Here’s how to make a homemade Lemon Meringue Pie with a perfect tangy lemon pie filling topped with a lightly browned meringue cloud. Make this classic pie right from scratch using this easy to follow recipe.
Nothing beats a homemade Lemon Meringue or classic Cherry Pie for dessert. If making your own pie pastry stresses you out and prevents you from baking pies, have no fear! Once you find a pie pastry recipe that works for you…the pies the limit!
Lemon Meringue Pie
There’s a reason Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic and I am so excited to share my recipe with you today. It all starts with a pre baked flaky pie crust. Next up is a gorgeous rich yellow lemon filling with that perfect balance of sweet and sour. It has just the right amount of pucker power to keep the sweet fluffy meringue from overpowering the pie.
This citrus based pie is a great addition to any brunch table, potluck, or family gathering. The refreshing bright citrus flavour is the perfect palate cleanser, making it a great dessert option after a substantial meal. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like Lemon Meringue PIe, have you?
Helpful Hints for this Recipe
There are a few tricks to baking up the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie. Once you master these simple skills, you’ll want to bake a pie every week, if not daily.
- Use a food processor to make pie pastry. Less handling means less gluten formation and cooler pastry.
- Add only chopped cold butter to the processor pastry.
- Only use hands to gather the crumbly dough together and do not overwork the dough.
- Check out YouTube for tips on crimping/shaping pie edges.
- Blind bake the pastry before adding the hot lemon filling.
- Gradually temper egg yolks with hot cornstarch/sugar mixture. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps.
- Cook lemon filling a full two minutes, or it will not be the proper thickness.
- Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer. This makes it easy to add the sugar mixture while the motor is running.
- Spread meringue on hot lemon filling so that they stick together.
- Make sure the meringue covers all of the lemon filling, right to the pastry or it will pull back after it cools.
There are no surprise ingredients in this Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. Just a few simple pantry ingredients for the pastry plus butter and lemons. You can also add a few drops of yellow food colouring for a more vibrant lemon filling, if you wish.
This recipe calls for unsalted butter plus a small amount of added salt (in the pastry). You can also use salted cold butter in the pastry and omit the added salt. However, I encourage the use of unsalted butter as it allows the baker to be in control of the amount of salt in this (and any baking) recipe.
When making pastry, the butter (and water) must be cold to keep the pastry from getting too warm. The goal is to create little pockets of butter within the pastry which results in a lighter flakier pie crust.
Use a zester to zest the lemons before you cut them up and juice them. Believe me, I’ve forgotten, then tried to zest them after and it’s not fun. Chop the zest into smaller pieces before adding to the lemon filling.
The type of eggs you use in this recipe will have a direct bearing on the colour of the pie filling. Most people prefer a vibrant yellow lemon filling, so free range eggs are best for this recipe. They tend to have darker yolks than those produced by caged chickens. Alternatively, a few drops of yellow food colouring can perk up the filling in a pinch.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie
The base of the meringue needs to cool completely, so it’s best to begin with this step. It will be ready to use after you make the pastry and filling.
To begin, mix 1/2 cup sugar (meringue sugar) with 4 teaspoons cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for one minute until it thickens. Remove thickened mixture from heat and set aside to cool completely.
The Pie Shell
For the pastry, place flour and salt in a food processor. Next, add half of the cubed cold butter and pulse a few times to break it up. Add the other half of butter and pulse another few times until mixture is coarse.
Next, drizzle 3 tablespoons of ice water into the food processor and pulse a few times. Add as much water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough stays together when pressed between your fingers. Note that it should still be slightly crumbly and not a tight ball.
Pour the crumb mixture out onto a clean surface. Use your hands to form into a ball and gently knead 2-3 times (you don’t want to overwork the dough). Press the dough ball down to form a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 15-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Remove the pastry disc from refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough gently, from centre out, until you have a circle large enough to fit in pie dish with some hanging over the edge.
Fold the circle in half over the rolling pin and move it over to the pie plate. Arrange the dough in the pie plate and use a fork or your fingers to flute the edges of the pie.
To blind bake the pie shell, line it with aluminium foil or parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or beans and bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are slightly golden and bottom is not translucent. While the pie shell is baking, prepare the lemon filling.
The Lemon Filling
In a medium saucepan, mix together 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups cold water. Bring the mixture to a light boil on medium high heat then immediately remove from heat.
Temper the egg yolks by whisking a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Continue whisking as you add more small increments of the sugar mixture. Finish when half of the hot mixture has been mixed into the egg yolks.
Next, add egg mixture back to the saucepan. Bring it back to a boil and stir for 2 minutes; until it becomes very thick. Once the filling is very thick, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Immediately place plastic wrap on top of lemon curd in order to prevent a film from forming.
Finish the Meringue and Bake the Pie
Finish the meringue. Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form (using a stand mixer is helpful here!). Reduce mixer speed to medium and slowly pour in cooled sugar mixture from earlier. Whisk the meringue until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the pie, preheat oven to 350 F. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell, then immediately add the meringue on top of hot filling. Gently spread the meringue topping, being sure to cover the filling right to the pastry crust edges.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown on top. Remove pie from oven and place on a wire rack. Make sure the pie has cooled completely before serving.
Serving and Storing Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie is best served day of, or the following day. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge but note that the filling and meringue will loosen the longer it is refrigerated.
If you make this Lemon Meringue Pie recipe please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
FOR THE PASTRY
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cold butter; unsalted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4-6 Tablespoons cold water
FOR THE FILLING
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons Lemon zest
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
FOR THE MERINGUE
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 egg whites
- Mix 1/2 cup sugar (meringue sugar) with 4 teaspoons cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Bring to a boil and allow to boil for one minute until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
FOR THE PASTRY
- Place flour and salt in a food processor. Next, add half of the cubed cold butter and pulse a few times to break it up.
- Add the other half of butter and pulse another few times until mixture is coarse.
- Drizzle 3 tablespoons pf the ice water into the food processor and pulse another few times. Add as much water as needed, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough stays together when pressed between your fingers. It will still be slightly crumbly.
- Pour crumb mixture out onto a clean surface. Use your hands to form into a ball and gently knead 2-3 times (you don’t want to overwork the dough).
- Press the dough ball down to form a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough gently, from centre out, until you have a circle large enough to fit in pie dish with some hanging over the edge. Fold in half place into pie dish. Use a fork or your fingers to flute the edges of the pie.
- Line the pie shell with tinfoil or parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or beans and blind bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are just golden and bottom is not translucent. While the pie shell is baking, prepare the lemon filling.
FOR THE LEMON FILLING
- In a medium saucepan, mix together 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups cold water.
- Bring the mixture to a light boil on medium heat. Immediately remove from heat. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and continue whisking as you add small increments until half of the hot mixture has been mixed into the egg yolks.
- Add egg mixture back to saucepan. Bring back to a boil and stir for 2 minutes, until very thick. (Important to stir for two minutes. If you don’t, the filling will be too thin and won’t hold).
- Once filling is very thick, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Place plastic wrap on top of filling in order to prevent a film from forming. Set aside until ready to use.
Finish meringue by beating egg whites until soft peaks form. While continuing to beat, slowly pour in cooled mixture from earlier. Beat until hard peaks are formed.
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Pour filling into baked pie shell then immediately spoon meringue on top of filling. Gently spread the meringue, being sure to cover the filling right to the pastry crust edges.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until meringue is browned on the top. Remove pie from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 226mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 1gSugar: 59gProtein: 7g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.