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Slice of Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie on a white plate

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

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The whole family was gathering for dinner on Memorial Day. Bill and I went back and forth with dessert ideas until we both agreed on this luscious Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie.


Slice of Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie on a white plate

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

If I were to guess what kind of dessert the hubby would rank second to chocolate, I’d have to say lemon. He swoons over lemon bars and tarts. Desserts like this luscious Strawberry Lemon Tart are right up his alley! When I realized I hadn’t baked up a lemon meringue pie in years, I quickly put it on our holiday menu. With two very picky palates in our household, this was a rare dessert that all five of us enjoyed. Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen very often!!


Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie in a white ceramic pie plate

The BEST Lemon Pie Recipe

I’ve been using this Southern Living recipe for eons. The whole pie is baked for nearly a half hour so the meringue is perfectly cooked. Instead of just broiling it, as some recipes prefer, this method prevents you from eating under-cooked egg whites. And though I just used four egg whites, you have the option of making a “Mile High” lemon meringue pie by increasing your whites to six. But my whites whipped up to perfection and made a gorgeous cloud atop the sweet-tart lemon filling.

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie slice garnished with mint and lemon slices

Tips for Making the Best Lemon Meringue Pie

So if you’re looking for the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe, I’ve got you covered! This is the perfect dessert any time of year. Go ahead and treat the lemon lovers in your life to one marvelous pie! If you’re going to make a lemon pie, go BIG with this Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie!

  • Always use fresh lemon juice and zest. You will be disappointed if you use bottled juice.
  • Separate your eggs while they are cold to minimize yolk breakage. And always separate the whites into an empty bowl because each has a chance of being contaminated with some yolk if the yolk breaks. If that egg white is without any yolk bits, then pour it into another bowl used to collect all the whites.
  • Egg whites whip best at room temperature. So after you separate your eggs, cover each bowl with plastic wrap and let them come to room temperature (mainly for the whites for the best meringue volume). If you’re in a hurry, you can set the bowl of whites into a larger bowl of warm (not boiling as that will cook the eggs) water.
  • Make sure your beaters and bowl are scrupulously clean. Any grease on either or egg yolk in your whites will prevent the whites from whipping into a fluffy meringue.
  • Add the sugar slowly (and grind your sugar in the food processor to make it super fine for easier incorporation).
  • For the filling, if you want to taste it, use a spoon. I haven’t found documentation, but when I made this pie when I was in high school, I was told that saliva can prevent the filling from thickening.
  • PRO-Tip on How to Cut a Lemon Meringue Pie: To cut cleanly through a meringue topping for perfect slices, my mom taught me to use a knife dipped in hot water. Shake off the excess water and slice. You’ll be amazed how slick this trick works! Give it a try.

Why Did My Lemon Meringue Pie Weep?

Water droplets forming on a cooked meringue is called weeping. A couple errors could be the culprit. First, the sugar must be well dissolved into the egg white mixture. Using superfine sugar and room temperature eggs will help the sugar incorporate.

My mom taught me to rub the meringue between my fingers after the mixing process. If you feel sugar granules between your fingers, your meringue is not mixed enough. But, to tell the truth, I almost always feel some sugar so I try to make sure I add the sugar slowly and beat for 2-4 minutes. PRO-Tip: Purchase superfine sugar as the sugar granules are smaller than in regular granulated sugar. They will dissolve more easily.

Another reason for a weeping meringue is over baking. With this billowy meringue, it takes some time in the oven for the meringue to fully bake, but you may want to pull it out at the 25 minute mark to play it safe.

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie in a white ceramic pie plate with lemons in the backgroundMore Lemon Recipes You’ll Love:

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Slice of Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie on a white plate

Lemon Meringue Pie

A classic lemon meringue pie  with a generous meringue topping!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 33 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 3 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Pie
  • Method: Baking, Whipping
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 baked 9-inch pastry shell

For lemon filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue!)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 34 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

For meringue:

  • 46 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/23/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (depending on number of egg whites used)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Combine first three ingredients in saucepan; set aside.
  3. Combine yolks, water and juice, and stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly till mixture boils and thickens. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and zest. Pour into pastry shell.
  4. Beat whites and cream of tartar on high speed with electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 2-4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat well.
  5. Spread meringue over hot filling, making sure meringue covers all filling. Bake for 25-28 minutes.

Notes

Adapted from Southern Living

 

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47 comments on “Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie”

  1. I have wanted to attempt making one of these for a very long time. Your pictures are so pretty and tempting.

  2. Wow – another beautiful pie!!!

  3. Such a pretty pie, Liz! That billowy meringue topping is perfectly cloud-like!

  4. Oh boy… 5AM and I’m puckering up and wishing I had a big ole slice:@)

  5. Looks amazing! One of the pies that I know I must learn 🙂 it’s classic!

  6. My husband loves this type of dessert and lately i have come to love them too! This is such a beautiful lemon tart Liz!

