Lemon Icebox Pie

Made with a classic graham cracker crust and plenty of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, this soft and creamy Lemon Icebox Pie is so delightful! It’s not too sweet, not too tart, and super easy to make with minimal ingredients.

A lemonade icebox pie with one slice missing and two fresh lemons behind it

The Ultimate Lemon Pie Recipe

This bright and beautiful dessert combines two of my favorite things – the soft, creamy texture of key lime pie and the lovely flavor of lemon. It’s a refreshing treat in the summer and an ultra-tasty way to get in your Vitamin C during the wintertime. With swirls of fluffy homemade whipped cream piped on top, it’s seriously hard to stop eating!

The process of making it is super straightforward, and you only need a handful of ingredients for each component. The hardest part about making this pie is waiting for it to cool before you dig in! Absolute torture. But the moment you take your first bite, you’ll be on cloud nine.

What is an Icebox Pie?

Icebox pies are a Southern classic! Before refrigerators and freezers were a thing, people living in the South used highly insulated “iceboxes” to keep their food cold – hence the name of this type of pie. Traditionally, they didn’t require any baking so that making them wouldn’t heat up the house in the summertime.

Nowadays, an icebox pie refers to pretty much any pie that’s meant to be served cold. Think banana cream pie, key lime pie, chiffon pie, etc. This easy recipe takes one of those classics – lemon icebox pie – to a whole new level of amazingness!

A piece of lemon pie on a dessert plate with a metal fork beside it

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s talk about everything you’ll need to make this pie from start to finish. First up, our lovely crust!

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • Graham Crackers: Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb.
  • Sugar: For a touch of sweetness.
  • Salt: For flavor.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted.

For the Lemon Pie Filling

  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed from 6-8 lemons.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Make sure you don’t pick up evaporated milk by mistake.
  • Large Eggs: You’ll only need the yolks.
  • Lemon Zest: Finely grated from fresh lemons.

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Don’t remove this from the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  • Powdered Sugar: This does add a bit of sweetness, but its main purpose is to stabilize the whipped cream so it doesn’t wilt in the fridge.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use a good quality extract for the best results.
An overhead shot of a lemonade icebox pie on top of a pie plate with a wavy rim

How to Juice Lemons

Follow the instructions below to get as much juice as possible out of your lemons. Be sure to zest them before you squeeze them to make your life easier.

  • Microwave: Place your lemons onto a microwave-safe plate and heat them for 30 seconds. This helps release the juice from the membranes inside of the fruit.
  • Roll: Use your dominant hand to firmly roll each lemon against a hard, flat surface for a couple of seconds.
  • Slice & Juice: Slice each lemon in half, lengthwise, and use your citrus juicer to extract as much juice as you can. If you have a handheld lemon reamer, place a bowl underneath it to catch the juice.

How to Make Lemon Icebox Pie

Once you have your lemon zest and juice, everything else practically falls into place. It’s time to make some pie!

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. Make Crust: Add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. Then add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is well combined and crumbly.
  3. Add to Pan: Transfer the crust mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and spread the crumbs around so that they’re evenly dispersed. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, then set it aside.
  4. Combine Lemon Juice & Condensed Milk: Whisk the lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk together in a medium-sized bowl. Set the mixture aside.
  5. Beat Lemon Zest & Egg Yolks: Add the lemon zest and egg yolks to a large mixing bowl. Beat on high until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Combine Mixtures: Pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Bake: Pour the lemon pie filling into the pan with the crust and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the pie are set and the center jiggles slightly.
  8. Let Cool: Cool the pie on a cooling a rack for an hour, then refrigerate it until it’s firm, about 5-6 hours.
  9. Make Whipped Cream: Add the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  10. Pipe Onto Pie: Pipe the whipped cream around the edges of the pie, adding half a lemon slice between each swirl if desired.
  11. Enjoy! Cut your pie into slices and serve it immediately.
A slice of lemonade icebox pie on a marble countertop with the remaining pie in the background

Tips for Success

I’m going to let you in on a couple of handy tips that apply to this particular pie. Read them over before you get started.

