Lemon Cream Pie

This lemon cream pie is magnificent and glorious and refreshing and creamy and perfect and you should just make it. Ok?

Lemon Cream Pie

Oh, you want me to say a bit more about it? To tell you that the luscious lemon flavor is perfectly balanced with the creamy sweetness? And that, despite a a baking-cooling-baking session, it is the easiest pie in the world to put together? And that if left alone with no onlookers, I very well could have eaten the entire thing? Yep, all of that, too.

I haven’t met very many desserts with buttery graham crusts that have failed to woo me (the jello and carrots in a graham shell experience was a bit sketchy, I’ll admit) and this is no exception. Utter summer perfection in dessert form.

Lemon Cream Pie

One Year Ago: No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Two Years Ago: The Best Oven-Baked Ribs
Three Years Ago: Grilled Chicken Fajita Fettuccine

Lemon Cream Pie

Yield: Serves 6-8

Lemon Cream Pie

The crust and pie combo can be made and refrigerated for up to 24 hours in advance (but don't top the pie with the whipped cream until ready to serve or less than an hour before serving).


  • 9 rectangular graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 (14-ounce each) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 5-6 lemons)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F making sure one of the racks is in the middle of the oven. Break the graham crackers into pieces and add them to a blender, food processor or ziploc bag and crush (or roll the bag with a rolling pin) until the crackers are finely ground. Mix in the sugar and butter (if using a ziploc bag, transfer the cracker crumbs to a bowl before adding ingredients).
  2. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake the crust for 12-14 minutes, until it is just beginning to brown. Cool the crust completely on wire rack.
  3. Once the crust is cool, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk and set aside in a small container (it will be used later). Whisk the remaining condensed milk with the egg yolks until smooth. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake the pie until the edges are just set but the center still jiggles when the pie plate is lightly moved, about 15 minutes.
  5. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate until well-chilled and set, about 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, using an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer, whip the cream, reserved condensed milk and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped topping over the pie. At this point, the pie could be chilled for up to an hour (any longer and the whipped cream topping can cause the pie to 'weep' and get liquidy). Cut into slices and serve.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country June/July 2013 (used salted butter instead of unsalted)

86 Responses to Luscious Lemon Cream Pie

  1. Melissa says:

    We had this tonight for our Easter dessert, and my grandpa said, “This pie is luscious.” I said, “That’s the name of the recipe!” So delicious, smooth, and the crust was maybe my favorite part. Thank you!

  2. Pennie Coefield says:

    Hi, can I use a baked pie shell instead of Graham cracker crust?

  3. I haven’t met very many desserts with buttery graham crusts that have failed to woo me (the jello and carrots in a graham shell experience was a bit sketchy, I’ll admit) and this is no exception. Utter summer perfection in dessert form.

  4. Jim kimsey says:

    Great recipe. This has become my go-to lemon pie. I’m fortunate that I can pick fresh lemons in my back yard and they are in the pie mix within 5 minutes.

  5. CherokeeNative says:

    A version of this pie recipe has been in my family for years. The only difference being that our crust is made out of Nilla Wafers. We call it Lemon Ice Box Pie.

  6. Chante says:

    I need this recipe. Please.

  7. Samantha Coogan says:

    What am I supposed to do with the reserved tablespoons of lemon juice? I don’t see where they are later added in your recipe.

  8. Charlie says:

    Put some cream of tartar in your whipped cream mixture. Maybe about a tsp.
    It should keep it from weeping.
    It acts as a stabilizer.

  9. Maureen says:

    Was wondering if the whipped cream topping could be made ahead of time & then put on the pie right before serving.

    • Mel says:

      I think so – sometimes whipped cream gets a little liquidy if refrigerated so you might need to give it a quick mix with the electric mixer or blender before adding to the pie if it has been made ahead of time.

  10. Christi says:

    Could u top this with meringue instead of whipped cream?

  11. Ann says:

    This recipe looks fabulous! How much should I alter this recipe if I use a 9×13 pan? Perhaps double the recipe?

  12. MoskiC says:

    I am now 3 lbs heavier due to this pie. I made it for my hubby’s birthday and had a piece a night (2 the first night)! It is amazing! Next time I will try it with key lime juice. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  13. Brittany says:

    Me again! Haha. I made this last weekend and it was devoured ravenously. My boyfriend is requesting a key lime pie this time… I was thinking of just using this recipe and substituting lime juice/lime zest for the lemon juice. Would that work??

  14. Brittany says:

    Hi! I want to bake this this weekend but would like to add a little lemon zest to the filling. How much would you suggest? Thanks!

  15. Sarah says:

    I made this yesterday with lemons from my tree. I added lemon zest to the filling and just used graham crackers and butter for the crust. I never add sugar when making a graham cracker crust. You won’t even miss it. Pie was great, will definitely make again.

  16. Jodi says:

    I brought this pie to our family Thanksgiving yesterday, and it was a big hit! There were about 10 pies to choose from, and this was the first to be gobbled up. 🙂 Thanks, it was so, so delicious!

