Meyer Lemon Chess Pie and My First Crop

by Dorothy Reinhold on January 8, 2012

Print This Post Print This Post Meyer Lemon Chess Pie on Shockingly Delicious

My love affair with Meyer lemons continues! This merits an exclamation point because we lemon lovers wait impatiently for the Meyer lemon crop, and when it arrives (in winter in Southern California), we rejoice.

Last year, tired of cadging Meyers from my neighbors, I planted a dwarf tree in a whiskey barrel.

Meyer lemon tree loaded with fruit

Leaves are a little sketchy (chlorotic?). Don't judge! Focus on the fruit.

Look at my first crop! (Again with the exclamation point, which you will understand if you are lucky enough to have a fruit tree in your yard.)

I vote for Meyer lemon season to be a bona fide holiday.

I’ve shared the Best Homemade Lemonade, a unique Basil Margarita, easy Lemon Curd, Agua Fresca Watermelon Lemonade, Strawberry Basil Lemonade, and a refreshing Lemony White Bean, Tuna and Celery Salad, all sporting Meyers.

This time my affection is expressed by a wonderful Meyer Lemon Chess Pie, fragrant with the heady Meyer perfume — an intoxicating mix of lemon, mandarin and lime — sweet and tangy, creamy and comforting.

Close your eyes when you eat this one.

Meyer Lemon Chess Pie with a piece gone

Recipe: Meyer Lemon Chess Pie

Summary: Fragrant with the heady aroma of Meyer lemons, this sweet and tangy comforting pie is a lemon-lover’s delight! Lemon Chess Pie is an American classic, and this is an outstanding version. 


  • Meyer lemons on a cakestand1 9-inch prepared pie shell
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest (from 2 Meyer lemons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or milk)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or half a stick) melted butter
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and grated zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg.
  3. Add half and half, butter and lemon juice and stir well. Mixture will appear to thicken slightly.
  4. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake on bottom shelf of oven (so it is closer to the heating element) for 35-40 minutes. Center will be slightly jiggly when it is done.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  6. Serves 8.

Quick notes

Meyer lemon hanging on treeYou may substitute regular lemons instead of Meyer lemons. You may have to increase the sugar a bit.


Serve piled high with fresh raspberries or fresh blueberries in season.


This recipe is a mashup of about 6 or 7 recipes I consulted on the Internet, in cookbooks, etc.

Preparation time: 8 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Meyer Lemon Chess Pie

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara Welch April 16, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Love enjoying anything with lemons in the spring; this looks delicious!


Toni April 16, 2020 at 2:05 pm

This is making me drool! Can’t wait to try it!


Cathy April 16, 2020 at 10:23 am

Meyer Lemons have the best flavor! I’ve never used them in baking…. and now I’m not sure why! Can’t wait to try this!


Catalina April 16, 2020 at 9:17 am

Oh my goodness! This is my type of pie! It’s on my next to do list!


katerina @ April 16, 2020 at 4:34 am

Oh my, this looks and sounds incredibly delicious! I would LOVE a slice!


koshie April 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

Thank you for the recipe. Your tree needs help! Iron specifically! Throw a couple nails into some vinegared water or soda pop for a couple days then pour the entire contents into the soil, burying the nails. Or go buy some iron soil additive.


Dorothy Reinhold April 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for the advice! I hadn’t heard of the nail trick before, but will try it!


Brandy February 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

I made it with a graham cracker crust and it was a great hit–“a keeper” as one friend put it. Used regular lemons and added one more tablespoon of lemon juice and just the sugar called for and it was sweet and tart. My friends like these flavors tart and all agreed the extra lemon juice was a good idea. We also preferred it room temperature rather than chilled. Great with mixed berries. Enjoy!


Dorothy February 8, 2013 at 10:10 am

So glad you liked it, and I love hearing your tweaks!


Caroline January 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I made this pie with our backyard lemons, it was delicious and I’m definitely adding it to my favorites. But why 1 1/2 cups of sugar? I made it with 3/4 cup, and had no complaints!


Dorothy January 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

It’s good to know that you liked it with less sugar. I’ll try less next time, too.


