Fool-Proof Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, with tips to keep your pie from weeping and how to make the perfect meringue!

I feel like the star behind any great pie recipe is a great pie crust! Once you master a homemade crust you’ll never buy a bland, thin store-bought pie crust again! Don’t miss my step-by-step instructions and photos for the easiest, Perfect Pie Crust, and you can browse all my Pie Recipes here!

A slice of Lemon Meringue Pie served on a white plate with the remaining pie in the background.

Whenever my mom made Lemon Meringue Pie, our home turned into a mini hunger games. You literally had to get a piece and hide it or you’d be out of luck. It’s one of my brother’s all time favorite desserts, he he would even request it as his birthday “cake”. The tart, creamy pie filling mixed with a billowing meringue is just irresistible!

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really, really like lemon pies. My other favorites include my Grandma’s Lemon Chiffon Pie, and the BEST Lemon Sour Cream Pie you will ever eat. I’m finally adding this Lemon Meringue to my blog archives for the ultimate lemon pie trifecta! Don’t ask me which one is my favorite. I could never choose between those three.

How to make Lemon Meringue Pie:
  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites and set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest.

  3. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks.  Add a spoonful of the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whisk together.  (The idea is to temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot mixture at a time so that the eggs yolks don’t start to cook).

  5.  Repeat, adding a few more spoonfuls at a time. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture in the pot.

  6. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pie shell.

Lemon pie filling being poured into a pie shell to make lemon meringue pie.

How to make Meringue:
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and water.

  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly as the mixture thickens, until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

  3. In a small bowl stir together cream of tarter and sugar. In a large bowl beat the egg whites with electric mixers until frothy.

  4. With the mixtures running, add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue beating until soft peaks.

  5. Add the cornstarch mixture while beating, a spoonful at a time. Mix until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.

    A bowl of meringue with beaters lifted out of it next to another photo of a lemon pie with the meringue being smoothed on top with a spoon.

  6. Pour the meringue onto the hot lemon filling in the pie shell. Spoon the meringue around the edge of the pie first, and then add spoonfuls to the center until the entire surface is covered.

  7. Make sure the meringue is touching the outer pie crust so that it doesn’t shrink away while baking. Use the back of your spoon to create decorative peaks in the meringue.

  8. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

  9. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. This pie is best served the same day.

  10. Store leftover lemon meringue pie in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, covered with aluminum foil.

A lemon meringue pie with a large slice removed from it.

Even though Lemon Meringue Pie is one of the most popular pies, it’s also one of the trickiest pies to perfect if you don’t avoid some simple steps to keep your pie from “weeping”. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Tips for the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie:
1. A HOT Pie

First, and most importantly, the pie filling should be hot when you spoon the meringue on top. The hot filling will help bake the meringue, instead of just stopping at the surface and “weeping”, causing your meringue to just slide ride off when you slice a piece of pie. It also helps to avoid baking on super humid days.

2. Cornstarch + Cream of Tarter does the trick

My last tip for a fool-proof meringue is using a little bit of cornstarch and cream of tarter in the meringue to help solidify it better for baking.

A slice of lemon meringue pie with a bite removed, and a fork on the plate.

 

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Recipe

A slice of Lemon Meringue Pie served on a white plate with the remaining pie in the background.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 35 minutes
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

For the Meringue

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites , room temperature*

Instructions
 

For the Lemon Filling:

  • Separate egg yolks and whites and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. 
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter. 
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks.  Add a spoonful of the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whisk together.  (The idea is to temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot mixture at a time so that the eggs yolks don't start to cook).
  •  Repeat, adding a few more spoonfuls at a time. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture in the pot. 
  • Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pie shell.

