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Lemon Meringue Pie – this recipe is a family favorite! It’s an easy pie recipe with homemade lemon filling and sweet meringue. This is a family recipe – my Aunt Tootsie made it for years – and now the recipe is mine to share. Don’t be scared of making Lemon Meringue Pie!
Table of Contents
- Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe that always works!
- Lemon Meringue Pie Crust
- Lemon Meringue Filling Ingredients
- How to make Lemon Meringue Pie
- Making Meringue for Pie
- How to avoid a weepy watery lemon meringue pie:
- Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe Recipe
Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe that always works!
When I was a kid (and even still), whenever pie is mentioned around my dad, he brings up my Great Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie. He talks about how the crust was amazing and the filling was so smooth and perfect. A few years ago, I got an envelope full of hand written recipes and newspaper clippings that had been shoved in my Nana’s recipe book. One of them was for my Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie!
MakingLemon Meringue Pie seems like an involved process, and it can be, but it’s worth it. I would give it a medium on the scale of easy to hard, but this recipe is easy to follow and while it has some moving parts, it’s totally attainable if you follow my recipe and tips below.
Lemon Meringue Pie Crust
- Make a perfect crust: One of the ways to make this pie much easier is to use a pre-made crust. I love my all butter crust recipe but in a pinch or when I’m making an already involved recipe, I’ll start with a pre-made crust.
- Cook it properly: Make sure to partially pre-bake the crust. You’re going to bake the pie, but at a low temperature just to set the meringue, so the pie crust must be almost fully cooked. (Learn how to pre-bake a pie crust.)
How to Blind Bake the Crust
To blind bake your crust, you’re going to put it in the 9-inch pie plate, poke some holes in the bottom, and line it with parchment paper. Then fill the pie with beans or pie weights and bake it at 425°F. The time it takes to bake your crust depends on the recipe you’re using.
If you are using my pie crust recipe, then you’ll blind bake it through the first baking step in my blind bake tutorial. If you’re using a Pillsbury crust, it will only take about 10 minutes total.
Lemon Meringue Filling Ingredients
The lemon filling for the lemon meringue pie is an easy lemon curd recipe. It’s cooked on the stove, thickened then strained into the baked pie shell.
- Cornstarch – this aids in thickening the lemon curd
- Egg Yolks – the egg yolks are the body of the custard. Use large eggs that are room temperature.
- Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice – the zest is where most of the lemon flavor comes from and the juice should be fresh lemon juice!
Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!
How to make Lemon Meringue Pie
- Make sure you have all your ingredients assembled and ready. Whisk your egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the filling ingredients together in your saucepan, cooking over medium heat, stirring often (like you’re making pudding), until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
- Pour a bit of the lemon mixture into the beaten eggs whisking constantly. Then pour the entire egg mixture into the lemon mixture while whisking.
- Keep cooking for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in some butter and then your mixture will be ready. I always strain my filling just in case little pieces of egg have cooked.
- Place the filling in the pie crust and immediately make the meringue. You don’t want the pie to cool too much before adding the meringue and baking the pie. The heat from the filling will make the meringue “cook” to the top of the pie.
What is tempering eggs?
A scary part about making a lemon curd like this is tempering the egg yolks.
Tempering eggs is just a fancy way of saying that you’re getting them ready to put in the hot custard mixture. If you just pour them into the hot lemon mixture, they’ll scramble (ew) so we have to do it slowly.
Pour a bit of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Then you can continue making your filling without worrying about scrambled eggs.
Making Meringue for Pie
Classic Lemon Meringue Pie has a fluffy sweet meringue on top of the lemon filling. This kind of meringue is made by beating egg whites with sugar and then baking on top of the pie and it’s like eating sweet clouds.
The meringue whips up easy with a hand or a stand mixer. A few tips about making the meringue:
- Make sure there are NO egg yolks in your whites. When separating your eggs, err on the side of white-in-yolk but not yolk-in-white if that makes sense. Egg whites don’t whip right if they have the fat from the yolk in them.
