Old Fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Lemon Icebox Pie 
Fluffy, creamy and tangy, this old fashioned Lemon Icebox Pie recipe is an old family favourite that goes way back.  I think I probably got the original recipe from off a tin of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed many years ago.

This recipe has sat in my Big Blue Binder for probably over 40 years.  It is a fabulously delicious lemon icebox pie recipe that is no bake.  Quick, easy and yes, delicious.  It also uses no eggs, unlike many of the lemon icebox pie recipes I have seen out there and there is no cooking at all involved.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
It basically uses only three ingredients, aside from the crust.  Fresh lemon juice and zest.  Sweetened Condensed Milk. Pure Vanilla extra, if you are so inclined.

Its optional, but I always add it because lemon and vanilla are perfect partners. 

Lemon Icebox Pie 
It does use a lot of lemon juice.  1 tsp of the rind and I used the juice from 5 smallish lemons yesterday to get enough.  Some lemons are juicier than others.

One way to get a lot of juice from your lemons is to make sure they are at room temperature.  I also roll them really well between the palm of my hand and the countertop before juicing them.  Works a charm and I always get plenty of juice from each lemon.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
This is a fabulous pie to make in the summer months when you are not wanting to heat up your kitchen. I happen to think its a fabulous pie to make any time of the year that you are wanting a quick, easy and delicious lemon dessert! 

We love lemon pie in our family, but I don't always have the time or want to be faffing about with a cooked filling.  This has to be the easiest lemon filling to make of all time.

If you can stir things together you can make this!  The filling is done in about five minutes once you have all of the ingredients assembled.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
I always, always squeeze my own lemons to get the juice for this pie. I would never use the lemon juice that comes in those little lemon squeezers.  I don't think they would give you the same flavour.

Maybe it is just me, but they always taste artificial and lack the clean fresh taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  I have a wooden lemon reamer that works very well to squeeze the juice. 

I also have a metal juice squeezer which works even better, plus it catches any seeds that might escape.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
Aside from fresh lemon juice (and some zest) the other main ingredient in this is sweetened condensed milk.  This is NOT the same thing as evaporated milk, even if they are found in the same section in the grocery store and are both made from milk which has been treated to remove 60% of its water.

One is sweetened and one is not.  One is just milk.  This is the one with added sugar and it is a lot thicker and creamier because of this.  I usually have both kinds in my cupboard.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
The evaporated milk comes in handy for making all sorts of things. Creamy sauces for one thing.  I always use the low fat one and it makes an excellent substitute for cream in these recipes, especially when you are wanting to reduce your calorie and fat intake.

I like to use it when I make mac and cheese.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
The sweetened condensed milk is very handy for making quick and easy desserts such as this one and I also like to use it to make fudge. Both are just really handy ingredients to have on hand.

Lemon juice is essential in helping the pie filling to set up properly.  It works just like magic.  Just as when making a Lemon Posset, it somehow works to thicken the condensed milk to the perfect consistency.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
You do need to leave it to chill in the refrigerator for several hours, four is perfect. At that time, you will see that it cuts like a dream.  You get perfect slices and wedges every time.

I used a ready made crust for mine this time.  A graham cracker crumb crust.  That made for a really convenient dessert to serve with our Easter Dinner.

Lemon Icebox Pie 

Yes, this is the perfect dessert for entertaining, not that many of us are able to entertain at the moment.  Its perfect for several reasons.

One it is made ahead of time so you don't need to be worrying about it at the last minute when you have about a bazillion other things to do.  Second its so easy to make that you can almost make it in your sleep!  

Using a ready made crust adds to the ease and simplicity of it.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
You can of course, use a prebaked pastry crust if you wish, or make your own crumb crust, using graham crackers or cookie crumbs. 

To make a crumb crust simply mix together two cups of crumbs (chocolate cookie, vanilla wafer, graham cracker or gingersnap) with 3 TBS sugar, and 6 TBS of melted butter.  Press this mixture into a 9 inch pie dish and bake it at 350*F/180*C for about 8 minutes and then chill until it is completely cold.