For the Meringue:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly as the mixture thickens, until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a small bowl stir together cream of tarter and sugar. In a large bowl beat the egg whites with electric mixers until frothy. 
  • With the mixtures running, add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue beating until soft peaks. 
  • Add the cornstarch mixture while beating, a spoonful at a time. Mix until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour the meringue onto the hot lemon filling in the pie shell. Spoon the meringue around the edge of the pie first, and then add spoonfuls to the center until the entire surface is covered. 
  • Make sure the meringue is touching the outer pie crust so that it doesn't shrink away while baking. Use the back of your spoon to create decorative peaks in the meringue.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. 
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. This pie is best served the same day.
  • Store leftover lemon meringue pie in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, covered with aluminum foil.

Notes

*Fresh eggs work the best for the meringue to whip properly.
Adapted from All Recipes

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 195mgPotassium: 88mgSugar: 33gVitamin A: 220IUVitamin C: 6.8mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.9mg

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

 

*I originally shared this recipe March 2015. Updated February 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. The pie crust needs to be baked ahead before putting in the filling. Silly me for not knowing better but a bummer to have a pie with great filling and doughy crust.

    1. Oh darn! I hate when that happens. The first ingredient does say pre-baked pie crust. Hope you get to try it again and glad you still enjoyed the filling!

  2. Hi Lauren,
    I love your recipes! I love your lemon sour cream pie!
    I have a question!
    What if I did the lemon meringue pie without the meringue and let the lemon filling set up and served it with whipped cream? I’m assuming that you don’t need to bake it at all if you don’t put the meringue on top of it, correct?
    I actually wonder if it would work with your Lemon Sour Cream pie filling layered on top of the filling for this pie after it has set up (without the meringue).
    I think that I’ll try it but I was just wondering what your thoughts would be.
    Thank you!

    What do you think, will it work?

  3. I have not tried this meringue yet but look forward to trying it. Your lemon filling is the same as my mother-in-law’s recipe and I have made it many times…it has never turned out badly ever!

  4. 5 stars
    This lemon meringue pie recipe is amazing. I made one last week to take to a birthday party and it was gone in a flash. I am making 2 more today. I have never made meringue this way before but its the only way I will make it from now on.
    5 stars!!!!

  5. 4 stars
    Try making Italian meringue instead. It is extremely stable and does not “deflate” like the french meringue does, and it doesn’t require any further cooking as the 240F sugar syrup is enough to kill most pathogens in the eggs (some people debate the safety but the USDA states that beaten egg whites mixed with hot sugar syrup is safe). So it doesn’t need to go in the oven unless you want to brown it a bit or if you would rather cook it a tad more. Little or no oven time means the meringue will be much less likely to shrink, collapse, or weep. It also has a more glossy appearance and a smoother texture. I think it’s easier to make and requires less beating.

  6. 5 stars
    This is the best lemon meringue pie! My husband requests lemon meringue pie for his birthday each year and I was always too intimidated to make it. I found this recipe last year and he couldn’t stop raving about it. It is better than the best bakery in town (and that’s saying a lot). I have now made the recipe 3 times and it comes out perfectly every time. I’ve used a hand held mixer and a kitchen aid stand mixer and both worked great. We have a dairy allergy in the family so I make it with diary free butter and make a double batch every time. I am always very careful to follow the recipe exactly (other than the butter) and each time I am amazed. Sheer perfection. Makes a very tricky recipe extremely easy and amazed family and friends. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    Hello!I started baking last year and enjoy doing it. I particularly like baking from scratch. In wanted to do a lemon meringue and talked with a friend of mine who baked for years and she told me that she has found that making it from the the box is just as hood. Well in looked at the box and compared it to your recipe and decided to try it from scratch. It was great the first time!I have since made it many times ton share with others. Even my friend who said use the box asked me for the recipe. Thanks for taking b the time to post it!

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this lemon meringue pie five maybe six times in the last year and a half. It is definitely my go-to lemon meringue. matter of fact it’s the only lemon meringue pie I have ever made. Best , highest, fluffiest meringue ever. My mom was a home ec teacher, and makes very good meringue but I have now taught her how to make meringue. Thank you for the wonderful recipe

    1. 5 stars
      This the best lemon meringue pie I have ever tried and the directions are perfect! Best part is the meringue! This is my husband’s favorite dessert and I make it for him on special occasions. Thank you for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    The only change I made was 1/8 C additional sugar in pie filling. The filling was excellent. This was a new to me method of making meringue but it is amazing, tall and beautiful!

