This North Carolina Lemon Pie is one of those smooth but tart treats that is perfect on a hot day. Not enough to make you pucker, just enough to make you want to stick the fork back in for another bite. And the crust, possibly my favorite crust to date! 

North Carolina Lemon Pie | Kita Roberts

The sky turned yellow then black tonight then a blazing shade of orange as things calmed and night took over. The winds picked up and carried our heavy glass table sideways across the porch as the storm came crashing in. The neighbors waved goodbye to useful trashcans.

And after a few heart thumping minutes, it was over. There were trees down and debris everywhere as if a hurricane ripped through. The clouds were light but hung low in the sky in a blanket as the lightning continued to spider-web across the sky.

North Carolina Lemon Pie | Kita Roberts

It was the perfect summer storm. The kind my father would sit and watch with me growing up. Where if the rain wasn’t too bad, we’d even brave the porch for a better view. After a long night of sprint car racing, the heat lightning would keep me enthralled the entire 2-hour ride back home late into the summer evenings. The storm that long hot humid days ignites. That you can feel building at 7 AM when you first go out to grab a coffee. It’s the kind that I can’t help but be attracted to.

No, I don’t want damages or flooding or any other horrible damage caused by a fit from Mother Nature. But for a few moments, I want to get lost in it.

North Carolina Lemon Pie | Kita Roberts

Now that the scene is set, I know you’re all here for the pie.

North Carolina Lemon Pie

I tested this recipe from Cook’s Country magazine (still one of my favorites). And it does not disappoint. This is a classic southern pie perfect for those humid day. And bonus, it slices mighty pretty too, making us all feel a bit like a master chef in our own kitchen.

Realistically, this isn’t a lemon meringue pie, and I think that is what makes it spectacular. This is the type of pie I group with my southern favorites. Smooth curd based pies like key lime, banana cream and frozen peanut butter pies. For me, those are summer in a slice.

Saltines in pie crust?

This pie uses saltine crackers for the crust – which really helps to hold everything together and balance out the flavors. I think it’s one, a great inexpensive way to make a pie crust, and two the key to making this recipe not TOO sour.

Have you tried saltines in pie crust before? I wanna know how it worked out for you!

 See more Summer Treats!  

Everybody loves pie right? (Honestly, I still have some trouble with berries, but I am slowly growing to accept them as a reasonable ingredient) These pies will have you covered for any occasion!

Brownie Walnut Pie Recipe
Homemade Banana Cream Pie
Sweet Potato Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Meringue

If you’ve tried my North Carolina Lemon Pie recipe or any other recipe on please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also follow along for more good eats and travel tips on Instagram @passthesushi & @girlcarnivoreTwitter Facebook.

North Carolina Lemon Pie | Kita Roberts

North Carolina Lemon Pie

This is one of those smooth but tart treats that is perfect on a hot day. Not enough to make you pucker, just enough to make you want to stick the fork back in for another bite. And the crust, possibly my favorite crust to date!
4.52 from 27 votes
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Author: Kita
4 hours 40 minutes
Serves: 1 pie


For the Crust

  • 1 packet saltines - about 50 crackers
  • 1/4 teas salt
  • 10 tbs unsalted butter - melted
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

For the Filling

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs grated lemon zest - plus 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1/8 teas salt

For the Topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teas sugar
  • 1/2 teas vanilla


Make the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Pulse the saltines and salt in a food processor until nothing but crumbs remain.
  • Add the melted butter and corn syrup and pulse about 15 times, until pieces are sticking together a bit.
  • Grease a 9″ pie plate and gently press the cracker crumbs into the dish and up the sides.
  • Place on a flat baking sheet and bake for about 17-20 minutes, until light golden and smelling wonderful.

Meanwhile, make the filling.

  • Whisk the condensed milk, egg yolks, cream, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir until combined.
  • Pour the filling into the warm crust and return to the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until the center just jiggles a bit when shaken.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before placing in fridge to cool completely at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, make the topping.

  • Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla into stiff peaks in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Spread over the pie, slice and serve.


Cook’s Country April/May 2015


Serving: 1g | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 293mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g

Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.

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  1. This looks so good and ironically I just made my first lemon meringue pie yesterday so I’m already in the lemon mood. I really need to try this!

  2. Oh man I LOVED (heck who am I kidding with that past tense junk, I still presently love) sitting outside on my parents porch growing up watching a good storm. As for this pie, saltine crust? Must try.

  3. This lemon pie sounds more intricate. I’m from NC and the lemon pie that my grandma made was sweetened condensed milk with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest on a graham cracker crust. Made with sugar butter and graham crackers. Top whipped cream if you like but it never made it that far for me. I ate it before I could wait for the cream.

  4. It sounds like you experienced the same storms we did. It was pitch black outside–a shade we’ve never seen here before. If I’m being taken down by a storm, this is the pie I’d want with me. Love it! Pinned.

  5. There are no storms like that in Europe, but the heatwave makes just the right atmosphere for a cold lemonade and I guess, one or two pieces of lovely lemon pie, like this one 🙂

  6. Barb Winn says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pie!
    The sweet and salty combination is what it’s all about!
    Am planning on making one today.
    First one this summer but I bet it won’t be the last!
    Thanks Cook’s Country!

    I miss CC t.v. show.
    Where and when is it on?

    1. I havent seen it in so long! but we need to find that show! lol

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