Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
These easy individual mini lemon meringue tarts are made from scratch using pie crust, lemon curd, and a fluffy Swiss meringue topping. They're bright and tart with the perfect amount of sweetness. Break out the blow torch for this fun and delicious recipe!
Published: 1/19/21; Updated 5/10/22
These Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts have the best combination of textures, which is exactly what I love about a lemon meringue pie (but make it mini)! The flaky and buttery crust holds up so well to the luscious and bright lemon filling, and gets topped with a fluffy vanilla Swiss meringue for poppable perfection!
The mini lemon meringue tarts are mostly no bake (only the crust needs to bake) and get filled with a quick and easy lemon curd.
While I love these made with a traditional pie crust, they can also be made using my sweet tart crust or even a graham cracker crust/biscuit base like in these s'mores bars.
The staple of this recipe is my super easy lemon curd, which is also used in my Lemon Filled Donuts and Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. It uses full eggs rather than egg yolks, which produces a thicker curd (perfect for filled items) with a less eggy taste than most curds.
Not into lemon? Try the grapefruit curd from my Individual Mini Pavlova Nests with Grapefruit Curd!
- All-purpose flour. For the flaky tart crust.
- Unsalted butter. The butter for the crust should be as cold as possible (I like to slice mine into tablespoons and throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes) before preparing the crust. The butter for the curd should be at room temperature.
- Large eggs. Full eggs for the curd, and egg whites for the Swiss meringue.
- Granulated sugar. For the curd and Swiss meringue.
- Lemons. You will need about 2-3 large lemons for this recipe. Be sure to zest the lemons first!
- Vanilla paste or extract.
- Tartlet pans or a standard muffin tin. You can make the tartlet shells in either and they will be perfect!
- Food processor (or pastry cutter). For making the crust, a food processor is easiest, but you can also use a pastry cutter to make the dough by hand.
- Parchment paper. You will need 12 small squares of parchment paper that fit into each tartlet shell in order to blind bake the crusts.
- Pie weights or dried beans/rice. These go on top of your parchment paper lined crusts and weigh down the crust as it bakes to hold its cup shape. If you don't have pie weights, used dried rice or beans. These can be stored for re-use, but are not to be consumed.
- Microplane. To get all of that lemon zest for the curd!
- Fine mesh strainer. This is used to strain your lemon curd and remove any partially cooked egg pieces.
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment or handheld mixer. Used to create the Swiss meringue for the topping.
- Blow torch. Optional, but makes the meringue look so lovely!
How to Make Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
STEP 1: Begin by making the pie crust and allow it to hydrate in the fridge for 2 hours. Detailed instructions can be found on my all-butter pie crust post.
Easy Lemon Curd
STEP 2: Once the crust is in the fridge, make the lemon curd by adding all ingredients to a pot over medium heat and whisking until thick and bubbling. Pass the curd through a fine mesh sieve, then whisk in the butter and refrigerate to cool and thicken.
Detailed instructions can be found on my lemon curd post. This is an easy lemon meringue pie filling from scratch.
Making the Tartlet Shells
STEP 3: Once the pie dough is ready, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it's ⅛" thick, then cut out the rounds to be a bit larger than the molds. If necessary, ball up the scraps and roll out again until there are 12 rounds.
STEP 4: Push the dough into the corners and sides of the pans or muffin wells, dock the dough with a fork, then freeze for 15 minutes.
Add squares of parchment paper to each shell, then fill each one completely with pie weights or dried rice/beans. Blind bake the shells completely and allow them to fully cool.
How to Make Fluffy Meringue
STEP 5: Add the egg whites and sugar to a double boiler over medium heat and whisk the mixture until it gets foamy and all of the sugar has dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, keep cooking and whisking.
STEP 6: Transfer the mixture a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer) and beat on high until stiff peaks form. You will be able to turn the bowl upside down without the meringue shifting or slipping.
Lemon Meringue Tart Assembly
STEP 7: Spoon or pipe the lemon curd each pie shell until almost full. Then, spoon or pipe the Swiss meringue on top of each shell.
Using a blow torch, lightly toast the meringue for extra color and flavor. You can also place the tartlets under a broiler on high for a quick toast. Watch them the whole time and do not walk away, as the meringue can catch fire or melt.
Crust: You can also use my sweet tart crust recipe, following instructions to fully blind bake. Alternatively, you can make the mini lemon meringue tarts with a graham cracker crust. Use the crust from my s'mores bar recipe, tightly compact the grahams, and bake following the same instructions. Finally, you can use store-bought tartlet shells, or mini phyllo pastry shells.
