Tart, creamy and sweet, lemon icebox pie is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients. This chilled dessert can be made ahead of time and is perfect for summer.

slice of lemon icebox pie with whipped cream and lemon slice garnish on a plate.

Old-fashioned icebox desserts are timeless for a reason. They are easy to make and keep well in the refrigerator during hot summer months. This lemon variation provides a tangy taste against the rich flavors of the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese. Make the recipe completely no-bake by using a store-bought graham cracker crust!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to make ahead of time. This dessert can be made up to 2 days in advance, which makes it great for party planning.
  • Perfect summer dessert. This pie is meant to be served chilled, which makes it extra satisfying on a hot summer day.
  • Delicious flavors. The filling is zesty, sweet and creamy while the crust adds a butter crunch to every bite.

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make lemon icebox pie.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor. Do not use bottled (it has much less flavor). Remember to strain the juice to remove any seeds or pulp.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: You’ll need one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Cream cheese: Block-style cream cheese is best. It’s thick and will hold a better structure for the filling.
  • Graham crackers: To make the crust, crush up some graham crackers in a food processor. You can also crush them in a ziptop bag.

Refer to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Try a different crust. If you want this to be truly “no-bake” use a store-bought graham cracker crust. A vanilla wafer crust or shortbread crust would also taste delicious. Use the same measurement of cookie crumbs if making this substitution.

Use a different pan. To make bars, use an 8×8 square pan. You can also make this recipe in a 9-inch springform pan, like I do for my lemon olive oil cake.

Add some toppings. Homemade whipped cream is a must! You can also add some blueberry sauce or fresh fruit.

How to Make Lemon Icebox Pie

photo collage demonstrating how to make  lemon icebox pie with graham cracker crust in a food processor and mixing bowl.
  1. Make the crust. Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer crust mixture to a pie plate. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
  3. Make the filling. Use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
  4. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Spread into an even layer. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Expert Tips

Use fresh lemon juice. This is where all the flavor comes from so it’s important you use fresh (not bottled).

Cool the crust completely before adding the filling. If it’s still warm, the filling will get warm and cause the crust to get soggy.

Chill the pie for at least 4 hours. The filling needs time to set so it’s firm enough to slice into and not fall apart. Keep the pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If it sits at room temperature for too long it will be come soft and runny.

tabletop with uncut lemon icebox pie topped with whipped cream and lemon garnished.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead the pie up to 48 hours in advance. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the filling so the pie doesn’t absorb any odors. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to top with whipped cream and serve.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Freeze for up to 3 months. After the filling has set in the refrigerator, place the pie in the freezer for 2 additional hours. Once firm, wrap the pie in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Keep in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator before serving.

Recipe FAQ

Why is my lemon icebox pie runny?

Most likely the pie didn’t have enough time to set in the refrigerator. Make sure it chills for at least 4 hours. It’s also important to use block-style cream cheese, which is thicker and maintains a better structure.

What’s the difference between lemon icebox pie and lemon meringue pie?

Lemon meringue pie requires baking and uses a curd-like filling with egg yolks with a meringue topping, which calls for egg whites. The icebox pie doesn’t always use eggs so it doesn’t require baking.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

slice of lemon icebox pie with whipped cream and lemon slice garnish on a plate.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Icebox Pie

Tart, creamy and sweet, lemon icebox pie is a chilled dessert that can be made ahead of time. It's perfect for summer!
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Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, (about 12 sheets)
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar

Pie Filling

  • 1 cup (226 g or 8 oz.) block-style cream cheese, room temperature
  • One 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice, (no bottled)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • Whipped cream for garnish

Instructions 

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 375℉.
  • In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar until mixed and moist. If using whole graham cracker sheets, you can put all the ingredients in a food processor to combine.
  • Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate. Firmly press into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake at 375℉ for 10 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Cool completely.

Filling

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and zest. Mix again until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour the filling into the cooled graham cracker pie crust. Use an offset spatula to spread into an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until set.
  • Top with whipped cream, garnish with lemon zest and serve cold.

Notes

No-bake variation: Use a store-bought graham cracker crust to make this recipe without turning on the oven!
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freeze for up to 3 months. After the filling has set, place the pie in the freezer for an additional 2 hours or until very firm. Wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 359kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 367mg, Potassium: 311mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 411IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 258mg, Iron: 1mg

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