Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie – old fashioned & scratch made!

Posted on Oct 2 2007 - 10:30am by Barry C. Parsons

If your lemon meringue pie comes from powder in a box, STOP! A fantastic homemade lemon meringue pie, made completely from scratch, tastes much better and is actually just as easy to prepare.

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Here’s one for the lemon lovers. Made completely from scratch, just like Grandma used to make. No artificial anything here! So much better than those artificial powder pretenders. Reminds me of Sunday suppers while growing up.


A homemade lemon meringue pie is a good reason to perfect your pastry making technique too. I always recommend that beginner bakers start with pastry pie shells before moving on to two crust filled pies. You will get a better feel for working with the the dough and likely have more success in getting a flaky pastry if you practice with making pie shells for filled or custard pies first. Perfect your flaky crust technique here and then move on to two crust fruit pies when you are more comfortable with pie pastry.

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

The minced lemon zest should be very finely chopped.


Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

The filling should be very thick before adding the egg yolk mixture.

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Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie
The Very Best Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
If your pie comes from powder in a box, STOP! A fantastic homemade lemon meringue pie, made completely from scratch, tastes much better and is actually just as easy to prepare.
Course: Pies
Cuisine: North American
Servings: 10 -12 servings
Author: Barry C. Parsons
For the Pastry. Sufficient for two 10 inch pie shells.
  • 1 cup very cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 ice water Only enough to make a dough form.
For the Filling
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolk slightly beaten
  • Zest of 2 lemons very finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
For the meringue
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tarter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the pastry
  1. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible.
  2. Pour cold water over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can freeze the second round for another time.
  4. You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
  5. Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate.
  6. Trim and flute the edges as desired. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the pastry shell, rest in the refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes before baking at 400 degrees F for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely before adding the filling.
To make the filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine corn starch, cake flour, sugar and salt. Pour in water and stir constantly over medium low heat until mixture comes to a slow boil.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and reduce the flame to low.
  3. Pour about a cup of this mixture onto the slightly beaten egg yolks while whisking constantly.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the other mixture in the pot, whisking constantly.
  5. Return to the stove and cook for an additional 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon rind.
  7. Finally whisk in your butter one tbsp at a time.
  8. Pour the filling into the baked and cooled shell. Let stand for a few minutes while preparing the meringue.
To prepare the meringue
  1. Whip egg whites, vanilla, salt and cream of tarter to soft peaks.
  2. Very gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites.
  3. Dollop in heaping tablespoonfuls onto pie. Gently spread over the filling, making sure that the meringue touches the crust all the way around the pie. This will help to prevent the meringue from shrinking.
  4. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the meringue is well browned. Cool pie thoroughly in the refrigerator before serving.
  5. Keep refrigerated.
  6. Dip a sharp knife in cold water to help with cutting the pie into slices and clean the knife with paper towel between cuts.
Recipe Notes
In reviewing the comments and following up with some people who had issues with this recipe, please note that you should not attempt to make any substitutions. At the end, when it says to add the butter, ONLY REAL DAIRY BUTTER will work. Many people have reported using margarine, even the tub of spreadable margarine. That is the road to sure disaster. Butter means butter. - The amount of lemon juice is often asked about online and in emails. I get about 1/4 cup of lemon juice out of 2 lemons. For safety sake don't add more than that. The lemon flavour comes mostly from the zest anyway. The juice just gives it a little tangy flavour. -Be sure to cook the base enough before adding the juice and butter. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the bottom as you stir, so that the mixture will not burn, but it has to be as thick as possible as is shown in the photo.

50 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Paulette February 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Beautifully presented & outstanding taste! (^_^)

  2. MA September 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Oh my! I tried this recipe and must have done something so wrong! My mixture never thickened up and my meringue was liquidy. I’ve made lemon meringue using boxed pudding for years and never had an issue. Your photo’s are amazing. Any clue what could have happened??

    • Barry C. Parsons October 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Sounds like your meringue might have come into contact with some oil. Make sure the utensils are grease free. Did you have a specific issue with the filling Substitute anything?

    • just me October 21, 2014 at 3:07 am - Reply

      Thats exactly what happen to me!! Im so sad

      • Barry C. Parsons October 27, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

        What happened? Not sure what you’re referring to here?

  3. Ethel Tracey October 11, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

    How do you stop your pie from weeping. I have put meringue on while pie is warm right to edge and also tried when meringue is cooled a bit. Thank You Ethel

    • Barry C. Parsons October 17, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

      Try adding meringue on a hot pie and browning it at a higher temp. The shorter the time in the oven the better.

  4. Germaine March 1, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    This turned out amazing!!! So easy and delicious. Thank you.

  5. Brittany March 12, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    I have a question. The recipe states that the pastry is sufficient for two 10in pie plates. Is the filling and meringue also for two pies?

    • Barry C. Parsons March 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      Bo. You just can freeze one pastry for another pie later….or just make a half batch of the pastry of you prefer.

  6. Cheryl April 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Is there really supposed to be 1 1/4 cups of sugar in the meringue? That seems like so much.

    • Barry C. Parsons April 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      You can cut back a little if you like. I do like a sweet meringue.

  7. Anne Slates April 4, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Hello, can you please look at this recipe as it is different from another that I found on your page. Is the filling portion correct? My filling did not set at all before putting on the meringue. I put it in and baked it anyway. Will the filling set while cooling or do I have to start from scratch? This is not the first lemon pie I have made from scratch. The pies are in the fridge cooling now.

