Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe, Whats Cooking America (2024)

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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is exceptional and is absolutely beautiful to behold! The lemon flavor is a sweet and tangy slice of heaven.

In this perfect Lemon Meringue Pie, a tart lemon filling is piled high with fluffy meringue for a dessert that is impossible to resist. This is the perfect recipe and you will ever need – It is easy to make and so good!

Many families enjoy serving thispie as one of the desserts on their Thanksgiving table. This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe is exceptional as it tastes like a sweet and tangy slice of heaven. We also provide tips on how to make perfect meringue.

Check out more great Pie Recipes.


Classic Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe:

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

20 mins

Total Time

40 mins

* Use fresh eggs to make meringue, and these fresh eggs should be at room temperature. Old eggs simply will not produce the fluffy volume required by meringue.



Keyword:Classic Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Servings: 8 servings

Author: What's Cooking America


Lemon Meringue Pie:

  • Pastryfor 9-inch one crust pie
  • 2tablespoonsgraham crackercrumbs (optional)
  • 1cupsugar(granulated)
  • 1/4cupcornstarch
  • 1/8teaspoonsalt
  • 1 1/2cupswater
  • 5largeeggs(yolks and whites separated into individual bowls), yolks slightly beaten
  • 1tablespoonlemon zest,grated
  • 1/2cuplemon juice,freshly squeezed (approximately 2 to 3 lemons)
  • 2tablespoonsbutter

Meringue Topping:

  • 1tablespooncornstarch
  • 1/3cupwater
  • 5largeeggwhites, room temperature (reserved from pie recipe)*
  • 1/2teaspoonpure vanilla extract
  • 1/4teaspooncream of tartar
  • 1/2cupsugar(granulated)


Step 1: Pre-Bake The Pie Shell:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center of oven.

  2. Prepare pie pastry; dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes before rolling.

  3. Sprinkle work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs or some flour. Roll refrigerated pastry with floured rolling pin, sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top to heavily coat dough. Roll pastry 2 inches larger than an inverted 9-inch pie pan. Fold pastry into quarter-folds and ease into pan, pressing firmly against bottom and side; flute edges. Prick crust at 1/2-inch intervals before baking. Bake 15 minutes; reduce oven to 350 degrees F. and bake another 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

  4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Step 2: Prepare Lemon Curd Filling:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water; simmer until translucent and just begins to thicken, approximately one minute. Remove from heat.

  2. Slowly and gradually, whisk in egg yolks. Return egg mixture to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute until you see the curd start to boil and rise up and get foamy. Remove from heat and gently stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter until well combined.

  3. Pour the prepared lemon curd filling into a baked and cooled pie shell.

  4. If you need to let the Lemon Curd Filling sit before using, cover with plastic wrap to keep it hot, as you want to add hot filling to the cooled pie crust.

  5. Lemon Curd Tips:

    It's important to start out cooking a curd at a low heat to prevent the eggs from separating from the mixture while cooking.

    In order to get the Lemon curd to set and thicken properly, make sure the lemon curd comes to the beginning stage of boil and foams up. When you see the foam expanding and rising up in the saucepan, remove from the heat right away. You can use a digital thermometer and check that the lemon curd has reached anInternal Temperatureof 170 degrees F.

    To Salvage A Runny Lemon Curd

    Corn starch can be added to a runny lemon curd to help salvage. Take a small scoop of cold lemon curd and add to small bowl and add in some corn starch. Stir together to make a slurry. Pour the lemon curd back into a saucepan and whisk in the corn starch slurry into the lemon curd to combine. Reheat the lemon curd to bring back to a simmer and boil.

    If all hope is lost for thickening, the flavor of the lemon curd is still amazing to use as a ice cream topping or sauce for a cake.

Step 3: Prepare Meringue Topping:

  1. Check out my hints and tips on making aPerfect Meringue.

  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine cornstarch and water; bring to simmer, stirring until mixture thickens and turns translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. In a large bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla extract until frothy. In a small bowl, combine cream of tartar and sugar; add to egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until soft peaks form, approximately 2 minutes. Slowly add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

  4. Spread prepared Meringue Topping overhotpie filling, being careful to spread the meringue to the edges of the pie pasty to prevent shrinkage during baking.

Step 4: Baking Lemon Meringue Pie:

  1. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. NOTE: If meringue start to brown too quickly, covering top loosely with foil after the first 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely, approximately 3 hours, on a wire rack before cutting and serving. To cut baked meringue into serving pieces, use a knife dipped in cold water.