  • Do Not Use Bottled Lemon Juice: You just won’t get the same genuine flavor from bottled lemon juice.
  • Beat the Egg Mixture Thoroughly: It’s important to combine the lemon zest with the egg yolks until the mixture turns a paler shade of yellow, which indicates that it’s fully beaten. Using a stand mixer makes this incredibly easy!
  • Keep the Pie Refrigerated: Unless you’re serving your pie right after you add the whipped cream, return it to the fridge. It’s not meant to sit out at room temperature.
A creamy lemon pie topped with swirls of homemade whipped cream, fresh lemon slices and a couple of mint leaves

Variation Ideas

If you’d like to alter something about this lemonade icebox pie, I’m certainly not gonna stop you! I’ll even give you some good ideas:

  • Make Lemon Limeade Pie: Feel free to substitute some or all of the lemon juice with freshly squeezed lime juice – and the same goes for the zest. In fact, you can use any citrus fruit of your choice!
  • More Lemon: If you want an even stronger lemon flavor, swap out 1/4 cup of the sweetened condensed milk for another 1/4 cup of lemon juice. You just don’t want to use all of the two cans of sweetened condensed milk as well as the extra lemon juice, because it likely won’t all fit in your pie pan.
  • Swap Out the Graham Crackers: Not a fan of graham cracker crusts? You can use any cookie crumbs you’re craving. Nilla wafers and shortbread cookies are both great options.
A piece of lemon pie on a fancy dessert plate with one bite on a fork beside the slice

Storage Instructions

This lemonade icebox pie should be kept well-covered in the fridge. It’s best to enjoy it within 4-5 days of making it.

Does Lemonade Pie Freeze Well?

It does! Whether you put it in the fridge or the freezer is entirely up to you – in the fridge, it has a creamy texture similar to that of a key lime pie, while the freezer makes it firmer and frozen (but without being too hard). I find that frozen lemon pie is especially nice when the weather is hot and stuffy.

If you do decide to keep your pie in the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you cut it. This will help the knife go through nice and easily. Frozen lemon icebox pie will last for up to 3 months.

Print
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A lemonade icebox pie with one slice missing and two fresh lemons behind it
Recipe

Lemon Icebox Pie

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Made with a classic graham cracker crust and plenty of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, this soft and creamy Lemon Icebox Pie is so delightful! It’s not too sweet, not too tart, and super easy to make with minimal ingredients.


Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (201g) graham cracker crumbs (about 11 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 3 tbsp (39g) sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 cup (240ml) fresh lemon juice (6–8 lemons)
  • two 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. To make the crust, add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine.
    Add the melted butter and stir until well combined and crumbly.
    Pour the mixture into a deep dish 9-inch pie pan and spread the crumbs around so that they are evenly dispersed.
    Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

  3. To make the filling, whisk the lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the lemon zest and egg yolks on high until pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

  5. Add sweetened condensed milk mixture to egg mixture and stir to combine.

  6. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center jiggles slightly.

  7. Cool on cooling rack for an hour, then refrigerate until firm, 5-6 hours.

  8. To make the whipped cream, add the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

  9. Pipe whipped cream around the edges of the pie, adding half a lemon slice between each swirl, if desired.

  10. Store pie in the fridge. Pie is best if eaten within 4-5 days.


Notes

  • Makes 10-12 slices.
  • To Store: Keep pie well-covered in the fridge and enjoy within 4-5 days for the best results.
  • To Freeze: Cover pie tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 419
  • Sugar: 49.1 g
  • Sodium: 185.7 mg
  • Fat: 18.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.3 g
  • Protein: 8.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 134.8 mg

Keywords: icebox pie lemon, lemon pie filling, desserts with lemon

More Refreshing Icebox Pies to Try

In the mood for another satisfying icebox pie? I highly recommend any of the following recipes.

Recipe slightly modified from Pip and Ebby.

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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Recipe rating

71 Comments
  1. Stacey Copple

    I made this cake for my family for Easter and they loved it ! They all said that it was best lemon cakes they have ever had! I plan on having it for my birthday in a few weeks! Lemon is one of my favorite flavors !

  2. Sierra

    My momma has been making “Lemon Icebox pies” for years and I also have made them, though not often at my house since I’m the only one who eats it here. Your variation is a little more more complex/involved than ours though. We simply juice the lemons, mix it with the sweetened condensed milk (has to be mixed very well or it will not set!) And pour it into the crust, whether homemade or store bought, and put it into the refrigerator, taking care to ensure it’s sitting level, and that’s pretty much it. Once it’s set, just slice and serve! Perhaps those who thought your recipe was too tart would enjoy this somewhat milder version instead. We also make something we call “Banana Split Cake” which uses this simplified version our family has made for generations as a base. Once that is set, in a rectangular cake pan instead of a pie plate, halved small bananas are layered in with pineapple chunks between them, then a thick layer of whipped cream, and topped with chopped nuts and maraschino cherries! It’s very good but extremely rich so it’s best to enjoy small pieces at a time but it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites! And to think I ended up on this page after searching for peanut butter and banana dog ice cream recipes! ????

