and sugar, and continue to beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. Spread the layer of meringue over the filling on the crust, ensuring it reaches the edges to seal with the crust. If desired, use the back of a spoon to create decorative peaks.

Bake and Finish

Step 8

Place this lemon pie on the lowest oven rack and bake for 25 minutes. If the meringue browns too quickly, gently cover it with foil so that it doesn’t touch the meringue.

Once done, remove the pie from the oven. Let it cool at room temperature on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Lemon Meringue Pie final

Tips on Making Lemon Meringue Pie


As I’ve learned through trial and error, the key to a perfect meringue is all about the cracking. You’ve got to cleanly separate those egg whites from the yolks because even a tiny speck of yolk will prevent the whites from beating up properly.

Once you’ve separated those whites, be ready to quickly beat them up so they can be spread directly on the hot filling. The heat helps seal the meringue to the pie.

Assembling the Layers

While topping the filling with meringue, work quickly to spread the meringue mixture evenly around the edge of the pie. It needs to attach to the crust with no gaps. The crust will help anchor the meringue and prevent it from shrinking and weeping.

Then, fill the center with more meringue mixture and get creative with those peaks. Use the back of a spoon to create some artistic flair.

Making in Advance

If you want to make it ahead, I’ve found that the best way to freeze lemon meringue pie is without the meringue.

Pour the filling into the pie crust, wrap it tightly in storage wrap and foil, and freeze for up to three months. Then, simply thaw it in the refrigerator, whip up the meringue, and bake according to the recipe.


One thing to remember is that this pie is best on the same day it’s made. If you have leftovers, put them in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic wrap.

While the pie will technically stay fresh for 2 to 3 days, the meringue has a tendency to weep the longer it’s in the fridge, so try to eat it as soon as you can.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Lemon Meringue Pie Weep?

There are a variety of reasons, such as high humidity, not cooking the meringue properly, using older eggs, and even being stored in the fridge. They can cause the pie to release unwanted moisture and create a less-than-perfect dessert.

What Should I Do if My Lemon Curd Filling Is Too Runny?

It’s likely because it hasn’t been cooked enough or the eggs haven’t been tempered properly.

To fix this, try cooking the curd for a few more minutes until it thickens, or whisk in more egg yolks to help it set. If it’s still too runny, you can also try straining it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any excess liquid.

Are There Any Vegan Alternatives to Traditional Meringue?

One popular option is aquafaba, the liquid left from cooked chickpeas. It whips up similarly to egg whites and holds its shape well, making it perfect for vegan lemon meringue pies.

Just keep in mind that these alternatives might affect the texture and flavor a bit compared to my recipe for lemon meringue pie. Keep experimenting to get the desired result.

—Now, roll up your sleeves and whip up some sweet, tangy joy! Can’t wait to hear how your homemade lemon meringue pie turns out.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

An exquisite lemon pie that balances tangy and sweet flavors, complemented by a lusciously light meringue topping on top of a watery lemon filling.
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Course: Pie
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 7 hours
Servings: 8
Calories: 298kcal
Author: Brenda Maher



  • cup cornstarch
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ⅓ tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • 5 large egg whites room temperature
  • tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • tsp salt


  • Either a pre-baked pie crust or the ingredients for making one.


Make the Crust

  • Set the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C). Roll out chilled pie dough and line a 9-inch pie dish.
  • Blind bake crust with parchment and weights for 10 minutes.
  • Remove weights, then bake until edges are golden and the center is lightly golden for about 10-12 more minutes.
  • Cool crust to room temperature.

Make the Filling

  • Set the oven to 350°F.
  • Whisk egg yolks.
  • In a saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, salt, cornstarch, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat until thick.
  • Temper yolks with hot lemon mixture, then add back to the saucepan. Cook until thick and bubbly.
  • Turn off the heat, then add butter. Spread filling in the crust.

Make the Meringue

  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar to form soft peaks. Gradually add sugar; beat to stiff peaks.
  • Spread meringue over filling, sealing edges to crust.

Bake and Finish

  • Bake on the lowest oven rack for 25 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then chill for 4 hours before serving.


  • Ensure clean separation of egg whites and yolks for a perfect meringue.
  • Quickly cover the filling with beaten egg whites for proper sealing.
  • Best served the same day. If stored, keep refrigerated and loosely covered, consuming within 2-3 days.
  • To make in advance, freeze the pie without meringue for up to three months. Thaw and add fresh meringue before serving.


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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