This gorgeous Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie with gingersnap crust is a show-stopping holiday dessert that's perfect for Thanksgiving. It's like Key Lime Pie, but better. It's intensely creamy, perfectly tart and so, soo festive. After indulging in a huge meal, I can't think of anything that would be more welcome and refreshing to eat. It's so rich and strongly flavored that just a skinny slice will do the trick!
Why this recipe works
This Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie is a festive twist on key lime pie that will not only stand out on the table, it will completely steal the show at your holiday event.
This recipe is not difficult, but it does require some time and attention. For a quicker and easier, but just as impressive cranberry dessert, try my Easy Cranberry Almond Tart! I also have a an easy recipe to make the pretty little shimmery Sugared Cranberries for garnish as well.
There is a video tutorial on how to make this pie saved to my Instagram story highlights, which you can find. If you plan on making this recipe I highly recommend watching this video first! It will be especially helpful to see all of the steps in action.
What does it taste like?
This pie is best described as Key Lime Pie's older, more sophisticated sister. The filling consists of a rich, creamy and intensely tart cranberry-Meyer lemon curd, and in lieu of a graham cracker crust, this one is made with gingersnaps instead. The crunchy, spiced crust along with the smooth, puckery filling is absolute perfection. As someone who usually prefers traditional Thanksgiving desserts, this one left me speechless.
What are Meyer Lemons?
Meyer lemons are a cross between lemons and Mandarin oranges. They are tart like lemons, but taste just a hint sweeter, a bit more floral and overall more interesting. I absolutely adore them. They can be challenging to find depending on where you live, but are becoming more common. In my grocery store, they're sold in a bag (not loose) and are located by the other bagged fruits.
Can the Meyer Lemons be substituted?
Yes. You can use regular lemons or limes instead. I don't recommend using oranges, as they are too sweet and not sour enough. However, you can use a mixture of ¾ lemon juice and ¼ orange juice to mimic the flavor of Meyer lemon if you can't find them.
Tips for success
This pie filling is thickened in three different ways:
- The natural pectin from the cranberries (think jellied cranberry sauce).
- Eggs (think custard).
- Whipping butter into the filling (think whipped cream or a beurre blanc sauce).
There are 4 different steps that are crucial to getting the filling to thicken:
- The first step is to make sure the cranberries are not too liquidy when they cook down with the sugar. The mixture should resemble cranberry sauce or jam.
- The second and most important step is to make sure the curd properly thickens. You have to cook the mixture slowly, while stirring constantly over medium heat, until it gets thick. Not just a little bit, but really thick, like the texture of a loose pudding or pancake batter. Stir and scrape the bowl constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. If you'd like some extra insurance, use a candy thermometer and cook until 165 degrees F.
- The third step is the least important, but still worth noting. Whipping the butter into the warm curd will help emulsify it even further. Be sure to incorporate the butter gently, one piece at a time - if it starts to melt, the mixture is too hot. If the butter won't incorporate, then the mixture - OR your butter - is too cold. Add it back to the double boiler and gently reheat while stirring until just warm (avoid this if possible). The mixture should be a few shades lighter when you're done.
- The fourth step is also an important one. In order to finish setting up, the pie needs to chill. You've put a lot of time into making this pie, so don't risk it by cutting it too early. Give it a solid 8 hours to be sure. Overnight is recommended.
Yes. Graham crackers, vanilla wafers or any other crisp cookie would work well in this crust. Just be sure to use 2 cups of cookie crumbs.
Yes. Just use a gluten free gingersnap or other gluten free cookie in the crust. The filling is already gluten free.
Yes. In fact, it has to be made ahead. It needs at least 8 hours to set up in the refrigerator to ensure it holds its shape once sliced. It's best made 1-2 days in advance.
This is not a beginner recipe and it can be time consuming, so be sure to plan ahead. Several of my friends made it and gave me crap about the amount of dishes it created, so also be aware of that and just embrace it as part of the experience. If you're looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that will be sure to impress EVERYONE at the party, look no further.
Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all questions and comments. I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @ColeyCooks on Instagram and I will repost!Print
Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie with Gingersnap Crust
This gorgeous Cranberry Meyer Lemon Pie with gingersnap crust is a show-stopping holiday dessert that's perfect for Thanksgiving. It's like Key Lime Pie, but better! It's intensely creamy, perfectly tart and so, soo festive. After indulging in a huge meal, I can't think of anything that would be more welcome and refreshing to eat. It's so rich and strongly flavored that just a skinny slice will do the trick!
Adapted from Bon Appetit. I recommend reading the entire recipe in full before starting.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes plus chill time
- Yield: 1 pie, 12 servings 1x
- Category: dessert
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
For the Crust:
- 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs *see note
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
- 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- ½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- Fresh whipped cream, for serving
Sugared Cranberry Garnish (optional)
Make the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Add gingersnap cookie crumbs, butter, brown sugar and salt to a food processor. Pulse until the crumbs are moistened, then transfer to a deep 9-inch pie dish. Use a measuring cup to press the crust firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the dish.
