This recipe for Lemon cream pie is easy to prepare, and this variation can be made both gluten-free and dairy-free, depending on the ingredients you choose.
I’m not gonna lie, next to my blueberry pie, this recipe for lemon cream pie is one of the best pies I’ve ever had. It’s sweet, and tart, and has a nice, strong lemon flavor that is very refreshing after a meal. The hard part will be letting it chill in the fridge before you dig in! It’s a creamy lemon pie that will make everyone happy and is great for taking to potlucks, picnics, and barbecues.
This recipe has no heavy cream (unless you use it for the topping), no cream cheese, melted butter, sweetened condensed milk, and zero boxed pudding. Instead, it’s made with fresh, real-food ingredients.
You also won’t need any heavy equipment such as an electric mixer or food processor. Just a simple whisk, bowl, and a 9-inch pie plate (deep-dish is best if you have it). Oh, and maybe a rolling pin so your crust comes out prettier than mine! Just remember to bake it before you proceed with this recipe!
I will mention that I adapted the recipe from Sugar Free Mom. I loved her recipe but had to make some adjustments, not only for clean eating but also to avoid dairy. So here’s my take on her delicious recipe.
What Is Lemon Cream Pie?
Lemon cream pie is the same as lemon meringue pie but with whipped cream on top instead of meringue. It has a pie crust of your choosing, a lemon custard filling, and a whipped cream topping.
What’s The Difference Between Lemon Meringue Pie And Lemon Cream Pie?
The only difference between the two pies is that one is topped with meringue, and one is topped with whipping cream. The crust and the filling are both the same. If you prefer meringue as a topping, here are instructions for making the meringue.
Pie Crust Options
I used this oat flour pie crust. But you can also make this whole wheat pie crust. There also used to be some honey-sweetened, whole-grain, graham crackers at Whole Foods. I’m not sure if they still carry them. But if they do, then you can smash them up, add a little butter, and spread that over the bottom of your pie pan for a graham cracker crust.
Pie Pan Options
Make sure your pie pan is a deep-dish pie pan that is at least 9 inches in diameter. An 8-inch pie pan will be too small for the amount of filling this makes.
Do I Need to Use Fresh Lemons?
Yes. Because you’ll also be needed fresh lemon zest. The good news is, you only need a few juicy lemons to get what you need.
Can I Use Spray Whipped Topping?
You could, of course. However, it’s not the best way to go. Neither for flavor nor for health. Your best bet is to either make whipping cream from scratch with a natural sweetener or (for those who are dairy-free) use full-fat coconut milk in the can. If you go this route, the can will need to sit in the fridge for a couple of days before you make this to ensure that all the cream floats to the top of the can for you to use. Here are instructions for making coconut whipped cream.
Why Is My Lemon Pie Filling Not Thickening?
There are two reasons this might be happening.
- Your oven isn’t baking at the temperature you think it’s baking at. An oven thermometer will remedy this.
- You overmixed the filling. While this is more of an issue when starch is added to the filling (this recipe doesn’t call for that), you still want to be gentle with this filling recipe. And if you prefer to add some starch for extra stability, add about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or tapioca starch to the batter before baking.
Can Lemon Cream Pie Be Made Ahead Of Time?
Yes! But I recommend storing it in the fridge without the topping. Storing it with the whipped cream on top can make the crust a bit soggy. So add the whipped cream just prior to serving.
About The Lemons
You’ll want to use fresh lemon juice and zest for this. Even if you have to juice and zest ahead of time. The fresh stuff will go a long way in creating that perfect lemon flavor you want in a pie like this.
A Note About The Sweetener
The pie you see in the photos here was made with a granular sweetener that doesn’t really fall under clean eating guidelines. This is an exception I make for myself in my own eating plan to accommodate my blood sugar.
For those who want to know, I used Erythritol. It is a sugar alcohol and should at all times, be kept away from your pets if you use it! It can actually kill them because they do not regulate their blood sugar like we do. So be very careful if you go this route and have pets.
