When I called my Grammy to ask for the recipe for the fabulous Lemon Cream Pie she bakes every Easter, I expected her to reach for a classic cookbook or a magazine article she’d clipped. Little did I suspect that the source of this luscious, citrusy lemon-lover’s dream was a 1960s cream cheese package.

The BEST, silkiest Lemon Cream Pie. This is my grandmother's original recipe and has been in my family more than 50 years! @wellplated

To be specific, this lemon cream pie recipe (or rather, my Grammy’s inspiration for it—as with any experienced baker, she’s made her own changes over the years) hails from a 1960s cream cheese cookbook pamphlet my Grammy received by mailing in a coupon clipped from the back of her cream cheese package. Decades later, her family still sits down to devour lemon cream pie.

The pamphlet, titled Philly Pies, contained about 10 cream cheese pie recipes total, and while I’m not sure which other ones my Grammy may have sampled over the years, today’s no bake lemon cream cheese pie is the one that has earned a place in our Easter tradition.

A lusciously rich and silky Lemon Cream, made with cream cheese and lemon custard. This is my grandmother's recipe and has been in our family for 50 years!

About This Prized Lemon Cream Pie Recipe

In my family, we are serious about our holiday meals, especially our desserts, so I assure you that if you try this pie, you will understand why my Grammy has been baking it all these years. (If you like custard pies like this one, you’ll love this Buttermilk Pie.)

Although you might find many other no bake lemon pie, lemon cream cheese pie, or lemon custard pie recipes online, you will not find this one—believe me, I looked. Every lemon cream pie I found used a combination of instant pudding mix, canned condensed milk, and/or whipped topping from a tub.

How to make Lemon Cream Pie from scratch @wellplated

While these shortcuts each have their place (and Grammy herself is not above using occasional mixes or premade products where she feels the taste is equivalent), she has stood firm on making this pie from scratch, because the results are worth it.

Spend a few extra minutes juicing real lemons, stir them together with real eggs on the stove, and watch the magic as they thicken into the richest, most luxurious lemon custard you’ve ever tasted. Try your hardest not to devour the entire bowl of creamy filling before you’ve poured it into the pie crust. Top the lemon pie with homemade whipped cream. Lick the spoon.

More Scrumptious Lemon Desserts

The best homemade Lemon Cream Pie. My grandmother's original recipe with lemon custard and cream cheese. This has been in our family for more than 50 years! @wellplated

Tools Used to Make This Recipe

  • Deep(er) 9-inch pie dish. You’ll need one with a little extra space for all that creamy lemon filling. (This isn’t my exact dish, but it is very similar.)
  • Hand mixer (with whisk attachment)

From the 1960s to your table: the best-ever lemon pie. Grammy, thanks for mailing away for that pamphlet all those years ago!

The BEST, silkiest Lemon Cream Pie. This is my grandmother's original recipe and has been in my family more than 50 years! @wellplated

Lemon Cream Pie

4.61 from 23 votes
The best lemon cream pie you will ever taste! Original 1960s recipe made from scratch with fresh lemon juice, cream cheese and real whipped cream.

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 23 mins
Total: 4 hrs 43 mins

Servings: 1 pie (12 slices)

Ingredients
  

For the Lemon Cream Pie:

  • 1/2 recipe Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust enough for 1 deep, 9-inch pie
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4  cup freshly squeezed lemon juice about 3 large lemons
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest from about 1 lemon
  • 12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese* softened to room temperature

For the Homemade Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the crust according to recipe directions, either halving the recipe (it yields enough for 2 crusts) or freezing the second crust for a later time. (I recommend making the recipe as written and freezing the second crust. It will be great to have on hand and your are going to the effort anyway, so you might as well enjoy twice the crust!)
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out the pie crust, then fit into a 9-inch wide pie plate that is 1 1/2 to 2-inches deep. Trim any overhang, then crimp the crust edges as desired. Line the crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper so that the foil/paper comes all the way up the sides of the dish and fits against the sides and bottom snugly. Fill the dish with dried beans or pie weights. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the edges are barely beginning to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil/paper and weights, then return the crust to the oven and continue baking until the bottom looks dry and lightly golden and the edges have browned, about 5 to 8 additional minutes. The bottom of the crust will puff a little as it bakes, but it will deflate again once removed from the oven. Let cool completely.
  • Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water to create a double boiler. Add the eggs into the bowl, then with a hand mixer on medium speed (or a whisk and some serious arm power), beat the eggs until thick and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes if using a mixer. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, then the lemon juice and lemon zest. Once incorporated, switch from a mixer (or whisk) to a rubber spatula. Continue to cook the mixture over the simmering water, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the bowl with your spatula, until it forms a thick, smooth custard, about 8 additional minutes. When you dip your spatula into the custard, the custard should easily coat the spatula's back, and if you draw a line through the custard on the back of the spatula with your finger, the sides of the custard should stay separated. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool to almost room temperature.
  • In a large mixing bowl or a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until it is completely soft and smooth, about 3 full minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then gradually add the cooled lemon custard to the cream cheese, beating until smooth and fully combined so that no white streaks remain. Pour the cream cheese into the baked pastry shell. Refrigerate the pie until fully chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Up to 4 hours before serving, prepare the homemade whipped cream: In large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment over medium speed. When it starts to thicken, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, increase the mixer speed to high, and continue to beat until soft peaks form. (Do not over beat or the cream will separate.) Spread over the chilled pie, slice, and serve cold.