Lemon Icebox Pie 

Personally I have to say that this pie is really REALLY good when made with gingersnap cookie crumbs.  Lemon and ginger are PERFECT partners after all!

But then again, all are good and even a baked pastry crust is very good. Just make sure it is a 9-inch crust.  Anything larger and you won't have enough filling.

Lemon Icebox Pie 
This pie can also be frozen. I know some people who keep one of these in the freezer to have on hand whenever unexpected company drops by.  

Chilled, tightly wrapped in cling film and then aluminum foil, this pie will keep in the freezer for up to two months.

Lemon Icebox Pie

In the refrigerator it will keep for 3 to 4 days. Not that you will have it around that long. Its so delicious that it is bound to be inhaled I guarantee!!

I love to serve it cut into wedges, each cold sweet wedge topped with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.  I got so used to having cream which wasn't sweetened at all when I was living in the UK, that I really can't abide overly sweetened cream now.

Just sweetened it to your own taste.  I don't add the cream until I am ready to serve. For Easter I decorated it with a few sprinkles, but they really aren't necessary!! 

In the summer months I like to top it with whipped cream and fresh berries.  Its delicious!!

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie

Yield: 8
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 5 Mininactive time: 4 HourTotal time: 4 H & 5 M
This original sweetened condensed milk Lemon icebox pie recipe uses only three ingredients. Its as simple to make as stirring them together and pouring the mixture into a ready made pie crust!


  • 2 cans (14 oz/375g) sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) fresh lemon juice
You will also need:
  • 1 (9-inch) prebaked pastry or crumb crust
  • Whipped cream to serve


  1. Open the milk and pour it into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla if using. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and whisk until the mixture becomes thick.
  3. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.
  4. Serve cut into wedges with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
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Lemon Icebox Pie
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  1. Lemon pie is the perfect Springtime dessert. As you say, it's very easy to make and presents well. I like that in a dessert, lol. It looks like Ford is going to issue a stay at home order for Ontario. So must get a few groceries in before that happens. My mom used to make a dessert similar to your pie. You layer graham crackers, the lemon, another layer of graham crackers, more lemon and a final layer of crackers which can be iced. It's cut in squares to serve. So good. Thanks for the recipe, Marie. Hugs and love, Elaine

    1. My brother who live in Ottawa had his first shot yesterday Elaine. He is 61. No shots here yet. Please stay safe and healthy. Hope you can get in all you need befor the order takes hold! Your mom’s dessert sounds delicious! I hope you get to try this pie eventually. It’s so simple and so delicious! Love and hugs, xoxo

  2. This is definitely on my save list! Oh, it would be great in the summer or, as you said, any time. Lemon is my very favorite and I'm happy to squeeze them. I saw a good tip on TV a couple of weeks ago -- they said if you put the lemon in the micro for about 10 seconds, it loosens things up and yields more juice. Between that and the squeezing/beating them (!) you can get quite a bit. Thanks, Marie!

    1. I have heard that tip as well Jeanie, but never tried it yet. That is why I hesitated to share. I hope you will try this pie. It is really delicious! Its all gone now (we ate the last of it last night) and I am still thinking about it! xoxo

  3. I always have sweetened condensed milk in my pantry bc it's a staple for some fast yummy fudge!
    I'll be making this yummy pie when I have a bunch of lemons again. Lol
    Stay safe and healthy Marie!xoxo

  4. I can't get over how easy this is - and it looks so fabulous! You know me and lemon, so I will be making this one next week after I get my grocery order. I shall be dreaming of it until then. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but would do almost anything for a lemon dessert :)

  5. Hi Marie,
    I just want to say Thank You for a delicious dessert!!! This was everything you said it would be and more. I needed a dessert for a neighbor porch dinner last night and am so glad I tried your recipe! Everyone loved it - even my I don't eat dessert husband. I served it with chilled, canned strawberry pie filling/topping instead of whipped cream and it was a good combination.
    Thank you for generously sharing your delicious recipes!

    1. You are very welcome Terri! It is a labor of love for me! I love your idea of using strawberry pie filling as a topping. Sounds really lush! Thank you! xoxo


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