    • Barry C. Parsons April 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      They are meant to set fully when cooled. The filling should be a warm pudding consistency when hot.

  8. kimlyn May 19, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    oops,my meringue slid off my pie, what did I do wrong?

    • Barry C. Parsons June 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      I’m finding it’s best to add the meringue while the filling is still warm but it does happen the longer the pie stays around before being served.

  9. Sara July 15, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Turned out amazing! My dad will be very happy(: Birthday dessert

  10. denise November 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I have made this for my husband and will be making it again for Thanksgiving. It was pure perfection!!!!

    • Barry C. Parsons November 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      I just bought a bag of lemons myself to make it again. I love it!

  11. Cheryl November 25, 2015 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Hi Barry, can you make this the day before without the meringue shrinking?

    • Barry C. Parsons December 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      I usually make it a day ahead.

      • Barbara R November 5, 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

        Can you answer a question I have had for a long long time? Is it necessary to refrigerate this pie? When I do, it seems the meringue becomes gummy. Any suggestions? Thanks

        • Barry C. Parsons November 9, 2016 at 8:45 am - Reply

          It is really in order for it to set properly and not spoil. Sounds like you are not whipping your meringue enough. Mine never lasts more than a day anyway.

  12. Amy December 13, 2015 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Hi! What a beautiful pie! I’m looking for a recipe that doesn’t have an egg taste! Every single one I have made taste so strong in egg we have stopped making them and just buy the box kind. Any suggestions!!?

    • Barry C. Parsons December 14, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply

      I can’t say that I’ve noticed that in this recipe. The lemon zest usually puts the zing in there to up the lemon flavour.

  13. Hara February 24, 2016 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Hi.. I tried to make this pie and the filling became too runny.. Lemon sizes differ, so how much lemon juice (liquid) should I add? (the lemons I used were large).. Thank you..

    • Barry C. Parsons February 29, 2016 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      Maybe a little too large. I use average size. Next time I’ll measure the juice and update the method photos too.

  14. theresa March 10, 2016 at 12:48 am - Reply

    omg, great pie! It was perfect. I added a little bit of lemon extract because my lemons were on the small size. Other than that, followed your recipe to a T! My kids and I loved it and so did my co-workers. Definitely want to keep this in the recipe file. Thank you!

    • Barry C. Parsons March 15, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your success! I love this pie too!

      • Jean September 24, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

        looks so yummy!!! some times my crust is so wet,a pool of water,when I cut it,do you know what causes this?

        • Tim Passinault November 20, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

          Jean the wetness is from your meringue….go to All Recipes.com and look for No Weep Meringue….there is a cornsyrup step that is extra in the process and make the meringue wee free..try it

  15. Ida September 8, 2016 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this lemon merengue pie recipie,,I made today it was so delicious and look so pretty merengue xxx

  16. Eliese September 29, 2016 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Is the butter salted or unsalted?

  17. Vanessa October 20, 2016 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    my meringue came out like syrup? 🙁 how long do you have to whip it? to end up fluffy?

    • Barry C. Parsons October 21, 2016 at 10:19 am - Reply

      In my stand mixer it takes just a few minutes. You should ensure that your bowl and utensils are very clean. Any trace of oil of example, can prevent egg whites from stiffening.

  18. Fran October 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Made this pie. It had the best tasting lemon filling ever. Followed the recipe and doesn’t need any changes. Absolutely the best ever no more box filling in this house! The meringue was nice and fluffy but I found it too sweet….maybe next time I will cut the sugar by half. I did have a problem with weeping but I don’t have enough experience with this type of recipe to know why. If anyone can suggest what causes this or why this happens I would like to know what you think.

    • Barry C. Parsons November 2, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Meringue is sweet by nature. Cutting the sugar too much can cause it to collapse. Be careful.

  19. Jan November 19, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I don’t like meringue at all. Can you bake it without it? thx

    • Barry C. Parsons November 19, 2016 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      Just ignore the meringue and add whipped cream on top. The filling does not need to be baked after filling the baked pie shell.

  20. Ariel Caporale November 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    This was my first time making it completely from scratch and it turned out great! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

  21. Sara Tanzini November 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    My meringue never fluffed up! what did I do? What can I do?

    • Barry C. Parsons November 24, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Were all your implements…bowl, beaters, bowl scrapers really clean? The smallest amount of oil or grease can cause meringue to fail. Glass or metal bowl os best because it’s easiest to get very clean. Try again and good luck.

  22. Kelly November 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    This recipe is very similar to my super old cookbook I stole from Mom. 😉 It was my first time to make lemon meringue from scratch. It was challenging, but turned out DELICIOUS! Thank you for the thorough instructions. It was very helpful!

  23. Cindi December 25, 2016 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I have made this pie twice now. Wonderful recipe!! The only adjustment I made was that the filling is skimpy for the two pie crusts so I just doubled the filling/meringue recipe. Then I have 2 BIG pies. Really nice recipe. A keeper!!

    • Barry C. Parsons December 25, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

      The filling is for one pie, the pastry for two as indicated.

  24. Andrea January 16, 2017 at 10:18 am - Reply

    This was Very Best Lemon Meringue Pie EVER. Fresh, flavorful, easy. Thrilled this was the recipe I chose to make!

  25. Gail April 13, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Will this recipe be ok to make the day before I serve it?

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