Margarita Meringue Pie
I’ve never been a big tequila fan, but I do enjoy an occasional margarita. There is just something so refreshing about them, and they’re the perfect balance to salty food (or a salty rim). Not to mention the bright color of the drink is super fun! This pie is equally refreshing in taste, and I love the bright and vibrant color that gives me hope of warmer days ahead! This pie has a perfectly tangy citrus flavor, with just a small kick of tequila sneaking in. And the light and fluffy meringue on top is the perfect complement to the sunny flavor of the filling. This pie reminds me of a warm and sunny day, but we all know a margarita is appropriate in any weather, and so is this mouthwatering margarita meringue pie!
You’ll, of course, need a pie crust. As you know, I like to buy pre-made pie crusts, but you can also make your own from scratch if you prefer.
For the filling, you’ll need egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and water, which will combine to create the structure of the filling. You’ll also need butter, tequila, lime juice, and triple sec to add the perfectly delicious margarita flavor to the filling.
The meringue topping needs just egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar. You will not want to scale back the sugar here – it contributes not just to sweetness, but also to structure. It absorbs some of the moisture of the egg whites so if you don’t use enough sugar, your meringue topping will not stiffen properly.
How to make Margarita Meringue Pie
You’ll start by baking the pie crust a bit. I bake a frozen pie crust (after it defrosts for about 15-20 min) for 12 min at 350 F.
While the crust is cooling, I prep the filling. This is an egg-set pie filling which means egg yolks combined with sugar, cornstarch, and water give structure and stability to the pie filling so that it doesn’t flood when you cut a slice, but instead holds its shape! To make the filling, put the egg yolks in a small bowl off to the side, and on the stove, heat the sugar, cornstarch, and water until boiling. The mixture will be thick and glossy and will begin to pop. Allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes, then scoop a bit of the hot mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks.
You do this so that the egg yolks don’t heat up too quickly. If you were to add the egg yolks directly to the mixture, the high heat of the mixture would cook the egg yolks too quickly and they’d be more like the texture of scrambled eggs, which we, of course, don’t want in a pie! Instead, we take some of the hot mixture out of the pot, and move it to the eggs so they’re not immediately thrown into the boiling pot.
Once mixed together, the yolks will have been exposed to a higher temperature, so you can now put that warm mixture into the hot pot, and boil for another minute or two. Finally, remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the remaining ingredients until the butter is melted and the liquids are no longer separated, but instead forms one cohesive filling mixture. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust.
To make the meringue topping, you’ll whip the egg whites until they get foamy. You’ll then add the cream of tartar and slowly add the sugar. The reason egg whites whip up into meringue is because the whipping process fills the egg whites with air which makes them stand up tall. So when you add the sugar, you need to add it slowly so that the weight doesn’t deflate the meringue and it stays nice and tall!
You’ll want to add the meringue topping to the top of the filling while the filling is still hot. This will help cook the bottom of the meringue a bit more quickly. If it’s not hot, it could cause your pie to weep. Weeping is when a liquidy layer forms between the meringue and the filling. It will appear as though the pie filling has not set, but in actuality, it’s from the meringue. Putting the meringue on top of a hot filling will help prevent this from occurring.
Once assembled, you’ll bake until the meringue topping comes out beautifully brown and toasty! You’ll then let the pie cool, and place it in the refrigerator to chill. This pie is served cold.
How to Store Margarita Meringue Pie
This pie should be kept in the refrigerator, and should last a few days. You can also freeze the pie and let it defrost for a couple hours before service. Ideally I would not make this pie more than a couple days in advance.
What’s the trick to making meringue?
You want to be sure you’re using a clean and dry bowl to whip meringue. If any yolk or water or fat is in the whites, they may not whip up. You also want to be sure you’re adding the sugar slowly so as to not weigh down the meringue. It’s also important to not under-whip the meringue. If you stop whipping too soon, the meringue will be too liquidy.
Does meringue have to be cooked?
It depends on the method of meringue you are making, but in some form it should be heated because it is raw egg white. In this case, we bake it right on top of the pie so we’re good to go!
Do you need cream of tartar for meringue?
You don’t actually need cream of tartar for meringue, it can stabilize with just egg white and sugar. I like to use cream of tartar as a bit of a back-up plan. It helps stabilize the egg whites, and since egg whites can be quite finicky, it never hurts to add a bit more stabilization! You should also be able to use lemon juice as a substitute for cream of tartar, but I have not tested this so cannot confirm.
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Margarita Meringue Pie
- 1 9" pre-made/frozen or homemade pie crust
- 3 egg yolks save the whites for the meringue!
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup tequila or one airplane bottle!
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons Triple Sec
- 3 egg whites double this amount for sky-high meringue!
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar double this amount for sky-high meringue!
- 1/4 cup sugar double this amount for sky-high meringue!
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Bake the crust according to package directions (defrost slightly first if required). I defrosted mine for about 15 minutes and then baked for 12.
- Let crust cool.
- Turn the oven up to 400 F.
- Place egg yolks in a small bowl.
- Combine sugar, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture boils. Mixture will start to look clear and glossy, and will feel a bit thicker.
- Continue stirring while the mixture boils for one minute.
- Pour approximately half the sugar/cornstarch mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks and stir till combined.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with remaining sugar/cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly over medium heat for an additional two minutes. Mixture will still be boiling.
- Remove from heat and mix in the butter, tequila, lime juice, and triple sec until butter is melted.
- Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until foamy.
- Slowly and gradually add in the sugar, while continuing to beat at a high speed until the mixture becomes stiff and glossy. The topping is done when you can pull a beater out (when the mixer is off!) and the mixture holds a stiff peak.
- Cover the top of the pie with the meringue spreading it all the way to the edges of the pie pan.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes. The meringue will appear toasted. Allow the pie to cool, then cover and refrigerate. The pie should be served cold.
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This post was updated in May 2021 with an improved recipe, new photos, and additional information about the recipe.