      1. Sierra

        Well, I’m not going to be be the one eating it but at least it’ll be a good way to attempt to bribe the bratty diva dog into liking me again because she’s about to be very mad with momma! The weather here keeps jumping back and forth between “almost spring” and “Haha, just kidding, here’s some more snow!” ???????????? so, I’m not mean enough to make her and her brother get in the tub for actual soap and water baths yet but it’s coming soon. In the meantime, they’re both getting sprays baths, which she doesn’t actually mind, but she does, however, mind being forced to sit still for the ~20 minute brushing with the Furminator to try and keep some of the what will surely be a full grocery bag of shedded hair off the furniture and carpets. I mean, I know it’s called “FUR”niture but when the winter coat starts coming out I can only deal with so much between my hair shedding and hers before the insanity gets the better of me! ???? For the first time in my life I find I’m envious of the folks with the pocket dogs! Lol! Although in her own mind, she’s a pocket dog too. I mean, I don’t personally have any clothes that would support a 75 pound dog in the pocket but surely someone somewhere does! I’m just glad my 95 pound American bulldog has a single, short coat. He’s far more hyper and it’d surely take me an hour at a minimum to get all that loose fur off! I think I’d just shave them both completely or have myself committed at that point! Haha! My pit bull (possible mix but at least mostly pit anyway) if mostly black with a white chest, blaze on her nose, white-tipped tail, and varying amounts of white on each of her feet! They both LOVE the peanut butter flavored “Frosty Paws” from Purina so I’m think the peanut butter banana homemade ice cream will be a big hit. Plus, I think once the weather is warm enough to sit on the deck for a while it’ll keep her occupied and still for a while so I can paint the little brat’s nails and she can stay put long enough for them to dry. I know, it sounds like I’m the crazy dog lady but I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I should paint the dog’s nails. I was painting my own while sitting on my bed with her right next to me one day and I got 2 nails painted before she started shoving her big paw in my way. I moved it a few times but eventually, as I was getting rather flustered, I thought, “maybe she just thinks that her nails ought to be painted too.” So I put down a towel in front of her, she presented her paws and sat still just watching me paint her nails as though it was a regular occurrence. Maybe her original owner(s) did it for her before getting rid of her and she was picked up as a stray where I adopted her at 1 1/2 years old. I won’t paint them inside the house because they don’t always dry quickly and I hate trying to remove nail polish from my carpets. She ignored me for the rest of the day when I painted my nails 3 weeks ago and she kept trying to shove her paw on my hand/in front of me in an attempt to get me to do hers too. When I told her “no” she sulked and pouted. I find that spraying the newly painted nails with cooking spray cures them nearly right away but still she always manages to get it on the carpet anyway if it’s not done outside/on the deck.

        Holy crap I really got off on a tangent with that “essay” of a response! Sorry! Lol! In regards to my previous comment I realized I didn’t quite give the right description of the bananas being added. They are cut in quarters with one cut in the center horizontally and then each half cut into halves lengthwise. Then they are placed with the flat side down. Talking about it is making me crave it since I haven’t had it in years! If I decide to get the ingredients I may make an instructional video. If I do I’ll send you a link to try it out for yourself if you’d like. Also, I can’t remember how to get back to the dog ice cream recipe page so I’ll ask this while I’m here so I don’t forget: do you have a suggestion on the portion sizes? How big is your dog and what is the approximate serving size she gets?

        Again, sorry for the long reply/comment here!!!

  3. JSG

    An easy way to smooth out the tart, is to blanch your zest, once or twice. It all depends on what variety of lemons your using. It may take a few trys till you find the right acidity your looking for. You can also add a very little bit of salt, but this can also be a taste challenge. A way to keep your centers from be too liquidity, use a whole egg or 2, if centers crack, use less whole eggs.

  4. Arielle

    I make this pie all the time just a bit different on three whole eggs and 1 pkg of cream cheese in addition to the other ingredients but I don’t bake mine I put in fridge for 5+ hours and u can dig in. HEAVEN

  5. Pamela

    I made this for Easter dinner at the in-laws yesterday and it was a huge hit!  Even my picky nephew asked if I could leave the left-overs, lol.  Thanks!

  6. Sarah

    I made this pie last night. It as so delish. I made it as a surprise for my boyfriend who loves lemon icebox pies. He is actually a chef, and he really enjoyed it. So, I think this recipe is definitely a keeper.

  7. Jess

    If I wanted to bake these in mason jars as individual sized pies, do you think the baking time would be about the same or less?

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12