Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 12h 35m
  • Rating ****

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) pie; serves 6-8

A pastry shell filled with lemon curd goes back to European kitchens, but topping it with meringue is an American tradition dating from the 1800s. Take care to measure out all meringue ingredients in advance, because you must make it and spoon it on top of the pie while the filling is still hot.


  • 1 prebaked pie crust
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large egg yolks, well beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • For the Meringue:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Prepare and bake the pie crust as directed and let cool.


In a heavy nonaluminum saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk until smooth. Stir in the water, a few drops at a time at first and then more quickly, never adding more water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the yolks, whisking well to combine.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over the bottom and to the edge of the pan. Switch to a whisk occasionally to prevent lumps from forming. When the mixture reaches a boil (7-8 minutes), boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and gradually stir in the lemon juice, only a few drops at a time at first, until incorporated and the butter is melted. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour the hot filling into the cooled pie crust, then immediately make the meringue.


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the egg whites for a few seconds to break them up. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until stiff peaks form, 2-3 minutes.

Spoon about one-fourth of the meringue on top of the hot filling and spread it to meet the crust. Gently place the remaining meringue in the center of the pie and, using the back of a spoon, shape and spread the meringue into peaks. Bake until the meringue is golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating a few times to promote even coloring, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Serve at room temperature. Or store, uncovered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2408

nutrition information per serving

371 calories; 15g total fat; 118mg cholesterol; 277mg sodium; 56g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 6g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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