This no-bake Lemon Pie recipe is a lemon lovers perfect dessert! Buttery graham cracker crust filled with silky lemon custard filling made with fresh lemons. It’s a crowd favorite great for hot summer days and holiday celebrating too!
Creamy Lemon Pie is a sweet and tangy bright dessert recipe perfect in any season. In the winter the bright flavor and sunny color is a welcome escape from the cold. In the summer, the cool, custardy lemon pie filling is so refreshing on a hot day. Any time is a GOOD time for an easy lemon custard pie!
This no bake lemon pie uses simple ingredients. Use our homemade graham cracker crust recipe or a pre-made graham cracker crust (regular or gluten-free) to save time! The creamy lemon filling tastes like summer time.
This recipe does not use lemon pudding mix or sweetened condensed milk for the filling! Add this easy dessert to your favorite lemon desserts! No bake pie recipes are always a great recipe to have on hand.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
All ingredients are easy to find. You may even have them in your kitchen now!
Graham cracker crust. Use a homemade crust or a pre-made crust. Regular or gluten-free pie crusts both work.
Granulated sugar. Used to sweeten the tart filling.
Cornstarch. This thickening agent for the easy lemon pie recipe.
Lemon zest. Lemon peel adds delicious lemon flavor to the filling. Zest the lemons before juicing before juicing them. We love this zester that only removed the zest, never the bitter white pith underneath.
Lemon Juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice from 3 large lemons (3/4 cup of juice). Fresh lemon juice tastes better! We love a handheld juicer for the best juice extraction and it’s very easy. TIP: Microwave the lemon for 10 seconds before juicing to extract more juice!
Egg yolks. Three large egg yolks will be used.
Unsalted butter. Will be stirred into the pie filling for a rich flavor.
Vanilla Extract. Adds vanilla flavor to the filling.
How to Make Lemon Pie – Step-by-Step
Printable instructions in the recipe card at the end of the blog post.
STEP 1. Make the lemon filling
In a medium non-reactive saucepan (see FAQ section below) combine the sugar, cornstarch, half and half, lemon zest, and lemon juice (photos 1-4). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until mixture starts to bubble.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking constantly DO NOT OVER COOK (photo 5).
STEP 2. Temper the egg yolks
Place the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add a spoonful of hot lemon mixture in to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Repeat with an additional spoonful, stirring constantly (photo 6).
Add the tempered yolks back to the pan (photo 7). Cook an additional 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
STEP 3. Finish filling
Stir in butter and vanilla (photo 8). When mixture is smooth, pour into the pie crust.
STEP 4. Chill
Allow it to cool slightly at room temperature then cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is even better). Slice and serve topped with whipped topping or Cool Whip, fresh lemon slices or fresh raspberries for a pop of bright color.
Use a traditional pie crust. If you’d prefer a traditional crust use our All-Butter Pie Crust or store bought crust. Blind bake and cool before adding the filling. Flour crusts can become soggy if not fully cooled before adding the pie filling.
Vanilla wafer crust. A vanilla wafer crust can also be substituted.
Frequently Asked Questions
When cooking with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice it’s important to use a pan made of a material that will not react chemically to the acid.
Here are examples of non-reactive pans: stainless steel, glass, ceramic or one that is coated with enamel.
It is a process of combining egg yolks with a small amount of a hot liquid to allow them to temperature adjust before being fully mixed into a larger batch of hot liquid (like this lemon pie filling). If the egg yolks are added directly to the larger mixture they can cook and curdle. This process is used when creating a hot custard or ice cream recipe.
We recommend making this pie no earlier than 2 days ahead of time for best results. You can make it the night before, chill overnight then garnish and serve the following day!
How to Store
The pie can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Tightly seal the pie before placing it into the refrigerator.
Freezing not recommended. Typically custard filled pies do not freeze and thaw successfully. They can become watery.
More Pie Recipes You’ll Love!
No Bake Lemon Pie
- 1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust homemade or store bought; regular or gluten-free9-inch
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest about 2 large lemons
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice about 3 large lemons
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped cream for topping (optional)
Optional Garnish ideas
- lemon slices
- lemon zest
- fresh mint
- In a medium non-reactive saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, half and half, lemon zest, and lemon juice over medium-high heat, stirring often, until mixture starts to bubble.
- Once simmering, turn heat down to medium and cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking constantly. NOTE: set a timer for 1 minute and DO NOT OVER COOK. Mixture should be thickened and creamy. Remove saucepan from heat.
- ‘Temper’ egg yolks by adding a spoonful of hot lemon mixture in to the egg yolks. Whisk constantly to mix together. Repeat with one additional spoonful, whisking constantly; add the tempered eggs into lemon mixture.
- Return pan to stovetop on medium heat and cook for an additional 90 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Take pan off heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
- Once the butter is melted, pour lemon mixture into prepared graham cracker crust.
- Cool pie in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours
- Once cooled, garnish with whipped cream, lemon slices, lemon zest, and/or fresh mint.
This easy Lemon Pie recipe is always a favorite dessert any time of the year!
Originally published: January 26, 2020