  2. Makes 8 servings.

  3. The pie may be refrigerated up to one day, but this pie is best served the day it is made.

I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer.Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.

You can learn more or buy yours at:Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.

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Comments and Reviews

21 Responses to “Classic Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe”

  1. Lorene B. Doyle

    You gave ingredients for Graham cracker crust; but, gave instructions for flour pastry.


    • Linda Stradley

      The recipe asks you to sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of the regular crust.


    • Ashley lynn

      Very runny. I followed the directions exactly and the lemon did not set.. I wasn’t too happy,


      • Linda Stradley

        Overcooking the filling can cause it to get runny.


  2. Delores Mitzel

    You must have a smaller pie pan then mine – mine is 9″ pie pan and the recipe only filled half the inside of the pie and the meringue just barely covered the top of the pie. So there was no height to my pie. I was a bit disappointed with that. However the flavors are awesome. The only thing I will change is double the recipe for my pie pan. I didn’t use the Graham cracker crumbs either I didn’t understand why you used them.


  3. Rose Horn

    Love this recipe. Thanks for recipe


  4. Jim Wood

    I’m rather a new kitchen chef and I, too, was wondering why the graham cracker crumbs on top and bottom of the pie? Also, would ready made pie crusts, either flour or graham cracker, work? Thank you for posting. Looks delicious.


    • Linda Stradley

      That was a typo. Thank you for letting me know. I made the change.


  5. Deborah

    Very tasty pie!


  6. Janelle

    This was my first attempt at lemon meringue pie and it turned out great!


  7. Gloria P. Brown

    This recipe is easy to follow and end product was delicious especially it being my first time making a meringue pie!!


  8. Lori Testa

    I know nothing….NOTHING…about baking, but I love lemon meringue and wanted something new for Thanksgiving. I am amazed at the taste! I cut a small piece out and it seems to be sticking together, but as I tried to pull the piece out I could see the pie is a bit runny. I’m sure I overcooked the filling. I was most worried about the meringue, but it is so good. Thank you – I will make again and again!


  9. Jean K.

    I have made Lemon meringue pie many times, but this was the most complicated recipe. I must have dirtied every dish In the house. And 5 eggs! Don’t know why it didn’t fill one lady’s pan. All that said, it was the best lemon meringue ever. I think the graham crumbs kept the crust crisp. Sometimes lemon filling soaks into plain crust making it soggy I think I will try that for a custard pie too. Thanks for the recipe.


  10. Hunter Staley

    I really loved this recipe the only few flaws are that I didnt understand the gram cracker crumbs and the meriengue needs more sugar about 1/2 a cup more


  11. Lynn

    I have made many pies and this one sounded great. Unfortunately the lemon came out very runny. I had to dig out my older recipes and remake the pie the following day.


  12. Stacey

    The lemon curd did not set. Very funny and had to eat with a spoon. Very flavorful though.


    • Whats Cooking America

      You have to make sure it comes to a full boil and foams up, then remove from the heat. It also have to fully cool down to set.


  13. Norms

    I made the pie yesterday (I forgot to get a photo!) and it was amazing! It was a big hit and I’ll definitely make it again!


  14. Sue

    I would love to have recipe for the pie crust


    • Nancy

      Here you go, it is the pastry link in the ingredient list: https://whatscookingamerica.net/piecrst.htm

      Thank you


  15. Diane

    This is the first time I ever made a lemon meringue pie. I took a little work but it turned out really good. The custard filling was delicious. I did have a little bit of trouble with the meringue I think I was so afraid of over whipping it that I under whipped it and it wasn’t very high. Otherwise it was a wonderful pie


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Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe, Whats Cooking America (2024)


What is the trick to making meringue? ›

so what's the secret to making meringue?
  1. room temperature whites are KEY! While eggs are easiest to separate cold, the whites will beat up to their maximum potential at room temperature. ...
  2. beat the whites low and slow to start! ...
  3. cream of tartar is your meringue “MVP”! ...
  4. add your granulated sugar slowly too!
Jan 19, 2023

How do you keep lemon meringue pie from being runny? ›

Beat a mixture of thickened cornstarch and water into the egg whites to bind and stabilize the liquid in the meringue (and keep it from seeping out). Cook the filling for the full 2 minutes on the stove top so the cornstarch thickens completely and doesn't start breaking down and "leaking" during chilling.

What is the liquid at the bottom of the lemon meringue pie? ›

Water seeping from meringue is practically always coming from the egg whites. There are a few standard things you can do to reduce it. First, do not overbeat. For some reason, recipes love to direct people to beat egg whites "to stiff peaks".

