Lemon Icebox Pie

When the weather is hot as heck, and you ain’t trying to spend too much time standing around an oven, this Lemon Icebox Pie is the right move. It’s tart, sweet and super refreshing. It starts with a super easy to throw together graham cracker crust that’s topped with a creamy filling made with lemon juice and condensed milk. The end result of this lemon icebox pie recipe is luscious and satisfying without a ton of work y’all.

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A fork with a bite of a lemon icebox pie recipe next to the slice on a plate.

My lemon icebox pie recipe is perfect for summer. Let me tell ya. It’s a hit whether you serve it at the cookout or eat it on the couch alone. It will completely satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling too weighed down! Plus, this lemon icebox pie recipe is also a great starter baking project for all of my beginner baking boos! You can pull this off believe me! It gets straight to the point and tastes great in the end.

What is an icebox pie?

The icebox pie is quite popular all over the US but the South truly gets down on it the most. When folks didn’t have modern-day fridges, they kept their food cold in what was called an icebox. It was made up of insulation layers and ice blocks. Icebox pies were a creation that came out of necessity. They were intended to be mostly no-bake so houses would stay nice and cool when the weather heated up.

This lemon icebox pie is an easy-to-make dessert that is meant to be served chilled. It starts with a graham cracker crust, which is then filled with a creamy mixture made of condensed milk and egg yolks.

A freshly made lemon icebox pie with meringue in a white pie plate.

Ingredients you’ll need to make this Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe

  • Graham cracker crust: This has a super easy mix of crushed graham crackers and melted butter but you can add a bit of granulated sugar to sweeten it a bit.
  • Eggs: This is where you need to get your egg separating skills together. The egg yolks are used to make the rich custard filling, and the whites are used for the airy and light meringue topping. You will need to separate the egg yolks from the whites. I simply like to crack an egg on a flat area like my countertop then I open the egg gently in my hand over a small bowl and allow the white to carefully escape through my fingers into the bowl. Finally, I place the egg yolk in another small bowl. Easy peasy!
  • Condensed milk: This is necessary in recipe for lemon icebox pie y’all. You combine it with the egg yolks, just like in key lime pie, and it creates such a rich, silky, creamy and thick filling.
  • Evaporated milk: Add this helps to lighten up that custard consistency just a wee bit.
  • Lemon juice: This gives that tart and tangy citrus flavor in each bite. Make sure you use the real deal by grabbing real lemons for the best flavor here.
  • Granulated sugar: I add this to my egg whites to create that perfect meringue topping. It adds just a touch of sweetness when whipped to stiff peaks.
  • Cream of tartar: If you are planning to serve this in the hot sun, we gotta stabilize that topping so it doesn’t weep. The acid in cream of tartar helps stabilize the whipped egg whites, creating a stiff, glossy, and billowy appearance. You can also sub in ½-teaspoon of lemon juice for every egg white if you don’t have any cream of tartar.
  • Salt: Just a pinch balances all the sweetness. Never make a dessert without it!
Ingredients to make lemon icebox pie recipe in small bowls on a white surface.

How to Make a Lemon Icebox Pie

Step 1: Prepare the crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. While it preheats, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a large bowl. Once they’re combined, pour the melted butter into the mix and stir everything together until the crumbs are fully coated.
  2. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to a 9-inch pie plate, then press the crust down into the plate and around the sides. Press it firmly so it stays intact. Bake it for 10 minutes to set, then let it cool and work on the filling.

Step 2: Mix the filling and bake

  1. Separate the eggs, then mix the egg yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and lemon juice until combined.
  2. Pour the filling into the pre-baked graham cracker crust.
  3. Bake the pie for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling just jiggles a tiny bit.
  4. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for about an hour.
a collage with graham cracker mixture pressed into a pie plate and eggs and condensed milk being whisked together in a large bowl

Step 4: Make the meringue and finish your pie

  1. While the pie is cooling, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer along with the granulated sugar, cream of tartar, and salt until stiff peaks develop.
  2. Spread the meringue on top of the pie, then chill it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
A collage of Meringue topping be mixed then added to an icebox lemon pie

Tips for Making the Best Icebox Lemon Pie

  • Use Fresh Lemons: Don’t grab that bottle of artificial lemon juice in the grocery store. The flavor will be nowhere near that of what freshly-squeezed lemons can do for this recipe.
  • Pre-made crust hack: Let me tell ya, even though you can make a graham cracker crust in a flash, you just may not have the time. You can definitely sub in a pre-made store-bought one if you are short on time.
  • Beat that mix well: You must mix the custard mixture well ensuring that it is silky smooth. The final mixture should be a pale yellow color.
  • Don’t forget the acid: For a perfectly stiff and glossy meringue topping, don’t forget to add the cream of tartar or another acid like lemon juice so it sets up nicely.
  • Chilling Time: Don’t try to serve this before it has set up and chilled properly. I prefer to chill for at least 4 hours.
  • When serving: To create perfect slices, use a sharp knife that you have dipped in hot water. It creates the neatest slices. Just wipe off between cutting each slice and repeat the steps.
  • Use whipped cream: Instead of a meringue topping, try serving your lemon icebox pie recipe with homemade whipped cream instead! Both are fantastic so its a matter of preference.
  • Try Different Citrus: Swap out the lemons for limes to make a lime icebox pie, or use oranges for a slightly sweeter version. You can even swirl in some melted jam for a delish flavor mix like I do in this raspberry key lime pie.
  • Pie Crust Swap: Substitute the graham cracker crust for something more fun! You can change the graham crackers to chocolate cookies, nilla wafers, crushed pretzels for a salty twist or even use a traditional flaky pie crust to give this recipe more of a lemon meringue pie feel.

Serving suggestions for Lemonade Icebox Pie

For a full-on backyard barbecue spread, serve your lemon icebox pie after an incredible spread with these recipes:

A slice of lemonade icebox pie on a white plate.

How to Store and Re-serve Lemon Icebox Pie

There’s a good chance you own a refrigerator, so keeping lemonade icebox pie leftovers cold is a breeze (literally):

  • Fridge: Keep your icebox pie well-covered in the fridge, and it will last up to 4-5 days. Need to keep it longer? Move it to the freezer.
  • Freezer: Once you transfer the dessert to a freezer-safe bag or container, it will last for up to 3 months. I suggest letting it sit at room temp for about 10-15 minutes before you dig back in. This way, the texture will be perfect!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between lemon icebox pie and lemon meringue pie?

The difference is really in the filling. The filling for the icebox pie is more of a creamy custard while the meringue pie has more of a curd texture.

Can I make lemon icebox pie ahead of time?

For sure boos! This is a great recipe to prep ahead because it needs to chill for hours before you serve. You can definitely pull this together the night before serving to guests.

Why is my lemon icebox pie soggy and runny?

More than likely you didn’t let it set in the fridge long enough. Be patient and let it set up completely before serving it up.

A slice of lemon meringue icebox pie on a white plate.

This lemon icebox pie recipe is so easy to throw together, and the flavors stay giving! You will love sharing this with any and everyone this summer. Give it a try and see what all the fuss is about.

Easy Dessert Recipes

If you need an easy dessert to throw together, check out these ideas:

A lemon meringue icebox pie in a white pie plate with a slice missing.

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie made the traditional, Southern way with a homemade graham cracker crust and creamy lemon filling made of lemon juice and condensed milk.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar optional
  • 1/2 cup butter

For the Filling

  • 3 large egg yolks separate 3 eggs and hold on to the whites for meringue, room temperature
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

For the Meringue Topping

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

For the Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together graham cracker crumbs and sugar until combined in a large bowl. Next pour melted butter into the mixture and mix together until crumbs are well coated.
  • Pour the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate and press down into the plate and around the sides. Press down tightly. It would also help to use a clean measuring cup to press the mixture down firmly in the pie plate. Bake for 10-15 minutes to set then let cool, for 10 minutes, and work on the filling.

For the Filling

  • Mix egg yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk and lemon juice until combined. Add to the crust .
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling just slightly jiggles then remove and cool on a cooling rack for about 60 minutes.

For the Meringue

  • Beat egg whites with a mixer along with the cream of tartar and salt until the mixture starts to turn white (about 1 minute). Then slowly add sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks develop. Spread on top of pie then cool and refrigerate for 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Notes

How to Store Your Pie
  • Fridge: Keep your icebox pie well-covered in the fridge, and it will last up to 4-5 days. Need to keep it longer? Move it to the freezer.
  • Freezer: Once you transfer the dessert to a freezer-safe bag or container, it will last for up to 3 months. I suggest letting it sit at room temp for about 10-15 minutes before you dig back in. This way, the texture will be perfect!

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 648IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 1mg
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Filed Under:  Dessert and Baking, Father's Day, Oven, Pies, Summer Recipes

Comments

  1. I can’t say that I have ever made an icebox pie before, but you are making me want to try! This looks amazing, thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  2. This lemon icebox pie reminds me of the exact one that my grandmother used to make! It’s so tasty, has the perfect amount of sweetness, and is absolutely delicious!

  3. This is going to be my favorite summer dessert to make. It is super easy and really delicious! Yummy!

  4. Lemon is one of my favorite flavor and this delicious recipe is a must try. Thanks for all the detailing to making the crust and the yummy filling. Kids would feast on the Meringue topping too.

  5. loved how simple the recipe was for this pie. It reminded me of a special pie I made with a friend who has long passed. Your recipe was deliciously lemony and I will definitely make it again.

  6. Made this for Easter with whipped cream and it was delicious! Very creamy and the perfect amount of tart lemon flavor.

  7. Hello, would it be possible to torch the meringue for a toasted look and taste? Also, is it ok that the egg whites are raw? (Safe to eat??). This pie looks so delicious!! Totally want to try it! Thank you!!

  8. A true icebox lemon pie goes in the freezer. You need to find the real recipe! My Aunt made it and it was to die for. I wish I had gotten the recipe. Nice Try!!

5 from 8 votes

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