Making the perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Meringue Pie 101

The key to making the perfect lemon pie is in the meringue! Here are some helpful tips to help you get that perfect delicate and fluffy meringue every time.

  • What is meringue?

    A meringue is a combination of stiffly beaten egg whites and granulated sugar. Beating the egg whites traps air, creating a foam, and then adding sugar stiffens that foam. 

  • What affects the meringue?

    There are many factors that can determine the success of your meringue: 


    • Never make a meringue on a rainy or humid day. Moisture in the air can get trapped in the air bubbles and interfere with the formation of the foam. 



    • Older eggs, when whipped, produce a fluffier and higher meringue than fresh eggs. 
    • Separate eggs when they are cold.  
    • Avoid getting any of the yolk from the egg into the whites. Any amount of fat will interfere with the formation of the foam. If eggshell or yolk gets into the whites, do not use your fingers to remove as the oil from your skin can also prevent the egg whites from foaming. Instead, use empty half of an eggshell to retrieve any specks. 
    • After separating, wait 30 minutes to allow egg whites to come to room temperature before whipping. Cold egg whites will not whip as high. 


    Bowls and Utensils:  

    • Large, tall stainless steel or glass bowls are best to make meringues. Do not use plastic bowls or utensils as they can retain fat or grease which will prevent the egg whites from getting stiff.  
    • Make sure all bowls and utensils are completely clean and dry.  


    Cream of Tartar:  

    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp is added to egg whites to improve stability and volume. 



    • Do not add any sugar until the egg whites have been beaten to where soft peaks are forming. 
    • Add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time.  
    • Sugar should be completely dissolved. Berry or super fine sugar will dissolve faster.   
    • The amount of sugar used will determine if the meringue will be soft or hard. In general, 2 tablespoons of sugar per egg white used in the recipe will give a stiff meringue. 
  • What is a soft peak?

    Egg whites are beaten until they form peaks with tips that curl when the beaters are lifted. 

  • What is a stiff peak?

    Egg whites are beaten until they form peaks that stand straight up when the beaters are lifted. 

  • How will I know if the egg white is beaten enough?

    Meringues are considered done when a spoonful of meringue held upside down does not fall off the spoon. 

  • How do I add meringue to a pie filling?
    1. Make the meringue before making the pie filling.  
    2. Add meringue to hot pie filling so the hot filling will cook the bottom of the meringue.  
    3. Spread meringue to the edges of the pie to seal the filling completely. This will help to prevent the meringue from shrinking.  
    4. Follow baking instructions for your recipe. 
  • What is the storage time on a meringue pie?

    Meringue topped pies are best served the day they are made. They will only last 1-2 days in the refrigerator because meringue will start to weep and break down.