  10. 5 stars
    I had never made a lemon pie even though it is my favorite until I tried this recipe. I was a little intimidated about how the meringue would turn out, and had heard so many stories about the pie being runny. My grandma used to make it for me all the time when i was a kid. I’ve have made this recipe twice now, and it has turned out fabulous both times. It is as good as my grandmother used to make, and the meringue topping is beautiful.

  11. I’ve been a baker for over 50 years! The meringue DID NOT work. Never tried adding that cornstarch mixture but did so anyway! It NEVER got to stiff peaks! SUCH A WASTE OF TIME!

    1. 5 stars
      I made two of these pies yesterday…..the meringue was the highest and best I have ever made! Got rave reviews from friends and my husband!! If someone’s didn’t turn out, they must not have followed the recipe explicitly.

    2. 5 stars
      I made two of these pies yesterday…..the meringue was the highest and best I have ever made! Got rave reviews from friends and my husband!! If someone’s didn’t turn out, they must not have followed the recipe explicitly.

    3. 5 stars
      I used a Kitchen Aid counter top stand mixer and had no problem with the meringue. I followed as the directions were given.

  12. 5 stars
    Pie turned out fantastic! They are my specialty. I found if I lay out each ingredient measured, before I start, it saves me errors along the way. Life is distracting sometimes, I still managed 2 errors. I added the tbs. of cornstarch for the meringue in the filling. It set well, not too thick after all! Since it was a birthday pie, requested by my daughter, I added 2 more egg whites for over the top meringue. I did add a tad more cream of tartar, but forgot to add more sugar. It still turned out well, pie is so sweet anyway.

  13. I followed the recipe exactly. Did not skimp on the cooking and thickening of the filling. It did not set up. A total waste of my efforts.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that but this recipe is fine and I know that from making it several times. Take ur time and figure out what went wrong.

  14. This recipe is just fine! It is very much like my husband’s grandmother’s recipe, which won her accolades, and which I have been making for over fifty years, successfully. Delicious lemon filling, not too tart or too sweet. My grandmother-in-law did not make her meringue with corn starch though, only beaten whites, sugar and cream of tartar.

    Just made this, and the filling turned out beautifully! Do not be afraid to use thîs recipe.

  15. 2 stars
    first tine making lemon meringue pie, so it’s very possible that we made the mistake, and not the recipe. but, from our try, the meringue turned out well (we used lemon juice instead of cream of tar tar since we didn’t have that). but for the lemon curd, it became runnier the more we stirred? not sure how that happened either, so after baking, the lemon curd was just a pool inside the crust. so when we cut it, you can kinda tell what happened😂

  16. If I want to skip the meringue part do I need to bake the filling in the crust at all, or just serve it when it’s done? (My dad wants whipped cream on top instead.)

    1. No, you don’t need to bake it without the meringue, but I would let it set for several hours before serving. Enjoy@

  17. 5 stars
    Wonderful! Never had such pretty meringue and I am in my 70’s too. This will be my go to recipe for sure.

  18. I’m attempting this tomorrow, is there any way to make it a two step process? I’d love to be able to do crust and curd tomorrow and whip up the meringue the following morning before it’s served… would this work?
    Thanks!

    1. Yes, it would work fine, the meringue just may not seal as well to the lemon filling.

  19. This recipe did not work. I am not a novice baker and I followed the directions exactly. After cooling down, the curd did not set up and the pie was a soupy mess.

    1. You may not be a novice baker but everybody makes mistakes. Somewhere along the line you failed to do, or not to do, something essential.
      I’ve made several hundred lemon meringues over the past 50 or so years and all the recipes were basically the same as this one, give or take , maybe cornstarch or cream of tartare in the meringue, depends what’s on hand.
      Some, like yours, failed.
      Have another go , but focus on the cornstarch.