- Bake for about 12-13 minutes or until crisp and slightly darkener. If the crust falls off the sides, use the measuring cup to gently press it back into place while still hot. Let cool.
- Crust can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until needed.
Make the Filling:
- Add cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the berries burst open and the mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes. The texture should resemble cranberry sauce. Puree in the food processor (or blender) until it's as smooth as possible. This may take a good 3-4 minutes. *Use caution blending hot liquids.*
- Add the eggs, egg yolks, Meyer lemon zest, Meyer lemon juice, salt, and remaining ½ cup sugar to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Scrape the mixture into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) at about medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula until it thickens up like a curd and nicely coats the back of a spoon, about 15-20 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Don't rush this step - it's essential to getting the filling to set up.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Set a fine meshed strainer over a bowl, then pour the curd through. Press with a rubber spatula to make sure you get as much of the curd through as possible while leaving the bits of cranberry skin and coagulated egg in the strainer. Let cool until just barely warm.
- Beat the curd with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, adding softened (very important) butter one piece at a time. Be sure each piece of butter is fully incorporated before adding in the next.
- Continue beating the curd until all of the butter has been incorporated and it looks a few shades lighter in color, about 6 minutes.
- Pour the curd into the prepared crust and smooth out the top. Gently bang the pie dish on the counter to remove any air bubbles, then chill until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight is best.
- Pie can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Sugared Cranberry Garnish (optional)
- Top the pie with sugared cranberries right before serving. Serve with fresh whipped cream on the side.
*The amount of gingersnap cookies needed for the crumbs will vary by brand (or use homemade for even better results). I found about 3 cups of loosely packed cookies produced enough crumbs. Use the food processor to buzz them up, then measure.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 419
- Sugar: 48.1 g
- Sodium: 233.7 mg
- Fat: 20.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 58.6 g
- Protein: 3.1 g
- Cholesterol: 123 mg
Keywords: cranberries, meyer lemon, key lime pie, gingersnaps
Need to make a gluten free crust. Could I use gluten free Graham crackers kers?
Absolutely! Or gluten free gingersnaps if you can find them
Amazing. It's a "plan ahead" recipe for sure, but well worth the end. I can't wait to make again for family once we can actually spend holidays together.
I'm planning on making this recipe later today! It looks so amazing and the color is just beautiful. Quick question -- can I make the sugared cranberries a day in advance, or will the sugar coating dissolve? Thanks so much! Can't wait to make this pie and I'll be sure to leave a review after!
Thanks Marlene! The cranberries don't hold up well overnight. However, you can start them in the syrup, then hold them in it overnight, drain and roll in sugar when ready to serve. does that help? Hope you enjoy!!!
Good tip! Thank you!
Why is my butter not incorporating into the mixture? Help!!!
it's probably not warm enough! make sure its warm enough for the butter to melt
So fun and festive!
If you don’t cook it will the bacteria from the eggs still be there?!
you need to cook the eggs or the pie won't set
This was my first time making anything like this. The instructions were so clear and helpful, and the pie was so delicious!
This was NOT an easy recipe to make but it was worth it! So delicious (kind of like key lime pie) and absolutely STUNNING on the table.
It's definitely a labor of love! So glad it was a success!
This pie absolutely kills every time I make it! I call it the pie to end all pies 🥰🥰
So glad you love it! Please leave a star rating if you can!
I made this for a Thanksgiving get-together with friends, and it was a hit. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and even though the post said this was not a beginner recipe (I am a beginner), I found the video posted to her Instagram to be so great that I had. no problem making this pie. I 100% recommend.
That is so great to hear! I'm so happy it turned out well for you and that the videos were helpful. 🙂
Thank you for making the videos and sharing this!
Can you freeze the pie and serve later?
I have not tried freezing the pie, but I do think it will work. I would let it defrost slowly in the refrigerator the night before you'd like to serve it.
My parents brought over some Meyer lemons at Thanksgiving and I had an extra bag of cranberries I didn't know what to do with... then I found your recipe. It was a hit! I'm actually making another one right now for my office Christmas party. Yes, it's a recipe that takes careful time, but I didn't find it difficult at all. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your comment! I'm glad to know you didn't think it was difficult.
Just made this for thanksgiving dinner and it was the best dish of the night.
The directions are well written and easy to follow. I have made lemon curd before but did not realize the time commitment this pie was going to be (close to 2 hours). However, it was so well worth it. Next time I will just start earlier 🙂
I made the sugared cranberries day of and after dinner was over, stored them overnight in our cool pantry and they are still going strong 24 hours later. I also candied the extra lemons and used as a garnish.
So glad I chose this recipe over the NYT one that kept popping into my newsfeed. Well done!
Thank you so much for your comment! I'm thrilled you loved the recipe!