Lemon Meringue Pie
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With a graham cracker crust and sweetened condensed milk filling, this lemon meringue pie is foolproof and easy.
This lemon meringue pie recipe comes from Myra Santoro, the mom of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Originally from Snow Hill, North Carolina, Myra is a fabulous Southern cook with a huge heart. As a kid, I practically lived at her house and, with so many good smells coming from the kitchen, I was always trying to finagle a way to stay for dinner.
Unlike most lemon meringue pie recipes, which can be rife with issues — a soggy crust, a soupy filling, or a meringue that weeps — Myra’s recipe is foolproof. It’s good too: I made one this past weekend and left it on the counter with a note for my husband and kids to try it. I came home to find the pie butchered with forks and almost entirely gone. They had not even bothered to slice it. When the cat’s away…
What You’ll Need To Make Myra’s Lemon Meringue Pie
How To Make Lemon Meringue Pie
Step 1: Make the Crust
Start with the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter.
Stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined.
Using your fingers and the bottom of a clean drinking glass or measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a deep dish pie pan. The crust should be about 1/4-in thick. Bake for about 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let the crust sit on a wire rack while you prepared the rest of the pie, and lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
Step 2: Make the Filling
Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
Whisk to combine and set aside.
Step 3: Make the Meringue
Bring about 1/2 inch of water to a simmer in a pot that’s large enough to hold the bowl of a stand mixer without letting it touch the water. Reduce the heat to low.
Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl off the heat and whisk until frothy. Put the bowl over the pot and whisk gently but constantly until the whites are very warm to the touch, or about 115°F and the sugar is completely dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes. (Heating the egg whites and sugar before beating them helps stabilize the meringue so it doesn’t weep once cooked.)
Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar.
Beat over medium-high speed until the egg whites form thick, glossy medium-firm peaks, 3 to 5 minutes total.
When you lift the whisk out of the bowl, the whites should hold their shape but curl at their tips.
Step 4: Assemble the Pie
Pour the lemon filling into the baked crust.
Mound the meringue onto the wet lemon filling.
Using a soup spoon, gently spread the meringue over the entire surface of the filling, making sure to go all the way to the crust’s edge (it is essential that the edge of the meringue be anchored to the rim of the crust; otherwise it will shrink). Make decorative peaks and swirls in the meringue with the back of the spoon.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.
Let the pie cool completely on a rack before serving, about 3 hours.
Photo by Our Salty Kitchen
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- Lemon Pound Cake
- Boston Cream Pie
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
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- Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes
- Luscious Lemon Bars
Easy Lemon Meringue Pie
With a graham cracker crust and sweetened condensed milk filling, this lemon meringue pie is foolproof and easy.
For the Crust
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole crackers
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
- 4 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
- 1 (14-oz) can Eagle sweetened condensed milk (see note)
- 1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 lemons
For the Meringue
- 4 large egg whites
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter; stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined. Using your fingers and the bottom of a clean drinking glass or measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 1.5-inch pie pan. The crust should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let the crust sit on a wire rack while you prepared the rest of the pie. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
For the Filling:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour into the warm crust.
For the Meringue:
- Bring about ½ inch of water to a simmer in a pot that's large enough to hold the bowl of a stand mixer without letting it touch the water. Reduce the heat to low. Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl off the heat and whisk until frothy. Put the bowl over the pot and whisk gently but constantly until the whites are very warm to the touch, or about 115°F (the temperature does not need to be exact; the mixture should feel hot, but not so hot that you can't leave your finger in there) and the sugar is completely dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar. Beat over medium high speed until the egg whites form thick, glossy medium-firm peaks (they should hold their shape but curl at their tips), 3 to 5 minutes total.
- Mound the meringue onto the wet lemon filling. Using a soup spoon, gently spread the meringue over the entire surface of the filling, making sure to go all the way to the crust’s edge (it is essential that the edge of the meringue be anchored to the rim of the crust; otherwise it will shrink). Make decorative peaks and swirls in the meringue with the back of the spoon.
- (Be sure you've reduced the oven temperature to 325°F.) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned. Let the pie cool completely on a rack before serving, about 3 hours.
- Lemon meringue pie is best eaten the day it’s made, but leftovers will keep, loosely tented with aluminum foil and refrigerated, for 2 days. Just keep in mind that meringue gets quite sticky in the fridge. Do not freeze.
- Note: Several readers have had issues with the filling being too runny. I believe this is likely caused by using less common brands of sweetened condensed milk, such as Meadow Gold or Weis. Please use Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk for reliable results. Also, for Canadians, please note that Canadian Eagle sweetened condensed milk comes in a smaller-sized can than the American version (you will need two cans but you won't use all of it).