All this, to get to the following point: If you are using a clean, unprocessed sweetener (such as monk fruit, Sucanat, or coconut sugar), the color of your filling will be a bit darker. The flavor will be just as good, but these sweeteners are naturally darker in color, so your pie filling will be too.
Thankfully, there is no adjustment needed in the measurements. Erythritol, at least as I’ve always used it, is a 1:1 replacement for most sweeteners. So use whatever granular sweetener you prefer.
About The Topping
If you wish, you can add a teaspoon vanilla to the whipped cream. I don’t generally add it, but some folks might like it. Make the whipped cream first, taste it, and see if you want to quickly mix some in.
What Is Lemon Pie Filling Made Of?
Eggs – You can use chilled eggs in a pinch, but room-temperature eggs will work better. Use the whole egg. Both the egg yolks and the whites. You do not need to separate the eggs.
Granular sweetener – I recommend monk fruit for this simply for its color. Sucanat or coconut sugar will give you a much darker custard. It’s not bad, but the color might be a bit off-putting for a lemon cream pie.
Plain yogurt – You can also use Greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt like I did. I used the Kite Hill brand of almond milk yogurt. (Not paid to promote them).
Lemon zest – Plus extra for garnish
Lemon Cream Pie Crust
Pick any crust from the above options.
Lemon Cream Pie Topping
Coconut cream – This is the approximate measure that you will get from 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk that has been fully chilled in the fridge. You can use heavy whipping cream instead if you wish.
Honey – Or granular sweetener.
Pure vanilla extract – Use the real stuff, not vanilla flavoring.
Cream of tartar – Optional, but good for structure.
How To Make Lemon Cream Pie
Preheat oven to 400℉. (Note that this recipe assumes you have already pre-baked your pie crust.)
Zest your lemons and set the zest aside. Juice the lemons and set that aside too.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl.
Add all other filling ingredients to the eggs.
Whisk just until it becomes smooth. Do not overmix.
Pour the mixture into your pre-baked crust.
Set the pie pan on a sheet pan for stability and set the whole thing in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven when done. Let it cool for a bit on a wire rack, and then transfer it to the fridge to cool completely. This can take 2-4 hours.
Once chilled, you can top your pie with whipped cream, extra lemon zest, and even a lemon slice for garnish.
Slice and serve.
Storing Lemon Cream Pie
You’ll want to store this in the refrigerator. It will last for up to 5 days without any topping on it, and up to 2 or 3 days with the topping.
Can Lemon Cream Pie Be Left Out Overnight?
Nope! It needs to be kept in the fridge at all times. Not only to maintain its consistency but also for food safety.
Can Lemon Cream Pie Be Frozen?
Yes, without the topping. Fresh whipped cream won’t freeze well. So if you already have the topping on there and end up with leftovers you want to freeze, you’ll have to scrape the topping off with a spatula. Luckily, it’s quick and easy to do!
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Recipe For Lemon Cream Pie – Recipe Card
Lemon Cream Pie Recipe
- 1 deep-dish pie pan
- 1 Sheet pan
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 set of measuring cups and spoons
- 1 Whisk
- 1 standard pie crust (see options above – Note that this recipe assumes you have already pre-baked your pie crust.)
- 5 large eggs
- ¾ cup plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works too)
- ½ cup granular sweetener
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup coconut cream (This is the approximate measure that you will get from 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk that has been fully chilled in the fridge. Or use regular heavy whipping cream.)
- 1 tbsp. honey (or any sweetener you prefer)
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar (Optional, but helps with structure. You can also use plain gelatin)
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Zest your lemons and set the zest aside.
- Juice the lemons and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl.
- Add all other filling ingredients to the eggs and whisk just until it becomes smooth. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into your pre-baked crust.
- Set the pie pan on a sheet pan for stability and set the whole thing in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the pie from the oven when done. Let it cool for a bit, and then transfer it to the fridge to cool completely.
- Once chilled, you can top your pie with whipped cream, extra lemon zest, and even a lemon slice for garnish. Slice and serve.