Why won't my lemon meringue pie set? ›

The key to thickening Lemon Meringue Pie so it sets properly is to cook the filling until bubbles start to pop on the surface of the lemon/egg yolk mixture. It should be the consistency of thick pudding before you remove it from the heat. If it's not thick before you add it to the pie, it will never set properly.

What are the common mistakes to avoid while preparing meringue? ›

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Meringue
  1. Adding Sugar Too Quickly.
  2. Skipping Cream of Tartar.
  3. Mixing in a Dirty Bowl.
  4. Using Cold Eggs.
  5. Overbeating the Egg Whites.
  6. Squeezing the Air Out.
  7. Baking at Too Low a Temperature.

What is the secret to stiff meringue? ›

A couple ideas… never use a plastic bowl, metal or glass only and make sure there is not even a drop of egg yolk. Fat will cause your whites to not reach stiff peaks. Also, adding cream of tartar or a little lemon juice will help make a solid meringue.

Should lemon meringue pie be refrigerated after baking? ›

Yes, lemon meringue pie should be refrigerated. To prevent foodborne illness, never let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours. To store lemon meringue pie without messing up the meringue, place two toothpicks in the pie. Loosely cover it with storage wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Does lemon juice stabilize meringue? ›

To make a sturdier meringue, your recipe may direct you to add an acidic ingredient such as cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice. Caution: Don't use a copper bowl if you're adding acid to stabilize your meringue; it will react with the copper and discolor the egg foam.

Does lemon juice stiffen meringue? ›

Acid. Whether it be vinegar, lemon juice, cream of tartar, or a combination, an acid will greatly improve the structure of meringue. Acid not only helps meringue whip up and aerate more quickly, it also keeps it stable. Without acid, meringue is more likely to collapse either during or after mixing.

Should I cover my lemon meringue pie? ›

Here's the scoop for ensuring your pie comes out of the refrigerator as beautifully as it went in. To store a meringue-topped cream pie, let it cool for 1½ hours, then refrigerate. Chill it for 3 to 6 hours before serving; there's no need to cover it unless you're going to store it longer.

Why does lemon meringue pie need to be refrigerated? ›

Lemon meringue pie is a tasty and refreshing dessert that's perfect for a dinner party or holiday treat. However, if stored improperly, the meringue can become runny and wet, changing the texture of the pie. To store lemon meringue pie, it's best to keep it in the refrigerator.

Why did my lemon meringue crack? ›

Meringues can crack because of the sudden change in temperature. To prevent this happening, turn the oven off when the meringues are cooked but leave them inside until completely cool.”

Why is my lemon meringue pie runny after baking? ›

Why does the pie filling get watery? For a lemon filling that's glossy and translucent, and firm enough to cut yet melts in your mouth, cornstarch is the thickener of choice. It's also a risky one because heat and acid (in the lemon juice) can destroy cornstarch's ability to thicken or stay thick.

Why is my meringue not rising in the oven? ›

Old egg whites tend to collapse when other ingredients are folded in, and they don't rise well in the oven. Use eggs at room temperature. Cold egg whites tend to reduce meringue volume. Never let any yolk get into the whites.

What are the 6 tips in making perfect meringue? ›

How to Make Meringue Successfully
  1. When making meringues, always cook egg whites to avoid salmonella poisoning.
  2. Don't use packaged egg whites to make meringue. ...
  3. Use fresh egg whites. ...
  4. Use eggs at room temperature. ...
  5. Never let any yolk get into the whites.
  6. Don't overbeat egg whites.

How long do you beat egg white until stiff? ›

It can take a while for a meringue to reach stiff peaks and for the sugar to dissolve—about five minutes with a hand mixer. If the sugar has not dissolved (for example, if it tastes gritty), keep beating.

How do I properly beat the egg whites for meringue? ›

In a large clean, grease-free bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachement to whip the egg whites on low speed until foamy bubbles appear at the top. Add the vanilla bean paste and vinegar (or cream of tartar) and continue whipping until really foamy.

How do you keep meringue from shrinking or weeping? ›

How To Keep A Meringue Pie From Weeping
  1. Choose a Dry Day.
  2. Use Superfine Sugar.
  3. Try a Swiss or Italian Meringue.
  4. Make Sure the Pie Filling Is Hot.
  5. Spread Meringue to the Edges.
  6. If All Else Fails, Use a Paper Towel.
  7. More Meringue-Topped Desserts.
Nov 21, 2023

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