Lemon Icebox Pie + Juneteenth Virtual Cookout 2020

Lemon Icebox Pie + Juneteenth Virtual Cookout 2020

Last Updated on June 20, 2021 by Chenée Lewis

I still remember the first time I watched my father make a lemon icebox pie. I was a little kid, and we were at my grandmother’s house in Sandusky, Ohio. Such a special place for our family, where we experienced so many moments filled with love and laughter. And on that day, my father was separating eggs.

Me: Daddy, what are you making?

Dad: An icebox pie.

Me: Why is it called that?

Dad: Because you don’t cook it in the oven, you let it set in the refrigerator.

Me: Why don’t you use part of the eggs?

Dad: Because you don’t need them.

And the conversation continued like that for some time. I asked too many questions back then (still do).

When I finally tasted the lemon icebox pie he made, it was SO good. And it seemed too easy — it was just eggs, lemon juice, and condensed milk in a pre-made graham cracker pie crust! This lemon icebox pie recipe is in honor of him, and the Lewis family’s love for desserts — there are some slight variations from how his mother and grandmother used to make it, but I got his seal of approval! 🙂

lemon icebox pie

2020 Juneteenth Cookout

This lemon icebox pie recipe is part of the 2020 Juneteenth Cookout Blog Takeover, an initiative in the food blogging space to highlight and amplify Black bloggers and cultural recipes of the Black diaspora.

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is the longest-running African-American holiday and the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas and announced to the enslaved people there that they had been declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier.

June 19th, shortened to “Juneteenth,” became a day of celebration for Black people in Texas and later across the country. Celebrations became an opportunity to reunite with family and loved ones, dress in their finest attire, eat lots of good food, and reflect on our history and heritage as a people. Juneteenth is an official holiday or day of observance in 47 of 50 states and the District of Columbia, but is not yet a national holiday.

This year, Juneteenth is even more significant. With continued police killings of Black people prompting worldwide uprisings and motivating so many to take action, it is a reminder of how far this nation has to go to undo the many generations of harm caused by slavery and white supremacy. Although these efforts need support every day and will need to continue far into the future, Juneteenth is a meaningful day to support the efforts of organizers and funds that are fighting to support and protect Black lives. CLICK HERE FOR WAYS TO DONATE.

This Juneteenth, take time to celebrate with your family, and if you’re looking for some delicious foods to help with your celebration, in addition to this lemon icebox pie, you can check out ALL of the amazing recipes in the 2020 Juneteenth Cookout below!

I’m so excited to be sharing this lemon icebox pie recipe in celebration of Juneteenth. I didn’t grow up knowing about the celebration, but it’s never too late to celebrate your history, and I am so excited to do that this year! One of my favorite parts about Black American culture is our food — how it brings us together and how it sets us apart. How recipes are passed down like oral histories, and how our flavors, spices, and techniques are unforgettable.

lemon icebox pie

I chose to share this icebox pie for the Juneteenth Cookout because this classic Southern recipe, having traveled with my family up north to Ohio during the Great Migration, and then passing down to me, is a perfect representation of the spirit of Juneteenth — celebrating our joys in the face of struggle, remembering where we came from, and sharing love, food, and good times across the generations.


The ingredients list is not that different from what my dad used all those years ago. To make this pie, you’ll need:

  • lemon juice & zest – for that amazing lemony flavor!
  • egg yolks – to help the pie set and give it that rich texture.
  • sweetened condensed milk – makes the pie sweet and creamy! My family uses Eagle Brand milk.
  • graham cracker crumbs – for that crunchy crumb crust.
  • salted butter – helps solidify the crust and adds buttery flavor.
  • brown sugar – gives your crust a caramel sweetness.
  • cinnamon – optional to add a little spice to your pie crust.

I’m also including a quick whipped cream recipe to serve with this pie! It’s not part of my family’s traditional recipe (my dad made sure to point that out, haha), but I love the contrast of the light, fluffy whipped cream with the richer, tart lemon pie. For the whipped cream, you’ll need:

  • heavy cream
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar

And with all those ingredients gathered, you’re all set to make this easy icebox pie!

Pie Pan with Removable Bottom

The most essential piece of equipment for this lemon icebox pie recipe is a pie or tart pan with a removable bottom, like this one. I use one like that for most of my pie recipes, because it makes serving the pie SO much easier than a traditional pie pan! No more sacrificing the first slice because it’s too difficult to neatly remove it from the pan. With this type of pan, you can remove the entire pie from the pan all at once, and then easily slice it like a cake.

Although a pan with a removable bottom is my preference, you are free to use any kind of 9-inch pie pan you like for this recipe, as long as it has sides that are at least 1.5 inches high.

Related Recipes

If you like this lemon icebox pie, you should definitely try my Brown Butter Black-bottom Sweet Potato Pie for another amazing soul food pie that is perfect for family celebrations. If you’re in the mood for more citrus flavor, try my Key Lime Pound Cake. And for another rich, summery treat check out my Blackberry Lemon Sweet Rolls. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

lemon icebox pie

Lemon Icebox Pie

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This old-fashioned lemon icebox pie recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and a homemade graham cracker crust is so easy!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine :American, Soul Food
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 574kcal
Recipe Source: Chenée Lewis

Equipment you may need


Graham Cracker Crust

Lemon Pie Filling

  • 2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) lemon zest
  • juice of 6 medium lemons - about 1 cup of juice

Whipped Cream (Optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • In a bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix well until graham crackers are fully saturated with butter and mixture holds together when pressed.
  • Pour graham cracker mixture into a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with removable bottom. Use the bottom of a cup or jar to press the crust down and along the sides. Set aside.
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepare pie crust.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until filling is just set.
  • Chill in refrigerator, loosely covered in plastic wrap for 6 hours or overnight.
  • To make whipped cream, combine heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip for 3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Serve immediate with chilled pie.


Graham cracker crumbs: To crush the graham crackers, I placed them in a gallon freezer bag and crushed them with a rolling pin. You can also use a food processor to crush them, or buy pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs.
Removable-bottom Pie Pan: I used this pie pan to make this pie recipe — I love it because it has a removable bottom so you can remove the entire pie all at once to make slicing easier!  But you can use any pie pan you like, as long as it’s at least 9-10 inches wide and 2 inches deep.


Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 574 kcal | Carbohydrates: 71 g | Protein: 12 g | Fat: 28 g | Saturated Fat: 16 g | Cholesterol: 235 mg | Sodium: 301 mg | Potassium: 456 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 63 g | Calcium: 317 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
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Did you try this recipe? Rate it below!I can’t wait to see (and share) your results! Follow me on Instagram at @chenee_today and tag #cheneetoday!
Juneteenth cookout

There are so many amazing recipes in the Juneteenth Cookout Takeover! Check out a few of them, and CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST OF RECIPES. Happy Juneteenth!

Christy Irene | Crawfish Etoufee

Collards Are The Old Kale | Guaymas Shrimp

Confessions of a clean foodie | Mint Peach Spritzer

Cooking to a T Jamaican | Beef Patties

Cooks with Soul | BBQ in Jar

Dash of Jazz | Golden Pineapple Pound Cake

Dish It With Tisha | Honey Jerk Shrimp

DMR Fine Foods | Blackberry Ginger Soda

Dom N’ The City | Pound Cake

Domestic Dee | Easy Berry Fruit Salad

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lemon icebox pie


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