Easy Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe

Easy Lemon Icebox Pie Recipe

Will Dickey

Do you want to know why lemon icebox pie is best kind of pie recipe? Since it’s meant to be eaten cold, it’s easy to sneak a slice from the fridge when no one’s looking! Like its tangy cousin key lime pie, this bake-and-chill dessert is supremely easy, making it great for novice bakers. It’s the perfect dessert to take to any summer cookout.

Why is it called lemon icebox pie?

Good question! Back in the day, before folks had power, refrigerators were literally insulated boxes that keep foods cold using a block of ice. Hence, the old-fashioned name for a fridge is an icebox! The cold temperature is the key to getting this custardy pie to set up properly and straight out of the fridge is the perfect way to eat it.

How long do you refrigerate lemon icebox pie?

Because this recipe is made using an egg-based custard that is baked to help the filling thicken, this pie really only needs about 2 hours in the fridge to set and chill. If you are looking to prep this further in advance, you can make it up to a day ahead, then top it with freshly whipped cream just before serving.

Do I need to use fresh lemons for this recipe?

While technically it’s okay to use store-bought lemon juice, this pie will taste so much better with freshly squeezed lemon juice! This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, but go ahead and zest all of the lemons before they get juiced. The zest can be stored in a jar for about a week and can be stirred into cake batter, salad dressings, and marinades to add a pop of citrus flavor.

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Prep Time:





Total Time:





For the Crust:

1 1/2

graham cracker crumbs


salted butter, melted

For the Filling:


14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk


fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)

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  1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork until the crumbs are well coated and stick together when pinched. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. For the filling: Whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice, egg yolks, and lemon zest in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the center is set but still slightly jiggly, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  3. Before serving, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Dollop on the center of the pie and serve. 

Want to save a step? Skip the homemade whipped cream and use your favorite store-bought whipped topping instead!

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