- Cream of tartar is a crucial ingredient in getting the stiff and stable peaks for the egg whites.
- You’ll beat the egg whites until soft peaks form before adding the sugar. Soft peaks means that the egg whites are fluffy, but the peaks will just start to hold if you turn the whisk upside down.
- Once you add the sugar and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, you’ll see they are glossy and the peaks hold their shape.
Add the meringue on top of the still-hot filling of the pie and swirl the tops into pretty peaks.
Make sure to completely seal the meringue to the pie crust edges. Leave NO gaps to avoid weeping. Bake the pie, then completely cool before slicing.
How to avoid a weepy watery lemon meringue pie:
- Make sure to make the meringue immediately after making the filling and top the pie while the filling is still hot.
- Make sure to seal the edges of the meringue to the pie crust – no gaps.
- Don’t over bake the meringue.
- Make sure that, when you’re mixing your egg whites, you mix on low while you’re adding the sugar, which will ensure the sugar gets dissolved properly.
- Don’t make meringue pies on high humidity days.
If you don’t like this kind of meringue topping, you can use my marshmallow meringue frosting instead. In that case, completely blind bake the pie crust, add the filling, let it cool, then top it with that frosting and torch the tops.
Lemon Meringue Pie isn’t really that hard to make, there are just a lot of steps. With a little practice and patience (and a humid day), you can enjoy my Aunt Tootsie’s pie just like we do!
Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
4.22 from 143 votes
Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie – this recipe is a family favorite! It’s an easy pie recipe with homemade lemon filling and meringue. Everyone loves it!
Prep Time 20 minutes minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes minutes
Total Time 1 hour hour 5 minutes minutes
Yield 12 servings
Serving Size 1 slice
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For the filling:
- 1 All Butter Pie Crust pre-baked and cooled (or a pre-made crust from a pack of two or frozen)
- 1 ½ cups (355ml) water
- 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons (40g) cornstarch
- ½ cup (118ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs yolks
- 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter
For the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place crust in 9-inch pie plate.
Partially blind bake the crust: poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights (dried rice and lentils work too). If you're using my pie crust recipe, bake about 20 minutes, checking that the crust is browned (but the bottom won't be completely done yet, that's ok). If you're using a Pillsbury crust, it'll only take about 10 minutes to partially bake. Carefully remove parchment and pie weights.
Lower oven temperature to 300°F.
Whisk water, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until it’s thick and bubbly.
Place egg yolks into a medium sized bowl. Whisk them gently. Once the lemon mixture is thick and bubbly, carefully pour about half the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then place the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining lemon mixture, continuing to whisk. You want to avoid scrambling the eggs. Bring to a gentle boil, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.
Strain the mixture to remove any bits of egg. Pour mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap while you prepare the meringue and keep it hot (the meringue needs to go onto hot filling).
Place egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can use a large bowl with a hand mixer). Beat on high speed until soft peaks form (if you remove the beaters the tips curl slightly) and then continue mixing while gradually adding the granulated sugar. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form (they’ll be glossy and stand straight).
Spread the meringue on the top of the lemon mixture in decorative peaks, being sure that the meringue touches the crust and no lemon shows through. Bake about 30 minutes or until the meringue is browned. Cool at room temperature for one hour, then chill at least 5 hours before slicing.
The pie will last a day or two in the refrigerator but tastes better day one.
Serving: 1slice | Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 46g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Author Dorothy Kern
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Items used making this pie:
- Pie Plate
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This simple Lemon Meringue Pie is the best! One of our family favorites – made the old fashioned way with a creamy lemon filling and meringue on top! I’ll show you step by step with photos and video just how easy it is to make this homemade pie!
