Where everything's made with love

Easy Lemon Pie Is A Crowd-Pleaser

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Last Modified: November 8, 2023
Published: November 8, 2023

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Top It With A Lofty Meringue

Lemon pie is a crowd-pleaser, no doubt about it. And when you top it with a lofty meringue, it's assured it will be a huge hit. Don't be afraid to try it; it is easier than you think, and if you want to use a store-bought pie crust, do it!

In this world, there are two kinds of people. There are chocolate lovers, and there are lemon lovers. Chocolate lovers can easily get a fix at the checkout of any grocery store. It may not be Norman Love, but it can do in a pinch.

Lemon lovers have to go a little further to quell their desire. Their lust for lemon is legit. And that itch is harder to scratch. This lemon pie is the Holy Grail of lemon lovers.

Let's Talk About The Crust

The tangy, delicious lemon pie filling is the star of this show! So go right ahead and get a store-bought pie crust if you want. I do not recommend a graham cracker crust for this pie, but Trader Joe's and Pillsbury roll-out pie crusts are pretty good options.

But just in case you want to make your own, I will share the easiest pie crust recipe there is. You do not need cold butter, a rolling pin, or waxed paper. Just pat the oil-based pie crust dough into place with your fingers. The printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

Only Bake A Lemon Pie For Someone You Love

The rewards you receive for such a labor of love are enormous, but you will earn them. No step is difficult, but there are three steps. (Unless you buy the pie crust) and there will be dirty dishes. Lots of dirty dishes.

If you've been reading my posts for a while, you know I'm all about making great food. However, I'm also big on quickly getting in and out of the kitchen.

There are exceptions, though. Like when you really, really love someone who loves lemon, you will love making them a lemon pie. If you know they really, really love lemon, you will sacrifice and make this pie for them with love.

OK, it's not the level of sacrifice with what Jack did for Rose when he allowed her to stay afloat on that piece of wood as the Titanic sank. But there will be dishes to wash.

The Magic Of Lemon Pie Starts With 3 Eggs

Before you do anything else, separate three large or preferably extra-large eggs right out of the refrigerator cold. It's much easier to separate really cold eggs.

Be deliberate when separating the eggs because you do not want a single speck of yolk left in the whites. Here's a common sense post about how to separate eggs with many great pictures.

Let the whites sit in the bowl while you make the crust and filling. They will whip up in greater volume at room temperature. This will make the meringue stand up taller and look more impressive. If they warm up a bit, they'll whip up whippier and have more volume.

Break up the egg yolks with a fork and beat them slightly.

Make The Luscious Lemon Pie Filling

Lemon pie uses simple ingredients you probably have in your cupboard and refrigerator. I will say that for it. And not one single step is difficult. You can do this!

The filling begins with cornstarch and sugar. Whisk them together in a heavy saucepan, and then add water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. It will develop a thick, translucent sauce-like consistency.

Grab that bowl of slightly beaten egg yolks and bring it to the stove. Pour a small amount of the hot sugar mixture into the bowl of egg yolks.

Immediately, stir it together vigorously with a fork. This "tempers" the egg yolks so they will cook into the filling evenly. Now, you can whisk the egg yolks right into the filling. Cook it for about a minute, whisking constantly.

Remove the saucepan from the stove and set it on a heat-safe surface. Stir in the butter, lemon juice, extract, and peel. The crust is ready to welcome the lemony mixture with open arms. Pour it in and smooth it out.

lemon pie filling in crust

Tips For A Mile-High Meringue

Here are some things that will make your meringue taller and prettier.

  • Use large or extra-large eggs. More egg white, more volume.
  • Separate carefully. Any egg yolk left in the white will affect the height.
  • Egg whites at room temperature will allow more air to be incorporated.
  • Stabilize the egg whites with cream of tartar.
  • Use a scrupulously clean glass or metal bowl. Never use a plastic bowl.

Add the cream of tartar and the vanilla to the egg whites and start whipping. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time. Don't rush this. The sugar needs to dissolve completely. You will be rewarded.

Feel the meringue between your fingers or on your tongue as you go. The sugar should become nearly unnoticeable. It should feel smooth, not gritty.

clouds of meringue

Stop every couple of tablespoons and scrape down the bowl's sides to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved. I allowed about a minute for each tablespoon of sugar. I used the time between spoonsful to tidy up the kitchen.

meringue on lemon pie

Look at that mountain of meringue! Use the back of a smallish spoon to carefully distribute the cloud of meringue gently across the surface of the filling. Leave the center of the pie taller. Leave lots of peaks to brown!

Pay careful attention to where the crust and meringue meet. Make sure the meringue touches and sticks to the edge of the crust. This will prevent the meringue from shrinking away from the edges.

Put the lemon pie in a hot 400-degree oven. I like the rack to be about one-third of the way from the top of the oven.

