Lemon Meringue Pie

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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.

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 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.

how to make lemon meringue pie

Step 2: 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 and set aside.

how to make lemon meringue pie

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.)

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

Step 4: Assemble the 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.

Photo by Our Salty Kitchen

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Easy Lemon Meringue Pie

With a graham cracker crust and sweetened condensed milk filling, this lemon meringue pie is foolproof and easy.

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 Eagle sweetened condensed milk (see note)
  • 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 x 1.5-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.
  6. 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).

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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Can you make the crust ahead for the lemon meringue pie?

    • — Jeanne Shehan on June 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jeanne, that should be fine.

      • — Jenn on June 9, 2021
      • Reply
    • Thank you

      • — Jeanne Shehan on June 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Brooke on May 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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

    • — SusanG on May 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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!

      • — Jenn on May 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Elan on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Angela on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best meringue technique I’ve ever tried.

    • — JoanneS on March 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Sarah Bertrand on March 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could I make this is individual tarte pans about 6 inches each? Any thoughts on how I’d adjust the baking time? Thanks

    • — susan G on February 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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!

      • — Jenn on February 10, 2021
      • Reply
    • I used a biscuit base and it came out beautiful and yummy.

      • — Alet on March 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Nancy Bathurst on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Cindy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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).

    • — Debbie Perrilloux on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Jean Hasselbauer on January 1, 2021
    • Reply

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