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
5 from 16 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



  • 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)


  • 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


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


  • 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.

lemon icebox pie pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    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
    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
    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
    October 31, 2020 at 12:50 pm

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

    • Reply
      October 31, 2020 at 1:07 pm

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

  • Reply
    Maria Nyby Tilmans
    July 21, 2020 at 7:54 am

    I assume the sweetened condensed milk is added at step 4?

    • Reply
      July 21, 2020 at 9:24 am

      The condensed milk gets whisked in in step 6.

  • Reply
    Lynda Black
    July 10, 2020 at 6:42 am

    5 stars
    Love this Lemon Icebox pie recipe. I can’t wait to try it for my family.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    5 stars
    This is divine! Heavenly when served with fresh strawberries, too. I, too, did not bake the crust and wasn’t disappointed, it was delicious. Also, I froze it without incident. 🙂 Great recipe, thanks!

    • Reply
      July 7, 2020 at 5:16 am

      Thanks Jane, I’m intrigued by the idea of adding strawberries ~ yum!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2020 at 6:51 am

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I made this for Fathers Day weekend and it was amazing. So good. I used a combination of Meyer Lemons and regular. It was so lemony, light, easy to make. A huge hit with my lemon lover.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2020 at 11:29 am

    5 stars
    Another suggestion for the base or crust of the pie would be digestive cookies as the are not as sweet. For someone like me who doesn’t like graham crackers they are an easy alternative that gives it a british take. I cannot wait to make this recipe as it looks incredible.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Good idea 🙂

  • Reply
    June 18, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Your recipe specifies extra large eggs, but I only have large eggs. Will that make a difference?

    • Reply
      June 18, 2020 at 11:08 am

      You’ll be fine with large eggs.

    • Reply
      June 20, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      5 stars
      Thank you! I made the recipe this morning and it’s delicious! Instead of a single 9” pie, I added the filling to 12 mini, ready made crusts. Perfection. I’ll be making for my son’s graduation party.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Your pie sounds divine with the tartness I adore but please refrain from bad mouthing other bloggers as their pie recipe may be perfect for amateur bakers. Looking forward to making this soon.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2020 at 4:05 am

      My comments in the blog are meant to be tongue in cheek 🙂

    • Reply
      October 11, 2020 at 12:44 am

      5 stars
      Please refrain from trying to manage others’ comments, especially those of the author of this recipe.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    5 stars
    What if you wanted to make it just a plain custard to put fruit on top of it. I would want to leave out the lemon. What could I do for measurement of ingredients

    • Reply
      June 16, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      I suppose you could substitute milk or the lemon juice, Gerry. And use vanilla for the flavoring.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    5 stars
    Such lemony lusciousness and I am drawn to the purity of the ingredients—nothing artificial. I definitely plan on making it soon. Thanks, Sue. Your recipes are so appealing.

    • Reply
      June 16, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks Linny, I loved this pie!

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    June 16, 2020 at 6:13 am

    5 stars
    Your lemon pie looks so beautiful!! So funny, I made a southern lemon pie and planning to post it this week! Pinning it!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2020 at 6:16 am

      It’s that time of year 😉

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