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A single slice of a lemon meringue pie on a white plate with the whole pie in the background.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make meringue, Lemon meringue pie from scratch
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 4 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 468kcal
This is the most classic pie of them all. We like to make two crusts, using the second as scraps to help reinforce the top and prevent shrinkage, but that's not 100% necessary. Be sure to have everything measured out and ready to go before you start preparing the filling.
Print Recipe


  • Electric hand mixer, or stand mixer with whisk, or hand mixer




  • 1⅓ cups water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice fresh
  • 5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks Save the whites for the meringue
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened


  • 4 eggs whites use up to 7 (with ½ tsp cream of tartar) for higher meringue
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • cup sugar



  • Roll out your pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Roll it up with your rolling pin and carefully place in a 9-inch pie dish. Use your fingers to press the dough along the sides of the dish. Optional (but recommended): Roll out the 2nd dough and use a pizza cutter to cut strips to place along the top of the dish. Pinch the dough together, and use your index finger, and your thumb and index finger from your other hand to crimp the edges.
  • Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Remove from the fridge, and either add pie weights to the dough, or add parchment paper and fill with dried beans, rice, or even pennies. Bake for 17 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and carefully remove the pie weights or the parchment with the beans in it. Use a fork to puncture holes all over the bottom of the pie crust. Place back in the oven and bake until lightly browned, another 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.


  • Place the egg yolks into a small-medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized pan, add the water and lemon juice. Stir in the corn starch and whisk until fully dissolved. Stir in the sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer for exactly 1 minutes, whisking constantly. The mixture will be thick.
  • Remove from the heat and ladle about ⅓ of the corn starch mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly (this is 'tempering' the eggs)
  • Add the tempered egg yolks back into the pan and place back on the stove over medium heat. Whisking often, bring to a simmer and cook for exactly 1 minute. You should see big crater-like bubbles appearing on the surface.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon zest. Pour into the pie crust.


  • Turn your oven to 375°F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk (preferably with an electric hand mixer) the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar and keep mixing on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Transfer the meringue on top of the warm lemon filling and gently spread, covering the pie completely, using a small knife or spatula to press the meringue against the sides of the crust. Press the back of a spoon in various places across the meringue and gently lift up, creating little peaks.
  • Bake the pie for 10 minutes, just until the tops of the meringue are starting to brown. Keep an eye on it, and don't let it burn!
  • Chill the pie for 4 hours before serving.



We recommend using the scraps of the 2nd pie dough to reinforce the top of the pie crust.  This is a technique we picked up from www.sallysbakingaddiction.com, and we find it works very well.  Freeze any leftover pie dough for your next pie!   This isn't 100% necessary but does help to reduce shrinkage when blind baking.   Do be careful, however, to not bulk up the top of the crust, too much, otherwise, it will be top-heavy when you slice it, and possibly break at the bottom of the piece when you serve it.
Be sure to have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go before you start the filling. Timing is key here. 
If the meringue pulls away from the crust while it's chilling, don't be upset.  This is very common and happens frequently.  If serving to guests, you could always make another small batch of meringue and fill in the open gaps just before serving.  We do that often.
You will also likely see small beads of liquid that form on the top of the pie.  This is called 'weeping', and honestly, there's really not much you can do about it. That's a result of temperature, altitude, and is almost unpreventable. 
Finally, it's not uncommon for there to be some excess liquid when you cut the first slice out.  If that occurs, simply soak it up with a paper towel.  Again, this is not uncommon and will not be an issue with the taste and texture of the pie. 
Of course, the pie will be delicious the following days after you prepare, but we do find it's best when served the day you make it.   Keep leftovers chilled in the fridge for up to 1 week. 


Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 218IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg