My best lemon meringue pie

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The best lemon meringue pie with Italian meringue

Growing up, lemon meringue pie was one of my best desserts and I love this recipe. It always felt very grown up and something quite indulgent. My friends and I call it ‘LMP’ and it was always a favourite coffee shop treat too. I love the tartness of the lemon against the fluffy sweet meringue.

In South Africa, it’s more common to find a lemon meringue pie with a biscuit base vs a pastry one. It’s what I prefer, and for a milk tart too. You can use Marie or digestive biscuits in this recipe (Graham crackers if you are in the USA).

I used Kerrygold butter in this recipe, a top-quality Irish butter brand. Their butter is made from the milk of grass-fed free-roaming dairy cows. Kerrygold products do not contain any artificial additives and only use natural ingredients. They are a dream to use in baking.

My best lemon meringue pie

This recipe is my second recipe for heritage month. I browned the butter first to give it a nutty flavour but it’s optional.

How to make a lemon meringue pie:

Only six ingredients are needed to make lemon meringue pie. You can make the base and filling by hand, but it’s best to use an electric whisk to make the meringue. 

To make the base you will need biscuit (cookie) crumbs and melted butter. I like to use digestive biscuits but Marie biscuits or Graham crackers will work too. It is easiest to grind these up in a food processor, but otherwise, you can make them by bashing them in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin.

The filling is made up of egg yolks, condensed milk, and the juice and zest of lemons. 

The topping is Italian meringue made from the whites of the egg and sugar. Half the sugar is added directly to the whisked egg whites and the other half goes into making a syrup that cooks the egg white.

step by step pics of how to make a lemon meringue pie

step by step image sof how to make a lemon meringue pie

I prefer baking the lemon filling separately from the meringue. I then top the pie with Italian meringue, ensuring a large pillowy soft layer.

A pile of Italian meringue on a lemon pie

My best lemon meringue pie

My best lemon meringue pie with a biscuit (cookie) crumb base and Italian meringue topping.
Print Recipe
My best lemon meringue pie
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes



  • 300 gm digestive or Marie biscuits
  • 150 gm Kerrygold butter melted or browned
  •  4 large free-range eggs separated
  •  2 x 385gm tins of condensed milk
  •  ¾ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •  Zest from 2 lemons

Italian meringue:

  • The 4 x egg whites from the pie recipe
  • 1 cup caster sugar divided
  • 3 Tbs cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar


  • Make the pie in advance to allow cooling.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Crush the biscuits in a food processor or by hand in a zipped plastic bag and a rolling pin. Melt and brown the butter in a small pot.
  • Add the crushed biscuits and melted butter to a bowl and mix. Tip this into a pie or tart tin about 26cm wide. Press the biscuits around to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Use a glass to press down to compress them.
  • Make your filling by hand. Add the egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon zest, and juice to a bowl and whisk until well combined.
  • Pour this into the biscuit base and bake for 25 minutes until set. Allow to cool and then refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
  • When you are ready to serve make your Italian meringue topping. Whisk your egg whites using a stand or hand-held electric beater. Make sure the bowl and whisk or squeaky clean.
  • When the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage, slowly add half a cup of the caster sugar. Do this one tablespoon at a time until the meringue is glossy.
  • Heat three tablespoons of water with the remaining sugar, and cream of tartar in a small pot and bring to a boil. Make sure all the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is bubbling. Pour this hot syrup into the meringue mixture in a steady slow stream while the beater is still running. Continue to beat the meringue for a further 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Pile the meringue onto the cooled lemon pie and singe the edges with a blowtorch to brown (optional).
Servings: 1 large pie
Author: Sam Linsell

A few other South African Heritage recipes:

Classic South African unbaked milk tarts

The best buttermilk bran rusks

Earl Grey tea milk tart  -Baked milk tart 

Orange malva pudding

Pear & ginger malva pudding

Malva pudding with cranberries & ginger

My grandmother Betty’s crunchy recipe

Easy peppermint crisp pudding

Traditional South African bobotie with fragrant yellow rice

A few other recipes using Kerrygold butter & cheese

The best cheese & onion quiche

My perfect cheese scones 

*This post is sponsored by Kerrygold




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  1. This looks amazing what is 2 x 410 tins equal to ? Thank you

  2. Hi Deidre. Its 2 x 385gm tins of condensed milk. I will update the recipe and sorry for the confusion. In South Africa condensed milk only come sin a standard tin size.

  3. Hi! It doesn’t say in the ingredients how much castor sugar and how many egg whites to use for the pie. How much of each would I need for the top meringue? Thanks!

  4. I’m also unsure of how much cream of tartar to use? The recipe doesn’t not say the amount.

  5. Hi Liebe – apologies for this glitch. I had to edit this recipe as it was causing a technical glitch on my site and I think I deleted the part about the Italian meringue by mistake. I have added it back in. The recipe calls for 1 cup of caster sugar and 1/4 ts cream of tartar. You add half the caster sugar to the beaten egg whites, and the other half you use to make the sugar syrup. Enjoy!

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