It will brown quickly; it only takes 8 to 12 minutes. You want the meringue to be a delicate brown with deeper brown peaks.

Take the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool in a spot without a draft. Don't rush this step, either. This helps to keep the meringue from "weeping."

lemon pie displayed

Now, here is the hard part. Let the lemon pie cool completely. It will take a while! The bottom of the pie plate should be at room temperature. Be patient before you even think about cutting into it.

Use a sharp, non-serrated knife. Run the blade under hot water before cutting the pie. It will still taste amazing if the meringue doesn't cut into perfectly Pinterest-worthy servings!

The reward comes from doing something special for someone you love. When you see their eyes light up with joy, the dirty dishes will be long-forgotten!

Yield: 8 servings

Lemon Meringue Pie

luscious lemon meringue pie

An old-fashioned, from-scratch lemon meringue pie is worth the effort! The tart buttery filling is topped with a cloud of meringue that melts in your mouth the minute it hits your tongue!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, aids in browning
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp corn starch 
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 or 2 tsp fresh lemon peel, or dried lemon peel from the spice aisle 
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp sugar


  1. Make the crust.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until everything is evenly moistened and just until all the flour is incorporated.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball.
  4. Place the dough ball in the center of a 9-inch pie plate.
  5. Use your fingers to pat and push the crust into shape.
  6. Flute the edges of the crust if desired.
  7. Prick the crust all over with a fork to prevent shrinking.
  8. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 12 to 16 minutes and crust is golden brown.
  9. Set the crust aside to cool.
  10. Make the lemon filling.
  11. Whisk together the sugar and the cornstarch in a heavy saucepan until well blended.
  12. Whisk in the cold water.
  13. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and becomes translucent, whisking constantly. Cook for about 1 minute.
  14. Remove the pan from the heat.
  15. Spoon some of the hot sugar mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Immediately stir together vigorously with a fork until combined.
  16. Slowly pour the egg yolks back into the sugar mixture. Return to the stove, cooking and whisking constantly for about one minute.
  17. Remove the pan from the stove. Stir in butter, lemon extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  18. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the surface evenly with a spatula.
  1. Make the meringue.
  2. Begin beating the egg whites with a whip attachment, then add the cream of tartar and the vanilla.
  3. Continue beating until soft peaks begin to form.
  4. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating about a minute with each spoonful.
  5. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure there is no sugar clinging to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Taste the meringue or rub it between your fingers. It should feel smooth, not gritty. Do not under beat.
  7. Put meringue on top of the filling and smooth it evenly over the surface using the back of a spoon.
  8. Leave the meringue in the center of the pie taller and leave lots of peaks.
  9. Make sure the meringue touches and sticks to the edges of the crust so it does not shrink.
  10. Bake 8-12 minutes in a 400-degree oven until the meringue is a delicate brown and the peaks are slightly darker.
  11. Remove the pie from the oven and set it in a draft-free spot to cool.
  12. Let the pie cool completely before cutting. This could take up to 2 hours.
  13. Cover and refrigerate leftover pie.
Yield: One single layer 9" pie crust

Patty Cake Pie Crust

patty cake pie crust

Super easy, flaky pie crust you pat in place with your fingers! No cold butter, no messing with a rolling pin!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, aids in browning
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until evenly moistened, and incorporate all the flour.
  2. Roll the dough into a ball.
  3. Place the dough ball in the center of a 9-inch pie plate.
  4. Use your fingers to pat and push the crust into shape.
  5. Flute the edges of the crust if desired.
  6. For cream pies, prick the crust all over with a fork to prevent shrinking.
  7. To blind bake: Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 12 to 16 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  8. Set the crust aside to cool.
  9. Do not prick the crust when making a fruit or custard-type pie. Bake as usual.

Do you have someone special who loves something that's a little harder to make? Like a special birthday cake or another treat? I'd love to hear your story!

GB's kitchen is definitely a place where everything is made with love, even the hard stuff!!

If you liked this lemon pie recipe, you are my people! You might also enjoy this coconut pie recipe. So please share this post on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest if you enjoyed this recipe today. It would sure tickle me, and I'd be ever so grateful; thank you! 

If you haven't already, please check out my Facebook page and find me on Pinterest, where I'll post easy, delicious, and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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6 comments on “Easy Lemon Pie Is A Crowd-Pleaser”

    1. Oh my gracious thank you!! That should be
      1 1/2 cups of SUGAR!! I am appalled at my mistake! I say mix sugar and cornstarch in the instructions but wow what a blunder!!

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention!!!

    1. Oh Nancy, thank you for pointing that out. I am so grateful to sharp readers like you that help spot my errors so I can fix them. I sincerely appreciate your comment! I'm a 70-year-old rookie at all this!!

    1. Thank you for catching my mistake AND for taking the time to let me know so I can fix it! You are a smart cookie AND a sweetie PIE!! I appreciate it!

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