This is seriously the best lemon meringue pie you’ll ever have! It has a sweet sugar cookie crust, tart and tangy lemon curd, and sweet marshmallowy meringue! I always make at least two of these pies for Thanksgiving because they go fast! And let’s just say, it doesn’t make for a bad breakfast the day after thanksgiving either. I like my lemon curd to be a little more tart than usual to balance out the extra sweetness of the crust and meringue.
Fresh Lemon Curd
Don’t even think about using bottled lemon juice in the lemon curd! Fresh lemon juice is the only way to go. Plus, you need the fresh lemon zest so do your taste buds a flavor, and just juice those lemons. And don’t forget to wash your lemons before zesting them! You don’t want any of that wax or dirt on the skins to get mixed into your curds.
This is my favorite microplane to use for zesting lemons:
Making and Blind Baking the Crust
Our sweet sugar cookie crust is so good and makes this lemon meringue pie sooo good. This sugar cookie crust recipe is the same one we use for fruit tarts!
When making this crust you’ll cream together butter, sugar, and egg for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Then add in your vanilla, salt, almond extract, and flour, until just combined. Divide the dough in half, press the dough into your pie dish, and freeze for 20 minutes!
This sugar cookie crust recipe makes enough for 2 crusts, so if you are only making 1 pie, feel free to follow our instructions below to freeze it!
Blind baking is where you bake your crust without filling. We want to weigh down the crust so that it does not slump or shrink when it bakes. You’ll want to line your crust with a large piece of foil or parchment paper then fill it with either pie weights, dry beans, or granulated sugar (NOT powdered sugar). If you use dry beans, do not try to cook them later on. bag them up and use them again for blind baking! If you use granulated sugar you can still reuse the sugar in your baking, just make sure you cool it before using it or placing it a container.
Or you can purchase pie weights like these one from Amazon and they can be used over and over again for years to come!
Freeze it for the future
If you are freezing one of your crusts for the future follow these instructions!
Start by dividing your dough in half, then wrap it in plastic wrap. You can freeze it for up to 4 months. Then when you want to use the crust let it thaw out until it’s soft enough to push into the pie pan.
Making the Meringue
So the meringue we use for this recipes is actually a Swiss meringue. Swiss meringue is fluffier and more stable than French meringue or Italian Meringue. With a Swiss meringue we cook the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl over a pot of simmering water before whipping them. So because the egg whites are cooked before whipping, the meringue actually does not need to be baked.
Making the Meringue: The Method
Place a pot of water with at least 2 inches of water in the bottom. Place a heat safe bowl over top of the pot. If your bowl comes close to touching the bottom of the pan, make a ring out of crumpled aluminum foil and place it in the bottom of the pot of water to keep the bowl from touching the bottom of the pan.
Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tarter in a heat safe bowl and stir constantly. Keep stirring until mixture is slightly frothy, warm (not hot, you don’t want scrambled eggs), and sugar is completely dissolved and the temperature reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit
You can buy a candy thermometer like this at most stores, or on Amazon!
How to Check your Meringue without a Thermometer
If you don’t have a thermometer, One way to test this is rub the mixture between your fingers, if you cannot feel any grittiness of the sugar then it is done!
Remove bowl from simmering pot of water and cool to room temperature. Using a hand mixer whip the egg whites. Start with a low speed and increase the speed after each minute. After about two minutes of whipping add in salt and vanilla. Keep whip until you have smooth, glossy, stiff peaks, this may take several minutes. Top your refrigerated pie with your meringue.
Your meringue is already fully cooked so it does not need to be baked. But if you want to add a bit of color to it you can torch it with a kitchen torch like this. Or you can place it under the broiler for a minute or two. If you do want to broil it, make sure you cover the rest of your pie with aluminum foil.
Check out our tips on whipping egg whites here.
Ditch the Meringue and turn it into a Lemon Cream Pie
If meringue intimidates you, don’t let it! But, if you’re really not feeling it, feel free to ditch the meringue! About half the time I turn this pie into a lemon cream pie and top it with freshly whipped cream and fresh berries!
We think you'll love these other recipes too! Check them out!
- Lemon Bars w/ Gingersnap Crust
- Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream
- Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
- Chocolate Silk Pie
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Lemon Meringue Pie
Sugar Cookie Crust (this recipe makes enough for 2 crusts)
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 ⅓ cup flour measured correctly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 whole eggs large
- 5 egg yolks large
- 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest (3 tablespoons will give you a tart lemon curd to balance out the sweetness of the crust and meringue, if you prefer a less tart curd use 1 ½-2 tablespoons zest)
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of cream of tarter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 large egg whites see notes
- Pinch of salt
Sugar Cookie Crust:
- Cream together butter, sugar, and egg for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, salt, almond extract, and flour until just combined.
- This recipe makes enough for TWO crusts! Divide dough in half. This dough freezes super well. Wrap the other half of the dough in 2 layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. This dough is also what we use to make fruit tarts!
- Press dough into a pie pan or tart pan and freeze for 1 hour (this keeps the dough from slumping too much while it bakes).
- Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before pouring lemon curd into it.
- Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar for 2 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow. Whisk in cornstarch and salt, making sure there are no lumps.
- Whisk in lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and melted butter until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk mixture continuously for 7 minutes, scraping down the sides every 30 seconds or so. The mixture should deepen in color and become very thick.
- Remove from heat and whisk for 1 minute more. Pour curd into your cooled crust. Smooth curd out and wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1 hour.
- Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tarter in a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until mixture is slightly frothy, warm (not hot, you don’t want scrambled eggs), and sugar is completely dissolved and the temperature reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, One way to test this is rub the mixture between your fingers, if you cannot feel any grittiness of the sugar then it is done!
- Remove bowl from simmering pot of water and cool to room temperature. Using a hand mixer whip the egg whites. Start with a low speed and increase the speed after each minute. After about two minutes of whipping add in salt and vanilla. Keep whip until you have smooth, glossy, stiff peaks, this may take several minutes.
- Top your refrigerated pie with your meringue. You can use a kitchen torch to toast the outside of your meringue if desired or place under broiler for 3 minutes (watch it carefully!) Your meringue is already fully cooked so it’s not strictly necessary for you to do this.
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Originally published November 12, 2018