Everyone in my family loves the frozen chocolate pie we often make (at least, everyone who loves chocolate); but almost right away we started looking for a way to make a similar lemon pie.  Just leaving out the cocoa powder and mixing in lemon zest or lemon juice didn’t really do it, as the texture was always off, and while you would get a lemon-y flavor, the pie wasn’t tart, so it fell flat.  When my sister and I started making frozen yogurt, we hit on something interesting — mixing Cool Whip into soft frozen yogurt made for a surprisingly creamy, almost ice-cream-like mixture.  With that and the thought of lemonade concentrate in mind, I set out to make this icebox pie.  🙂

The key to this pie is patience.  Nothing about it is very complicated or difficult, but many of the steps just plain take a long time.  The yogurt needs to be strained to get all that extra liquid out of it, which is easy to do with either cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer like this one:

Just prop the strainer into a bowl, pour the yogurt into the strainer, cover it in plastic wrap, and leave it in the fridge to strain.  If you’re using cheesecloth, put a layer of cheesecloth in a strainer (in a bowl), then wrap the ends of the cheesecloth over the yogurt to cover it before you put it in the fridge.  One plus of straining the yogurt is that the initial quality of the yogurt doesn’t matter much — there’s more liquid in the cheap stuff, but we’re straining the liquid out, so here’s to the cheap stuff!  I just get Dannon, since store brands usually have either modified food starch (a definite GF no-go) or outright list production contamination with wheat.

Then it takes time and patience to reduce the lemonade concentrate (though not too much), and time and patience to wait for the pie to really and properly freeze.  Oh, and making pie crust doesn’t exactly go quickly what with all that time sitting in the fridge, baking, cooling … Long story short, this is a good recipe to make with a few ingredients and not too much complication, but only if you can get started on it a couple days before you’re going to need the finished pie!

I’d better get started before I sell myself short.  🙂

Lemon Icebox Pie

Yield:  1 9-inch and 1 3-inch pie (after all, why waste scrap pie crust?)


  • 1 pre-baked pie crust, which requires:
    • 1 cup dough mix
    • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
    • 1/4 tsp guar gum
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • optionally, 1/4 tsp lemon rind
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 lb yogurt (before being strained)
  • 8 oz Cool Whip (or whatever brand of whipped dessert topping you prefer)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 can (4 oz) lemonade concentrate


1.  The night before you plan to make the (rest of) the pie, set up the yogurt to strain in the fridge.  The longer you leave the yogurt to strain, the more liquid you’ll get out and the creamier the pie will be, but generally overnight should do the trick:

Once it’s strained, the yogurt should be thick enough to hold its shape easily.

2.  You probably also want to at least start on the pie crust the night before, just to make sure you don’t get into a time crunch the next day — this way, the dough has plenty of time to chill in the fridge, and plenty of time to cool after baking.  20 minutes in a 400-degree oven should do the trick.

You’ll have more than enough filling to do a big pie and a little pie.  I like to tuck away the little pie in the freezer, tell no one else it exists, and save it for a rainy day.  🙂

3.  Next step — reduce the lemonade concentrate.  Just like you don’t want any extra liquid in the yogurt, you don’t want any extra liquid in the lemon, either.  Ten minutes or more on a medium-high burner will cook off most of the water in the lemonade concentrate, leaving you with an orange-looking syrup.  Don’t let it boil over, and be sure not to let it stick and burn as it gets syrupy — definitely take a soft spatula to the bottom of the pan on a regular basis.

4.  Meanwhile, set up your stand mixer, with the whisk attachment.  Adding and mixing one ingredient at a time, whip together the strained yogurt, vanilla, sugar, lemonade concentrate syrup, and the Cool Whip.  The result should be homogeneous, like so:

5.  Pour the whipped mixture into the cool pie shell(s), cover them in plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer for at least 8 hours.  You can’t see much of a difference, but it’s there.  🙂  (If you aren’t making a little pie, you can just freeze the rest of the pie filling in whatever container’s handy, and eat it like ice cream once it’s frozen.)

6.  Once the pie’s frozen, it’s ready to serve.  You don’t need to thaw it first at all — just take it out of the freezer and slice right in.  😀