- Per serving (10 servings)
- Calories: 309
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 47 g
- Sugar: 39 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 7 g
- Sodium: 138 mg
- Cholesterol: 100 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Super delicious and way easier than ones where you have to prepare a custard on the stove. I did not use Eagle brand because I had a can of Magnolia in my pantry. It firmed up fine but it did seem to sink a bit as it sat. Is this normal? I also cheated and bought a store prepared cracker crust. I so prefer this over the one without sweetened condensed milk, but it is super sweet and rich. If that isn’t what you want don’t make this. And BTW Jenn mentions numerous times throughout the recipe to use Eagle Brand.
Hi Belinda glad you liked it but sorry to hear that it sunk a bit. That’s not normal so the only thing I can think may have had an impact is the brand of sweetened condensed milk. Next time you make this, I’d suggest using Eagle brand to see if you have better luck.
Way too sweet and hardly any lemon flavour.
Really really tasty! I made it for my mom and dad as a surprise for when they came home from work, followed the recipe and took my time since I’ve never made pie on my own, it turned out lovely except for a few issues.
The pie crust was way too dry and didn’t hold when I sliced it out for serving so either I didn’t pack it in hard enough or it lacks in moisture, though I think it’s a mix of both(some parts did hold but I’m talking majority here).
And the lemon juice somehow separated and forced the meringue to separate the two layers while also making it quite runny (mind you this comment is written 10 minutes after the pie was taken out of the oven).
Super tasty, dad gave a thumbs up, really easy to make even for a 16 year old, and not many issues!! Thank you for this recipe 🙂
I made this recipe and followed it exactly and it came out perfect. It is so delicious and easy to make. I always thought lemon meringue was something hard to make, but I was wrong. Thank you once again Jenn!
Pie does not set unless you use eagle I guess… I think there needs to be a better setting agent in this recipe
Terrible! Easy to make, but that’s it. Wife and I split one piece and threw rest away. Crust does not work as well as normal pie crust. Almost no lemon flavor.
I have been making Borden’s Eagle Brand “Magic Lemon Meringue Pie” recipe since the 1950’s (7th grade for me). Quite a few years back I started having trouble with it being too runny so I had to freeze it to get it solid. (BTW It’s really yummy frozen!). Fought with it and froze it for decades. Then a few years ago I couldn’t find the recipe so looked it up on the internet. The old recipe called for 2 eggs but the new one I found called for 3 eggs. Much better but still didn’t get solid like the old days. Then I found my old recipe where it called for 1 can of BEBSCondensed Milk (15.5oz). AHA, they made the cans smaller. How mean. Anyway, today is my birthday and like every year I’m making myself 2 pies so I was researching the recipe and found yours. This time I will try with the 4 eggs. I think this will solve my runny problems. So, it’s not just the can size but also the # of eggs! Voila’ Only took me 7 decades. It’s never too late to learn. Thank for posting this recipe.
I made this recipe for my book club that has a gluten free member. I thought it was very easy, and everyone enjoyed it!
Made this and it was DELICIOUS and easy to make. Everyone loved it. It was even great the next day after being in the refrigerator over night. I think I actually prefer it chilled. I’ve made a number of your recipes and they ALL have been fantastic! Thank you! 😊
Does the filling set after it cools? Mine looks beautiful but its jiggly so should I cook longer?
Hi Darlene, I know I’m weighing in too late to help, but yes, the filling should firm up a bit as it sits. How did it come out?
Can this pie be made a day ahead of time? Love your receipes Jenn!
Hi Samantha, so glad you like the recipes! This is best on the day it’s made, but if necessary, you can make it and keep it refrigerated, loosely tented with aluminum foil. Just keep in mind that meringue gets quite sticky in the fridge. Hope that helps!
Jen – I have made this pie before and it’s amazing. My husband prefers a whipped cream topping in place of the meringue. If I were to forego the meringue and use a whipped cream topping instead, would I still use 4 eggs for the batter, and if so, would I use only the egg yolks or the whole egg? Many thanks!!!
Hi JG, Yes I would keep the pie filling the same with 4 egg yolks and reserve the whites for another use, like meringue cookies. Enjoy!
Never thought I could pull this off, but it was excellent. I love your recipes. I feel like a chef. Your instructions and pictures are clear. Every recipe I have made turned out well. My husband said it’s a definite make again.
Thank you for sharing recipes. We had an abundance of lemons from our tree and I gave your recipe a try. Simply Delicious! I followed the recipe the best I could and after reading the reviews cut back the sugar by 1/2 for the base as well as the meringue and it was perfect for our taste. We live in Australia so used digestive biscuits in place of the graham cracker base. I also ensured to only use 14oz of sweetened condensed milk & used the main brand available in the country (Nestle). I was nervous to do the meringue since it felt a bit intimidating, however, your step by step directions just made it feel easy. My family loved it. My husband thought it was the best lemon meringue pie he ever ate.
I followed the directions to the tee in every section of the process (including using Eagle Brand milk); my lemon meringue pie turned out perfectly! So much so, I made another seven pies for my neighbors. They want me to start a business . . .
