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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
Our favorite part of making this classic lemon meringue pie is decorating it with the meringue. There’s just something super satisfying about dolloping the meringue on top of the pie and shaping it into fun swoops and peaks with the back of a metal spoon. Talk about a wow factor!
Our least favorite part? Waiting for the pie to set before digging in. It takes a few hours for that luscious lemon filling to cool and firm up in the refrigerator, but it’s totally worth the wait– especially if you want that picture perfect slice.
Read on for more tips on making this classic pie recipe. And if you’re looking for more sweet inspiration, check out some of our other favorite lemon desserts.
Do I need to make my own pie crust?
Absolutely not. Don’t sell yourself short– you could definitely master our foolproof pie dough recipe– but if you don’t have the time, store-bought is totally acceptable. If you’re using a store-bought pie crust, just know that you’ll still need to roll it out and blind bake it before you can add the filling.
How do I avoid a soggy crust?
With a pie crust that’s blind baked– cooked all the way through before the filling is added– the best way to avoid a soggy crust is to make sure that your crust is 100% baked and then completely cooled before you pour in the filling. If it’s undercooked or still warm, it will want to absorb any wetness that it touches– and that will lead straight to a soggy bottom!
How do I thicken the filling?
This filling is thickened by dissolving cornstarch and all-purpose flour with sugar in water and cooking it over high heat until it boils. Boiling activates the starch so it thickens the mixture. Note that we are not pouring in the lemon juice until after the filling is already thick: adding an acid (like lemon juice) in the beginning can prevent the starches from thickening the filling properly.
Why are we baking the meringue?
This meringue is a french meringue, which is a fancy label for a meringue made by whisking granulated sugar into raw egg whites a little at a time until the egg whites are fluffy and shiny. Baking the meringue cooks the raw egg whites so they’re safe to eat– but it also creates a beautiful golden-brown crust on the top of the pie that adds visual appeal and a great crunch when you dig in!
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Editor's note: This intro was updated to add more information about the dish on June 24, 2022.’
granulated sugar, divided
large eggs, separated
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
cream of tartar
- Bake crust: Preheat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12” circle. Drape over 9” pie dish and gently press to fit (don’t stretch). Prick bottom with a fork, trim edge to 1”, and tuck overhang under itself, and crimp. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze 10 minutes.
- Line crust with parchment and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 30 minutes, then remove parchment and weights. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden and completely baked through, 20 to 25 minutes more. Set on rack to let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt. Gradually stir in cold water until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with a fork. Stir about 1/4 cup of sugar mixture into egg yolks. Gradually stir yolk mixture into remaining sugar mixture in the saucepan. Let cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest, then pour filling into cooled pie crust.
- Make meringue: Reduce oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar by the tablespoon until stiff peaks form.
- Spoon meringue onto hot filling and spread to edge of crust.
- Bake until meringue is golden, 12 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until filling is set, 3 hours.
Nutrition (per serving): 288 calories, 4 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, .6 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 161 mg sodium