  7. Beautiful mile high meringue!!

  8. Dear Lizzy, what a gorgeous summer pie. I love lemon meringue and this looks like perfection. xo, Catherine

  9. Okay, THIS ONE is my FAVORITE OF FAVORITES on all your blog posts. This is IT! This is my last meal choice…seriously. I can’t think of anything more beautiful or delicious. I pinned this before I ever finished reading the post. I love the idea of baking it and not using the broiler, I hardly ever make this because I don’t like the broiler routine. Thank you. I’ll probably regret this as I’m certain I could not just have one small piece and call it a day. 🙂

  10. Liz, I’m in love with this already. This looks beautiful and I need a big slice of this lemon meringue pie.

  11. That is truly beautiful pie and when it comes to Lemon Meringue that no easy feat (I know from experience how persnickety meringue can be). I have to ask, did you rotate during baking or are you blessed with a perfect oven (maybe it was convection)? I so want to emulate your results. Thanks GREG

  12. Gorgeous! Look at that meringue! I have not made one in years too.

  13. Southern Living has my vote on luscious pie recipes, too, Liz…Mile High meringue is indeed the way to go =)

  14. That thick layer of meringue looks so tempting. I love every single components of this recipe and can’t wait to make it myself. Well done!

  15. Wow, this looks like the perfect lemon pie. I also love my chocolate, but I love lemon meringue almost as much,

  16. Yum Loving the high peak on the meringue.

  17. Wow, Liz, this is one perfect looking Lemon Meringue Pie! I can’t wait to bite into all the sweet-tangy goodness! 🙂

  18. Love lemon meringue pie! Used to be my favorite until I discovered Key lime pie. But I still love lemon meringue, and if I see it on a restaurant menu I’ll always order it. Yours looks terrific — good job! Thanks so much.

  19. That is one gorgeous slice of pie! It’s like a little piece of sunshine on a plate. 😀

  20. I was thinking of putting a passionfruit meringue pie on my blog but instead made mini passionfruit meringue tarts! I do love the height of your meringue – very impressive. I love lemon desserts too but my Archie can’t stand anything with lemon in it! xx

  21. That mile high meringue layer looks so light, airy, and luscious! I love that it is baked completely through. Great recipe, Liz! No wonder your entire family loves it.

  22. I must recognize that the meringue is the part I prefer ! Your cake is made for me! So many meringue…looks terrific!

  23. Lemon desserts are my favorite! This lemon meringue pie looks stunning, Liz! I love how sky high the meringue is!

  24. Lizzy,
    What a fantastic pie! I’ve always wanted to try making lemon meringue pie. I used to think the meringue was like whipped cream (which I hate), so would never try it until a few years ago. Then I was hooked but I always thought it would be too difficult for me to make. I can’t wait to give yours a try.
    Annamaria

  25. I really love how this turned for you, this pie is on my list for a while, now I definitely need to try it, you really made me craving for some.

  26. This is one of Mirella’s favorite pies:) We don’t have cream of tartar here (I think), so what should I use instead with the eggs Liz? I’ve read about using white vinegar, does that sound right to you?
    Wonderful recipe and beautiful pictures, I know she’ll appreciate it if I make this for her:)
    Lots and lots of greetings,
    Panos

    • Hi, Panos,

      I don’t think you have to add the cream of tartar to still have a wonderful meringue. Adding a teaspoon or so of vinegar would be a perfect substitution (I know I do that with my pavlovas). I hope you make this for Mirella—fingers crossed she loves it 🙂 xoxo

  27. This is one gorgeous pie, Liz. I have an awful confession to make though. I’ve never liked lemon meringue pie. It is my mom’s favorite. Even though my birthday is right before Xmas one year she bought a lemon meringue pie for me. (I am a chocolate cake girl.) She knew it, but I think she was feeling the urge for her favorite pie!

  28. Several years ago the Mr decided he was going to bake pies and this sounds like the one he used from Southern Living. I will show him this post and maybe he’ll get the hint!

  29. I am so in love with this pie and your recipe….I LOVE lemons….but do you think you can do this with limes too? I just found out I have a sensitivity to lemons and I drink them daily in water and love them in baked goods. This pie looks to be perfection!

  30. I love meringue, but Grumpy won’t touch it (bad boy). This looks amazing!

  31. Absolutely beautiful! You’re right – no matter what time of year there’s always a place for citrus!

  32. cant wait to make this will have to do it soon. We usually have four kinds on thanksgiving week not the day since I use to work onthe day of but this year I am going to make it on thanksgiving cant wait!

  33. OK, you win today. I just attended a birthday party at the Bells where the birthday cake was Paleo Fig Newtons. So, although I bookmarked this pie before, it is now time to really do the deed. Even in the altitude if my meringue is 1/2 as high as yours, I will be a happy camper.

  34. I’m such a fan of citrus! This looks delicious and I love that meringue!!!

  35. This lemon Meringue Pie is breathtaking! I can not wait to try making it!

  36. I am loving that big chunky layer of meringue!!

  37. It truly is mile high! Delicious!

  38. My kids’ new favorite pie! It was a huge hit!

  39. So loaded with goodness! Love that huge meringue. 

  40. I could eat the whole lemony thing it’s so delicious!

  41. You are one of my go-to pie people. BEAUTIFUL lemon meringue!!!

  42. The meringue on this is to die for!

  43. Such a gorgeous pie for all lemon lovers out there.

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