Air Fryer Lemon Meringue Pie — Welcome to the sunny side of dessert, where the zesty allure of citrus meets the dreamy sweetness of meringue—all in the modern marvel of the air fryer.
Today, we’re taking the classic Lemon Meringue Pie and giving it a contemporary twist that simplifies the baking process without sacrificing a speck of the pie’s iconic flavor.
Imagine a lemon meringue pie with a perfectly golden crust, filling a smooth and tangy lemon curd, topped with a fluffy, toasted meringue that’s light as air. Now, picture achieving all this without ever turning on your oven. That’s the magic of the air fryer, transforming traditional baking into a more convenient, yet just as delicious, experience.
This recipe is designed for those who love the idea of homemade pie but might be short on time or are seeking to avoid the heat of an oven—especially during those warmer months.
It’s also a fun experiment for air-frying enthusiasts looking to expand their repertoire beyond the usual suspects of fries and chicken wings.
So grab your air fryer basket and favorite pie dish, and let’s zest up our baking routine with an Air Fryer Lemon Meringue Pie that promises to brighten your table and delight your palate. This is more than just a recipe—it’s a new way to pie!
What Is Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic dessert pie primarily composed of three distinct layers:
- The Crust:
- This is typically made from a shortcrust pastry, which provides a firm and crumbly foundation. The crust is blind-baked (pre-baked) to achieve a crispy texture that can hold the wet filling.
- The Lemon Filling:
- The star of the pie, this layer is a tangy and smooth curd made from lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and sometimes butter, and a thickening agent like cornstarch or flour. It’s cooked until thickened and then poured into the baked crust.
- The Meringue Topping:
- A fluffy and sweet topping made from whipped egg whites and sugar, meringue is the crown of the pie. The sugar is beaten into egg whites until stiff peaks form, creating a light and airy foam. This is then spread over the lemon filling and baked until the meringue peaks are golden brown.
Each layer contributes its texture and taste to create a harmonious balance of sweet and tart. The pie’s contrast between the buttery, crisp crust, the sharp and creamy citrus filling, and the sweet, light meringue makes it a favorite for many.
Lemon Meringue Pie is a dessert that’s as much a joy to look at as it is to eat, with its bright yellow filling and white, fluffy topping often browned to perfection. It’s a staple in American cuisine but is also enjoyed in many other regions worldwide. It’s a popular choice among diners and bakeries and a delightful challenge for home bakers aiming to perfect the layers and textures of this beloved treat.
Can You Bake A Lemon Meringue Pie In Air Fryer?
Yes, you can bake a Lemon Meringue Pie in an air fryer. The air fryer works like a convection oven, circulating hot air around the food, which can produce a nicely browned meringue and a crisp crust.
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Lemon Meringue Pie
Embarking on the adventure of creating a Lemon Meringue Pie in your air fryer is an exciting endeavor that combines the tartness of lemons with the sweetness of meringue in a delightful dance of flavors and textures.
To ensure your pie turns out just right, each ingredient plays a pivotal role, and here’s why:
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
For the Crust:
- All-purpose Flour: The foundation of your pie crust, all-purpose flour provides structure and, when handled correctly, ensures a flaky texture.
- Butter: Cold butter cut into your flour is the secret to achieving those deliciously rich and flaky layers in your crust.
- Graham Crackers: Crushed graham crackers, form the base.
For the Filling:
- Fresh Lemon Juice: The zing of fresh lemon juice is irreplaceable for its bright, tangy flavor that defines the pie.
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest adds an aromatic intensity to your filling, infusing it with essential oils and deep lemon flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar sweetens the filling and helps thicken it, creating the perfect consistency.
- Eggs: Eggs are the workhorses of the filling, providing structure, color, and richness.
- Cornstarch: As a thickener, cornstarch ensures your lemon filling is stable and sliceable once set.
For the Meringue:
- Egg Whites: The base of your meringue, egg whites whip up into a frothy cloud that becomes light and crisp when cooked.
- Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar stabilizes the whipped egg whites, helping them hold their shape and volume.
