The Best Real Lemon Pie Recipe

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This is the best real lemon pie recipe! Similar to our strawberry lemonade pie, this recipe is creamy, delicious, and tart with a fresh lemon taste. It’s the perfect recipe for a lemon pie and has a real lemon flavor. The best part is that it is really easy to make!

I love fresh lemons and one of my favorite things in the world is picking lemons off the tree in my backyard. The smell of fresh citrus is one of the best smells in the world. There is nothing better than a fresh lemon pie made with lemons picked from our tree!

a slice of the best real lemon pie

Making this pie from scratch is one of those kitchen tasks that seem daunting, but is actually quite easy. And the results are so worth it! The key is to use good quality ingredients that way, the lemon mixture comes out delicious.

The scent of lemons will fill your kitchen, making even the most ardent lemon lovers drool in anticipation. But trust me, the first bite is worth the wait. The filling is light and tangy, with just the right amount of sweetness. The flaky graham cracker crust rounds out the flavors perfectly. In short, this pie is simply delicious!

The recipe is pretty straightforward and calls for simple ingredients that you most likely already have. The pie is really creamy without having any cream and the fresh lemons give it a beautiful flavor. I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried making a fresh lemon pie!

Why We Love This Easy Lemon Pie Recipe

This is a lemon pie without sweetened condensed milk or cream, there is no cream in this recipe! It’s a real citrus fruit pie.

The flavor has the perfect sweetness and tartness

The texture is creamy and delicious

The pie filling is thickened on the stovetop, then baked with the crust. This ensures that your pie will be set and have a perfect texture.

It’s a lemon pie without meringue which makes it easier to make.

Supplies to Make a Real Lemon Pie

  • Food Processor – If you’re making the crust with graham crackers.
  • Pie Plate – Something like a 9-inch Pie Dish

Graham Cracker Crust

You can bake this recipe in any pie crust or pie shell. I prefer a crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust made with graham cracker crumbs! It’s super easy to make and tastes perfect with lemon pie filling. We also love that it bakes into the perfect golden brown color.

egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, butter and salt in small bowls

Tart Lemon Pie Ingredients

Granulated Sugar – Use granulated sugar in this recipe, but you could also use caster sugar.

Corn Starch – This is what helps to thicken the filling. This is very important in this recipe as we don’t use any creams.

Salt – Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness.

Cold Water – This is added to the cornstarch to make a slurry.

Lemon Juice – Only use freshly squeezed lemon juice for this recipe. It will give the pie the best flavor and an intense flavor.

Egg Yolks – This helps to make the filling nice and creamy. You can discard the egg whites unless you’re going to make a meringue topping.

Unsalted Butter – This adds richness to the filling. Use good quality, organic butter when baking this recipe.

Boiling Water – This is added to the filling to help cook the egg yolks. It’s added to the mixture right before boiling.

Lemon Zest – I love the flavor of lemon zest in this pie. It really gives it a fresh flavor.

fruit dessert in graham cracker crust

How to Make a Real Lemon Pie

  1. Pie Crust – First make your homemade pie crust. You can also use a pre-made pie crust too.
  2. Prep – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your ingredients.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients – In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. 
  4. Add Liquid – Gradually add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice, cold water, lightly beaten egg yolks, and cubed butter.
  5. Boil – Add hot water to the saucepan and then bring the mixture to a full boil for 3 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add in lemon zest.
  6. Bake – Pour the lemon pie filling into a prepared crust and bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
  7. Cool – Once the pie is done baking, it needs to be set to thicken more. You can leave it in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

The full recipe is in the recipe card below.

yellow fruit pie with whipped cream

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will give the pie the best flavor.
  • If you want a really intense lemon flavor, add more lemon zest to the recipe.
  • When you’re cooking the filling, make sure you’re watching it and stirring so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The filling should be thick, but still able to pour into the prepared pie crust.
  • The pie has to thicken in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • Let the pie cool completely in the refrigerator before serving. This will help the filling to set up and thicken. I recommend that you allow it to sit overnight if you can.
  • Every pie will set at different times. Some need longer and others not as much. You need to continue checking the pie to make sure it’s set and ready to slice.

How to Store Real Lemon Pie

Refrigerator

This lemon pie needs to be stored in the fridge. It will last for up to four days in the fridge.

Make sure to cover the pie with plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out.

Freezer

You can freeze this pie for up to two months. Wrap the pie tightly with plastic wrap or foil and then place it in a freezer-safe bag.

Thaw the pie overnight in the fridge before serving.

lemon pie

Real Lemon Pie Recipe Variations

There are a few ways that you can change up this real lemon pie recipe:

Raspberry lemonade pie – Add a few tablespoons of raspberry puree to the filling.

Lemon meringue pie – Top with a homemade meringue.

Blueberry lemon pie – Top with fresh blueberries or a blueberry compote.

Choose your crust – You can make a standard buttery pie crust or graham cracker.

Make it a tart – Instead of pouring the filling into 1 pie crust, make mini tarts using graham cracker crust and mini tart pans.

The three most popular types of lemons are Meyer lemons, Lisbon lemons, and Eureka lemons.

Meyer lemons are the sweetest type of lemon and are often used in baking.

Lisbon lemons are tart and acidic, making them ideal for savory dishes.

Eureka lemons are the most common type of lemon and are used in a variety of recipes. Whether you’re looking for a sweet or tart flavor, there’s a lemon for you!

