Lemon Meringue Pie

The Recipe: A long-time favorite pie in the South and the Midwest, especially among men. Not too sweet, not too sharp, a classic!

The Conversation: What holiday do we celebrate on March 14? Hint, it's Pi Day!

Lemon Meringue Pie, a long-time favorite in the South and Midwest. Not too sweet, not too sharp, a classic.

Good morning, class.

What holiday do we celebrate on March 14th? [Puzzled looks. Furled brows.]

A hint? What might hungry mathematicians eat on the 3rd month’s 14th day? [Suddenly a confident hand shoots up.]

Very good! Yes, class, today we celebrate Pi Day to honor pi, the revered mathematical constant of 3.14 and a trillion more digits.

On Pi Day, we make pie, today a classic recipe from America’s south and heartland, a lemon meringue pie that is citrus-sweet and meringue-light. It earns high marks for deliciousness and is perfect for early spring when we yearn for summer like a classroom longs for recess. It’s today’s homework, an A+ pie.

ALANNA's TIPS If you’re making your own crust, add lemon zest to the pastry too. Visit KitchenParade.com for my favorite pie crust recipe and technique tips. "Blind bake" the pie crust at 375F for 15 minutes with foil bunched inside the crust, another 5 - 10 minutes without the foil. Be sure the crust is made and cooled before starting the Lemon Filling. Whisking a small bit of hot liquid into uncooked eggs ensures the eggs won’t instantly turn to cooked lumps once added to the hot mixture. This is called "tempering" the eggs. The Lemon Filling makes a scant two cups filling, perfect for a shallow, smaller pie plate about 8 inches in diameter. For a larger pie plate, considering doubling the Lemon Filling. In summer, tuck fresh raspberries or blueberries into the Lemon Filling, so fresh! Egg whites separate from their yolks more easily when the eggs are cold but the whites whip better when whipped at room temperature. Plan accordingly! My mother insisted upon removing the chalazae [kuh-LAY-zee], the white cord that centers a yolk inside the white, using serrated tongs. Super-fine sugar melts into meringue so beautifully. Just whiz regular sugar in the food processor until fine. Not into meringue? I love this pie topped with whipped cream!


Sunny slivers of the lemony classic
Hands-on time (not including crust): 35 minutes
Time-to-table: 1½ - 2 hours
Serves 8
  • 1 baked pie shell, cooled
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons (35g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (335g) water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Zest & juice (about 4 tablespoons) from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 large egg whites (see TIPS)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup super-fine sugar (see TIPS)

Heat oven to 350F.

LEMON FILLING In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, salt and water. On medium-low heat, cook until mixture bubbles, stirring often; cook for 3 more minutes, stirring continuously. Turn heat off. Whisk yolks in a bowl, then whisk in a half cup of hot mixture, then whisk combined mixture into saucepan (see TIPS). On medium-low heat, return mixture to a bubble and cook 3 more minutes, stirring continuously. Turn off heat. Add lemon zest, juice and butter, stir until smooth.

MERINGUE In a clean bowl, beat whites, salt and lemon juice or cream of tartar until frothy. While still beating, add sugar in a slow stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

COMBINE Pour filling into pie shell. With a spoon, arrange meringue around the perimeter, touching but not covering the crust’s edge, then filling the center. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 1-2 hours before serving.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice with crust: 371 Calories; 20g Tot Fat; 10g Sat Fat; 43g Carb; 1g Fiber; 294mg Sodium; 156mg Cholesterol; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 9, WW PointsPlus 10
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite family pie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

What Makes a Lemon Meringue Pie So Yellow?

Lemon Meringue Pie, a long-time favorite in the South and Midwest. Not too sweet, not too sharp, a classic.

Is it the lemon juice? No, there's not enough color in lemon juice to create such rich color in the Lemon Filling. Give up? It's the egg yolks! The more yellow the yolks, the more yellow the "Lemon" Filling. Sweet, eh?!

Celebrate Pi Day!

Celebrate Pi Day with a collection of pie and pie crust recipes from food bloggers.

This is my contribution to the pie recipes collecting from across the world here on Kitchen Parade, all to celebrate Pi Day and the wonder that is homemade pie with homemade pie crust.

More Pie Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie First-Prize Peach Pie with Lattice Crust Pumpkin Pecan Pie
~ more pie recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Straight-Up & Perfect Rhubarb Pie ~
~ Honey Pumpkin Pie ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous3/14/2008

    Very nice recipe and blog!
    Thanks for sharing, and happy Pie day!

  2. Happy Pi Day! Thanks so much for hosting such a fun event. I've really enjoyed strolling through everyone's submissions.
    And thanks for another lemon meringue recipe~ it's one of my favorites~

  3. This has been the best event ever that I have had the pleasure of joining! Thank you for hosting this and I absolutely LOVE your blog. =D Your Lemon Meringue Pie looks very springy and delicious also.

  4. I forgot to also say thank you for including my pie. I was having so much trouble with formatting and it was 1 a.m. by the time I said I have to get some sleep. I get up at 4 a.m. for work. So thank you very much, hugs

  5. Lemon meringue. You too, huh? Your filling sounds great. It has much less sugar than mine and is probably tangier...I think I'll try it next time!

    I do want to make a Lemon Meringue Pie with the meringue on top so that I can try Aunt Hen's "No Weep Meringue." It was one of her favorite recipes to share!

    Happy Pi Day!!

  6. Anonymous3/15/2008

    I like the idea of adding lemon zest to the crust! That sounds divine! :)

  7. Anonymous3/15/2008

    That's what makes your pie crust so special here: lard and lemon zest! Now all I need is a nice cup of coffee to wash it down with.

  8. What a very good idea to add lemon zest to the crust!


  9. Lovely! I think lemon meringue might just be my favourite kind of pie.

    Thank you for hosting this event, Alanna. Reading about your pie and everyone else's is making me think that perhaps I should gather my courage and give flaky pastry another try.

  10. Anonymous11/28/2008

    This was good. :P


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna