Lemon Meringue Pie

June  1, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by yossy arefi
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
Author Notes

In this recipe for classic lemon meringue pie a quick stovetop filling, packed full of zingy lemon zest and a bit of butter for richness is topped with luxurious swiss meringue. I prefer swiss meringue, which is made by cooking the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler, in this recipe because it very stable. There’s nothing more sad than a fallen meringue.
This recipe makes a very generous amount of meringue, if you’d like a more moderate amount try 3 egg whites and ? cup sugar or 4 egg whites and ¾ cup sugar.
Yossy Arefi

What You'll Need
  • Filling
  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Swiss Meringue
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. For the filling: In a medium saucepan combine cornstarch, water, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Whisk until no lumps remain in the cornstarch and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 75 seconds. The mixture will be clear and very thick.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl and slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the egg yolks while stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat while stirring constantly for 60 more seconds. Be careful not to let the mixture boil at this stage.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and cover the filling with a piece of parchment or waxed paper. This will help the meringue and filling adhere later. Set it in the refrigerator while you prepare the Swiss meringue.
  4. For the meringue: Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of the stand mixer over a double boiler and cook, stirring occasionally, until the egg whites are very warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Preheat your broiler. While the broiler is heating, whip the egg whites on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and whip to combine well.
  6. Remove the parchment paper from the pie filling then carefully spread the meringue on top of the lemon filling in a decorative pattern. Make sure to spread the meringue all of the way to the crust.
  7. Carefully slide the pie under the broiler and cook for 20 to 60 seconds, or until the meringue is golden brown with some deeply caramelized spots. Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely in the refrigerator before slicing and serving. This pie is best served the day that it is made.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Smaug
  • Bill Masters
    Bill Masters
  • Ida-Maria Skavhaug
    Ida-Maria Skavhaug
  • Petite fee
    Petite fee
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.

25 Reviews

Rhov March 13, 2023
I made this last night and the pie looks beautiful! The filling has just the right amount of zest and sweetness. The meringue was easier than expected, I used 4 egg whites and reduced the sugar and other ingredients proportionately. The texture of the meringue is so good, stable and fluffy. However, I thought the meringue was much too sweet and I will try reducing the sugar next time. It would also be helpful to also list the metric weight of the ingredients for better precision.
Moe December 11, 2022
Ok I made this recipe 3 times. I doubled it each time. The third time I didn’t read through the review and forgot about the review/comment about slowly adding the sugar while beating the egg white and Yes the meringue was like marshmallow- I think the recipe instructions need to be updated. It was a lot of waste. It doesn’t work if you just add the sugar straight out to the egg whites then proceed.
Smaug January 7, 2022
Here in lemon country, we like it a bit stronger; my usual recipe uses 2 eggs, 5 yolks, 1 1/4c. sugar, 1c lemon juice, 1/4c. water, 1 1/2 Tb. lemon zest, 2 Tb. butter. In all of the recipes I've made (lots of them) the eggs are cooked together with the rest (except the butter)- it's brought to a boil (6-7 min.) and boiled for 1 minute. Requires careful stirring, but I've never had a problem with it.
Kaia July 21, 2018
This was great, but, runny. Should I add more cornstarch or cook it longer? Its now my go to recipe.
milebrum May 20, 2018
I am NOT a baker. Honestly, the only thing I've ever baked was a simple chocolate brownie, last year, for my birthday. I've been expanding my horizons with cooking lately so a few days ago I decided to make this lemon meringue pie to celebrate that my brother got his PhD! (it's his favourite cake!). My stress levels were high, I had to use a 12-inch pie plate instead of a 9-inch, and I had a couple of freak outs. Against all odds, this recipe turned out PERFECT! It tasted super good and I got compliments on it. I'm super proud of myself and I have to say: thanks to this recipe my brother got the celebratory cake of his dreams! <3

Helpful tip: I had to DIY my own double boiler and hated it, since it took me AGES to heat up the egg whites and sugar for the meringue (so much so that I gave up on it since it just wouldn't heat up). My auntie told me to just heat them up in a regular saucepan, on a low heat, while stirring constantly. (You know they're ready when you put your finger in and it burns lol.) It worked and the meringue turned out great! So I next time I won't use the double boiler at all.

