This lemon meringue pie recipe is a pie lover's dream come true! Homemade butter pie crust, creamy lemon filling, and fluffy meringue topping.
Make the Pie Crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or two forks, quickly cut it into the flour until large pea-sizes bits remain.
Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and use a rubber spatula to stir it into the dough, pressing it together. If it still seems dry, add more water a little at a time until it is cohesive.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands, pressing it into a 6-inch round. Lightly flour the top and gently and quickly roll it out to a 13-inch circle, picking it up and doing a quarter turn after every couple of rolls to keep it from sticking.
Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the dough to 1 inch beyond the lip of the pie plate, then tuck it under itself so it is flush with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the edges or press with the tines of a fork, then refrigerate the dough-lined plate for at least 2 hours.
Partially Bake the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the chilled dough-lined pie plate from the refrigerator. Line with a large piece of aluminum foil, pressing it firmly into the edges of the pie dough and over the edges of the crust. Fill the now foil-lined pie plate with granulated sugar (you could also use beans or pie weights, but sugar is the best!). Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and sugar (you can pour the sugar into a container to use again).
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until it is bubbly and thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce the temperature to low.
Very gradually, whisk about half of the hot lemon mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. Increase the heat back to medium and cook until the mixture is thick and large bubbles are breaking on the surface, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted.
Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth into an even layer. Place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the filling to keep it warm and prevent a film from forming while you prepare the meringue.
Make the Meringue: Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment (or a hand mixer), beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, then add the cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat to soft peaks. While continuing to beat the egg whites, gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.
Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the filling and spread the meringue on top. Be sure that the meringue is touching the crust the entire way around to prevent the meringue from weeping. You can make decorative swirls with the back of a spoon, if you’d like.
Bake until the meringue is golden brown on top, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 1 hour, then place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.