Wonderfully fresh and full of vibrant flavors, this classic lemon meringue pie is a show stopping dessert. Make it ahead of time to wow your friends and family!
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Make Ahead Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
You can not go wrong when you serve up a homemade lemon meringue pie.
It’s rich and tangy filling is covered in soft and chewy meringue for a dessert everyone will love.
- MAKE AHEAD: You can make the components of this recipe a couple of days ahead of time and assemble it the day of serving.
- PERFECT FOR OCCASIONS: This traditional pie is great to serve at any celebration meal. It’s great for Easter, Christmas and any other time you fancy a treat!
- GREAT FOR A CROWD: This pie will easily serve 12, so it’s great for family feasting!
How to make Lemon Meringue Pie (The Best!)
Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!
- Blind bake the crust.
- Whisk sugar, lemon juice water, cornstarch and salt and simmer.
- Whisk in the egg yolks, zest and butter.
- Strain into the pie shell and let cool.
- Heat the water and sugar to a boil. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites and add the salt and cream of tartar and form soft peaks.
- Pour in the sugar syrup and add vanilla and beat until thick and shiny.
- Place the meringue on top of the lemon filling.
How long does it keep?
The assembled Lemon Meringue Pie will keep a few days in the fridge, but the meringue and/or the lemon filling will begin to weep. It is best eaten the day it is assembled. If perfection isn’t necessary (ie: if not making to share) the pie will still be delicious – just not ideal.
You can make the filling and bake the pie crust a day or two ahead of time and assemble on the day of serving.
How do you keep the meringue from defalting?
When you are whipping the egg whites, wait until they have formed soft peaks until you add the sugar. Don’t whip them on full speed, lower it a little so small, rather than large air pockets form.
How do you brown the tips of the meringue?
Use a cook’s torch to toast the meringue peaks for a more dramatic presentation. Be very careful to be ready to blow out any meringue that catches fire and to go slowly!
- This pie, like all Lemon Meringue Pies, is best the day it is assembled. Unlike most lemon meringue pies, the lemon filling can be made one day ahead and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.
- The pie crust can be cooked and stored (in the pie tin) in an airtight container (or zipper-style bag) up to two days before.
This classic lemon meringue pie is such a wonderful dessert. I love that the components this version can be made ahead of time for less stress in the kitchen!
More Homemade Pie Recipes we Love
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!
Print Make Ahead Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
- 1 9 inch pie shell homemade or store-bought, prebaked & cooled
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice from 6 lemons
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 8 large egg yolks reserve 4 whites for meringue
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into smaller pieces, softened
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites reserved from filling
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
The crust needs to be blind-baked (prebaked) before adding the filling. If using store-bought pie crust, prepare the crust per package directions and cool completely before filling.
If using homemade, follow the directions to your favorite pie crust.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, whisk sugar, lemon juice water, cornstarch and salt until cornstarch dissolves. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes, or until mixture becomes translucent and just begins to thicken. Vigorously whisk while adding the yolks. Add the zest and butter and stir until combined. Once again, bring the mixture to a simmer while stirring constantly. Cook another 2 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without it sliding off the spoon.
Strain the filling through a fine-mesh strainer into the prepared pie shell. Remember to scrape the excess filling from the underside of the strainer into the shell. Place plastic-wrap directly on the surface of the filling, and place in the fridge to cool until set (at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours).
Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust oven rack to middle position.
Have all meringue ingredients and tools ready to achieve the best meringue. Tools needed are: a small saucepan, 2 heat-resistant rubber spatulas, a timer and a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk. (I also use a 2-cup, heat-proof measuring cup to pour the hot sugar syrup into before adding it to the egg whites. (It’s not necessary, just makes it easier to control.)
In the small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add water and sugar. Bring to a vigorous boil. Once the syrup is boiling vigorously, cook exactly 4 minutes (set a timer). The mixture should be syrupy and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat after 4 minutes and set aside while the egg whites are beaten. (At this time, it isn’t..