Laura Monteros January 22, 2012 at 12:23 am

Dorothy, you should get Meyer lemons 10-11 months out of 12, at least after the first year. The variety bears almost year-round.

I saw this recipe in the Star-News and plan on making it soon. It sounds delicious! I’m not much for lemon meringue (because of the meringue and tart filling). I do like lemon curd, and this seems pretty close.


Dorothy January 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thanks! I look forward to an abundant crop!


Terra January 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm

How fun, we both did Chess Pie for citruslove:-) Your chess pie looks wonderful! I still have never had a meyer lemon, it is on my to do list, I believe it will happen this year:-) You make them sound amazing for sure! Take care, Terra


suebaby January 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

Oh man, I made this pie and am in fact having a piece for breakfast right now. SUPER YUMMM! Meyer Lemon Season should indeed be a holiday; you have my solemn promise that if I am ever elected president, that will be first on the agenda, 8:00 a.m., Day One. But enough politickin’; I’m going back to my great big slice of sunshine pie and watching everyone else here at work wondering what my big silly grin is about *this* time. Thank you once again and a thousand times to follow, Beautiful Pie Fairy, for sharing your genius with us! 😀


Dorothy January 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

You made my day! No one has ever called me a Pie Fairy before, but I kinda like it!


Georgie January 11, 2012 at 9:03 am

Gorgeous recipe and gorgeous photography! I want that pie, now!


Dorothy January 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thanks! It is soooo good. If you can get your hands on a Meyer or two, you won’t be sorry.


Alla February 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

I am detlnifeiy making these! Never even heard, nor tasted these before! Love oreos, and cream cheese, so they’ve got to be incredible together!


Soni January 11, 2012 at 4:55 am

Wow, such lovely lemons growing in your whiskey barrel!Beautiful and delicious recipe!Thanks for sharing.


Rituparna January 11, 2012 at 4:29 am

My hubby is a die hard lemon fan. He has his Birthday coming in Jan end and I was wondering what cake to bake for him. This pie looks really delicious & that dwarf lemon tree is adorable, love the yellow of those lemons.


Dorothy January 11, 2012 at 7:05 am

Oh yes, he would love this pie then. I am all in favor of a birthday pie instead of a birthday cake!


Tammy January 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

Oh yes, Dorothy, I forgot to ask you something else. I have people coming over who keep Kosher. Do you think there would be a problem of substituting Mocha Mix for the half and half?


Dorothy January 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Oh, you’re going to love this pie, I know.
About the cornmeal — it gives a bit of body to the filling. It doesn’t remain gritty or anything like that, it just gives a little structure to it. You could try omitting it, if you like. I generally keep a small bag of cornmeal in my freezer, just for these occasions. It won’t spoil that way, like it would if you keep it in the cabinet. Bob’s Red Mill sells a small bag of good quality cornmeal (just a suggestion).
About the Mocha Mix — truthfully, I have never used it, nor baked with it, so I do not know how it would behave. I am one to throw caution to the wind and just go for it, though, so I would be tempted to try it. It is only 1/4 cup, so it just might work! However, if you are a more cautious sort, you might make a trial pie (without cornmeal and with Mocha Mix) before you have your company over.
Let me know your results, in case other people have the same issues!
Thanks, Tammy.


Tammy January 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

This looks delicious. What does the 1 Tablespoon of cornmeal do? I do not use cornmeal that much and to have to buy a large bag for only 1 Tablespoon seems…..well, you know. Tammy


Kathy - Panini Happy January 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

How fantastic! I know I would love this pie – can’t get enough of lemon right now. That’s such a smart idea to go ahead and plant your own tree. I’m on that for next year!


Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more January 9, 2012 at 6:51 am

I love that you grew your own fruit, I cannot even keep a cactus alive!


Elizabeth @Mango_Queen January 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm

What an amazingly easy lemon pie to make! Looks delish. Must try it soon. Thanks for sharing the citrus-love!


Ashley Glisson November 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

Can you make this pie ahead and refrigerate it for a day or two? Thinking about making it for Thanksgiving!


Dorothy November 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

Yes! I would totally do that. Crust might not be as perfectly crispy as the day you bake it, but so what? Lemon rules!


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