Atlantic Beach Pie is full of delicious contrasts.  Sweet and salty, tangy and creamy, fluffy and dense! Finish your fun in the sun today with this paradoxical coastal invention.

A slice of Atlantic Beach Pie on a saucer

If you are a new fan of Atlantic Beach Pie, history is on your side. Popularized only in recent years, this coastal North Carolina delicacy is currently sweeping the nation. Dubbed “the best pie of the summer” and “a pie to cut through summer’s heat” by various news outlets, the dessert is making headlines for a reason.

Atlantic Beach Pie reviews are universally raving. Indulge your family and guests today, or impress your neighbors at the local cookout, with this elegant and approachable pie. If you and your diners give this summer-y treat an equally glowing assessment, give my Million Dollar Pie or Banana Cream Pie a go for your next shindig.


  • The sweet summery flavor is unbeatable.
  • I love the sweet and salty, tangy and creamy contrasts.
  • Saltine crusts are the best! A nice change from graham cracker crumbles.
  • The ingredients are very “back to the basics.”

What Is Atlantic Beach Pie?

A lemon custard delight, the pie was given its name by Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, NC, who fashioned it after a childhood favorite. His version of the treat is tangy and sweet, with a salty crust and fluffy topping. Bill finishes the pie with zest and sea salt in a tribute to the pie’s beachy origins.  




Atlantic Beack Pie topped with whipped topping and lemon zest in an 8-inch pie pan, overhead shot

What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Atlantic Beach Pie?

This Atlantic Beach Pie recipe requires eleven easy ingredients. Blend saltine crackers, unsalted butter, and sugar for the homemade crust. The filling uses only a can of sweetened condensed milk, four egg yolks, and fresh lemon juice.

To make the topping, you need heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. For garnish, use lemon zest and flaky sea salt.

How Do You Make Atlantic Beach Pie?

Atlantic Beach Pie is made in three easy steps. Blend and bake the crust, beat and bake the filling, then top with whipped cream.

The crust of the pie is made with a crumbled saltine cracker dough, blended with butter and sugar. The filling is made by beating together eggs, condensed milk, and citrus juice. The pie is topped with whipped cream and finished with lemon zest and sea salt.

Total baking time is about 35 minutes, and chilling time is just over four hours. The crust is baked alone first, before adding the filling and baking the complete pie.  

Let’s Start With The Crust:

Step By Step How To Make Atlantic Beach Pie Crust Collage

Step By Step: How To Make The Atlantic Beach Pie Crust

1. You’ll need unsalted butter, saltine crackers in a resealable zipper plastic bag, and sugar. 
2. Crush crackers.
3. Crush just until you have a good mixture of crumbs and flakes.
4. Mix the crushed crackers, sugar, and butter in a bowl.
5. Press the mixture into an 8-inch pie pan. Bake and Cool.

Now For the Filling:

Step By Step How To Make Atlantic Beach Pie Filling Collage

Step By Step: How To Make The Atlantic Beach Pie Filling

1. You’ll need 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt (not in photo). Prepare whisk.
2. Beat the egg yolk and condensed milk in a bowl.
3. Add lemon juice and beat until well combined.
4. Pour filling into crust. Bake and cool.

Last, For the Topping:

Step By Step How To Make Atlantic Beach Pie Topping Collage

Step By Step: How To Make The Atlantic Beach Pie Topping

1. You’ll need 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. 
2. Whip the heavy cream in a chilled bowl.
3. Add powdered sugar.
4. Add vanilla extract.
5. Top the pie with whipped cream. Garnish with lemon zest and sprinkle with sea salt (not in photo).

**See Full Instructions In Recipe Below**


A slice of Atlantic Beach Pie on a saucer
4.64 from 11 votes

Atlantic Beach Pie

Atlantic Beach Pie is full of delicious contrasts. Sweet and salty, tangy and creamy! Finish your fun in the sun today with this coastal creation.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 606 kcal
Author Kathleen


For The Crust:

  • 1 1/2 Sleeves Saltine Crackers, About 60 Crackers
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

For The Filling:


  • 1 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  • Zest of one Lemon
  • Sprinkle Of Flaky Sea Salt


For The Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Crush the cracker in a 1-gallon plastic bag with a rolling pin. (stop before crackers turn to dust; You want some little pieces.) 

  3. Add the crushed crumbs, sugar, and butter to a medium bowl and mix until the butter evenly coats the mixture and the crumbs come together like a graham crack crust.

  4. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

For The Filling:

  1. While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t have to cool completely),  in a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks into the condensed milk, then beat in the lemon juice and beat until well combined.

  2. Pour filling into crust, and bake for 16-19 minutes or until filling is set. 

  3. Refrigerate until completely cold, 4 hours up to overnight (the pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced).


  1. When the filling has cooled, make the whipped cream. Whip the heavy cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until peaks are just stiff.

  2. Top the pie with the whipped cream then garnish the top with lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt.

© Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Atlantic Beach Pie
Amount Per Serving (1 /8 of the recipe)
Calories 606 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 19g 95%
Cholesterol 185mg 62%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Potassium 91mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 63g 21%
Sugars 43g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 20.7%
Vitamin C 7.5%
Calcium 21.2%
Iron 2.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Atlantic Beach Pie topped with whipped topping and lemon zest in an 8-inch pie pan

Recipe Notes For Atlantic Beach Pie:

Lemon Juice: You’ve gotta use fresh lemon juice in this recipe. Please, I mean please, do not even consider using that stuff from the plastic shaped lemon. And don’t forget that lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C! Read on for other possible health benefits of lemons

Pressing the crust:  Press the saltine mixture evenly into your pie pan to avoid an irregular crust. Simply place the crumbs in the center of the pan, and press outwards until the pan is uniformly covered. I use the bottom of a juice glass to finish pressing them in and lightly compressing the crust. (lightly, you don’t want to pulverize it!)

Whipping cream: You will need to use a cream with 30 to 40 percent milk fat in order for the cream to whip. If you are having trouble getting the peaks to stiffen, a tablespoon of cornstarch is commonly used as a stabilizer.

If you are a beginner cook, or just want to check out an expert guide, here’s a great article on how to make whipped cream.

Topping with whipped cream: Spooning your whipped cream onto the pie or spreading it with a spatula will work just fine. You can make a fancier design by putting the whipped cream into a plastic bag, cut a half inch slit off one corner of the bag, and squeeze the cream out in a spiral pattern.

Zesting: If you have never zested before, never fear! Simply use a sharp tool called a micro planer. It will grate off small pieces of the citrus peel like a pro!  Lemons, limes, and oranges are the most common candidates for zesting. Each lime produces a couple tablespoons of zest. 

Uses for egg whites: Leftover egg whites can be left in the fridge for a few days or frozen. Save them for later use in an omelet, frittata, veggie stir fry, meringue, cake, macaroon tray, or cocktail!

How to know when the filling is set: The surface of the pie should look firm, and there should be only a slight jiggle to the center when shaken. Too much jiggle and your pie is undercooked; no jiggle at all and your pie is overcooked! You can also try inserting a toothpick close to the center to see if it comes out mostly clean.

A spoonful of Atlantic Beach Pie

Can You Make Atlantic Beach Pie Ahead Of Time?

Yes! You can make the pie a few days ahead of time. Pies last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Custard type fillings do not freeze well, but you can make the crust in advance and freeze it for up to several months.

Looking For More Creamy And Summery Pies?

Step By Step How To Make Atlantic Beach Pie


Source: Chef Bill Smith from Crook’s Corner