  17. Tina says:

    this recipe sounds great. But our family is not big fans of graham crackers. Could Nilla wafers cookies be used in place of graham crackers?

  18. I made this pie over the weekend for a get together with friends. It came together quickly and easily! The texture was wonderful and everyone raved about it. The first few bites were bright and lemony, however, when we got near the crust the flavor of the filling dissipated had barely any lemon flavor to it! While good, it was just sweet, not lemon. What could have caused this? Did I perhaps cook it too long?

    • Mel says:

      Hmmm, I’m not really sure, to be honest. I haven’t noticed the same problem but maybe cutting a few minutes off the cooking time could help?

  19. Alicia says:

    I made this yesterday, and it was a hit. It tastes a lot like a creamy lemon bar, in pie form. Thanks for another winning recipe!

  20. Lacey B says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you happen to know what equivalent could be used for graham cracker crumbs instead of whole graham crackers? Going to make this pie for my mom’s birthday tomorrow and cannot wait to try it! Have tried many of your recipes and have loved them all! I especially look forward to your sugar rush each year!! Thank you for blogging and sharing so many wonderful recipes!!

  21. Abby says:

    HI, I used 3 cans of s. cond. milk ….will 3 yolks be enough or should I use 4 yolks ??

    • Mel says:

      Hey Abby – I am not quite sure what you are asking?… Did you double the recipe? Only 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk are used in this recipe.

  22. Abby says:

    OHHH boy does this bring back memories !
    My mom started making this when I was little and from then on it was called graham cracker pie by us girls, that was in 1950… oopps gave away my age didn’t I…well I’ve continued to make this & take it everywhere and it has always been a hit. My
    g’ daughters are now making it.
    Thank for sharing it…

  23. Kira says:

    This pie won the lemon pie smack down tonight. It went head to head with Martha Stewart’s lemon cream pie (made with sour cream). The judges were my three kids. This pie took the gold for it’s creamy smooth texture and slight vanilla note. This pie is going to be my contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving gatherings. Thank you!

  24. john says:

    wow.dont waste your time with lemonade – use the lemons for this pie.simple and easy without all the chemicals a store bought pie has in it.i followed it exactly.i recommend spraying the plate.mine was a bit sticky on the glass.smooth,creamy and got rave reviews because i had to share it.

  25. Lily says:

    This was such a delicious pie! I brought it into work and my coworkers couldn’t stop raving about it.

    I made a few adjustments though –
    I only used 1.5 tbsp of sugar and the crust was plenty sweet
    I added in the zest of about 3/4 of a medium size lemon
    I used 5.5 tbsp of butter to make sure the crust stuck together well

    Fantastic recipe!!

  26. Lolalo says:

    I just made this, but since I only had one can of sweetened condensed milk on hand, I halved the recipe and made it in muffin tins to get mini-pies. I want to eat them ALL, but I have limited myself to one. Until after dinner…
    I think this is the recipe I have been searching for. It is like a pie I used to get from a BBQ place back home. SO GOOD! Thank you!

  27. Kim B. says:

    My boyfriend loves lemon things, so I made him this pie as a surprise. He could not get enough of it! I had never had lemon pie before, but I am now a huge fan. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Bevetly says:

    Looks wonderful can’t wait to try

  29. Deb says:

    Made this last night and it was awesome! Very easy to make, just be sure to allow he time for it to chill. Great tangy sweet flavor!

  30. Jenny says:

    Oh man, what an amazing recipe!! I made it for my Dad’s birthday and we couldn’t stop talking about it as we ate it. It was so incredibly velvety. I used Nestle La Lechera sweetened condensed milk and I think it was much better than the Eagle brand. Yum!!

  31. Joanna says:

    I made this yesterday for dessert with friends. Everyone loved it…delicious!

  32. Genevieve says:

    I made it! Delicious!

  33. Now that looks delicious – I have made lemon tarts before but never a pie like this, I’ll make a note of this recipe!

  34. Becca says:

    Could I substitute lime juice for lemon juice?

  35. Colette says:

    Absolutely divine!!!

  36. Bonnie says:

    Made this for a friend’s birthday last night; YUM! The texture of the pie is perfect, and the addition of the sweetened condensed milk makes for a nice, thick topping layer. My husband likes his pie extra-lemony so when I make the pie next (probably this weekend!), I will probably add a little zest to the filling. Thanks for a great recipe.

  37. Megan says:

    First of all, I love every recipe I’ve ever tried from your blog. I hosted book club awhile ago & it was an homage to Mel: I realized that everything I made was from your blog! Alas, this pie did not work out for me 🙁 The crust had way too much butter & not enough graham crackers. Is it supposed to be a typical graham cracker crust? I live in Canada & our graham crackers are different that US brands. Sweetened condensed milk also comes in smaller can so I just measured out 28 oz but it turned out much too sweet & not lemony enough. Where did I go wrong?! I will have to go back to my absolute favorite, Sour Cream Lime Tart. I am asked for that recipe wherever I take the pie. Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Megan – sounds like the difference in graham crackers may have made an impact on the outcome. It is a pretty traditional graham cracker crust. Sorry you didn’t love it!

