Lemon Icebox Pie

Fluffy, creamy, tangy, and refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. It's hard to beat the appeal of this old-fashioned lemon icebox pie.

Lemon Ice Box Pie Recipe
Sally Vargas

Pie IS nostalgia. And this particular lemon icebox pie represents my own personal stroll down memory lane, complete with sighs and happy feelings.

There’s just something about a creamy, dense lemon filling topped with sour cream, settled on top of a graham cracker crust. It’s one of those old-fashioned desserts that takes you back in time. It makes your cheeks pucker and your eyes roll with pleasure.

Lemon Icebox Pie Is Always on the Menu

Lemon icebox pie was one of the first desserts on our menu at the tiny restaurant I started with friends in upstate New York. The restaurant expanded, and a chef—actually a friendly neighbor with a summer house nearby (a weekend retreat from his fancy French restaurant in New York City)—became my mentor.

Our offerings became more and more sophisticated and European. But despite the European influence, we kept some old-fashioned American favorites by popular demand. Lemon icebox pie became one of our signature desserts.

Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe bake the pie
Sally Vargas

How to Make Lemon Icebox Pie

The pie itself takes under 25 minutes to put together, which is not bad in "pie time." First, make the graham cracker crust (15 minutes, here's the recipe), then make the filling (10 minutes). Baking and chilling take longer, so you’ll want to make this pie early in the day you want to serve it—or even better, the night before.

Once the pie is filled, baked and chilled, spread a layer of barely sweetened sour cream on top to give the pie a tangy counterpoint to all the filling’s lemony sweetness. The pie needs to go into the oven for 10 minutes once you add the sour cream, just to set the cream. Then it needs another turn in the fridge to completely chill again.

This is a quintessential summer pie, one you can imagine that your grandmother or great grandmother would make. Put this on the top of your “pies to-make” list and grab a slice of nostalgia.

Lemon Icebox Pie recipe
Sally Vargas

More Favorite Classic Pies

Lemon Icebox Pie

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Chill 6 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 30 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings
Yield 1 (9-inch) pie

Ingredients

For the pie

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust, store-bought or homemade and cooled

For the topping

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

    Set a rack in the middle of the oven.

  2. Make the filling:

    In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and whole egg until thoroughly combined. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk until blended. Add the lemon juice and stir to blend. Pour into the prepared graham cracker crust.

    Lemon Ice Box Pie Recipe make the filling
    Sally Vargas
    Icebox pie with lemon add the lemon juice
    Sally Vargas
    Old-Fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie combine the filling ingredients
    Sally Vargas
  3. Bake the pie:

    Set the pie in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the outside edges look set and the center still jiggles slightly. Set the pie on a rack to cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

    Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe bake the pie
    Sally Vargas
  4. Make the topping:

    In a bowl, stir together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended.

    Icebox Pie with Lemon make the topping
    Sally Vargas
  5. Bake the pie with the topping:

    One to two hours before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a rack in the middle position.

    Spread the topping over the pie and bake the pie for 10 minutes to set the sour cream.

    Remove the pie from the oven, cool briefly, and return to the refrigerator to chill until cold, at least 45 minutes.

  6. Slice and enjoy:

    This pie will keep for up to 24 hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
682 Calories
28g Fat
95g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 682
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 326mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 95g 34%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 82g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 8mg 41%
Calcium 446mg 34%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 638mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.