Pinpointing the creation of this lemon meringue pie is difficult with several theories of its origins springing up. Lemon-based pies, puddings, and custards have been around since the Middle Ages, according to history. In the 1700s, the innovative addition of putting meringue on top of the pie was adopted. Modern-day lemon meringue pie gained popularity sometime in the 1800s.
The first mention of meringue-covered desserts dates back to France. Menon, a French cookbook author, published a book in 1739 that includes a recipe for Pommes meringuées, or meringue-covered apple butter or applesauce. Around 1869, a cookbook referenced lemon meringue pie for the first time. Lemon cream pies were the name given to the meringue-covered lemon custard pies of the time.