Lemon Icebox Pie
This lemon icebox pie recipe is just the thing for a warm summer day! It will be the hit of any picnic, potluck, or backyard BBQ!
This old-fashioned lemon icebox pie recipe is a classic Southern dish, but is basically just a lemon version of a key lime pie. It’s smooth, sweet, and sour with the buttery graham cracker crust. The perfect thing to top off a picnic or backyard BBQ.
For this lemon ice box recipe, if you want to skip making your own crust you can buy a premade graham cracker crust from the grocery store. There is no shame in saving yourself a little time and effort!
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Ingredients You’ll Need
- Graham cracker crumbs – I buy the boxed crumbs but it is about 14 graham crackers if you are making your own crumbs.
- Sugar – We use granulated white sugar for this recipe.
- Butter – We use salted butter.
- Fresh lemon juice – Use 6-8 lemons. You can use store bought if you need to.
- Sweetened condensed milk – We use Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk. You can find this in the baking aisles at your grocery store.
- Egg yolks – You can separate the egg whites from the yolk yourself, or just buy egg yolks from the grocery store.
- Lemon zest – Make sure you zest your lemons with a lemon zester BEFORE you cut and squeeze them for the juice.
Step 1 – Preheat. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Step 2 – Make your crust. In a bowl mix together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter to mixture and mix thoroughly. Pat the graham cracker mixture into a greased pie plate making sure to go up the sides to create a nice crust. You can also buy a premade graham cracker pie crust and skip this step.
Step 3 – Bake the crust. Bake crust for 10 minutes then remove from oven and let cool.
Step 4 – Mix pie filling. While the crust bakes and cools mix the rest if the ingredients together in a bowl.
Step 5 – Bake the pie. Once the crust has cooled, pour the lemon pie filling into the crust, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle jiggles slightly.
Step 6 – Chill. Once baked, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely before covering it with plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If overnight isn’t possible, chill it for at least 6 hours.
Step 7 – Add whipped cream and serve. Serve with homemade whipped cream!
How to Juice a Lemon
Lemons typically have 3-4 tablespoons of juice in each one. To get the most out of each lemon here are some tips for juicing lemons.
Roll your lemon – Turn your lemon on its side and press down on it with the palm of your hand while rolling it back and forth two or three times. This helps to soften up the inside of the lemon and get the juices flowing.
Microwave it – You should always use room temperature lemons when you’re juicing them but it also helps to microwave for 15-20 seconds before juicing. The heating of the lemon starts to break down the membranes inside the lemon making them burst and release their juices.
Use a juicer – This is my favorite little citrus juicer. It’s perfect for measuring out anything from 1 tablespoon to 1/3 cup of juice. Cut your lemon in half widthwise and push it into the pointed top of the juicer. Slowly turn, squeezing in so the lemon scrapes against the ridges of the juicer, and watch it fill up!
It’s called an icebox pie because it is a cold pie and, in the time when it was first made, it was stored in an icebox (what is now a refrigerator). Originally it also was a no bake pie because the acid from the lemon juice was considered enough to “cook” the eggs. We now bake the lemon custard until it is set to avoid any potential health issues with raw eggs.
You will bake the lemon icebox pie for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle jiggles slightly.
Chilling the pie helps the filling set up and gives that lemon flavor time to develop. Let your lemon icebox pie chill for at least 6 hours. I recommend making it a day ahead of time and letting it chill overnight, then in the morning you have a beautiful, creamy, pie that is just the right amount of sour and sweet. Add some homemade whipped cream on top and dig in!
How to Store Lemon Icebox Pie
Refrigerator – Let the pie cool completely. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. You can store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Freezer – If you’re going to freeze the pie, you’ll want to bake it in a dish that is freezer safe. Let it cool completely then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. To eat after freezing, let thaw in refrigerator overnight or until it softens enough to easily cut and serve.
Looking for More Easy Pies?
- Southern Pecan Pie
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Chocolate Chess Pie
- Lemon Chess Pie
- Banana Fluffernutter Pie
- Pecan Slab Pie
- More Pie Recipes…
Lemon Icebox Pie
- 2 cups Graham cracker crumbs, (I buy the boxed crumbs but it is about 14 graham crackers ifyou are making your own crumbs)
- 1/4 cups Sugar
- 6 tablespoons Butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups Fresh lemon juice, (6-8 lemons)
- 24 ounces Sweetened condensed milk
- 8 large Egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Lemon zest, finely grated
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a bowl mix together graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
- Add melted butter to mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Pat the graham cracker mixture into a greased pie pan making sure to go up the sides to create a nice crust.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes then remove from oven and let cool.
- While the crust bakes and cools mix the rest if the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle still jiggles slightly.
- Once baked, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely before covering it with plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours ( I recommend overnight).
- Serve with homemade whipped cream!