Lemon meringue pie is that pie that immediately makes your mouth water, and looks like a dessert dream come true! It's actually way easier to make than you might think and only really requires a few special tricks and techniques to make right.
Lemon Meringue Pie
A great lemon meringue pie should be equal to parts delicately sweet and lemon sour. It should taste noticeably of tangy citrus but still be all about that intense sweetness from the meringue, as well as having plenty of that satisfying buttery-ness from the pastry.
With just a few useful cooking techniques and some careful temperature control, you too can make a really amazing lemon meringue pie.
Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients
Make sure you check the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amount needs for this pie.
- Grated lemon zest
- Lemon juice
- Egg yolks
- Pie crust
- Egg whites
- Cream of tartar
- Vanilla extract
How To Make Lemon Meringue Pie
This is only a recap, please read the detailed instructions below!
- Whisk the cornstarch into the lemon juice and water while cold, and then add in the grated lemon zest
- Add in the sugar and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the butter.
- Separate your egg yolks from your egg whites
- Whisk the egg yolks completely, then temper by pouring in some of the hot liquid into the egg yolks and whisking thoroughly
- Combine the two mixtures and then let them cool slightly
- Make the meringue by whipping the egg whites together until foamy
- Add in the sugar gradually, whipping it until stiff peaks form
- Spread the meringue over the pie, either using an icing bag or just flatting it down
- Bake at 325 Fahrenheit until the meringue is as golden brown as you like it, checking every 5 minutes.
How To Separate Your Eggs
The hardest part of making anything meringue-related is in separating your eggs properly. This is really important because if you accidentally put even the slightest bit of egg yolk into the egg whites, the meringue won't form whatsoever.
A great trick for separating your eggs to preserve the integrity of your meringue is to crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl. This way, if you accidentally break the yolks of any of them, you only ruin one egg, and you can safely dispose of it, rather than having to chuck the entire batch.
The best way to actually divide the yolks and whites, though, is to crack them into your cupped hands. Opening a little gap between your fingers, the white will trickle out into a waiting bowl, whereas the yolk will remain wholly intact and not able to contaminate the rest of the whites.
How to Layer Your Meringue Properly
After making your meringue to perfect stiff peaks, you then have to figure out how to put it on top of the pie.
The issue is that your meringue is really delicate and easily destroyed if you don't place it properly on the pie.
The best thing to do is to gently coax it into a piping bag and then pipe it onto the pie filling itself. This keeps the meringue intact and also lets you pipe it into decorative patterns for Instagram!
If you don't have a piping bag or don't want to make a simple one with a sandwich bag, you can just spoon the whole meringue mixture onto the pie and gently flatten it out using an offset spatula. This won't make any pretty patterns, but it is certainly a whole lot easier. The spatula will pull up the meringue in little peaks when you lift it up, leave those peaks and move on to the next area.
Looking for more tasty Pie recipes? Try these out:
Enjoy! This is an old recipe that I have updated with new pics, and it is still a family favorite!
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Lemon Meringue Pie
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 10 minutes
- Total Time
- 30 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- one prebaked 9 inch pie crust
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest if desired
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 5 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the cornstarch into the water and lemon juice completely. If desired, in the grated lemon zest as well.
- Stir the sugar and salt into the mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and let boil for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted.
- Take the egg yolks and whisk them until they are light yellow. Save your egg whites for the meringue topping!
- You now need to temper the eggs. Take a couple tablespoons of the hot liquid from the pot and whisk it rapidly into the egg yolks completely. Then you can whisk the yolks into the pot of hot liquid safely, without lumps forming. Whisk them in entirely, then cook for another 3-4 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat.
- Let the filling cool enough that it won't seep through the bottom crust badly, but not until it sets, then spoon into the baked pie shell.
- In a large bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
- Add the sugar gradually and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla.
- Spread the meringue over the pie as you wish. I used an icing bag and a large tip to pipe some lovely stars onto the top of mine; meringue pipes so beautifully.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and bake your meringue until it's as golden as you like. I prefer mine very brown and you have to watch it very, very carefully to achieve this. Start checking at 5 minutes and you may have to rotate it in the oven to make sure the little peaks of meringue get browned evenly.
- I like the extra zing of lemon zest, however it does make the filling have little zest pieces in it. If you want it completely smooth, leave out the zest.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.