- Sugar: Fine granulated sugar dissolves easily into the egg whites, sweetening your meringue and giving it that glossy, smooth finish.
With these ingredients at the ready, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a Lemon Meringue Pie that’s as satisfying to make as it is to eat, all with the convenience of your air fryer.
How To Cook Lemon Meringue Pie In Air Fryer
Cooking a Lemon Meringue Pie in an air fryer involves a process that’s slightly different from the traditional oven baking method. Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide:
Prepare the Crust:
Preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees F, for 3-5 minutes. Place 2 sheets of graham crackers in a ziplock bag, seal, and roll with a rolling pin or heavy can to crush.
This yields about ¼ cup of crushed graham crackers. Alternatively, you can add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until the cookies turn to crumbs.
Pour the cookie crumbs into a small bowl and stir in the sugar and melted butter. Pour the crumbs into a 10-ounce ramekin. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the crumbs gently so they form a crust on the bottom. Bake the crust for 5 to 6 minutes. Then, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Make the Lemon Filling:
Increase the air fryer temperature to 350 degrees F. Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl and set aside. In a 1-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Once thickened, reduce the heat to low. Stir 1 to 2 spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolk to temper the yolk.
Then, in a slow and steady stream, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Bring the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is thick and begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.
Add the Filling:
Pour the lemon filling into the pre-baked crust, spreading it evenly.
Cook the Pie:
Return the pie to the air fryer. Cook at the same temperature for another 8-10 minutes, or until the filling is just set (it may still be a bit wobbly in the center, which is fine as it will set further as it cools).
Make the Meringue:
Beat the egg white and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, ½ tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Spoon the meringue over the pie filling and spread evenly over the top. Carefully seal the meringue to the edge of the crust to prevent “shrinking”.
Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to room temperature. If the pie is even slightly warm when you cut into it, the lemon filling will be runny. Cover and refrigerate the cooled pie until you are ready to enjoy it. Store in the refrigerato
Remember, air fryer models can vary greatly, so use the temperatures and times provided as a guide and adjust based on your specific air fryer. It’s always best to start checking for doneness a bit early to prevent overcooking. Enjoy your air-fried Lemon Meringue Pie!
Pro Tips For Cooking Air Fryer Lemon Meringue Pie
Cooking a Lemon Meringue Pie in an air fryer is an innovative way to use this versatile appliance. Here are some pro tips to ensure your pie turns out as delightful as the traditional oven-baked version:
- Use the Right Pan: Choose a pie pan that fits comfortably in your air fryer basket. A smaller, shallow pie dish is often better than a deep-dish pan to ensure even cooking.
- Temperature Control: Air fryers can run hot. Set your air fryer to a lower temperature than you would with a conventional oven to avoid burning the crust or meringue.
- Blind Baking: Consider blind baking the crust with pie weights or dried beans before adding the filling. This helps to prevent a soggy bottom and ensures a crisp crust.
- Keep It Chill: Chill the crust in the fridge before blind baking. A cold crust going into the hot air fryer will result in a flakier texture.
- Smooth Filling: Strain the lemon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before pouring it into the crust for a smooth, lump-free filling.
- Monitor the Meringue: The meringue can brown very quickly in an air fryer. Stay close and check frequently once you’ve added the meringue topping.
- Seal the Edges: Ensure the meringue touches the crust all around the edges. This seals the pie and prevents the meringue from shrinking away as it cooks.
- Foil Tent: If the meringue is browning too fast, lightly place a foil tent over the pie. Make sure it doesn’t touch the meringue and that there’s room for air circulation.
- Let It Set: Allow the pie to cool completely at room temperature to let the filling set, and then refrigerate for a few hours before serving. This makes for cleaner slices.
- Avoid Moisture: When you take the pie out of the air fryer, avoid covering it immediately with anything that traps heat, as condensation can cause weeping in the meringue.
- Stabilize Your Meringue: Add a pinch of cornstarch to your sugar before beating it into the egg whites for a more stable and glossy meringue.
