An impressive Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie with a luscious, tart lemon custard and a sweet, billowy meringue topping all nestled in a buttery pastry crust. This is the lemon meringue pie recipe that one dreams about!
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 recipe in years, I quickly put it on our weekend 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!!
The BEST Lemon Meringue 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 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.
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 and/or dried lemon zest from a jar.
- 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.
- PRO-Tip: 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.
- PRO-Tip: 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.
How to Make this Lemon Pie:
Step 1: Blind Bake your pie crust. Filling the unbaked pie with dried beans or pie weights will help keep the bottom crust flat.
Step 2: Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan.
Step 3: Combine yolks, water, and juice and add to the saucepan.
Step 4: Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens, stirring regularly. Once it boils, let it boil for one full minute.
Step 5: Stir in butter and lemon zest.
Step 6: Pour into cooled pie crust.
Step 7: Make the meringue (I used 6 egg whites for a massive meringue topping, and top the pie.
Step 8: Bake as directed to cook and brown the meringue.
Why did my meringue weep?
Water droplets forming on a cooked meringue is called weeping. A couple of 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.
More Lemon Recipes You’ll Love:
- Meyer Lemon Parfaits from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Outrageous Lemon Lovers Trifle from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen
- Lemon Bar Cookie Cups from Barbara Bakes
- Strawberry Lemon Tart
- Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
- The Best Lemon Bars Recipe
- Greek Lemon Bundt Cake
- The Best Lemon Bars Recipe
- More Pie Recipes
Plus check out these melt in your mouth Simple Meringue Cookies.
This recipe was originally shared in July 2015. Photos and text were updated in 2020.
- 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 3-4 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 4-6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (depending on number of egg whites used)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325º.
- Combine first three ingredients in saucepan; set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spread meringue over hot filling, making sure meringue covers all filling. Bake for 25-28 minutes.
Adapted from Southern Living
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 1gSugar: 52gProtein: 6g