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featured lemon meringue pie

Make Ahead Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 305kcal
Wonderfully fresh and full of vibrant flavors, this classic lemon meringue pie is a show stopping dessert. Make it ahead of time to wow your friends and family!
Print Recipe


For the Crust

  • 1 9-inch pie crust 213 grams (homemade or store-bought), prebaked & cooled

For the Lemon Filling

  • cups granulated sugar 250 grams
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice 227 grams, from 6 lemons
  • ½ cup water 114 grams
  • ¼ cup cornstarch 28 grams
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs 200 grams, separated (whites reserved for meringue below)
  • 4 egg yolks 56 grams
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest 12 grams, from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 42 grams, room temperature and cut into pieces

For the Meringue (an Italian Meringue)

  • ½ cup water 114 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 grams


For the Pie Crust

  • The crust needs to be blind-baked (prebaked) before adding the filling. If using store-bought pie crust, prepare the crust per package directions and cool completely before filling.
    1 9-inch pie crust
  • If using homemade, follow the directions to your favorite pie crust.

For the Filling

  • In a large saucepan set over medium heat, whisk sugar, lemon juice water, cornstarch, and salt until cornstarch dissolves. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes translucent and just begins to thicken. Vigorously whisk while adding the yolks. Add the zest and butter and stir until combined. Once again, bring the mixture to a simmer while stirring constantly. Cook another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without it sliding off the spoon.
    1¼ cups granulated sugar, 1 cup fresh lemon juice, ½ cup water, ¼ cup cornstarch, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 4 large eggs, 4 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Strain the filling through a fine-mesh strainer into the prepared pie shell. Remember to scrape the excess filling from the underside of the strainer into the shell. Place plastic-wrap directly on the surface of the filling, and place in the fridge to cool until set (at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours).

For the Meringue

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust oven rack to middle position.
  • In the small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the water and sugar. Bring to a vigorous boil. Once the syrup is boiling vigorously, cook for exactly 4 minutes (set a timer). The mixture should be syrupy and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat after 4 minutes and set aside. (At this time, it isn’t necessary, but I found it helpful to pour the sugar syrup into a 2-cup, heatproof, measuring cup).
    ½ cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, beat the reserved 4 egg whites at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the salt and cream of tartar, and gradually increase the speed to medium-high, about 2 minutes, or until whites hold soft peaks.
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • With the mixer running, slowly pour the hot syrup down the inside of the bowl and into the whites (avoid the whisk so the syrup won’t splash).
  • Add the vanilla and continue beating until the meringue has cooled and is very thick and still shiny, about 7-10 minutes.
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Once the lemon filling is cooled and set (see above), mound the meringue over the filling and then work your way around the edge being sure the meringue butts up against the crust. Once the meringue is all around the edge of the crust, mound more meringue toward the middle, pressing down slightly to ensure there are no air pockets and the meringue completely covers the filling.
  • Add as much meringue as you like, then use a tablespoon or rubber spatula to create peaks all over the meringue.
  • Place the pie on a baking sheet (for easier handling) and bake until peaks turn golden brown with white meringue showing through.
  • Remove the pie to a cooling rack.
  • At this point, the pie is beautiful and can be left alone to cool, but… if you'd like a more dramatic presentation, use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue where wanted. Be very careful to be ready to blow out any meringue that catches fire and to go slowly. Practice makes perfect.



Original recipe Cooks Illustrated Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie
  • This pie, like all Lemon Meringue Pies, is best the day it is assembled. Unlike most lemon meringue pies, the lemon filling can be made one day ahead and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • The pie crust can be cooked and stored (in the pie tin) in an airtight container (or zipper-style bag) up to two days before.
  • The assembled Lemon Meringue Pie will keep a few days in the fridge, but the meringue and/or the lemon filling will begin to weep. It is best eaten the day it is assembled. If perfection isn’t necessary (ie: if not making to share) the pie will still be delicious – just not ideal.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg