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May 23, 2012 02:20 PM

Lemon Meringue Pie always comes out runny??

I searched for an answer to this, but did not find anything. I am trying to find out why my lemon meringue pies always end up runny when I follow all the directions exactly? Am I not cooking long enough? How do people get such thick, luxurious lemon filling for their pies?!

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  1. Are you making the filling with cornstarch? You may not be adding enough, or most likely, you are not cooking the filling long enough.

    1 Reply
    1. re: roxlet

      Or ... you may be cooking it too long. Corn starch tends to thin out if it's cooked too long or on too high heat. Keep the heat down to where the mixture just bubbles; don't allow it to come to a full rolling boil. Stir/whisk continuously and, when it thickens, remove it from the heat and transfer to a room temperature bowl.
      How are you preparing/adding the meringue. The egg/sugar combination in meringue contains a lot of moisture and if it isn't sealed to the crust and cooked (dried) properly on top of the cooled pie filling it can dilute the filling.
      There are two schools of thought on meringue. Some say spread it over a hot pie filling and bake to brown. Others say to allow the filling to cool before adding the meringue. I've had it work (and fail) using both methods so I'm disinclined to recommend either as a strict rule. Furthermore, Harold McGee (On Food and Cooking .... ) makes no distinction between the two methods (except for the way the pie is handled after drying the meringue in the oven) and I never argue with Mr. McGee.

    2. It would help to have the recipe to be of assistance.

      1. How fresh is your cornstarch? I find that if my cornstarch isn't absolutely fresh, its thickening abilities weaken considerably.