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If the meringue is swirled onto a cool filling and baked, steam in the reheating filling just reaches the meringue. As the pie cools, the steam condenses to form the sweet weeping (sometimes a pool) under the meringue.Why didn t my lemon meringue pie set? ›
The lemon meringue filling is thickened with cornstarch. But if you overwork the filling, the cornstarch's thickening abilities are weakened, and you'll be left with a runny mess. To prevent this, you'll cook the filling in two intervals.How do you keep the crust from getting soggy in a lemon meringue pie? ›
The most common way to ward off a soggy pie crust is by a process called blind baking. Blind baking means you pre-bake the crust (sometimes covered with parchment or foil and weighed down with pie weights to prevent the crust from bubbling up) so that it sets and crisps up before you add any wet filling.Does store bought lemon meringue pie need to be refrigerated? ›
Does Lemon Meringue Pie Need to Be Refrigerated? Yes, lemon meringue pie should be refrigerated. To prevent foodborne illness, never let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours.Why is my meringue wet underneath? ›
Our Test Kitchen recommends following the recipe, beating, and baking as written. The watery layer between the meringue and the filling (weeping) is usually caused by undercooking.What can I use instead of cream of tartar in lemon meringue pie? ›
A good replacement for cream of tartar in baking is 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.How do you fix a failed meringue? ›
Overbeaten whites will collapse. To revive them, beat 1 egg white until frothy, then gently fold into overbeaten whites until they're shiny and moist again.Do you put meringue on hot or cold filling? ›
Quickly spread the meringue over the hot pie filling. Spread the meringue to the edge of the pie pastry to seal it and prevent it from shrinking as it bakes. The hot filling helps cook the meringue from underneath and prevents weeping (a layer of moisture that forms between the meringue and filling).How do you keep meringue from pulling away from the crust? ›
- Choose a Dry Day.
- Use Superfine Sugar.
- Try a Swiss or Italian Meringue.
- Make Sure the Pie Filling is Hot.
- Spread Meringue to the Edges.
- If All Else Fails, Use a Paper Towel.
Use eggs at room temperature. Cold egg whites tend to reduce meringue volume. Never let any yolk get into the whites. Don't overbeat egg whites.
Metal browns faster than stoneware or glass
Getting a brown, flaky/crispy bottom crust on your pie is all about quick and effective heat transfer. That's why aluminum or aluminum/steel pans — rather than glass or stoneware — are your best choice for baking pie.
LEMON MERINGUE PIE - BAKED
Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; lemon meringue pie should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
The assembled Lemon Meringue Pie will keep a few days in the fridge, but the meringue and/or the lemon filling will begin to weep. It is best eaten the day it is assembled.Should you cover a meringue pie in the refrigerator? ›
Place the uncovered pie in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.
Avoid putting any plastic wrap or foil over the pie if you're refrigerating it for less than 6 hours. Covering the pie with a wrap can crush the meringue, causing it to release moisture and get runny, which is called “weeping.”
Heat the filling before adding the meringue to prevent weeping. If you add your meringue to a cooled filling, it's more likely to gather liquid. Instead, make your filling right before you make the meringue, or heat the filling up in the oven beforehand.Why is the bottom of my meringue sticky? ›
The sugar in the meringue pulls moisture from the air. Too much moisture means sticky meringues. Linda Jackson and Jennifer Gardner say the trick is to leave the meringues in the oven after baking. Turn the heat off and let the meringues finish drying, undisturbed, for three hours or even overnight.Why is the lemon in my lemon meringue pie watery? ›
A lemon pie may become watery when put in the oven to brown the meringue, if it is left in the oven too long; or it may water because the filling was not sufficiently cooked before putting into the pastry shell, or it may be from an insufficiency of flour being used in making the filling.Why is there so much liquid in my pie? ›
Not enough thickening agents: If the filling needs more thickening agents, such as flour, cornstarch, or tapioca, it can cause the pie to be runny. Overbaking the crust: Overbaking the crust can cause the filling to evaporate, leaving the pie with a runny filling.