- Cooking in Stages: Air fry the pie in stages – first the crust, then the filling, and lastly the meringue. This ensures that each component is cooked perfectly.
With these tips in hand, you’re set to make a Lemon Meringue Pie in your air fryer that’s sure to impress with its light meringue, bright lemony filling, and crisp crust. Enjoy the process and the delicious outcome!
Can I use a store-bought pie crust for air fryer Lemon Meringue Pie? Absolutely! A store-bought pie crust can save time and effort. Just ensure it fits in your air fryer basket and follow the instructions for blind baking if necessary.
How do I prevent the pie crust from getting too brown in the air fryer? To prevent over-browning, you can cover the edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield. Additionally, monitor the cooking process closely and adjust the temperature and time as needed.
Can I make the lemon filling in advance? You can prepare the lemon filling and refrigerate it until you’re ready to assemble the pie. Just be sure to give it a good stir before pouring it into the crust to redistribute any settled zest or starch.
Why did my meringue weep or bead after air frying? Weeping or beading can occur when there’s a temperature shift or if the sugar hasn’t fully dissolved in the egg whites. To prevent this, ensure the sugar is added gradually and beaten until it dissolves completely. Also, spread the meringue on the hot filling to help seal the two layers together.
How do I get the meringue to brown without burning in the air fryer? Keep the temperature low, and don’t air fry for too long — just enough to get the desired color. Stay vigilant and check frequently. Using the top rack position if your air fryer has one can also help.
Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh? While fresh lemon juice is preferred for the best flavor, you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. The fresh zest, however, is harder to substitute, as it adds essential oils and a fresh lemon flavor that bottled juice lacks.
Is it necessary to refrigerate the pie after air frying? Yes, after the pie has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate it for several hours to allow the filling to set correctly. This chilling time is crucial for the pie to firm up for clean slicing.
How long can I store the Lemon Meringue Pie after air frying? Lemon Meringue Pie is best enjoyed within a day or two of making it. Store it in the refrigerator and loosely cover it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Can I freeze Lemon Meringue Pie? Freezing Lemon Meringue Pie is not recommended as the meringue can become weepy and the crust soggy once thawed.
My air fryer is small; can I still make a Lemon Meringue Pie in it? You may need to make a smaller version of the pie that fits your air fryer, or you can make individual mini pies using smaller tins or ramekins.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- AIR FRYER MINI PUMPKIN PIES
- AIR FRYER, APPLE PIE
- EASY AIR FRYER, MINI CHERRY PIE
- AIR FRYER APPLE HAND PIES
Air Fryer Lemon Meringue Pie
For the crust
- ¼ cup graham crackers
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
For the filling
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tablespoon salted butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest, optional
For the meringue
- 1 egg white
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ tablespoons sugar
- Heat the air fryer to 320°F (177°C). Place 2 sheets of graham crackers in a ziplock bag, seal, and roll with a rolling pin or heavy can to crush. This yields about ¼ cup of crushed graham crackers. Alternatively, you can add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until the cookies turn to crumbs.
- Pour the cookie crumbs into a small bowl and stir in the sugar and melted butter.
- Pour the crumbs into a 10-ounce ramekin. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the crumbs gently so they form a crust on the bottom.
- Bake the crust for 5 to 6 minutes. Then, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Make the filling
- Increase the air fryer temperature to 350 degrees F. Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a 1-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Once thickened, reduce the heat to low.
- Stir 1 to 2 spoonfuls of the hot mixture into the egg yolk to temper the yolk. Then, in a slow and steady stream, whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Bring the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is thick and begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.
- Place the ramekin into the air fryer basket and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Make The Air Fryer Meringue:
- Beat the egg white and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes.
- Beat in sugar, ½ tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy.
- Spoon the meringue over the pie filling and spread evenly over the top. Carefully seal the meringue to the edge of the crust to prevent "shrinking".
- Bake until the meringue is golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to room temperature. If the pie is even slightly warm when you cut into it, the lemon filling will be runny.
- Cover and refrigerate the cooled pie until you are ready to enjoy it. Store in the refrigerator.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Baking Pan