Filling: If you're not a fan of lemon, you can use orange or grapefruit juice. You can also use raspberry or cranberry (cooked down and passed through a sieve). Try my Cranberry Curd Tartlets for a fun variation!
Storing and Freezing
The unfilled shells can be stored at room temperature for 5 days, and the filled tarts can store in the fridge for 2 days. Only add the meringue when ready to serve. Fully assembled mini lemon meringue tarts can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours.
The tartlets (assembled without the meringue) can be tightly wrapped and frozen for two months. Unwrap the mini tarts and thaw them in the fridge, then add the meringue and serve.
FAQs and Tips
How to toast meringue without a kitchen torch?
While I do suggest using a kitchen torch for more control, you can also broil the mini lemon meringue tarts under a high broiler. Keep a close eye and turn the pan to get even browning.Can I use store-bought tartlet shells?
Definitely! If you can't find any with pie crust, shortcrust, sweet crust or graham cracker crust, you can also use frozen phyllo pastry shells.Do I need a special pan?
While I used specific tartlet pans in the recipe, you can also make the mini tart shells using a standard muffin tin following the same instructions. Note that they will be slightly shorter and wider (and you may only get 9 shells).Can I use store bought lemon curd?
Absolutely, though I urge you to try the lemon curd recipe as it's quite simple and results in a thicker curd than store-bought.
Other Recipes to Try
- Cranberry Curd Tart (mini version)
- Lemon Filled Donuts (with Meringue Topping)
- Individual Mini Pavlova Nests with Grapefruit Curd
Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
Flaky Pie Crust
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (390g)
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cold (311g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cups water with ice cubes (5.3oz)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar (100g)
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (85g)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup sugar (100g)
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- In a bowl, add the water and some ice cubes and set aside. Using a food processor, add the flour and salt to the bowl. Cut your cold butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the flour so they are evenly distributed around the bowl.
- Pulse the mixture until the butter reaches pea-sized pieces and looks crumbly. Add in the ⅔ cup ice cold water, and pulse again until the dough starts to form a ball (you want to still see butter chunks).
- Remove the dough and flatten into a one-inch disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to fully hydrate. Only one disc is needed, the other can be frozen after the chilling period. While the dough is resting, make the lemon curd.
- After two hours, lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface, then roll out the dough until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Continue to lightly flour your surface if the dough begins to stick.
- Using a cookie cutter, drinking glass, or knife, cut 12 rounds slightly larger than your tartlet pans or muffin tin openings. Press the dough into the sides and edges of the pan. Re-roll the scraps to get all 12 rounds.
- Place the prepared dough into the freezer for 15 minutes. This will help prevent the pie crust from shrinking.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Remove the crust from the freezer, and dock the bottoms a couple of times with a fork. Place a small sheet of parchment paper over each crust and fill completely with pie weights. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for another 5 minutes. The crust should be lightly golden brown and should slide out of the tins easily.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack in the pans.
- In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to bubble. This usually happnens with in five minutes. This is different on every stove top - you will see a noticeable difference in the viscosity.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and pass the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in one tablespoon of butter at a time, not adding another piece until the first is totally incorporated.
- Cover with plastic wrap, putting the wrap directly onto the curd to prevent a skin from forming, and chill for one to two hours in the fridge.
- Fill a saucepan with about 1 inch of water and turn to high heat. Add a heat proof bowl over top that fits securely. You don’t want any of the water touching the bottom of the bowl.
- To the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Continue lightly whisking until the mixture is warm and the sugar granules have dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, continue cooking. If you have a thermometer, cook it to around 160℉.
- One the mixture is ready, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a handhelp mixer) and whip on medium speed for about a minute. Turn to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Once the meringue hits stiff peaks, add the vanilla then mix once more to combine. The meringue is ready when the bowl can be turned upside down without any movement or sliding.
- To assemble, pipe or spoon the curd into each tartlet shell until it’s almost full. Then, pipe or dollop the meringue on top of the curd. Brown the meringue with a blow torch, or carefully broil on high in the oven until the desired color is reached.
- Store the fully assembled tarts in the fridge for 24 hours. Alternatively, store the tarts without the meringue in the fridge for 2-3 days. It's best to add the Swiss meringue on when ready to serve.
- The curd-filled mini tarts (without the meringue) can be tightly wrapped and frozen for 2 months. Unwrap and thaw in the fridge.
- Crust variations: You can also use my Sweet Tart Crust or Graham Cracker Crust if you don't want to use a pie crust.