This biscuit base for lemon meringue pie is so simple to make, it’s foolproof! It’s crunchy, delicious, and has only 3 ingredients. Simply put, this biscoff cookie base is the foundation for the best lemon meringue pie!
What is lemon meringue pie?
Before we get started on how to make a classic lemon meringue pie with a biscuit base, I want to cover the basics. Lemon meringue pie traditionally has a butter and flour (pastry crust) based pie crust filled with lemon curd and topped with a mountain-tall pile of meringue. It's then baked to create a toasted top that is picture-perfect!
Here’s the thing though, lemon meringue pie is lovely and beautiful but it's a real hassle to make. It takes hours of babysitting and if you make it ahead of time too much, the topping begins to physically weep.
Why Should You Make (and will love) This Recipe?
First and foremost - this perfect lemon meringue pie base is so much easier than making a pie crust, and in my opinion, it tastes so much better. I mean, I get that people love a good flaky pie crust but this biscuit base is made with Biscoff cookies (or you can also use gingersnaps) which add SO much flavor and punch to compliment the lemon!
Besides the delicious base, you’ll love this recipe because of a few other key reasons:
- It can be made in advance - Everything in this pie can be made up to two days in advance except the meringue. The beauty of this is that meringue doesn’t take long to whip up. When you want to serve the pie, remove it from the fridge and top it with the meringue for a fresh pie with only 15 minutes of work!
- It's hassle-Free - This lemon meringue pie with condensed milk doesn’t rely on cornstarch to thicken the sauce or cold butter to make a flaky pie crust. It only requires a blender or food processor to mix the crust up and a bowl to whisk together the lemon filling.
- It uses minimal and pantry staple ingredients - In total, this pie uses 10 ingredients for the crust, the filling, and the topping. And all of the eggs and lemon get used so nothing goes to waste. On top of that (can you tell I am stoked about this recipe??) I bet you already have all the ingredients for this refreshing pie in your fridge and pantry!
Looking for more easy and delicious desserts to try? Try our cheesecake without cream cheese, Biscoff protein balls, or sticky toffee pudding without dates.
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted.
Biscoff Cookies: Biscoff cookies are a biscuit-style cookie that I called airline cookies up until last year. They're almost like crispy gingerbread, packed with punchy flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. You can find them in any grocery store near the other cookies.
Substitutions: Digestive biscuits, graham crackers, gingersnap cookies, or any other crunchy biscuit-style cookie can be used. My other favorite is gingersnaps to make a ginger biscuit base for lemon meringue pie. You can also use a store-bought graham cracker crust in a pinch.
Butter: Melted butter will help hold together this Biscoff lemon meringue pie base.
Substitutions: Coconut oil, ghee, melted vegan butter, or margarine can be used in place of butter. Oil cannot be used because it needs to be solid at room temperature in order to bake properly.
Granulated Sugar: I like to add a little granulated sugar to my biscuit pie crusts. It adds texture and crunch by melting and slightly caramelizing when baked for a really nice crunch.
Substitutions: You can use any granulated sugar substitute. Or, you can leave the sugar out and reduce the butter quantity to 2 tablespoons (rather than 6).
Sweetened Condensed Milk: This easy lemon pie with condensed milk was inspired by a key lime pie which is traditionally made with egg yolks and condensed milk. This then bakes and the egg yolks set the custard as it bakes. I prefer this over thickening with cornstarch because the flavor is much smoother and doesn’t run the risk of becoming gummy from too much cornstarch.
Substitutions: Coconut condensed milk can be used (and will be delicious!).
Lemons and Lemon Juice: You'll need the lemon zest and juice of two lemons for this lemon meringue pie with sweetened condensed milk. And because I want to make sure you really get that zing of lemon, you will need additional lemon juice for the filling.
Substitutions: You can use all fresh lemon juice, but otherwise there is no substitute for lemons in lemon meringue pie.