Notes

*My Grammy uses full fat cream cheese. I used reduced fat cream cheese to make the pie a bit lighter, and thought it was still plenty rich and creamy. Feel free to choose whichever you like—just do not sure fat free cream cheese as both the texture and flavor will be off.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12) without whipped creamCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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106 Comments

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  1. I love this pie! I like to make a cookie crumble crust for it though. I use lemon bar cookies. I’ve made it several times and everytime it’s a hit! Thanks for sharing it!4 stars

  2. I just got done making this pie and it’s chilling in the fridge, so I can’t speak to the completely finished pie, but I had the same issue as others with the cream cheese not incorporating well. I used full fat cream cheese that had been out all day, so it was very soft. I swapped out the paddle on my Kitchenaid for the whisk and beat it until it looked smooth, but I could still feel little pieces of cream cheese when I tasted it. I do like the flavor though. Thinking of the texture of cheesecake filling, I think the next time I make this I might try pulling some of the sugar out of the lemon curd and mix it into the cream cheese to try to smooth out the cream cheese before incorporating the two.3 stars

  3. Made earlier with a gluten free pie butter crust. The custard tasted very sweet but with a nice lemony sharpness – used full fat cream cheese for added richness (as its the holidays) .. Hopefully guests enjoy it :). Although if I make it again I’d probably reduce the sugar from a cup to either 3 1/4 or perhaps even to a 1/2 instead of a full cup. Thanks for sharing your recipe :).

  4. I made this yesterday and loved it! I followed the recipe exactly except I did use  full fat cream cheese. The texture was divine and I will definitely be making this again. When I whipped the cream, I was a little worried that it wasn’t sweet enough, but paired with the sweetness of the lemon filling, it was just perfect. 

  5. My wife knows I really like lemon desserts so she made this pie. Amazing! So light but rich with lemon flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe Erin.5 stars

  6. Question: Do you only cook the custard until it is thick (with little bubbles still seen from the eggs) or do you continue to cook until translucent, shinier, creamier texture like a curd?

  7. I was very disappointed with this recipe. I made it for Easter. I lost my great recipe for lemon cream pie…can’t find the magazine it was in. So I tried this. The custard Does Not Set. I chilled it overnight, used full fat cream cheese. The custard flowed when the pie was cut.  I would not make it again. My other recipe wa similar but used cornstarch.  Also my other recipe has more lemon flavor., which could be textural effect. 3 stars

    1. Hi Marianne! I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed in the recipe. Overall, it is a softer, creamier pie and has more of a pudding-like vs. cheesecake texture. It’s hard to know what may have happened to make it not set without being in the kitchen with you, but I truly wish it would have come out perfectly!

  8. This pie was everything, I made it for Easter dinner it was so easy to make. The only thing that I changed was the pie crust, I used a Graham cracker crust. Will make again thank you for sharing.5 stars

  9. I just baked this yesterday and it is LUSCIOUS. Have been giving slices to my neighbors so I don’t eat the whole thing myself in one day. Really really good lemon cream pie and very easy to make. This is a definite keeper.5 stars

    1. Diane, I am so so pleased to hear this, thank you for sharing! (and I’ll share that feedback with my Grammy too :) )

  10. Many thanks for your grannies recipe on the lemon pie. Will try it sometimes. Forgot to tell you that back in the 50’s when my Aunt made the one w/ sweetened cond. milk that she had an old timey deep ice tray and she crushed a graham cracker recipe into the bottom of the tray and if she wanted the desert to be light green she dropped a few drops of food coloring into the mix. But the trick she used was to freeze the ice box pie and then by the time she sliced it and placed it on saucers we were already eating Sunday lunch or dinner so it was still a little frozen. I should have called it Lemon Icebox pie.

  11. Hi Erin. I was hoping you would give me an idea of about how big and deep the pie pan needs to be in order to fit all of the filling?
    Thank you kindly for sharing all of these wonderful recipes with us!!
    Lynn

  12. This was delicious!! Still wasn’t properly set after 7+ hours in the fridge, but that wasn’t too big of a deal, I devoured it. Will see if it’s more set when I have it again tomorrow…5 stars

  13. This pie is fabulous! The tart creamy lemon filling and the sweet whipped cream topping pair beautifully together.5 stars

  14. I made this and it’s the best lemon pie I’ve ever had!! I used a graham cracker crust and it was so good!!5 stars

    1. Hi Tammy! While I’ve only tested the recipe as written, other readers have reported success with it. It will make the lemon flavor more pronounced. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

  15. The pie was very lemony and very good!!! I used whole cream cheese.. I have a new recipe ?
    I made it with Graham cracker crust!!5 stars

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