PS. I used this crust and replaced the vegetable shortening with butter, taking out some liquid from the recipe to make up for it: https://food52.com/recipes/24966-cook-s-illustrated-foolproof-pie-crust
Ca F. December 13, 2016
Made pie this weekend. Not a fan. Flavor very good but....
1. "Oozing"-considerable
2. Meringue looks great but consistency similar to marshmallow and seizes to knife surface when cutting.
3. Recipe as written, makes TONS of meringue (enough for 2 pies). Why??
More detail needed-I'd move on to another recipe.
Heather G. August 10, 2016
Is it possible to add some more detail to this recipe? This was my first time making this kind of pie, and my lemon filling didn't set. My suspicion is that I undercooked it. I felt like it could have been avoided if there was a note on what the consistency of the filling should be when poured into the pie shell.
Smaug August 1, 2015
If you really like lemon, you can make the filling with; 2 eggs+5yolks, 1 1/4c.sugar,1/4c. cornstarch, 1c. lemon juice, 1/4c.water, 1 1/2 Tb. lemon zest,2Tb. butter. You could use the same procedure as this article; I use the traditional method (mix all but the butter together, bring slowly to a boil (about 7 min.) and boil for 1 min., take off heat and stir in butter. I prefer to bake the meringue (about 15 min. at 350), but you could use the broiler or a torch- it will be a bit stickier.
Rose M. June 21, 2015
Hi Bill. Don't add sugar to the whites until they are beaten until foamy. Then add sugar slowly.
Bill M. June 21, 2015
But the recipe said..... LOL

It's going to taste good, but won't be traditional foamy meringue.
Bill M. June 21, 2015
This was my second time doing meringue - the last time was like 10 years ago. I was worried about the cooking part - and well - my meringue turned into marshmallow. It was not fluffy at all. The boyfriend said it should have creme of tartar but the recipe didn't call for it.

I let the egg whites get warm and the sugar melted a bit. I beat with a hand mixer for about 15 minutes and it never fluffed up. So I took off the wisk attachment and put on regular beaters and it got fluffier and denser but not like typical meringue. So I have a lemon pie with a marshmellow topping. LOL

Can someone give some tips on what I did wrong?


Rose M. June 10, 2015
I have a great meringue recipe that keeps the meringue from shrinking and weeping and is almost burn proof.
1 Tbs. of cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3-4 eggwhites
3/4 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbs. sugar

Cook cornstarch and water until bubbling. Can use microwave.
Beat egg whites until foamy, then add sugar slowly till soft peaks form. Add vanilla and hot cornstarch as whites are beating. Top pie and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Ida-Maria S. March 14, 2015
I think I left it under the grill/broiler for a little longer than I should. It looks perfect, but when I touch the meringue it feels a little rubbery... Ops?
Rayna December 26, 2014
Awesome! Made for xmas...less sugar? And make sure it sets in fridge!
Jacob December 22, 2014
So i've made this recipe countless times and it always turns out wonderfully. But I was wondering if I just subbed out the citrus zest/juice for the same amounts would the recipe still work out? Because I was interested in making a clementine meringue pie.
Smaug August 1, 2015
It would work- you could make it with all water- but clementines lack the intensity of lemon, both the juice and zest, and are much sweeter.
Petite F. September 2, 2014
p.s. If I lessen the sugar in the meringué will it affect it from being gorgeous? I thought it was too sweet.
Petite F. September 2, 2014
First-timer...so do I whip the egg whites while it is still on the boiler or take it off then whip it? and 'cook' on low, medium or high temp? And where should the oven rack be...middle bottom for broiling the meringué?
Awesome filling flavor and consistency but wrecked the meringué by letting it sit too long on the boiler (bottom layer almost scrambled) and burnt from being in the broiler too long and close. Ugly and disappointing but yummy filling!
I shall try it again and will triumph!!
Thanks for the recette!
Aaron April 10, 2015
You warm the egg whites and sugar using the double boiler until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and whip into meringue. You whisk while warming the eggs to keep them from cooking, but at that point are not trying to create meringue.
Vickie July 16, 2014
Yum, that looks like heaven to me - I think I'll make that this weekend. Can't wait!
Emme June 20, 2014
About to make this baby but where did the pie recipe that the author had put a link to here? It looked good, had apple cider in it...?
Lauren April 28, 2014
This pie was incredible! It was the perfect combination of tart & sweet. My family raved about it! The lemon filling was to-die-for as was the caramelized meringue. I used 4 Egg whites and that was just the right amount. I am archiving this recipe and will make it again and again. Thanks!!
JadeTree March 30, 2014
This is a fragrant, luscious and delicious pie! I'm an experienced home baker, but have never made meringue before, so I was a bit anxious at that stage. However, it came together as simply and beautifully as the recipe states. As an interesting note, I used organic sugar in the entire recipe and that does prevent the meringue from turning that gorgeous snow white that you see in pictures - it's more of a pale almond color. However, this didn't make a bit of difference to me, especially once I broiled the pie. It was a hit. Thank you.