Eggs: If you ever wondered what eggs do in recipes, this is a great example of the multiple uses of eggs! We will split the eggs into yolks and whites to use the yolks in the custard filling and use the egg whites in the meringue.
When mixed, egg yolks act as a binder and will “set” the custard filling so it's not runny. Egg whites are so light that when whipped vigorously, air pockets form inside them that can then be filled with sugar to create a semi-stable meringue topping.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitutes for the eggs in this pie.
Salt: Always salt your desserts to make them sweeter without adding more sugar! Salt is super cool because when added to desserts it essentially plays a mind trick on your taste buds. The salt makes you search for sweetness, therefore making desserts sweeter without adding more sugar.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitute for this.
Cream of Tartar: This is a sciency white powder used to stabilize egg whites and cookies. It's an acid and is what gives snickerdoodles their tang. It stabilizes egg whites by preventing their proteins from bonding, resulting in a super smooth and pillowy fluffy meringue.
Substitutions: You can leave out the cream of tartar, but understand that the meringue will be even less stable and should only be placed on the biscuit-based lemon meringue pie right before serving.
Powdered Sugar: Meringue becomes meringue when sugar is added to it. The easiest way to do this is with powdered sugar, which is what we use in this recipe. Alternatively, you can also slowly add granulated sugar and risk the egg whites becoming deflated from the weight of the sugar, or you can add hot sugar syrup (simple syrup) to them for a swiss meringue.
Substitutions: As I mentioned, you can use a variety of sugar to make meringue but for best results, I highly recommend using powdered sugar if this is your first attempt at meringue.
How to Make this - Step by Step
Be sure to check the recipe card for full instructions and ingredients for making this easy lemon meringue pie.
Step one: Prep
Preheat the oven, pulverize the Biscoff cookies into fine crumbs, separate your eggs whites and egg yolks, and melt the butter. Store the egg whites in the fridge until ready to use. Make sure there are NO egg yolks in the egg whites, otherwise the meringue will not work.
Step two: Make the biscuit base
Mix the melted butter, sugar, salt, and Biscoff cookies in a bowl until fully combined into a buttery biscuit base.
Step three: Press and bake
Press the cookie base into the bottom (and up the sides if you like) of any 8” pan. I prefer to use a tart pan or cheesecake springform tin because you can remove the side of the pan for easier cutting. For a mini version, you can also make these in a pie tin or cupcake tin. Bake the base for 10 minutes.
Step four: Make the filling
While the base bakes, mix together all the filling ingredients until a smooth custard forms.
Step five: Add the filling to the base
As soon as the base comes out of the oven, you can pour the custard over the top of it. Then return it to the oven to set the custard filling.
Step six: Bake and cool
Bake the custard for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. After the initial cooling period, place the pie in the fridge to continue cooling overnight or in the freezer for 2 hours (minimum).
Step seven: Make the meringue
When ready to serve the pie, remove the egg whites from the fridge and let them warm on the counter for 15 minutes before starting. Whisk the cream of tartar and egg whites with a whisk attachment of the stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). While still mixing, add the powdered sugar a fourth of a cup at a time and continue to mix until stiff peaks form (about 5-7 minutes).
Step eight: Make the pie pretty
Spread the meringue on top of the pie with a spatula or the back of a spoon for a more rustic finish or use a piping bag to make whatever shape you desire. Use either a torch to toast the meringue or place it in the oven on high broil for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
Meringue cannot be overmixed! As long as the egg whites are fully whipped to soft peaks first and the powdered sugar is added slowly, it will eventually turn to stiff peaks. Just keep whisking, just keep whisking, whisking, whisking!
This biscuit base lemon meringue pie can be made the day before! You can make the entire pie and freeze it in an air-tight container. Because the filling is a custard base with condensed milk, it does not freeze solid and the freezer actually helps it retain a smooth consistency!
In addition to that, the meringue will be frozen in place. When ready to serve, you can serve directly from the freezer with no thawing required!
Lemon pie filling may be runny due to the custard not being set. Lemon meringue filling can be thickened either by using corn starch (which relies on heat to activate it) or by using egg yolks and condensed milk (like this recipe).
