Classic Lemon Meringue Pie that’s Been Loved for Over a Century


In honor of the centenary of the 19th amendment, Laura Kumin has released her second historical cookbook, All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food, and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote. It isn’t a purely dairy-free collection, but does have many simple, classic recipes that are naturally made without milk, or that are easy to adapt. We chose to highlight Laura’s dairy-free lemon meringue pie as a sample.

Classic Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe Loved for Over 100 Years

Classic Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe Loved for Over 100 Years

As Laura explains, the women’s suffrage movement wasn’t all about picket signs, red carnations, and militant marches. Suffragists ingeniously packaged their messages into cookbooks, working their way into homes in a non-threatening way. This grassroots strategy leveraged their domestic knowledge, and spoon fed the ideas of suffrage through unassuming channels. Laura takes a similar approach, weaving recipes and interesting historical details together in All Stirred Up.

Throughout her stories, Laura highlights the traditional “reliable” recipes and her modernized versions. Just like in her book, we’ve included the traditional recipe first, followed by her updated version of this butter-less, dairy-free lemon meringue pie.

Lemon Pie – Reliable

All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food, and the Battle for Women's Right to VoteGrated rind and juice of one lemon, one cup of white sugar, two cups of boiling water, one-half cup of flour, two eggs. Put lemon and water on stove, mix the sugar and flour together while dry, then use enough water to make a rather stiff batter, add the yolks of two eggs, when well beaten, stir this mixture into the boiling lemon and water and stir constantly until it thickens.

Have pie tins lined with paste, and well pricked to prevent the crust from puffing; let the crust bake while the filling is cooking. When done fill the pie dish and spread over the top the whites of two eggs beaten to a stiff froth with three teaspoons of sugar added gradually. Set in oven on grate and bake to a light cream color. This will insure a good, firm lemon pie. – Mrs. Susan Griffith, Bellingham; from Washington Women’s Cook Book, published by the Washington Equal Suffrage Association.

Classic Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe Loved for Over 100 Years

Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.

Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This pie recipe uses flour rather than the more typical cornstarch as a thickener for the lemon filling. I increased the amount of lemon because I found the filling in the original recipe not tart enough for my taste, added another egg, and added a bit of salt to enhance the flavor. Also, I have slightly increased the amount of sugar in the meringue.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 to 10 servings (9 inch/23 cm pie pan)
  • 1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought
  • Enough lemons (about 1½) to yield 1 tablespoon plus 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind and ¼ cup (2 oz/59 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz/473 ml) water
  • 1 cup (7 oz/200 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional—helps to stabilize the meringue)
  • ¼ cup (1¾ oz/50 g) sugar, preferably superfine
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Blind bake the pie crust either ahead of time or while you make the filling. To blind bake: chill the crust in the pie pan, then line the chilled crust with tin foil molded to the pan and fill it with pie weights (commercially available or use dried beans). Bake the filled shell for approximately 1 hour in the lower third of your oven. When it is golden, gently lift the foil and pie weights out of the pan and let the baked pie crust cool.
  3. Boil the water in a medium-sized pot and add the lemon rind and juice to it.
  4. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add a small amount (about ¼ cup or 2 oz/59 ml) of the boiling lemon water to the dry ingredients and whisk until they form a stiff batter. Then add the egg yolks to that batter. Whisk again and add more liquid in 2 small increments in order to temper the egg yolks so they don’t scramble when you put the batter in the hot lemon water. When the batter is smooth and loose, pour it into the remaining hot lemon water. Bring that liquid back up to a simmer and whisk constantly until it thickens. Once it thickly coats a spoon, pour the filling into the cooled shell and smooth it out.
  5. Beat the egg whites, preferably with an electric handheld mixer or in a stand mixer, starting at a low speed and gradually working up to a medium-high speed. (If using cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue, add it once the egg whites start to foam.) Gradually add the sugar as the egg whites begin to stiffen, and beat them until stiff peaks form.
  6. Scoop the fluffy meringue onto the pie in large dollops. Spread it around, using the back of a spoon with an upward flick of your wrist, to make swirls. Be sure to bring the meringue all the way to the edges of the pie to seal it so the meringue will not shrink as it bakes.
  7. Bake the meringue-topped pie for about 10–15 minutes, until the meringue swirls are golden brown. Cool the pie on a wire rack, then refrigerate.
This recipe is reprinted with permissions from All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food, and the Battle for Women's Right to Vote by Laura Kumin. Note that many store-bought pie crusts are dairy-free, but we've also linked to a favorite homemade option.

More Classic Pie Recipes made Dairy Free

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Dairy-Free Shoofly Pie is Just Like the Classic Wet-Bottom Recipe - also nut-free and optionally soy-free

Classic Dairy-Free Pecan Pie

Classic Dairy-Free Pecan Pie Recipe (gluten-free optional)

Door County Cherry Pie

Door County Cherry Pie - dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free recipe with homemade vegan pie crust

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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