    2. The same thing happened to me!!! I have all fresh ingredients, including cornstarch and cream of tartar. It pained me to waste the whole pie. I will try again😔

  20. I’m 78 years old and I’ve made many quite good lemon pies. Had never hearsd of corn starch in the meringue. This is the best recipe ever, scrapping the others. Thank you.

  21. 5 stars
    Just finished baking my pie for Easter…Don’t remember making one from scratch, and I can’t wait to try it tomorrow..it looks so yummy and everything came together just right..Thank you for the recipe. Happy Easter everyone

  22. 5 stars
    So glad that I was out of the packaged lemon pie filling because I wouldn’t have searched for a recipe from scratch if I would have had one 😊I have never made a more delicious lemon meringue pie than this. I’ve never been able to get my. meringue this high and fluffy it’s like a bakery pie. I will definitely hang on to this recipe. Many thanks for posting this recipe.

  23. Do I need to refrigerate the pie before serving. Or do I just cool on room temp and then serve. Other recipes I’ve read say to cool on room temp and the also refrigerate for at least five hours so I’m a little unsure.

    1. No, you don’t need to refrigerate before serving (just allow it to come to room temperature). But I would store leftovers in the fridge.

  24. Great flavor I used squeezed lemon juice and lemon juice from the bottle they only like that happened is my lemon filling is soupy any tips. I followed the recipe

  25. 5 stars
    This was my most successful lemon meringue pie ever, and I’ve made them probably about 20 times. I followed everything exactly as you instructed, including the tips, and it was perfect. I was so happy to finally make a meringue that didn’t weep!

  26. 5 stars
    This pie was delicious! This recipe will definitely be the one I use from now on. Couple of things to note:
    I used my own crust recipe because I have one I love that I have used for years. I forgot to put the butter in the filling!, but it didn’t taste like it was lacking anything at all. I only baked the pie for about 15 minutes because the meringue needs to come out. It was a big hit! Also appreciated the helpful tips.

  27. Is it possible to make this with only lemon juice and no zest? We always have bottled lemon juice on hand but I don’t typically buy fresh lemons.

  28. 5 stars
    This is absolutely DIVINE!! A great recipe for one of my all time favorite pies. Thanks so much for sharing!

  29. 5 stars
    It says that this pie is best served the day of, but I usually make my pies the night before. Will it be ok if it chills over night?

  30. Should the meringue be made before the filling in order for it to still be hot or will the filling stay hot enough while the meringue is being made?

    1. No. Make the meringue right after you pour lemon into shell. It just takes a few minutes so filling will still be hot.

  31. Where does it say to add in the unsalted butter for making the lemon filling? I keep re-reading it, and not seeing it.

  32. 5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe! The pie itself tastes divine and the recipe was very detailed and easy to follow if you take your time and read thoroughly.
    This was my first attempt at a lemon meringue. I wanted to try making my fiancée’s favorite desert for his birthday. I’m so thrilled with the outcome and an hour out of the oven half the pie is gone so I KNOW he loves it too.
    Thankyou!

  33. 5 stars
    This recipe is different from any lemon meringue pie I’ve ever made, but it was worth the extra effort. The lemon filling is delicious and the meringue is outstanding. I’ll definitely be making this again!

  34. This recipe sounds delicious and easy. I would like to try it with homemade crust. Do I bake the crust first before adding the filling?

  35. 5 stars
    This was probably the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever made or tasted. Easy to make and looks beautiful. I had a lot of lemons…I may have use a bit more fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest. I like a tart and sweet lemon pie. I was most impressed with the meringue! Never seen a recipe like yours. I wasn’t going to use it, but because it was just for my family I thought I’d try it out. Best meringue ever! It was beautiful and tasted great. I’ve book marked this recipe.

    1. Thank you so much Victoria. I’m so glad you trusted the recipe and gave it a try! This one had been a family treasure for generations :).

