Lemon Meringue Pie

I went on a mad baking spree this morning and baked whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, Dutch chocolate brownies (which were “eh”) and a basic lemon meringue pie. Out of the three, the chocolate chip cookie recipe was my favorite. I’ll post that that in a bit.

For now, I want to talk about lemon meringue pie. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I started thinking about it yesterday and it seemed like a good Friday kind of dessert. Plus, it was cheap to make and I’m trying to save money for other things. So I made the crust last night (basic shortening base, nothing fancy) and the filling this morning.

If I’d spent too much time looking for a recipe, my head would have exploded. There are so many ways to make lemon meringue pie. But as it happened, I had a limited number of eggs and only 3 lemons, so I used a recipe from my James Villas book. The pie is great, but there are issues. The main being, liquid leaked into the open space after I cut it.

But there are also things I really like about Villas’s recipe. One is that it isn’t super sweet. A lot of the lemon meringue pies I’ve looked at have 1 ½ cups sugar in the base, various amounts of thickener, 1 ½ cups water and between 1/3 and ½ cup lemon juice. Villas’s pie has only had 1 cup of sugar and 3 egg yolks. Some recipes have up to 6. The downside is it only has 3 whites and that just wasn’t  enough meringue. I ended up making more.

lemon meringue pie slice

My pie was a hack, but it still tasted good. Next time, I’ll go with this lemon meringue pie recipe which is very similar to Villas’s but has a cornstarch/flour combo (might prevent leakage), has only 1 cup sugar, an extra egg for a more stable custard and more white for the meringue and an awesome rating from 627 people. The only drawback to the allrecipes recipe is it calls for 2 lemons and their zest which is a little iffy.  Villas’s recipe used exactly 1/3 cup juice and 2 teaspoons zest, so if you need more accuracy, go with that, though you might need an extra lemon.

So are you ready to make a lemon meringue pie now? Before you get started, here’s a video . I’m not sure what’s up with the  red on the whisk or the train going by in the background, but it’s a nice slow paced video that’s actually helpful rather than just showy. 

And in case you got lost in all my rambling, here’s the recipe again.

Do you have a favorite lemon meringue pie recipe? If so, let me know!

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  1. Louise says

    I haven’t made it, but I think the big hair individual lemon meringue on Rebecca Rather’s “the Pastry Queen” is really appealing. I like tart lemon meringue too. I can’t remember whose recipe it is, but I made a tasty one which layered phyllo, the lemon goo, and meringue which was then torched.

  2. says

    Can’t wait to see the whole wheat ccc’s. I have a recipe for some that is called the Best ccc’s Ever and they ARE actually pretty good.
    No advice on lemon pie, but it looks tasty. The lemon tart we did a few months ago in Dorie’s book is great–you could look at it and just add meringue. It had whole lemons in it.

  3. Priscilla says

    Hi Anna,

    I have tried a lot of different recipes, but the most reliable one I have ever tried was the basic Betty Crocker recipe with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. It has the perfect consistency and holds its shape without weeping.

    I tried Shirley Corriher’s recipe in Cookwise once, and I think I did it right because it looks exactly like the picture. It has a cornstarch/flour blend. She was right that it “does not shrink and cuts beautifully” but my note says it “tastes awful”. The texture of the filling is kind of stiff and did not have the rich, silky feel I wanted. I think beauty is nice, but not at the price of taste.

  4. Martha says

    I’m not a lover of pie crust, so when I want the taste of lemon meringue pie, I make crunchy meringue shells & fill them with lemon curd. Same taste – different presentation.

  5. says

    One thing I forgot to mention was that not too long ago I made Paula Deen’s lemon meringue pie and it was delicious. Hers has a sour cream base, though. Today I wanted something basic.


    Louise, the Big Hair Lemon Tarts have been on my mind, but I can’t find my mini tart pans. When I find them, I’ll make them.

    Katrina, I’ve made Dorie’s Lemon Tart and it is incredible. It’s a whole different thing, though. Her tart is full of butter and very rich. What I wanted today was, like I said above, just a good lemon meringue pie.

    Priscilla, funny you should mention the Betty Crocker pie because I bookmarked it. The only thing that made me choose “grandma’s” recipe as my next pie was that the Betty Crocker pie had the 1 1/2 cup sugar and I liked the idea of using 1 cup. However, now that you’ve recommended it, I’m bumping it up on the list.


    Martha, I have a recipe called “Lemon Angel Pie” that sounds exactly as you described. I might have to add it to the list as well.

  6. Cheryl says

    I have made Lemon Meringue Pie for 45 years! Started with a recipe from my grandmother’s cookbook and modified it about 35 yrs. ago! Use homegrown lemons if possible, even better Meyer lemons. My recipe does uses a combination of flour/cornstarch 7 T. /3 T. It includes 1 cup sugar, 3 cups boiling water, cook 5-7 min. and then add 4 egg yolks; cook another 5 min or so. One half cup lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon is added at the END after the mixture is cooked. Also added is a small amount of salt and a tablespoon of butter.
    For a 10 inch pie I use 5 or 6 egg whites for the meringue.
    Put the meringue on hot, hot filling, no cooling. This will prevent the leakage. I mulit-task whipping up the meringue while I cook the filling. Be sure to seal the meringue to the pie crust to also prevent spillage.
    Lemon Meringue is the birthday “cake” of my whole family!

  7. says

    Cheryl, thanks! I just put your directions into a standard format and mailed it to you to look at. Sounds like a great recipe. I like that it uses boiling water. The Villas recipe did too.

  8. says

    I love Lemon Meringue Pie but I’ve never made one that I thought was great. My filling has been too sweet, and my meringue either weeps or I get that puddle under the meringue. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’m interested in Cheryl’s recipe and the Betty Crocker recipe, and Martha’s idea is appealing because it would avoid the problems I have with soft meringue.

    I can’t wait to read about recipes you try because I will definitely learn a few things.

  9. says

    I’ve always wanted to conquer lemon meringue pie! I tried one, on my own, when I was about 10, and it obviously failed! Haven’t had the courage yet, yours looks great! I’m going to try the AR one soon!

    BTW, I really like your new site design!

  10. hulagirl247 says

    hi anna~

    sorry i’m coming in late on this – i was out all last week flat on my back and unable to do anything other than glance at the television and pet the kitties when they came my way. have you ever tried ina garten’s recipe for lemon meringue pie? i highly recommend it! her lemon curd from scratch is absolutely wonderful! she also has several quick versions of suitable crusts. give her recipe a quick glance and see if it interests you.

    Lemon Curd
    Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved
    Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: hr min Cook Time: 10 min Level:
    Easy Serves:
    3 cups Ingredients
    3 lemons
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
    4 extra-large eggs
    1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

    Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

    Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

    Printed from FoodNetwork.com on Tue Aug 18 2009

    © 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

    alton brown also has a nice recipe for lemon curd as well.

    what i like about these (other than the wonderful lemon flavour) is they are relatively easy recipes.



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