Lemon Icebox Pie

lemon icebox pie with a slice missing

Old fashioned lemon icebox pie is my idea of heaven on a summer night. A crumbly graham cracker crust is filled with a tangy lemon custard and heaped with vanilla scented whipped cream. Devour it cold from the fridge.

Lemon Icebox Pie with whipped cream

My lemon icebox pie recipe is a Southern summer classic

This lemon pie is the real deal, old fashioned lemon pie grandma might have made. It’s a barely-bake recipe because the crust just needs a few minutes in the oven, then the custard filling is cooked on the stove top. Just fill and chill for the best lemon pie ever. Don’t forget the generous layer of Chantilly cream (sweetened vanilla whipped cream) it makes the pie extra special.

lemon icebox pie with slice on a plate

Why my lemon pie recipe is best 🙂

This is the only one you’ll ever need, and here’s why:

  • the filling is bright yellow and super lemony because it’s made with lots of fresh lemon juice. It has that tang I look for in a lemon dessert.
  • there is no gelatin, artificial whipped topping (cool whip,) pudding mix, frozen lemonade, or raw eggs in my pie. Paula Deen and the Pioneer Woman make theirs with cream cheese ~ I’m not down with that. Ree even tops hers with berries ~ horrors!
  • my recipe does contain sweetened condensed milk, which makes it rich and silky.
  • my custard filling is thickened on the stove so there’s no need to bake it. It turns out thick and creamy without being stiff, and so delicious you could spoon it into bowls and eat it all by itself.
  • the crumb crust has just enough butter to hold it together, but not so much that it becomes shellacked and hardened. It has a lovely crumbly texture which I love.
  • I add a touch of vanilla to the whipped cream topping, which goes surprisingly well with the tart lemon.

lemon pie with crumb crust

Convert this lemon pie to a no bake recipe

You can easily convert the pie to a no bake recipe, the crust will be fine, just a little more crumbly. If you like you can add  an extra tablespoon of melted butter to the crumbs to hold them together better.

Use other cookies and crackers for your crumb crust

The beauty of a crumb crust is that you can use just about any cookie or cracker you like. This pie would be wonderful with gingersnaps, Biscoff, Nilla wafers, or even a dark chocolate wafer cookie like Nabisco’s Famous Wafers. Trader Joe’s makes a thin Meyer lemon cookie that would work, too. But frankly? I think plain old graham crackers are best.

creamy lemon pie with crumb crust

A lemon dessert is only as good as the lemons you make it with

  • use fresh lemons, not bottled juice.
  • to get the most juice from your lemons (which can be pricey) roll them on the counter using the pressure of your palms to break down the cell walls in the fruit to release more juice.
  • then microwave the whole fruit for 20 seconds before squeezing. You’ll get your money’s worth!

fresh lemons for lemon sugar

We’re loving lemon desserts!

lemon icebox pie with a slice missing
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5 from 20 votes

Lemon Icebox Pie

Old fashioned lemon icebox pie is my idea of heaven on a summer night.  A crumbly graham cracker crust is filled with a tangy lemon custard and heaped with vanilla scented whipped cream.   Devour it cold from the fridge.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
chilling 6 hours
Yield 8 -10 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

crust

  • 2 cups grahm cracker crumbs (about 16 whole graham crackers, finely crushed)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5-6 Tbsp melted butter (I use 5 for a looser crumb crust)

filling

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (about 6-7 lemons)
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • graham cracker crumbs for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a bowl, blending everything together until all the crumbs are evenly moistened and there are no large lumps.
  • Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes.
  • To make the filling whisk together the lemon juice, eggs, yolks, and sugar in a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk until the eggs are completely broken up and incorporated. It will be a glorious golden yellow color!
  • Set over medium heat and cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. You are not looking for it to boil, just cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take 10-15 minutes, and you may want to turn the heat down a bit toward the end to prevent curdling.
  • Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve into a bowl, (this will get rid of any little lumps of cooked egg) and whisk in the condensed milk. Make sure to get everything evenly combined, and then pour into the crust and refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 hours or overnight.
  • Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until thick and then dollop over the chilled pie. Dust with graham cracker crumbs and garnish with lemon slices or lemon zest if desired. Wait to top the pie with the whipped cream until shortly before serving.
    Want your pie super chill? Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.

Cook's notes

You can substitute gingersnap crumbs for the graham cracker crumbs.
Try topping your lemon pie with sweetened sour cream, or a mixture of sour cream and whipped cream.
You can whip the extra egg whites into a meringue for another topping variation.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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30 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Susan Coss
    June 11, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    5 stars
    Could you make the lemon pie with lime juice instead

  • Reply
    Jeanie
    March 7, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    5 stars
    It was a hit! Husband loved it for his birthday. I substituted sugar for Swerve to lower sugar content. I ended up making a meringue instead of the whipped cream; I just couldn’t waste the egg whites and it was a lot cheaper than buying the heavy cream. Substituting swerve in every component was a success.

  • Reply
    Nance
    May 16, 2021 at 5:10 am

    5 stars
    I made your pie and it was easy and looks beautiful and tastes delicious. Beautiful Spring dessert. Thank you. And btw I enjoyed your tongue in cheek write up.

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    March 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Can you freeze the leftover pie? How long will it last in the freezer?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 21, 2021 at 6:20 am

      I haven’t tried freezing this pie Kathryn, but my instinct tells me it wouldn’t do so well. It does last a good while in the fridge, though.

  • Reply
    Abby
    March 14, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    This was so delicious! I substituted coconut sweetened condensed milk to make it dairy free and used meyer lemons. The flavor was so bright and tart – perfect. After 6 hours it was not set in the middle but we couldn’t wait any longer to eat it. Do you think it just needed more chilling time?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 15, 2021 at 7:22 am

      Probably, Abby, Maybe the coconut milk sets differently.

  • Reply
    Cecilia
    October 31, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    5 stars
    Loved this! Could I sub lime juice for a lime pie?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 31, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      I’m sure that would be delicious. You might put some coconut in the crust.

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