Lemon Buttermilk Pie
This unique Lemon Buttermilk Pie has the most silky, luscious texture, with a vibrant citrus flavor. It’s incredibly easy to make, and is all whisked together in ONE BOWL! It’s a staple for Thanksgiving and holiday meals.
While I do love my fair share of fussy desserts like Baklava or Pavlova with Blackberry Compote, I love desserts like this buttermilk pie, which is incredibly easy and wildly delicious.
Buttermilk pie is a classic Southern dessert, and here we’ll stick pretty closely to that formula, but instead adding lots of citrus for a tangy flavor and incredible aroma. This is the best pie!
What’s Great About This Recipe
So easy my 5-year-old can make it – No joke, my 5 year old can mix together this pie filling. It’s very simple and doesn’t require more than a bowl and a whisk.
One bowl – Quite possibly the best part of this recipe is that the entire filling is whisked together in one bowl, for minimal dishwashing.
Silky custard texture – The filling bakes into a creamy, silky smooth texture that is absolute heaven, with an almost crème brûlée effect on top.
Tart and sweet – This has the sweet and sour thing going on just like Lemon Bars. The lemon is a really good complement to the classic buttermilk pie taste.
You can see the golden brown caramelized crackly goodness in the above photo. Swoon. And here’s a closeup on the creamy filling:
It’s the best dessert for maximum ease and deliciousness!
What Citrus to Use
When I originally shared this recipe in 2014, I used Meyer lemons for the pie. They can be hard to find certain times of year, but when you see them, snatch them up. They have such a unique flavor and fragrance that is showcased so well in a recipe like this.
If you can’t find Meyer lemons, this pie is also fantastic with other citrus. Try:
- Standard lemons
- Any type of orange (Cara cara, clementine, tangerine, etc.)
- Lime (standard or Key lime)
- A 50/50 mix of lemon and orange
Step by Step Overview:
In a large bowl, start the filling by combining eggs, sugar, and melted butter:
Add pure vanilla extract and salt to the bowl:
Next add freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh citrus zest:
As mentioned above, use Meyer lemons if you can find them. If not, use a 50/50 mix of standard lemon and orange. You may also use standard lemon only, but it will be a little more tart.
Now, add pure buttermilk to the pie:
Real buttermilk is such a key ingredient here, so please do not use a buttermilk substitute.
What to do with leftover buttermilk
Buttermilk tends to come in a quart size container, which is more than you need for this recipe, but it’s a good excuse to try these incredible Blueberry Muffins.
Or make Buttermilk Pancakes, this amazing Cornbread Recipe, or this legendary Fried Chicken Recipe. My friend Lindsay also has a post on How to Freeze Buttermilk, though I haven’t tried it myself.
Whisk everything together until thoroughly blended, then add all-purpose flour to the buttermilk mixture:
This will help thicken it slightly.
Pour the sweet custard filling into an unbaked pie crust in a standard 9-inch pie plate:
I have a great all-butter pie crust recipe from scratch that you can use if you prefer making your own pie crust. You can also use a store-bought crust.
I admit to using store-bought crust quite often with this recipe, because that keeps it all really easy. Try to find an unbaked pie shell that uses butter, for the most flaky pie crust with superior flavor.
Bake the pie for about an hour, until the filling is jiggly, but set, and the edges of the pie crust are golden brown.
Then, let it cool completely to room temperature, for at least 45 minutes.
Though this resting period might seem like a long time, it is essential for clean slicing later and for the texture to set up properly.
After the rest, it’s ready to be cut into slices. Use a really sharp knife to get through the flaky crust cleanly.
I think it’s perfect as is, but you can also dollop the top of this delicious pie with a bit of whipped cream, or even some freshly whipped meringue! Or, serve some fresh fruit on the side, like blackberries or raspberries.
I recommend this simple pie for the holiday season. We always make it for Thanksgiving!
Strawberry Tart is another one of my favorite fruit-focused desserts.
My Peanut Butter Pie is another one of my favorite pies, and is a huge hit amongst my friends and family. Like this one, it’s another very easy pie recipe. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
An airtight container is ideal, but it’s unusual to have one that will fit the entire pie as is. So either cover the pie plate very well with plastic wrap, or transfer pieces into an airtight container.
For a truly classic buttermilk pie, you can leave out the lemon juice and lemon zest. But I find that lemon and orange are incredible twists on this Southern classic, and for all custard-based pies.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Lemon Buttermilk Pie
- 1 unbaked pie crust (single)
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice*
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or use vanilla bean paste)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fit the pie crust into a standard 9" pie plate, and keep it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the sugar, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, Meyer lemon juice, Meyer lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt, until thoroughly blended and smooth.
- Add the flour and briefly whisk until incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust and bake for 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crackly. To further assess doneness, jostle the oven rack slightly and look at the filling. The custard should jiggle when moved, but shouldn’t look liquidy or loose in the center.
- Let the pie cool for at least 45 minutes before serving. Note that while the pie cools, it will deflate slightly, and this is normal because of all the eggs in the filling. When cooled, slice and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new photos and writing in June 2020. Originally published November 2014.
26 Comments on “Lemon Buttermilk Pie”
I am definitely going to try this! Wishing you a speedy recovery and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Gorgeous pie! I love Meyer Lemons, they’re so perfect for beautiful desserts.
This recipe looks wonderful! I will attempt making it for the holidays. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending you lots of good and positive thoughts your way.
Glad to hear your progression, Joanne. This buttermilk pie looks so divine. I’ve never tried this before but this looks so good. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Glad to hear you’re up and around, and hoping you can avoid any other procedures for a good long while! This pie sounds fantastic- I’ve never had buttermilk pie before but I’m sure it’s lovely with that hint of Meyer lemon 🙂
Hope you will soon be fully recovered. Keep the flag flying.
Glad you’re feeling some better Joanne, thanks for recipe, it looks good….does it taste like lemon pie ? I have not had this or seen the recipe, but I may try it sometimes……
We made Pecan Tarts today 🙂 so yummy…..
Beautiful pie, Joanne. I’m such a sucker for lemon desserts so I know I would love this!
This pie sounds so good. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and I know we are all praying for your speedy recovery and health.
Wishing for the best of health for you. Hoping all works out beautifully, just like your wonderful pie. Happy Thanksgiving.
I never comment, but read your blog faithfully. Hope you continue to heal; enjoy this time with your friends. Even when life seems bleak or insurmountable, there is always something to be grateful for.
Whoops, the last part of my comment got cut off.
I am wishing you a speedy recovery, and I hope the tests go well!
I’ve never had buttermilk pie, but I’ve seen a few recipes going around the food blogger world lately with it. It sounds delicious, especially with lemon.
I’m definitely a non-traditional thanksgiving type, so I am might try this out!
So glad you’re getting better. Hang in there! We’re behind you!
This looks so awesome and tasty! I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie, so this would be a great substitute. 🙂 (Thinking of you in this scary time in your life. )