How many calories in a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie?

Lemon meringue pie is a delicious dessert that combines a tangy lemon filling with light, fluffy meringue. With its refreshing citrus flavor and sweet, pillowy topping, it’s no wonder lemon meringue pie is a classic favorite. But like any rich, sweet treat, it does come with a cost in calories. So just how many calories are in a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie?

Calories in Pie Crust

To determine the calorie count for a slice of lemon meringue pie, we first need to look at the calories for each component. The pie crust provides the foundation for lemon meringue pie. Most homemade pie crust recipes call for ingredients like flour, butter, shortening, and a small amount of sugar and salt. The calories will vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients and amounts used, but on average, one-eighth of a 9-inch single pie crust contains about 150 calories.

Standard Pie Crust Recipe

As an example, here is the nutrition information for a standard homemade pie crust made with:

  • 1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (155 calories)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (45 calories)
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces (453 calories)
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water

For the whole 9-inch pie crust, this recipe contains approximately:

  • Total calories: 653
  • Total fat: 36g
  • Saturated fat: 22g
  • Trans fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 94mg
  • Sodium: 473mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 69g
  • Dietary fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 3g

When cut into eight slices, each slice of this pie crust contains about 82 calories.

Calories in Lemon Filling

The lemon filling is the star of the show in lemon meringue pie. It provides the bright, refreshing lemon flavor that makes this pie so delicious. A typical homemade lemon filling contains ingredients like lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, butter, flour, and sugar.

Sample Lemon Filling Recipe

Here is the nutrition data for a sample lemon filling made with:

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (112 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (12 calories)
  • 3 egg yolks (111 calories)
  • 1⁄2 cup white sugar (200 calories)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (302 calories)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (48 calories)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

For the entire 9-inch pie filling, this recipe contains:

  • Total calories: 785
  • Total fat: 21g
  • Saturated fat: 12g
  • Trans fat: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 349mg
  • Sodium: 296mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 120g
  • Dietary fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 103g
  • Protein: 8g

Divided into eight slices, each slice of lemon filling has about 98 calories.

Calories in Meringue Topping

What really gives lemon meringue pie its distinctive look is the fluffy meringue topping. Meringue is made by whipping egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then folding in sugar. It adds a sweet, light finish to the pie without too big of a calorie load.

Meringue Topping Recipe

A simple meringue topping may contain:

  • 3 egg whites (51 calories)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar (288 calories)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 calories)

The nutrition facts for the full 9-inch pie meringue topping are:

  • Total calories: 344
  • Total fat: 0g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 150mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 84g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 84g
  • Protein: 9g

Each slice of the meringue contains approximately 43 calories.

Total Calories per Slice

Now we can calculate the total calories per slice of homemade lemon meringue pie:

  • Pie crust: 82 calories
  • Lemon filling: 98 calories
  • Meringue topping: 43 calories
  • Total calories per slice: 223 calories

So in summary, each slice of homemade lemon meringue pie made with a standard butter crust, lemon filling and meringue topping contains approximately 223 calories.

This calorie count will vary slightly depending on the exact ingredients and portion sizes used in the recipe. But for a nine inch pie cut into eight slices, you can expect around 220-230 calories per slice on average.

Ways to Reduce Calories

If you’re looking to lighten up your lemon meringue pie, there are a few simple ways to reduce the calorie count per slice:

  • Use a lower calorie pie crust – Try a graham cracker crust or crust made with heart healthy oils instead of butter.
  • Reduce the sugar – Cut back a bit on sugar in the filling and meringue to save calories.
  • Make smaller slices – Cut the pie into 10 or 12 slices instead of 8 to reduce calories per slice.
  • Use reduced-fat ingredients – Substitute 2% milk and lower fat cream cheese or yogurt for heavy cream and full-fat cream cheese in the filling.
  • Pile on less meringue – A little less meringue will save some calories.

You can easily shave off 50-100 calories per slice with some simple substitutions and adjustments.

Nutrition Benefits

While lemon meringue pie is high in calories, sugar, and fat compared to many other desserts, it does provide some important nutrients.

Benefits of lemon meringue pie include:

  • Vitamin C – The lemon juice provides a good dose of immune-boosting vitamin C.
  • Protein – The eggs and meringue contribute protein to help fill you up.
  • Thiamin – The flour in the crust provides some thiamin, a B vitamin that aids metabolism.
  • Iron – Small amounts of iron from the eggs and flour support oxygen circulation.
  • Zinc – Zinc from the eggs may help immune function and DNA synthesis.

While lemon meringue pie has a place in a balanced diet, it’s still best enjoyed in moderation due to the high calorie, sugar, and fat content. Savor a small slice along with other more nutritious foods and desserts.

Tips for Making Lighter Lemon Meringue Pie

Here are some tips to create a healthier, lower calorie lemon meringue pie while still keeping all the delicious flavor:

Lighter Crust

  • Use a partially baked pie shell rather than a fried deep dish pie crust to reduce fat and calories.
  • Substitute coconut oil or olive oil for half the butter.
  • Use whole wheat or almond flour instead of all white flour.
  • Add nuts, oats or crushed graham crackers to the crust for fiber and crunch.

Leaner Filling

  • Replace heavy cream with lower fat milk or yogurt.
  • Use just egg whites instead of whole eggs.
  • Flavor with extracts like vanilla, almond and lemon rather than relying solely on sugar for sweetness.
  • Bulk up the filling with pureed fruit like raspberries or strawberries.
  • Use a light sprinkle of powdered sugar rather than meringue for the topping.

Lighter Meringue

  • Use 3 egg whites instead of 4 to reduce calories.
  • Whip the egg whites with zero calorie stevia instead of sugar.
  • Finish the pie with fresh fruit like kiwi, strawberries or blueberries rather than piling on meringue.
  • Create a ‘meringue’ topping by whipping Greek yogurt with vanilla and lemon zest.

With some easy substitutions and additions, you can shave off calories, fat, and sugar without sacrificing the delicious lemon meringue flavor.

Nutrition Information for Lighter Lemon Meringue Pie

To give an idea of the nutrition facts, here is the calorie and nutrient breakdown for a lighter lemon meringue pie made with some of these substitutions.

For an 8-slice pie:

Crust

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 11g
  • Protein: 2g

Filling

  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Protein: 3g

Meringue

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 4g
  • Protein: 1g

Totals:

  • Calories per slice: 160
  • Fat per slice: 4g
  • Carbs per slice: 30g
  • Protein per slice: 6g

As you can see, with some modifications you can create a lighter lemon meringue pie in the range of 150-170 calories per slice versus 220-230 for a classic recipe. This saves 70-80 calories and significantly cuts fat and sugar too.

Conclusion

A slice of homemade lemon meringue pie made traditionally with a butter crust, sweet lemon filling, and fluffy meringue topping will cost you around 220-230 calories. The bulk of those calories come from the fatty crust and sugar-loaded filling. However, with some simple ingredient swaps and reductions, you can make a lighter lemon meringue pie with around 160 calories per slice. Use healthy fats in the crust, reduced-fat dairy in the filling, fewer eggs in the meringue, and less overall sugar. This will allow you to enjoy the delicious lemon meringue flavor for fewer calories and less fat and sugar.

No matter which way you make it, homemade lemon meringue pie makes for an indulgent, special occasion treat. Savor a small slice along with fruits, veggies and protein-rich foods for a balanced diet.

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