  38. JoAnn says:

    I made this pie for my husband’s birthday dinner tonight. Can’t wait to dig into it! Thanks for all the effort you put into your blog, its definitely my favorite because of all the practical, flavorful dishes.

  39. Stacie says:

    If I didn’t squeeze the lemons myself, I would have thought this was key lime pie. It was phenomenal! I was crying inside when my kids ate the last two pieces (I promised I would save them for them). My husband wasn’t a big fan, but let’s leave him out of this. He doesn’t like lemon bars, so he doesn’t count. 🙂 I can’t wait to make/eat this again! I love that it’s super easy too!

  40. sound beacher says:

    I made this to bring to a dinner party over the weekend. It was very delicious and pretty easy to make. I’ll be making it again, for sure. Thanks for all your great summer cooking ideas. I bought the limes to make that pie next!

  41. Julie says:

    Mel…I made this pie over the weekend for my parents and it was AWESOME…very lemony, sweet, creamy…it’s was simply delicious. I split open a vanilla bean for the whipped cream part. It was so good…this is a keeper.

  42. Lydia F says:

    Made this recipe last night for dessert. My husband absolutely loved this ! He said it was fabulous and I agree……. so I had some more for breakfast ……..ooops.

  43. grace says:

    i don’t really like key lime pie and though this is similar, i find it much more appealing!

  44. Liz says:

    I made this tonight for my family and its the perfect summer treat. We really liked it! I love anything lemon!

  45. Holly W says:

    Made it for Sunday dessert today. My family loved it. It’s a perfect summer dessert. Thanks for another fantastic recipe! (I’m thinking I want to try it with lime juice now!)

  46. Andreya says:

    The best lemon pie I have ever made! Great recipe! Perfect summer dessert. Once again a tried and true recipe that is great!

  47. Natalie says:

    I made this pie yesterday for my parents for babysitting our two crazy boys. They loved it, and so did I! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes! Love your blog!

  48. bluebaker says:

    Hi Mel-
    A few summers ago, Cracker Barrel had a lemon pie that was heavenly , and I fell in love. But- it was “limited edition”, so when they stopped making it, I tried to recreate it to no avail. Emeril’s icebox lemon pie was close, but not close enough. Yesterday I made your lemon pie, and……
    This. Is. That. Pie!!! The search is over. We had guests over and everyone loved it.
    Thank you so much for all the great recipes.

  49. jenn says:

    Thank you for a lemon pie that does not call for cool whip!! Can’t wait to try this!

  50. Tracey says:

    Darn you and all of your delicious pies!! The week of July 4th I already made your sour cream lime pie TWO times! … (per my husband’s request, but I wasn’t complaining). Now I’m gonna have to try this one too! 😉

  51. It looks almost too creamy to be true 🙂

  52. Natalie says:

    Nevermind, it won’t whip up like whipping cream will…..will have to try subbing some lite cool whip.

  53. Natalie says:

    This looks delightful. How do you think fat free half and half would work as a sub for whipping cream?

  54. Diana says:

    I am so glad you received my mental pleas for a lemon pie. I have the most beautiful overflowing lemon trees in my backyard and have never successfully in my life made a lemon pie. Last week with your help I made perfect lemon squares but I thought it would be asking too much for you to do a lemon dessert again so soon. I am so glad my telepathic powers have worked and you’ve come through for me again Mel Thanks!

  55. Now that looks just heavenly, Mel! The perfect light, lemony dessert for dinner parties.

  56. Jenn in AZ says:

    I’ve made something very similar with lime juice and it turned out wonderful so I’m sure it is great with lemon. Can’t wait to try it.

  57. Sally says:

    I saw this in Cook’s Country and on another blog, too. It sounds delicious. I’d like to try a lime version as well. Lemon and lime are favorite flavors. I like them even better than chocolate!

  58. Kathy says:

    I just found a whole bag of lemons in my fridge. This pie sounds like a good use for them!

  59. Lemon is my most favorite EVER EVER EVER!!!!! This needs to happen.

  60. I looooove lemon! Thanks for the recipe!

  61. Jennifer says:

    My husband’s birthday is in a few days and with his love of lemon, we may be having this pie instead of cake. Thanks!

  62. Oh yes please! Love lemon on a hot day in the summer … and guess what? It’s darn hot today so a lemon pie is in my near future!

  63. Kathy F. says:

    I do believe this will be on our menu for the weekend 🙂

  64. Jen T says:

    Made your lemon bars, and this also looks divine! Lemon is the perfect summer flavor. Thanks!

  65. Teresa R. says:

    I love lemon pies in the summer and this one sounds delicious. Thanks!

  66. MelanieL says:

    Lemon is my FAVORITE! This looks so yummy, I can’t wait to try it!

  67. Kim in MD says:

    I love lemon desserts (and lemon anything, really)! With our heat index expected to be 108 degrees, I sadly won’t turn on my oven today, but I am SO making this on Sunday when our temps are in the 80’s!

  68. This pie looks amazing! Love the creamy lemon look!

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