Lemon butter pie just might be the sweetest discovery of summer ~ an easy almost-no-bake icebox pie with big lemon flavor and a texture you just have to taste to believe!
lemon butter pie is a winning combination of flavors
Go ahead, find a better combo than creamy lemon and crumbly graham cracker crumbs, I dare you! Take it from me when I tell you this pie is the best! I should have some credibility here, I’ve created hundreds of lemon recipes and I know my citrus! I rarely pressure you to make something, but I’m pressuring now ~ this is one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten.
why’s it called lemon butter pie?
Well, it contains a lot of butter, for sure. And the texture is dense and rich ~ unlike any lemon pie you’ve had before, I’m guessing. The whole thing is served super cold, even frozen if you like, so lemon butter is an apt name. If you think you might like a lighter lemon pie, try my Lemon Icebox Pie instead.
lemon butta pie
I was inspired by the Lemon Butta Pie from the small Detroit based company Lush Yummies Pie Co. Their pies have caught the eye of both Oprah and Martha and as far as I can tell they are always sold out! I thought I’d try my hand at recreating one and I’ve nailed it.
Make it, stash it in the fridge and forget about it for several hours (as if that were possible!) Then slice into the cool silky lemony perfection and serve a slice to yourself, or maybe share with your very very very best buddies. Alternatively you can freeze the pie and serve it straight from frozen. This is special, y’all.
5 pantry ingredients for the perfect lemon butter pie
My creamy lemon filling is based on a classic French lemon pastry cream that my friends at food52 slightly adapted from Tartine. Dorie Greenspan shares a similar recipe from Pierre Herme in her Baking from My Home to Yours. I’ve adjusted the recipe a bit to be more user friendly for a casual summer pie.
- lemon juice
- graham crackers
how is lemon cream different from lemon curd?
Lemon cream takes basic lemon curd and makes it lighter, fluffier, and, yes, more buttery. But the intense lemon flavor remains, which is a huge win win. Butter is blended into slightly cooled curd, bit by bit. The butter never fully melts, and so when it chills in the pie crust the resulting texture is like…lemon butter!
temperature is important for making lemon cream
You will need an instant read thermometer for this recipe. You’ll want to know when the hot lemon curd cools just enough: to 140F. This temp is the magic spot where the butter will incorporate into the curd perfectly, without melting too much, or too little.
how to store and serve your lemon butter pie
You’ll store your pie in the refrigerator or in the freezer. It will last a week refrigerated, and 3 months (well wrapped) in the freezer.
This pie is unusual in that it tastes equally great straight from the fridge or from the freezer, it just depends on your taste. I like it both ways, but I think the freezer wins by a nose. The texture is like ice cream! Note: you may want to let the pie sit at room temperature for a bit before serving from the freezer if it has been in more than a couple of hours. 10 minutes should do it.
lemon desserts rule!
- Lemon glazed raspberry bread
- Fresh Lemon Mousse
- Lemon Shortbread
- Meyer Lemon Pudding (super easy recipe!)
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Fresh Lemon Ice Cream
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Butter Pie
- shallow 9 1/2 inch pyrex or metal pie plate, you want something that can go in the freezer if you plan to freeze your pie.
- instant read thermometer
- silicone whisk and spoonula are very handy but optional
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
lemon butter filling
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut in 1 tablespoon sized pieces. The butter should be firm but not cold. Room temperature is good.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a shallow 9 inch pie dish.
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. I find this works best if I use my fingers. Once it's all combined and evenly moistened, gently press it into your pie dish. Don't worry about messy edges, one of the charms of this lemon pie is the ragged crumb crust.
- Bake the pie crust for 8 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- To make the lemon butter filling put the lemon juice, eggs and yolk, and sugar into a medium sized heavy saucepan. Whisk everything together well.
- Heat, whisking or stirring constantly, over medium to medium high heat until the mixture thickens and reaches 180F. I like to use a silicone whisk and spoonula for this job because it makes it easy to scrape the pan completely as the curd cooks. Note: if you haven't made curd or egg thickened sauces or puddings before you may want to stick to medium heat.
- Push the lemon curd through a strainer to remove any stray lumps of egg. Stir to cool the curd to 140F (this won't take long.)
- Transfer to a food processor and turn the machine on. Add the pieces of butter, one at a time, letting each incorporate before adding the next.
- Turn the creamy lemon into your pie crust and spread out evenly. Refrigerate the pie for at least several hours before serving. If you would like a firmer consistency you can pop the pie in the freezer.
- Serve the pie cold, or even frozen. If serving straight from the freezer you may want to let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes or so to soften a bit.
Questions and Reviews
I’ve never work with lemons on a lemon dessert before. I was baffled when my pie came out with an awful heavy metallic flavor. Turns out, lemons and metal pots/utensils don’t mix! I will be making this recipe again and omitting any metal pots/utensils.
This was just delightful! We love it in tiny and not so tiny slices, both plain and with whipped cream. Lemon is the best and this is a beautiful tart-sweet pie that doesn’t overwhelm with sweetness but totally satisfies with rich, bright flavor.
In a pinch, could I use store bought lemon curd and add the butter to it? If so, how much lemon curd should I start with?
This pie is fabulous and so easy!! I made it twice last week and we devoured it. Thanks for another terrific recipe. A question for you: I am using gluten-free graham cracker crumbs and am wondering if that’s why they are sticking to the pie plate? We have to really wrestle to get the crust out of the bottom of the plate each time, to the point that I’m considering making the crust separately and just sprinkling it on top (because what’s better than lemon and graham cracker together?!?!). Any idea what I’m doing wrong?
Are you talking about the crust sticking after coming out of the freezer? I’ve had that problem before with frozen pies, but I didn’t have it this time,so maybe the gf crackers were the issue.
Try using parchment to line your pan.
This is spectacular! I made it today and doubled the filling as suggested by another reviewer, but not the butter. Two lemons didn’t quite yield 1.5 cups so I supplemented with limes. It might not be the exact flavor profile or consistency intended, but MAN it’s good! It’s a new house favorite.
This pie is delicious and so easy to make. I tried not to think about the 1 cup of butter. Next time I make it, I might double the lemon curd but leave the amount of butter the same. The filling as written makes a very small pie. My husband loved it. I kept it in the freezer as you suggested. This recipe is a keeper!
Do I need to use the food processor?
You can use a blender as well. I’ve tried this with an immersion blender and it was very messy. A blender or food processor works best.
I used a hand mixer and it was fine.