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Lemon Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut Crust

Lemon Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut Crust offers a delicious coconut twist on a classic dessert! Such wonderful lemon flavor!

overhead view of a slice of Lemon Icebox Pie on a white plate with the remaining pie beside it

Lemon Icebox Pie

A while back, I was asked for a recipe for Lemon Icebox Pie. I was a bit surprised to realize that I’d not shared one with you in all these years! I knew that had to be remedied as soon as possible.

The trick with sharing a classic recipe is that it is sometimes so good in its traditional form that you don’t want to change much about it. So, it’s no surprise that the filling of this pie is the same one I’ve been making for years. It’s so perfectly sweet and tart, with the added advantage of being so very simple to make.

This pie strays a bit from tradition with its crust. While you’ll usually find a graham cracker crumbs crust underneath all that lemony filling, this one has a buttery shortbread crust that features sweet, crispy, nutty toasted coconut. It adds a nice bit of flavor and a little different texture than usual. (See my tips for toasting coconut.)

Of course, if you’re feeling a bit more traditional, just swap out the crust with a graham cracker crust or maybe a vanilla wafer crust or any kind of cookie crumb crust you like. Changing the crust with different cookie crumbs is a simple way to give a little twist to a favorite pie!

What is an Icebox Pie?

An icebox pie is a chilled pie that’s named as it is because of its being stored in the refrigerator, or icebox. The fillings of these pies are generally creamy and are made with whipped cream. They are often made with a cookie crumb crust but can also be made in a pastry crust. Here, the crust I use is a bit of a departure with a coconut shortbread crust.

overhead view of Lemon Icebox Pie with a few slices missing

What You’ll Need

This fantastic Lemon Icebox Pie is made with a short list of ingredients. It’s wonderfully simple!

For the crust:

See my notes and links above for alternative pie crust options.

  • Sweetened flaked coconut – You can also use sweetened shredded coconut.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – The butter needs to be cold for mixing. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and return it to the refrigerator while you gather the other ingredients.

For the filling:

  • Sweetened condensed milk – Look for this with the baking ingredients. Make sure your condensed milk is sweetened.
  • Cream cheese – Full-fat cream cheese works best. Let it come to room temperature so it will mix smoothly.
  • Lemons – You’ll need both zest and juice for the filling. Learn more: How to Zest and Juice Lemons
  • Heavy cream – Either heavy cream or heavy whipping cream will work. Leave it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to whip it.

Topping Ideas:

While this pie is perfectly lovely all on its own, here are some garnish ideas for adding a little something extra when you serve it.

  • Sweetened whipped cream – Add an extra sprinkle of toasted coconut on top!
  • Fresh berries – Your favorite kind or a mixture
  • Candied lemon peel
  • Lemon cookie pieces or crumbs
overhead view of toasted coconut crust being pressed into a white pie plate

How to Make Lemon Icebox Pie

To Make the Crust:

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F.

Toast the coconut. Either place the coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes until toasted, or place the coconut in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat until toasted. Set aside to cool. Learn more: How to Toast Coconut

Mix the dry ingredients and sugar. Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cooled coconut, and mix well.

Finish mixing. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers until the mixture is thoroughly combined. It will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.

Bake the crust. Transfer the crust mixture to a 9-inch pie plate, and press it evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You can use a measuring cup, a spoon, or your fingers to press it into the pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

To Make the Filling:

Mix everything but the cream. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, and mix well.

Whip the cream. In a separate bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. With soft peaks, the cream should fold over when the whisk is lifted out of the cream. Learn more: How to Make Whipped Cream

Add the cream to the cream cheese mixture. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. You may want to add about a quarter of it first and mix to loosen the mixture; then add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold it into the filling.

Fill the crust and chill. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust, spreading evenly. Cover and chill the pie for at least 6 hours before serving.

slice of Lemon Icebox Pie on a white plate with more pie in a white pie plate in the background

Tips for Success

While this Lemon Icebox Pie is quite easy to make, here are a few tips to help make yours the best it can be!

  • Use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice may be an easy shortcut now and then, but not here where lemons are the star of the show!
  • Use a cold bowl for whipping the cream. Placing the mixing bowl (and even the whisk attachment!) in the refrigerator before you begin making this pie will give you a better result.
  • Don’t over-mix. When adding the whipped cream to the rest of the filling, fold it gently using as few turns of your mixing spoon as possible. Too much mixing, and your whipped cream will deflate, losing the light, fluffy texture you want in this pie.

How to Store Lemon Icebox Pie

Keep this Lemon Icebox Pie covered and refrigerated. It should keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Some people prefer this type of pie served frozen. If you go that route, wrap it very well and place in an airtight, freezer-safe container. It should keep up to 3 months if stored properly.

Lemon Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut Crust

Yield 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 55 minutes

A buttery, toasty coconut crust and a sweet, tart lemon filling make for an irresistible twist on Lemon Icebox Pie!

overhead view of Lemon Icebox Pie with a few slices missing

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup (63g) sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the filling:

  • 14 ounces (397g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • zest of 2 medium lemons
  • juice of 3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Place the coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the coconut is toasted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Mix in the cooled coconut. 
  4. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch round pie plate. Press the crust firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use a measuring cup, a spoon, or your fingers to press the crust into the pan.
  6. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese until thoroughly combined and smooth. Mix in the lemon zest and juice.
  2. Place the cream in a separate bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Transfer the filling to the cooled crust, and spread evenly. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving.

Recommended Products

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More Lemon Pie Recipes

This recipe was developed in partnership with Go Bold with Butter.

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    9 Comments on “Lemon Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut Crust”

  1. Icebox pies are the best, especially in the summer! I have never tried lemon, it looks wonderful.

  2. Sometimes it’s best to just to stick with the classics…I mean, they’re a classic for a reason!! I’m all about all things lemon. This sounds so good!

  3. I need that toasted coconut crust. For all the pies!

  4. I can’t get Sweetened flaked coconut in the UK.  Any suggestions for an alternative. 

    • Hi, Margaret. There are some ways to make your own. I’ve not tried any of them, so I can’t recommend one particular method.. If you do a web search for “how to make sweetened coconut flakes,” you’ll find several options. 

  5. How much do you think juice of 3 lemons would be.  I have a bunch of fresh frozen lemon juice in my freezer.  Thanks. 

  6. I’m tempted to substitute the AP flour for coconut flour in the crust to make it GF. What do you think; should I add a liquid?

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