Pies & Tarts

Gemma’s “The Whole Lemon” Tart Recipe

4.83 from 58 votes
Bright, tart, and sweet, my Whole Lemon Tart recipe uses an entire lemon — peel and all — to create a simple and perfect summer dessert.
A full picture of the finished Whole Lemon Tart

Hi Bold Bakers!

Let me clarify — this recipe is called a “Whole Lemon Tart” because I use an entire lemon. Yes, a whole lemon, peel and all

I can hear the disbelief now. A whole lemon? Yes. Won’t it be too sour? No! Won’t it be too bitter from using the peel? No!! Is it actually good? It is incredible! You are going to love it, trust me! 

To be honest, using one medium lemon was not quite lemony enough for me, so I even added a little extra lemon juice to give this homemade lemon tart the right balance of sweet and puckery. My whole lemon tart recipe is one of those recipes you won’t believe until you try it: a lemon dessert with no zesting, and you don’t have to (painstakingly) cook a custard. It is amazing!

[ This recipe needs a pie crust! Use my Pie Crust recipe for the perfect tart. ]

What Is A “Whole” Lemon Tart?

This tart recipe is super simple to make, uses very few ingredients, and uses a whole lemon for the filling. 

The filling has the peel, the juice, and the pulp, and it makes the perfect, most refreshing summertime dessert (in fact, it makes the perfect wintertime dessert too, because that’s when citrus is at its finest!). It is a great balance of sweet and tart flavors, and it has an amazingly creamy, custardy texture. 

My Whole Lemon Tart uses an entire lemon, peel and all, and you can't even tell in this photo of the finished tart topped with fruit.

What You Need To Make A Whole Lemon Tart

How To Make A Whole Lemon Tart

This recipe is truly so, so easy, but it both tastes and looks incredible! You can even use a storebought pie crust to make it even simpler! Just promise me you’ll choose a good one. Here’s a quick break down on how you’ll make it (And don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below.):

  1. Roll out your pie crust and line a 9-inch tart pan with it. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. (You can use lentils or beans as pie weights.)
  2. In a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven, blind bake the crust for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the pie weights and the parchment paper and continue to let the crust bake for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. To prepare the filling, halve and quarter the whole lemon and toss any pith you see. Add the lemon, sugar, and butter into the food processor and process until very smooth. This should take 4-5 minutes. 
  5. After the lemon mixture has become smooth, add the eggs, yolk, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt to the processor and process until combined.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the filling is set. It should still be slightly jiggly when you tap it. 
  7. Let the tart cool for at least 2 hours, or until it has cooled to room temperature. 

A top-down view of my Whole Lemon Tart recipe, showing color, texture, and consistency.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making A Whole Lemon Tart

  • Since you are using the whole lemon, try to use organic lemon, and ideally one that doesn’t have a thick skin. In any case, please WASH the lemon first.
  • If your crust’s edges start to get too brown before the filling is done, cover the edges with aluminum foil. 
  • Use my pie crust How to Make Pie Crust! But feel free to use storebought! 
  • You can make this tart up to 2 days in advance. The flavor gets even better.
  • Heat up a slice in your microwave and enjoy with vanilla ice cream. It’s HEAVEN!

How Do I Store Lemon Tart?

My Whole Lemon Tart can be stored, covered, in a refrigerator for up to 2 days. Yes, this can be frozen — but it will be best baked fresh or alternatively refreshed in a hot oven before cooling again and serving, this is because of the pastry!

A slice of lemon tart served with colorful berries and cream.

Make More Pie!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Gemma's Whole Lemon Tart Recipe

4.83 from 58 votes
Bright, tart, and sweet, my Whole Lemon Tart recipe uses an entire lemon — peel and all — to create a simple and perfect summer dessert.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Bright, tart, and sweet, my Whole Lemon Tart recipe uses an entire lemon — peel and all — to create a simple and perfect summer dessert.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 x recipe pie crust
  • 1 medium lemon (about 4 1/2 oz/130g)
  • 1 ½ cups (12oz/340g) sugar
  • ½ cup (4oz/115g) butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons (½ oz/15g) cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz/ 42g) lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Roll out the pie crust and line a 9-inch tart pan with it. Line the crust with parchment and fill with pie weights. (I use lentils or beans)
  • Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pie weights and parchment paper and let the crust bake for another 5-10 minutes to let the bottom bake.
  • Prepare the filling: Half and quarter them whole lemon and remove and discard any piths you see. Add the lemon, sugar, and butter in a food processor and process until very smooth, roughly 4-5 minutes. (see video above for step by step instructions)
  • To the food processor, add the eggs, yolk, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt and process until combined.
  • Pour the filling into the prebaked crust, place on a baking sheet, and bake until the filling is set but still slightly jiggly when tapped, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Let cool for at least two hours, or until it has cooled to room temperature. Serve with freshly whipped cream.
  • Store, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Submit your own photos of this recipe

6 Images

MammaL

Mné Kidwell

Rebecca DÁmato

Jenrbr

Mné Kidwell

Rosh_win26

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avacuppa
17 days ago

I made this tart yesterday and it was delicious!! I was so happy as was for a family gathering. Found out our son’s girlfriend Is pregnant with their first❣️ Anyways, the tart was made exactly as Gemma’s recipe said, turned out perfect!

Devika
Devika
20 days ago

How would you substitute the egg for an eggless tart?

Mné Kidwell
17 days ago

Hi Gemma.
My mom made this Friday night. She did not made it with the pie crust, she brake up some Marie Cookies and some Ginger Cookies, mixed it with a little bit of butter and made a cookie crust instead. You won’t believe it she made it again to take with to family. This is the most delicious Whole Lemon Tart we’ve ever eaten.

Your Bold Bakers.
Deoné (mom) & Mné
♥♥♥

Annette
19 days ago

Do you use the whole lemon, rind & pith? Or did I miss juicing & zesting it.

Roshnaa Wincita
9 days ago

Hey Gemma!
I tried this recipe out and it was awesome!
I thought tarts are messy, but this definitely wasn’t.
Thanks!

Karen Ooi
Karen Ooi
10 days ago

Can I use a crushed biscuit base instead of a pie crust?

MC weber
MC weber
14 days ago

Made this tart for my boyfriend’s birthday celebration. He loved it! Easy to make and put together. It was super yummy. Thanks Gemma

Julie
Julie
14 days ago

Absolutely delicious – made as instructed.

Binaifer Havewala
15 days ago

Hi Gemma,

We don’t find lemons easily in India and I’m thinking to substitute the same with Indian limes which are smaller. Can you let me know how many we would need to substitute for the recipe?

17 days ago

Absolutely amazing. Thank you!

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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