How to Serve Lemon Pie

This pie is best served cold. I like to garnish it with fresh homemade whipped cream and a few lemon slices to the top of the pie.

You can also serve a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to balance the tartness. You can also serve it with a lemon peel for a pretty presentation.

slice of pie on a plate

When to Serve Real Lemon Pie

This lemon pie is perfect for any occasion and any time of year. Serve it at:

Summer Barbecue

Potluck or Picnic

Summer Party

Family Gathering

Easter Brunch

Garden Party

Tea Party

No matter when you serve this lemon pie, it is sure to be hit!

What to Serve with Lemon Pie

Serve this citrus pie with any of these recipes:

Homemade Lemonade

Lemon Cucumber Water

Easy Gin Spritz

Easy Dessert Platter

Frequently Asked Questions

What is lemon pie filling made of?

Lemon pie filling is made of sugar, cornstarch, salt, cold water, lemon juice, egg yolks, unsalted butter, boiling water, and lemon zest.

Why did my lemon pie come out watery?

If your filling is watery, it is likely because you didn’t cook the filling long enough. Be sure to cook the filling until it is thick and bubbly.

How do you thicken lemon pie filling without cornstarch?

If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use flour or tapioca starch to thicken the pie filling.

How long does lemon pie last?

This fruit pie will last for three to four days in the fridge. Make sure you cover it and store it properly.

What are the 4 types of pie?

The four types of pie are fruit pies, cream pies, custard pies, and savory pies:

Fruit pies are typically made with a mixture of fresh or frozen fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. The most popular fruit pies are apple pie and cherry pie.

Cream pies are made with a custard or cream filling and a sweetened whipped cream topping. The most popular cream pies are banana cream pie and chocolate cream pie.

Custard pies are made with a custard filling and typically have a fruit or nut topping. The most popular custard pies are pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

Savory pies are typically made with a meat or vegetable filling. The most popular savory pies are shepherd’s pie and quiche.

slice of a yellow fruit dessert with whipped cream

What is the difference between a tart and a pie?

A tart is a type of pastry that has a crust and a filling. Tarts are typically smaller than pies and often have fruit or cream fillings.

More Lemon Desserts You’ll Love

If you love lemon as much as we do, check out these lemon desserts below:

Best Lemon Bars – These are always a hit! They have a shortbread crust and a tart lemon filling.

Lemon Cake – This cake is moist and fluffy with a delicious lemon flavor. It’s perfect for any occasion!

Thyme and Lemon Shortbread Cookies – These are our favorite buttery cookies.

Lemon Cupcakes – These are light and fluffy cupcakes with a tart lemon frosting. They’re perfect for a summer party!

More of Our Favorite Pie Recipes

For all of you pie lovers, here are a few more amazing recipes that you have to try!

Key Lime Pie

Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie

Canned Peach Pie

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

easy, creamy yellow dessert

If you are looking for a real lemon pie recipe, this is the one! The flavor is perfect and it’s so easy to make. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Leave a comment and review below.

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lemon pie

Real Lemon Pie Recipe

An easy lemon pie made with real lemon juice. It has a perfect tart flavor and is great for all occasions!
4.74 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 192kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

Lemon Pie Filling

  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

  • Prepare and make your pie crust. You can use a pre-made graham cracker pie crust or a homemade graham cracker crust.
    graham cracker crust
  • Preheat the oven and prep your ingredients.
    egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, butter and salt in small bowls
  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. 
    corn starch, salt and sugar
  • Gradually add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice, cold water, and lightly beaten egg yolks. Give it a stir.
  • And cubed butter.
    butter in lemon pie
  • Add hot water to the saucepan and then bring the mixture to a full boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly or it will burn.
    ingredients in a pot simmering over medium heat
  • Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. This will help thicken the filling.
  • Add in lemon zest and stir.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour the lemon pie filling into a prepared crust and bake for 20 minutes.
    lemon pie filling in a graham cracker crust
  • Once the pie is done baking, it needs to be set to thicken more. You must leave it in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
    lemon pie

Notes

  • This pie has to be boiled, then baked and refrigerated to become thick.
  • If you want a really intense lemon flavor, add more lemon zest to the recipe.
  • When you’re cooking the filling, make sure you’re watching it and stirring so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The filling should be thick, but still able to pour into the prepared pie crust.
  • Let the pie cool completely in the refrigerator before serving. This will help the filling to set up and thicken. I recommend that you allow it to sit overnight if you can.
  • Make sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will give the pie the best flavor

HOW TO STORE REAL LEMON PIE

REFRIGERATOR

This lemon pie needs to be stored in the fridge. It will last for up to four days in the fridge.
Make sure to cover the pie with plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out.

FREEZER

You can freeze this lemon pie for up to two months. Wrap the pie tightly with plastic wrap or foil and then place it in a freezer-safe bag.
Thaw the pie overnight in the fridge before serving.
 .
 

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 181IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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8 thoughts on “The Best Real Lemon Pie Recipe”

  1. 3 stars
    Mine did not thicken so I had to add more cornstarch but I think all that boiling for 3 minutes then an extra 5 minutes of simmering doesn’t really help. I’m hoping when it cools it will thicken up some.

    Reply
    • Did you bake the pie? The simmering is one part, then the pie needs to bake in the oven and it also has to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours or overnight before it will be thick.

      Reply
  2. You never indicated at what temperature the oven should be! Your recipe says to “preheat the oven” but fails to give the oven temperature! NOWHERE in all those instructions did you note this!

    Reply

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