  36. 5 stars
    Do you have to bake the pie crust before filling? I just made the whole thing and realized I didnt bake it first.

    1. Hi Judy,
      I don’t think there is a great substitute for the meringue. I would leave the cream of tartar out of the meringue and it should still turn out fine.

  37. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! My first time making this on my own and it came together beautifully! My daughter and boyfriend said it was fabulous!!! I did not eat any, however am making for Easter dessert. I sweated this out let me tell you, afraid if curdling, afraid the merangue would fall flat, but it came together just like your directions and pictures showed. Thank you

  38. 5 stars
    Hello Lauren. You have a beautiful family and you are beautiful and talented. I tried the lemon meringue pie, using your recipe and follow it through step by step, it was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much, I always purchase the food store lemon meringue pie because never tried to do it on my own. This is one of the best I have ever had. Thanks again. I will try more of your recipe.

    1. Thanks for the kind compliment, Denise! I’m so happy you found my site and I hope you find other dishes you enjoy as much!

  39. 5 stars
    I tried the lemon meringue pie, using your recipe and follow it through step by step, it was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much, I always purchase the food store lemon meringue pie because never tried to do it on my own. This is one of the best I have ever had. Thanks again. I will try more of your recipe.

  40. Please disregard my last comment. Absent minded! I grabbed baking soda instead of cornstarch. Using the right ingredients I made the pie again today and it was delicious.
    Sorr about the stupid mistake.

  41. Good base for the recipe and nicely written. Personally just misses that “BAM” coming from the lemon filling, this one has a nice gentile approach to it which isn’t bad either. Perhaps put less water for the filling if you want it stronger depending on your taste but it’s a nice recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  42. Just finished baking the lemon meringue pie, looks fantastic can’t wait for my dinner guests to arrive, waiting for rave reviews!

  43. I’m confused with step 5. under For the Lemon Filling. It directs you to pour filling into the pie shell. Step 6. under For the Meringue talks about removing plastic and pouring the filling into the shell.

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Step six “remove plastic from lemon filling and pour into pie shell” is referring to the meringue. As in, pour the meringue on top of the lemon mixture and smooth it into an even layer. I can see how it seems confusing and I have changed the wording to be more clear! Thanks!

  44. 5 stars
    Made my first scratch lemon meringue pie tonight using this recipe. It turned out beautiful and taste delicious. Will be using this recipe often.

  45. 5 stars
    I’ve been making lemon meringue pie for decades. I never heard of adding the cornstarch mixture while whipping the egg whites in addition to the cream of tartar. This was by far the best lemon meringue pie recipe I’ve ever made! Since there are only two of us, it took four days to finish the pie, and the meringue was as fluffy with no weeping as it was on the first day! What a great addition!

  46. 5 stars
    Made the pie exactly as directed. My family loved it! I wish I could load the picture, but I dont know how. Thank you for a delicious recipe!

  47. Is there a way to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the meringue before applying the meringue to top of lemon filling. It gives the meringue more flavor. I do not want to damage the consistency to cause weeping.

  48. 5 stars
    This is only the second lemon meringue pie I’ve ever made. The first one was terrible. I didn’t thicken the filling enough. I know this one will thicken because ofusing both flour and cornstarch. Thank you for this easy made from scratch pie.

  49. Making the filling . Step one days add one cup of sugar ? Where does the one cup of sugar come from? The ingredients list calls for 1/3 cup?

  50. I’ve never done lemon meringue this way. I cook and bake professionaly. I wanted to try it for a dinner party we’re having tomorrow at home.
    I just put it in the oven. Fingers crossed. I wasn’t sure how thick to let the custard get. I hope it sets up nicely.
    The meringue looks good. We’ll see.
    Again…..fingers crossed. ?

  51. Hi; Step 2 and 3 makes no sense. need clarification please. It says:
    “Add about 1/2 cup of the hot sugar mixture in it.??? IN WHAT?