Old Fashioned Lemon Pie is a classic dessert, made with fresh lemons, sugar, eggs, and butter. And this lemon pie from scratch has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It's just like the way Grandma used to make it!
One of the best things about an old-fashioned lemon pie is that it's perfect any time of the year and ideal for any occasion. Whether you're hosting a spring dinner, a summer barbecue, or a holiday dinner party, this dessert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. This pairs perfectly with no fail homemade pie crust!
Growing up, my Grandma would always have a spread of beautiful pies for every holiday meal dessert, including chocolate pie, saskatoon berry pie, apple pie, and pumpkin pie, but her lemon pie was always the favorite.
The first time I made this pie I was just learning to cook and bake and didn't realize that lemon juice meant 'fresh lemon juice', as it's from a very old cookbook. I kept making it with concentrated lemon juice until I finally figured out why it tasted toxic! So do not use Realemon/lemon juice from concentrate for this recipe!
This lemon meringue pie is typically made with a rich, flaky crust, which is the perfect vessel for a slightly tangy filling. You will need the following ingredients for this recipe:
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 large lemon - zest and juice
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 whole eggs, separated
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ tsp lemon extract
- 1- 9 inch baked pie shell
- food coloring (I use Wilton lemon yellow gel food coloring) affiliate link
Lemon pie filling is not naturally yellow, so you can use yellow food coloring to brighten it up, if you like. I recommend you use the one I use for the perfect hue.
Homemade Lemon pie can be a bit challenging to make because there are several time-sensitive steps. But it's totally worth the effort and if you follow these steps exactly, you'll have success!
Prep: Blind bake pie shell as per directions (generally it's 8-10 minutes on 400- 425 degrees f or 205-218 degrees c)
*You can use pie weights (be sure to line the bottom with parchment and fill the pie to the rim with weights) or simply prick the bottom of the pie shell several times.
Cook lemon zest with boiling water on the stovetop for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.
Reduce to med low heat.
In a mixing bowl, mix 1 cup sugar and flour.
Add boiling water, a little at a time.
Mix it together until it's fully incorporated.
Return to stove and cook, over med-low heat, until thickened, stirring constantly. *It should be the consistency of thick gravy
Cover with lid and continue cooking for 20 minutes longer, without stirring, until very thick.
Beat egg yolks slightly with a fork.
Add a little of the hot flour mixture to them, then add the egg yolk mixture back into the hot mixture and mix well.
Mix well and return to heat, for 2 minutes
Remove from heat, whisk in butter, lemon juice and lemon extract.
Cool to lukewarm before spreading into baked and cooled pie shell.
Add yellow food coloring, a little at a time, until you get the right color.
Spread into baked and cooled pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C)
Meringue: Beat room temperature egg whites until they are stiff peaks, but not dry.
Add ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating between additions.
Beat until the mixture holds its shape.
Pile gently onto cooled pie filling. Spread to edge of crust.
Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl or peak for an attractive top.
Bake in preheated oven for 8- 10 minutes at 350 degrees F (176 C) or until lightly browned.
Garnish with lemon zest and lemon twist, if desired. Here's how to make a lemon twist
Hint: This video will show you how to separate an egg white from an egg yolk
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Pie shell - you can use a store-bought crust or a homemade pastry
- Food coloring - you can use yellow food coloring from the grocery store if you prefer, but I recommend using gel food coloring, as you'll use less of it.
- Pie topping - you can use whipped cream instead of meringue
- Lemon juice - you MUST use fresh lemon juice for this pie (do NOT substitute lemon juice concentrate)
You will need a glass pie plate , a double boiler, a whisk and an electric mixer (affiliate links) for this old fashioned lemon meringue pie recipe. If you don't have a double boiler and don't want to invest in one, make your own makeshift double boiler.
I have never owned a double boiler, so I use a heat-proof (stainless steel) bowl on top of a pot. But you need to be careful that it fits well (it cannot touch the water, ) and won't tip, and use oven mitts to prevent steam burns.
🥗 Meals to serve with Lemon Pie
This lemon pie pairs perfectly with any spring or summer meal, including holiday meals. I like to serve it with:
- Dill Deviled Eggs (appetizer)
- Picnic Ham with Orange Glaze Recipe (shown)
- Carrot Casserole
- Potatoes Romanoff
- Green beans and Mushrooms
Store this creamy lemon meringue pie in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can simply cover in plastic wrap if you are only storing it overnight.
You can also freeze lemon pie for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
To use a frozen lemon meringue pie, it’s best to allow it to thaw completely in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
👪 Serving Size
This old fashioned creamy lemon pie recipe makes 6 servings. However, you can half, double, or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You will need additional pie plates.
If you like A LOT of meringue, you can double the recipe.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't bake the meringue for long enough the sugar absorbs the moisture and leaks or weeps out of the meringue.
So if you're looking for a classic dessert that is both comforting and delicious, look no further than this lemon pie. And if you are looking for more lemon desserts, you'll love my Old Fashioned Lemon Bread!
📋Old Fashioned Lemon Pie Recipe
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 whole lemon rind, grated
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup butter
- 4 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 9 inch baked pie shell
- yellow food coloring (optional)
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- lemon zest
- lemon twist
NOTE: The instruction images will NOT print by default. If you want them to print, you'll need to check the box beside "images" on the print page
- Prep: Blind bake pie shell as per directions (generally it's 8-10 minutes on 400- 425 degrees f ( 205-218 degrees c) *You can use pie weights or simply prick the bottom of the pie shell.
- Cook lemon rind with boiling water on stovetop for 10 minutes on med-high heat.
- Reduce to med low heat. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and flour;
- Add boiling water, a little at a time.
- Mix it together until it's fully incorporated.
- Return to stove and cook, over med-low heat, until thickened, stirring constantly for . *It should be the consistency of gravy
- Cover with lid and continue cooking for 20 minutes longer, without stirring, until very thick.
- Beat egg yolks slightly with a fork.
- Then add a little of the hot flour mixture to them. Mix well and return to heat, for 1-2 minutes
- Remove from heat, whisk in butter, lemon juice and lemon extract. Cool to lukewarm before spreading into baked and cooled pie shell.
- Add yellow food coloring, a little at a time, until you get the right color.
- Spread into baked and cooled pie crust.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry (video).
- Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating between additions. Beat until mixture holds it shape.
- Pile gently onto cooled pie filling. Spread to edge of crust. Swirl or peak for an attractive top.
- Bake in oven for 8- 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Add lemon zest and lemon twist to the top of the pie.
Looks great. Instead of a crust how about putting the mixture in a ramekin and adding the meringue on top before baking the topping. Individual serving and less carbs without the crust.