Naomi Judd's Creamy Lemon Pie Recipe Is Something to Sing About by Donna John

Pies Desserts
a year ago

Naomi Judd's Creamy Lemon Pie Recipe Is Something to Sing About

On page 184 of her cookbook, Naomi's Home Companion, Naomi Judd shares her mom's lemon pie recipe, which she titles "The Best Lemon Pie." She writes, "This is another one of my Mom's best. To top it off – pun intended – just add Mama's foolproof meringue from the Chocolate Meringue Pie (page 152)."

The lemon pie recipe is very easy to make, and something I baked after Naomi's death on April 30, 2022. The homemade lemon curd is smooth, creamy and full of lemon flavor. 

The lemon pie filling is made with egg yolks, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, hot water, lemon juice (fresh is best) and butter. The filling is cooked on the stovetop before being poured into a baked pie crust. Cool on the counter and then put the lemon pie into the refrigerate to cool completely. 

We topped the creamy lemon pie with homemade whipped cream. Delicious!

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus time to cool the filling
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes plus time to cool the filling 
Servings: 8


  • 1 9-inch baked pie shell

Lemon Filling

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 large lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Here's how to make it:

  1. To make the filling, in a heatproof bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks to break them up. Set aside.
  2. In a medium, heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the hot water until smooth. Bring a boil over high heat, stirring. When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, at a very gentle boil for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. Stir several spoonfuls into the yolks. Stir the yolks mixture into the sugar mixture in the saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the butter and lemon juice. (I used a mesh strainer to catch the seeds.)
  6. Place a piece of wax paper directly on the surface of the filling and let the saucepan cool.
  7. Remove the wax paper and spoon the cooled filling into the baked pie shell. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Donna John
Will be eating a piece of this pie as I watch her tribute tonight. RIP, Naomi.
We love lemon pies and this one looks really awesome. Praying for the Judds. 🙏🏼
Elisa Schmitz
So delicious. I am so sad about the tragic loss of Naomi Judd. How special to remember her by making her recipes. Rest in peace, Naomi.
I have had her cookbook for years. Outstanding recipes and I was so sorry to hear the news. Prayers are with her family.
Donna John
What recipes have you made from her book? LorrieR
Michael Keach
I made this pie a day ago and, because I had a bigger pie dish (Deeper) than a store-bought pie shell, I made the following amendments resulting in a very, very lemony lemon treat:

I increased the egg yolks to 4 Extra Large egg yolks.
I increased the half cup lemon juice to a bit more due to the size of the lemons.
I zested two of the lemons completely. Into the custard I stirred in 3/4 of the zest before covering with the wax paper. (Lemon zest contains a ton of lemon oil and I thought: "why let all that lemony goodness go down the disposal? Throw it in!")
I used the egg whites to make your basic, government-issued maringue.

After topping the cooled pie with the maringue, under a very aggressive broiler it went. (Rack on the 2nd rung from the top of the oven.) Watched it brown by turning the pie 3 times to get an even tan. After removing from the oven, I sprinkled the remaining zest on top of the hot maringue to release the oils into the topping.

It turned out to be, without doubt, the 'bestest EVER lemon pie' I've ever had!
. . . . I just hope Naomi isn't up there wagging her finger at my cheekiness!
Donna John
Thank you for sharing your tips on making this pie even better! When I made it, I did wonder about the lemon zest and thought about adding it. Will next time. I had my last piece of it last night. Time to make another. Yes, I bet Naomi loves your cheekiness! :-) Michael Keach
Michael Keach
The zest is a very intense addition. I think you'll find it kicking it up a notch!

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