Lemon meringue pie


Lemon meringue pie is a timeless dessert that combines the tartness of lemon with the sweetness of meringue, all on a buttery, flaky crust. This delightful treat is a favorite for many, thanks to its perfect balance of flavors and textures. It is often associated with summer, family gatherings, and special occasions, but its appeal is truly year-round. The combination of a crisp crust, tangy lemon filling, and airy meringue topping makes it an irresistible choice for dessert lovers.

In this article, we will delve into the details of making a lemon meringue pie from scratch, exploring the pros and cons of this process, offering some practical tips, answering frequently asked questions, and concluding with why this pie deserves a spot in your baking repertoire.

Pros and Cons of Making Lemon Meringue Pie


  1. Delicious Flavor Combination: The contrast between the tart lemon filling and the sweet meringue topping is a match made in heaven. This balance of flavors is a significant reason why lemon meringue pie is so beloved.
  2. Homemade Goodness: Making a lemon meringue pie from scratch ensures that you control the quality of ingredients, resulting in a fresher, more flavorful pie compared to store-bought versions.
  3. Impressive Presentation: The golden-brown meringue peaks atop the vibrant yellow lemon filling make for a visually stunning dessert that is sure to impress guests.
  4. Satisfaction of Baking: There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from creating a pie from scratch, particularly when it turns out beautifully. It’s a rewarding experience for any home baker.
  5. Customizable: The recipe can be adjusted to suit personal preferences, such as adding more lemon zest for extra tang or tweaking the sweetness of the meringue.


  1. Time-Consuming: Making lemon meringue pie involves several steps and requires a fair amount of time from start to finish. It’s not the quickest dessert to whip up.
  2. Skill Level: This pie can be challenging for novice bakers due to the need for precise temperature control and techniques like tempering eggs and beating meringue to stiff peaks.
  3. Temperature Sensitivity: The meringue can be temperamental, particularly if there is high humidity. It may weep or not hold its shape as desired.
  4. Storage: Lemon meringue pie is best enjoyed the day it’s made. The meringue can start to break down or become soggy if stored for too long.
  5. Caloric Content: This dessert is relatively high in calories, sugar, and fat, which may be a consideration for those watching their diet.

Tips for Making Lemon Meringue Pie

  1. Use Fresh Lemons: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest make a significant difference in the flavor of the filling. Avoid bottled lemon juice if possible.
  2. Chill the Butter: Ensure the butter for the crust is very cold. This helps create a flaky, tender crust.
  3. Temper the Eggs Carefully: When adding the hot lemon mixture to the egg yolks, do it slowly to avoid cooking the eggs, which can result in a lumpy filling.
  4. Beat the Meringue Properly: Ensure the bowl and beaters are clean and dry before beating the egg whites. Add sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks form for the best texture.
  5. Seal the Meringue: Spread the meringue so that it touches the crust all around. This helps prevent the meringue from shrinking away from the filling.
  6. Cool Completely: Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating. This helps set the filling and meringue properly.
  7. Refrigerate Before Serving: For the best texture and flavor, refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and the filling to firm up.
  8. Use a Pie Shield: To prevent the crust from over-browning, use a pie shield or foil to cover the edges during baking.
  9. Test for Doneness: The meringue should be golden brown on top and have stiff peaks. Avoid over-baking, as this can cause the meringue to become tough.
  10. Serve Fresh: Lemon meringue pie is best enjoyed fresh. Try to serve it within a day or two of making for optimal taste and texture.

20 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use a pre-made pie crust?
    Yes, you can use a store-bought pie crust if you prefer, but making your own crust can enhance the flavor and texture of the pie.
  2. Can I use bottled lemon juice?
    While you can use bottled lemon juice, fresh lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor.
  3. Why did my meringue weep?
    Meringue can weep due to undercooking or high humidity. Ensure it is cooked properly and consider using a stabilizer like cornstarch.
  4. Can I make the pie in advance?
    The pie can be made a day in advance, but it is best enjoyed fresh to prevent the meringue from becoming soggy.
  5. How do I store leftover pie?
    Store leftover pie in the refrigerator, covered loosely with plastic wrap. It should be consumed within 2-3 days.
  6. Can I freeze lemon meringue pie?
    Freezing is not recommended as the meringue can become watery upon thawing.
  7. What if I don’t have a pastry blender?
    You can use your fingers or two knives to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  8. How do I know when the meringue is ready?
    The meringue is ready when it forms stiff, glossy peaks and is a light golden brown after baking.
  9. Can I use cornstarch in the meringue?
    Yes, a small amount of cornstarch can be added to the meringue to help stabilize it and prevent weeping.
  10. What is tempering, and why is it necessary?
    Tempering involves slowly adding a hot mixture to beaten eggs to prevent them from scrambling. It ensures a smooth, creamy filling.
  11. Can I use a hand whisk to make meringue?
    While possible, it is very labor-intensive. An electric mixer is highly recommended for best results.
  12. Why is my crust soggy?
    A soggy crust can result from not baking it long enough before adding the filling. Ensure it is fully baked and golden brown.
  13. What is the best way to cut the pie?
    Use a sharp, serrated knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry between cuts to get clean slices.
  14. Why is my lemon filling runny?
    The filling can be runny if it hasn’t been cooked long enough to thicken properly. Ensure it reaches a boil and thickens before removing from heat.
  15. Can I use different citrus fruits?
    Yes, you can experiment with other citrus fruits like lime or orange for a different flavor profile.
  16. What if I don’t have cream of tartar?
    You can use an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute for cream of tartar.
  17. How can I prevent the meringue from shrinking?
    Ensure the meringue covers the entire filling and touches the crust all around to prevent it from shrinking.
  18. Can I add other flavors to the meringue?
    You can add a few drops of lemon or almond extract for a different flavor, but be cautious with the amount to avoid overpowering the meringue.
  19. Why did my pie crack?
    Cracks can occur if the pie cools too quickly or if there is too much air in the meringue. Allow it to cool gradually at room temperature before refrigerating.
  20. How can I make the pie gluten-free?
    Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend for the crust and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free.


Lemon meringue pie is a classic dessert that offers a delightful combination of tart, sweet, and creamy flavors. While it requires some time and skill to perfect, the result is a show-stopping pie that is sure to impress. By following the recipe and tips provided, and armed with answers to common questions, you’ll be well on your way to making a delicious lemon meringue pie that could easily become a favorite in your household. Whether for a special occasion or simply to satisfy a craving, this pie is well worth the effort and is sure to bring smiles to those who enjoy it.