If you're using corn starch, the filling is runny because it was not heated long enough on the stove. If runny and using egg yolks, it's because it wasn't baked long enough. To verify the pie is set after baking, gently jiggle the sides of the pie to see if the center of the pie slightly jiggles but is solid when touched.
I prefer lemon meringue cold. This is also the traditional way to enjoy it. Eating it cold also ensures you can cut the pie cleanly and it's set all the way. But, you can eat pie however you like!
Want to Save It For Later? Here's How!
Lemon meringue pie is notorious for being difficult to store. Good news though! This pie can be stored in the fridge or freezer with a few tricks!
How do you store lemon meringue pie?
Storing a lemon meringue pie is dependent on whether the meringue topping is on it or not. And if you are wondering “can homemade lemon meringue pie be frozen?”, it sure can with these tips!
If the meringue is on the pie store this pie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Not only will it retain the texture and the meringue will not wilt, but it can be served right away because neither the meringue nor the filling freeze solid.
You can store it in the fridge in a sealed container or wrapped in plastic wrap. It will keep for 4 days but the meringue will begin to weep. It will still taste great though!
If the meringue is not on the pie you can store it in the fridge for 7 days sealed or in the freezer for 3 months sealed.
How long does it take to thaw a lemon meringue pie?
This particular lemon meringue pie does not have to thaw to be served from the freezer. It actually tastes better when frozen and served right away because the filling and meringue topping do not freeze solid thanks to their lower freezer point. This means they completely retain their texture in the freezer! The biscuit base does freeze but that softens plenty just by leaving the pie on the counter while serving.
Did you know that national lemon meringue pie day is August 15th? Now you do! August is the best month and this is the best pie so no coincidence there. To go along with the best of the best, my favorite state, California is the top producer of lemons in the country. So, best month + best state = best pie! (source)
More Joyful Recipes!
Try these summer beverages to drink with your delicious lemon pie!
Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
Biscuit Base For Lemon Meringue Pie
Biscuit Base For Lemon Meringue Pie
- 8.8 oz Biscoff cookies (one sleeve)
- 6 tablespoon butter melted
- ¼ tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Lemon Custard Ingredients
- 28 oz sweetened condensed milk (2 small cans)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup lemon juice + juice from 2 lemons
- zest from 2 lemons
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1-½ cup powdered sugar
Make the Pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks - make sure there are NO yolks mixed with the egg whites otherwise the meringue won’t work. Place the egg whites in the fridge for making the meringue later.
- Pulverize the cookies using a food processor or blender. Mix them with the melted butter, sugar, and salt until fully combined.
- Press the biscuit base into the base and up the sides of an 8” tart pan or pie tin. You can also just press the bse into the bottom of a springform pan or cupcake tins. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While that bakes, whisk the filling ingredients together until smooth. You will use the zest of the two lemons, the juice from the two lemons plus ½ a cup of additional lemon juice for the filling.
- After removing the crust, pour the filling over it and return to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just set and slightly jiggly. Gently tap the top to ensure it is solid but has a slight give. This means the filling is set.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and then transfer to the fridge overnight (4 hours minimum) to set and cool. Or, leave in the freezer for 2 hours to set and cool.
Make the Meringue Topping:
- When the pie is cooled and set or you are ready to serve it, make the meringue. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean glass bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. This should take about 5 minutes.
- While still whisking, slowly add powdered sugar ¼th of a cup at a time and let it whisk 20-30 seconds between each one. Continue adding sugar until glossy and stiff peaks form. You cannot overbeat this meringue so just keep mixing until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the Pie:
- Spread this meringue over lemon filling. Spread all the way to the sides and gently swirl to make whatever design you like. Keep it taller in the middle for a more traditional look. You can also pipe the meringue if that is easier.
- Finish with a blow torch for that classic toasted look. Or bake under high broil for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 hours prior to serving or serve right away. Enjoy!
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