Lemon Cream Pie

March 26, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom. Prop Styling by Megan Hedgpeth. Food Styling by Kate Buckens.
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes One 9-inch pie
Author Notes

You’ve likely heard of key lime pie and lemon meringue pie, but for some reason, lemon cream pie got lost in the shuffle. I’m not sure why it isn’t more of a thing—I don’t know about you, but I’ve rarely (if ever) found a bag of key limes at the grocery store, and while I love a tower of golden brown, just-toasted meringue over a citrusy custard, it’s a slightly more involved process than the average pie.

This lemon cream pie is the best of both key lime and lemon meringue worlds: a silky, citrusy flavor and showstopping whipped cream topping. The best part? The whole thing comes together in about an hour. It’s also worth mentioning that lemon cream pie isn’t designated to just one season like a classic peach or berry pie (summer) or sweet potato pie (Thanksgiving). Since citrus, especially lemons, is available year-round, this pie feels equally appropriate to serve in the depths of winter when you’re looking to cap off dinner with a little brightness, as it does to cool off on sweltering summer days.

While you could use graham crackers (a classic) or gingersnaps (a slightly warming twist) in this pie crust, I opted for Biscoff cookies, the iconic, deeply spiced, snappy cookies in the red and white wrapper that, if you’re lucky, you snag on a flight. The flavors of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves in the cookies balance the zingy lemon filling while also making the whole bite a bit more interesting than your standard buttery, crumbly cream pie crust. I’m not into too-sweet desserts, so I used ample lemon juice to make the filling extra punchy. (Take the time to squeeze it yourself from fresh lemons, I swear it makes a difference!) Staying true to the lemon theme, I topped it with pillowy swoops of zest-infused whipped cream.

I’ve developed quite a few desserts over the years, and after testing a few rounds of this pie, I declared it one of the best things I’ve ever made. So much so that I’ll be making it for years to come. —Alexis deBoschnek

What You'll Need
  • Crust:
  • 32 Biscoff cookies, from one 8.8-ounce package (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup lemon juice (from about large 5 lemons)
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  1. Heat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the Biscoff cookies and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the ground cookies to a bowl and add the sugar, salt, and melted butter and stir to combine until the texture looks like wet sand. Alternatively, place the cookies in a large resealable bag and smash with a rolling pin until fine crumbs form.
  3. Press the Biscoff mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, creating a 1/4-inch-thick crust.
  4. Bake until the crust is just set and deeply aromatic, about 8 minutes. Let the crust cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, add the egg yolks and lemon zest and use a hand mixer to beat until combined and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the salt, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk and beat until well combined. With the mixer running, add the lemon juice and beat until smooth. Alternatively, do this by hand with a whisk.
  6. Carefully pour the filling into the cooled crust. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the edges are set but the center has a slight jiggle, about 10 minutes. The pie will continue to set as it cools. Let the pie cool to room temperature, then transfer it to the refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  7. When you’re ready to serve the pie, place your hand mixer’s beaters in the freezer. Place a medium bowl in the refrigerator. This will help speed up the time to make the whipped cream. Alternatively, do this by hand with a whisk.
  8. Add the heavy cream to a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar and lemon zest and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, 1 minute more.
  9. Remove the pie from the fridge. Dollop all the whipped cream in the middle of the pie and use a spatula to spread out to the edges, leaving 1/2 inch of space between the crust and whipped cream so that a ring of the pie is still visible.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Jessica Lizotte
    Jessica Lizotte
  • Caron
  • Alexis deBoschnek
    Alexis deBoschnek
Alexis deBoschnek is a freelance recipe developer, cook, and video host based in the Catskills.

12 Reviews

loosylou July 4, 2023
Slam dunk! Fast. Easy. I had all the ingredients in my pantry and it got rave reviews at a dinner party. I strongly recommend.
LauraMoze March 6, 2022
Best lemon pie and lemon dessert ever. Used graham crackers (Whole Foods didn’t have Biscoff unfortunately). It came out beautifully! We have an over supply of Meyer lemons from our tree and this recipe uses a bunch! I’ll definitely be making this again…and again. Yum!
Alexis D. March 6, 2022
Thank you so much! So glad you liked it.
LauraMoze August 15, 2022
Curious- for a dairy-free version, could sweetened condensed coconut milk be used?
LauraMoze August 21, 2022
Tried and it was a disaster! Not meant to be dairy-free.
Alexis D. August 22, 2022
I'm so sorry the dairy-free version didn't work out! This is definitely meant to have dairy.
Smaug January 7, 2022
By la by, Key limes do appear regularly, even in my lousy Safeway produce section, but they don't keep well and aren't around for long. The trees are huge producers but pretty frost sensitive. Juice is also available bottled.
Smaug January 7, 2022
Not the lemon cream pie I grew up with- the condensed milk (with its huge amount of milk solids) puts it more in the category of a North Carolina lemon pie (there's a popular recipe on this site called, I think, "Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach pie". For the record, the pie I grew up with uses a standard crust with a thin layer of apricot jam, and a standard lemon curd (good recipe on this site from Alice Medrich). And of coursed cream. Personally, I don't like the spice palette of the Biscoff cookies with lemon, but mace or nutmeg is always welcome.
Jessica L. May 30, 2021
I made this exactly as written yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! Had it as dessert for my mom’s birthday dinner and everyone raved about it. Delicious lemon forward flavor, creamy texture with a nice bite from the crust. Will absolutely be making again!
Alexis D. May 30, 2021
I'm so glad you liked it! It's one of my favorite desserts.
Caron May 6, 2021
Living in South Florida, Key Lime Pie recipes (and store bought versions) abound. This beats every single one by a mile. It's my go-to dinner alfresco dinner party dessert; easy as pie and so delicious!
Alexis D. May 30, 2021
Love it!