This was incredibly easy. Haven’t tried it yet, as it came out of the oven at 8 am and this will be today’s Easter dessert. The filling tastes very lemony–which I love. I used a Marie Calendar pie crust for this, and I did use the Eagle Brand! I will let you know how it turns out but it looks amazing! I will share the untouched pie on Instagram! Thanks, Jenn!
Second times a charm! So I made this again, today using the correct sweetened condensed milk. I also used a 9×9 square glass pan to make them more like lemon meringue bars. I cooked them a little longer, about 26 minutes to get a more brown top. Came out awesome!!!!! They are pretty sweet so cutting them into pie “bars” worked beautifully! Thanks for the recipe!!!!
I have to say I was super excited to make this and unfortunately did not have sweetened condensed milk. I had evaporated milk; looked up how to make your own and did. The recipe came out of the oven suuuper watery and 3 hours later still super watery. I wouldn’t recommend taking any chances with the SCM. Hoping next time it works out…wahh
I have tried at least 4 lemon pies using pretty much this recipe except I didn’t do the meringue like you. My pies were awful I think I have cooked them too long trying to brown the meringue. Two I took to people and I think I didn’t cook them long enough. I’m going to try once more and prepare the meringue as you do and if it is a mess again I will not try anymore
Can you make the crust ahead for the lemon meringue pie?
Sure, Jeanne, that should be fine.
What an easy and delicious recipe!
Thank you for sharing and making me very popular in my house with this new addition to our Sunday night dessert menu. I was a bit nervous about it being too lemony but I found the recipe added the perfect zing you expect from a lemon meringue. Yes, it is sweet but it would be weird if it wasn’t. Next time I *might* cut the sugar from the base by a little, not entirely. LOVED IT!
I want to make your lemon meringue pie for Mother’s Day but am in SW Florida, where it is very humid at the moment. I’m asking because I made your Pavlova up north and loved it, as did my guests. But, when I tried to make it again in Florida, the meringue just crumbled. I salvaged and the meringue was delicious in a trifle. So, now I’m back in humid SW Florida-will this be a problem or any thoughts about the meringue for this pie???? Thanks
Hi Susan, It’s hard to say for sure if you’ll have a problem with the meringue. I guess it really depends on how humid it is there now. If you’re concerned about it, you could skip the meringue and just top the pie with sweetened whipped cream. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
This recipe is easy and very lemony–also very (too) sweet! Not sure why the filling turned from bright yellow to a brownish yellow but taste and texture were unaffected–just didn’t look as nice.
Sad 2021 Easter without dessert for the family. My first attempt ever at making lemon meringue pie and the filling is liquid gold. Following the recipe, it’s an awful, unexpected flop.
Best meringue technique I’ve ever tried.
Tasty pie but not very lemony. More of a creamy take on lemon meringue. Nice texture but lacking in lemon flavour. I even added more zest than called for.
Could I make this is individual tarte pans about 6 inches each? Any thoughts on how I’d adjust the baking time? Thanks
Sure, I think that would work. Not sure about timing though so I’d just keep a close eye on them. Please LMK how they turn out!
I used a biscuit base and it came out beautiful and yummy.
This pie was so easy and so delicious. My husband and I both wanted more of the lemon filling. Might try doubling the filling the next time. Comment to the reviewers that stated their filling did not set and Chef Jenn’s response to use Eagle Brand: I read this AFTER I had already poured the filling into the crust. Since I used my store brand (Publix), I fully expected to have a runny mess when I cut into the pie. Nope! The filling was perfect and cut beautifully.
This lemon meringue pie recipe is the best. The ingredients are not complicated, but when combined with my taste buds, my brain yells, YUM! Do I feel guilty thinking that it would be a good idea to make it every week, no! But do I? Well, that what the chocolate biscotti recipe is for…after all fruit (lemons) are a food group and so is chocolate! Does it end there? Of course not. Try the Shepherd’s Pie recipe…or the spaghetti pie, or the pesto pizza (best crust ever).
Thank you Jen for keeping my family well fed, your recipes are ah-mazing.
Snow is forecasted this weekend…I’m trying your beef jerky and hot toddies while watching the snow fall.
I have made this pie many times because it is my husband’s favorite. It is great and it is not intimidating. all of the measurements are perfect, I also learned how to make the meringue that is absolutely perfect!!! My sister-in-law is always asking how I get it so perfect and keeping telling her about your recipes, and believe me I have done quite a few and I have never been disappointed! You offer so many great recipes both Ameican and International and that is great because it allows your followers to explore new and exciting things in their kitchen and doing these troubling times I feel we all need your great recipes. I tell everyone you are a marvelous chef and when I grow up I want to be just like you. (LOL).
First of all this pie is so easy to make, and delicious. I also have made tons of meringue and did not do the warming step. Just let the egg whites get to room temperature. The whole pie turned out great and very light. My only negative is this pie tastes like key lime pie not lemon meringue, I think because the filling is exact like key lime with the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and only difference is using lemon juice. So for this reason I was a little disappointed. I was really looking for that lemon meringue flavor and consistency.