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Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

4.5 stars based on 12 votes

lemon meringue pie

This recipe comes from Myra Santoro, the mom of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Raised in Snow Hill, North Carolina, Myra is a fabulous Southern cook with a huge heart and warm smile. As a kid, I spent many an afternoon hanging out at her house after school. Myra was always cooking and, with so many good smells coming from the kitchen, I was always trying to finagle a way to stay for dinner. Lemon meringue pie is one of Myra’s specialties. 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 and easy. And since it’s made with a graham cracker crust and a sweetened condensed milk filling, it comes together quickly. Lest you have any doubt about how good it is: 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…

Start with the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.

Add the melted butter.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Stir with a fork first, and then your hands until the mixture is well combined.

how to make lemon meringue pie

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 x1.5-inch|23×4-cm} pie pan. The crust should be about {1/4 inch|6 mm} 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|160°C}.

how to make lemon meringue pie

To make the filling, combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Whisk to combine.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Next, 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 (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. (Heating the egg whites and sugar before beating them helps stabilize the meringue so it doesn’t weep once cooked.)

how to make lemon meringue pie

Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Beat over medium high speed until the egg whites form thick, glossy medium-firm peaks, 3 to 5 minutes total.

how to make lemon meringue pie

When you lift the whisk out of the bowl, the whites should hold their shape but curl at their tips.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Pour the lemon filling into the baked crust.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Mound the meringue onto the wet lemon filling.

how to make lemon meringue pie

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.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Let the pie cool completely on a rack before serving, about 3 hours.

how to make lemon meringue pie

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Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

Servings: Serves 8 to 10
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole crackers
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 4 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 3 lemons

For the Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions

For the Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. 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 x1.5-inch pie pan. The crust should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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 (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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. (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.
  5. 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.
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Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Made this for guests who are all super picky and life long lovers of the traditional lemon meringue pie. HUGE HIT! Everyone loved it and said they liked it better than the “traditional” version. I used a store bought shortbread crust. And added an extra egg white (b/c everyone loves meringue). Everything else was done as recipe directed and it turned out perfectly. The tip about how to prepare the meringue is a godsend and the ultimate of tips/lessons in technique. Neither I nor my guests could believe how high, fluffy and perfect the meringue turned out. Again, raves, raves, raves!!! Thanks for another winner and one for my permanent rotation, Jenn!

    - Diane E. Sorensen on May 25, 2018 Reply
    • I loved meeting you in Chicago, Diane! ❤️

      - Jenn on May 26, 2018 Reply
  • Could I make this pie two days before serving?

    - Kim on May 23, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Kim, 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.

      - Jenn on May 23, 2018 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made this the other night. I used a store-bought flour crust (I’m not a fan of graham cracker crusts).

    I thought this was delicious and easy to make. My only reason for 4 instead of 5 stars is it was a tad too sweet for me. I would add more lemon juice next time and reduce the sugar in the meringue by half, at least, since the lemon pudding part is so sweet.

    Very tasty and foolproof recipe though!

    - Emily on May 3, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you again Jenn! Great directions, excellent recipe. I was never a baker, however, you have made this fun for me.

    - Alicia on April 27, 2018 Reply
  • Just wanted to share with you I made your Lemon Merginue Pie this past weekend. Everybody loved it and its was so easy. Love Love all your recipes.

    - Barbara on April 26, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last weekend and it was a huge hit. So delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe 😋

    - Mary on April 26, 2018 Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Just ordered your new book off Amazon can’t wait till Friday when it arrives!😁 I am wanting to make your lemon meringue pie for an upcoming dinner do you think a shortbread crust would be good with it or would it be too rich? Thanks for all the amazing recipes! Cindy

    - CINDY Barnett on April 24, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Cindy, Thank you so much for ordering my book – I hope you enjoy it! I think a shortbread crust would be delicious here. The meringue makes the pie really light, so it can handle it. 🙂

      - Jenn on April 26, 2018 Reply
      • Thank you! My book is coming today I can’t wait to make the chocolate cake recipe from it!

        - CINDY on April 26, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The pie turned out so great and our kids loved it too! It was gone by next day and tasted really good after being in the fridge over night also !

    - Linda on April 24, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love lemon meringue pie but am not a pie maker. This is one that is easier to make than others I have attempted. Thank you for sharing a recipe I will be using from now on.

    - Dorothy Benson on April 23, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for company yesterday and it was delicious and pretty as a picture! The filling is creamy and not overly tart like some lemon pies are, which which we happen to love. Going to try it with a whipped cream topping next!

    - Susan on April 22, 2018 Reply
  • 3 stars

    Made this today and the graham cracker crust is way too sweet. It takes away the flavor of the lemon filling. I’m sorry but I was so disappointed with this recipe.

    - Laurel on April 21, 2018 Reply
    • Sorry you found the crust too sweet, Laurel – it’s fine to reduce or omit the sugar in the crust, if you like.

      - Jenn on April 22, 2018 Reply
      • 4 stars

        Thank you for the recipe. I’d have to agree with Laurel, it’s a bit sweet for my taste. I’ll try it it next time with reducing the sugar.

        - Amy on April 23, 2018 Reply
  • Can the filling be doubled? But leave meringue amount the same.
    If so, would I bake same amount of time? Sounds delicious

    - D on April 20, 2018 Reply
    • Hi D, You can double the filling, but I’d bake the pie without the meringue topping for about 10 minutes, then add the meringue and continue baking for 20-25 minutes more.

      - Jenn on April 22, 2018 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the tips! So excited to get started.

      - D on April 26, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Lemon meringue fabulousness! I just made this today after it arrived in my inbox this morning. My husband says it would beat my mother’s lemon meringue pie, but as my dear mother is in lemon meringue pie heaven I will call it a draw! Thank you Jenn, you have the ability to brighten every week with your masterpieces.

    - Jennifer in New Zealand on April 20, 2018 Reply
    • 5 stars

      P.S. I used a simple wine biscuit instead of graham crackers. I omitted the sugar and it worked out perfectly 😎

      - Jennifer in New Zealand on April 20, 2018 Reply
  • Hey Jenn,
    Have you used Meyers in this recipe or just standard grocery store varieties?

    Thanks,
    John

    - John S. on April 20, 2018 Reply
    • Hi John, I haven’t tried it with Meyers – just regular lemons. 🙂

      - Jenn on April 20, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So good. I use same proportions exactly with key lime zest and juice for key lime pie..sometimes topped with whipped cream….or meringue.
    Love your recipes

    - Sandra Kamin on April 19, 2018 Reply
  • What sort of cracker can I use in Australia.

    - Elspeth on April 19, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Elspeth, I think digestive biscuits would be a reasonable substitute for graham crackers. I’d love to hear how this turn out with them!

      - Jenn on April 19, 2018 Reply
  • At what temperature do you bake the crust, you mention lowering it to 325 for the remainder of the pie. Thanks.

    - Kate on April 19, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Kate, the crust gets baked at 375°F. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on April 19, 2018 Reply
  • For your Lemon Meringue Pie – are graham Cracker crumbs just like crumbed digestive biscuits? This question is from England.
    Thanks Jenn.

    - Sarah Coppin on April 19, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Yes I believe that is the closest thing in the UK. I think you can also order them from Amazon. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on April 19, 2018 Reply
  • Uncooked egg yolks??

    - Judith on April 19, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Judith, The filling gets baked after the meringue is added.

      - Jenn on April 20, 2018 Reply

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