This banana cream pie is made completely from scratch, with a buttery graham cracker crust, lots of bananas, perfectly creamy and rich pudding filling, and lots of whipped cream.
My favorite pie at the Thanksgiving dessert table is always a banana cream pie. And until this year I’ve always just gone the easy route and used a pudding mix based filling for my banana cream pie. But not any more.
This banana cream pie recipe is made completely from scratch. There are no boxes, no mixes, and no shortcuts. But I promise it’s easy to make!
Now I personally think cream pies are better with a graham cracker crust, and apparently so do the majority of people. I did a poll on my instagram and facebook pages, and with over 300 answers over 75% said that a graham cracker crust was better. So, I stuck with my favorite graham cracker crust.
So you’ll start with a buttery and crunchy graham cracker crust. Then the pie is filled with a homemade creamy pudding, that is cooked on the stove top. Layered with lots of banana slices and topped with fresh whipped cream. This is the banana cream pie of your dreams.
How to make Banana Cream Pie from scratch?
You’ll start with the pie crust. The pie can be made with a traditional pastry crust, or a graham cracker crust, or other cookie crust options. A cookie crust keeps this pie totally no bake and even easier to make, but go with whichever option you prefer.
If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, you’re more than welcome to use that. You can also use a refridgerated pie crust from the grocery store, though I promise homemade is better for this. The pie crust must be blind baked before it’s filled, since the cream filling won’t be baked. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans to help the crust keep its shape. Let the pie crust cool completely before filling it with pudding.
For the graham cracker crust, you’ll need graham cracker crumbs, a little sugar, and melted butter. Crush up your graham crackers with a food processor or high powered blender.
Combine the milk, sugar, salt in a small saucepan, and whisk them all together. Stir in the milk and heat up until the sugar is dissolved, and it’s hot and simmering.
In a separate bowl beat your egg yolks. You’ll need to temper the egg yolks slowly so they don’t scramble, so add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to them and stir it all together. Then another. Then you can add the egg yolk mixture back to the pan very slowly. Let it come to a boil, then it needs to be in a low boil for 2 minute until thick.
Remove from the pan and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. I like my banana cream pie filling to taste like bananas, so I add in 1 mashed banana to the pudding mixture, and stir it all in. This is totally optional, and can be skipped if you prefer a more vanilla pudding flavor. *
Strain the pudding through a strainer to get out any egg or banana chunks. Put the pudding in a bowl and cover the pudding with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming and allow it to cool for about 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge.
Spread about 1/3 of the pudding into the pie crust. Then spread banana slices evenly all over the thin layer of pudding. Cover the bananas with the remaining homemade pudding, and spread the pudding evenly over the top. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill. It needs to chill for at least 4 hours, up to 1 day.
When you’re ready to serve the pie, top it with homemade whipped cream. You can decorate it in any way you like, with whipped cream piped around the edges in rosettes, or spread evenly all over the top of the pie.
Tips to make the best banana cream pie?
- You can start the pie with any pie crust you prefer. A traditional pastry crust like in my blueberry pie, you only need 1 pie crust. Or a graham cracker crust, like called for in this recipe. A crust made with Nilla Wafers or Golden Oreos would be really delicious too.
- The pudding will thicken as it cooks. Make sure you give it enough time on the stove to fully thicken. It will thicken a bit more as it chills in the fridge, but if the pudding is runny in the pot it will most likely still be runny when cooled.
- You can also use banana extract instead of, or in addition to the vanilla extract for a stronger banana flavor in the pie.
- For a creamier and fluffier pie filling, you can fold 1 cup of whipped cream (1/2 cup whipping cream whipped) into the pudding mixture before adding it into the pie crust.
- Dip your banana slices in lemon juice before layering them in the pie, to keep them from browning when the pie is cut into.
- The filling is a stove top cooked pudding, which can mean it can be a little messy when slicing. For neater slices, throw the pie in the freezer for about 30 minutes before slicing.
How do you store banana cream pie?
All cream pies should be kept in the refrigerator. Wrap the pie carefully in plastic wrap in a pie plate, and you can store it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. The longer it is in the fridge the bananas may get more soft and start to weep some extra liquid out.
This pie seems like a lot of steps, but I broke each of them down into really simple steps in the recipe to make this extra easy for you. I promise it’s really not too hard and it’s so tasty!
This banana cream pie is so delicious! It’s loaded with so many bananas, lots of whipped cream and the perfect rich pudding filling. It’s perfect for serving up with Thanksgiving dinner. Or it’s a great refreshing dessert for a backyard barbecue. Or perfect to go with Easter dinner.
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For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 10-12 graham cracker sheets)
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 6 TBS butter (melted)
For the Pudding Filling:
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 TBS butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 mashed banana (optional)
For the Whipped Cream on Top:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 TBS white granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
- If you're using whole graham crackers, blend them up in a high powered blender or food processor, to make a fine crumb.
- Mix together graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Pour in the melted butter and stir well to combine to make a nice sandy like texture.
- Pour the graham cracker mixture into a 9inch pie dish and press down evenly to cover the bottom, and up the sides of the pie dish.
- Put in the fridge until firm, at least 15 minutes.
For the Pudding Filling:
- Add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch to a medium sized pot, and whisk them together.
- Pour in the milk, and whisk it into the sugar mixture.
- Heat the mixture over medium high heat, and bring to a low boil.
- Once bubbles appear, lower the temperature to medium low and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring often, until the mixture starts to thicken
- Whisk your egg yolks in a separate medium sized bowl.
- Add 1/4 cup of the hot pudding mixture to the egg yolks. Whisk it together. Add another 1/4 cup of the pudding to the eggs and whisk it together.
- Scoop the egg mixture back into the pudding mixture in the pot. And let the pudding come back to a low boil over medium low heat.
- Once a couple bubbles pop, set a timer for 2 minutes as the mixture keeps boiling, until the pudding is thickened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, and butter. Stir in the mashed banana if desired.
- Strain the pudding through a strainer to get out any egg chunks (or banana chunks) into a large bowl.
- Cover the pudding with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap directly onto the top of the pudding.
- Place in the fridge and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Spread a small amount of the pudding into the prepared pie crust.
- Spread sliced bananas over the top of the pudding.
- Add remaining pudding to the pie crust and cover with plastic wrap again.
- Chill for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
For the Whipped Cream on Top:
- In a medium or large bowl, add your heavy cream and beat it until stiff peaks are formed. A stand mixer, or hand mixer work best.
- Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until they're mixed in.
- Top the pie with fresh whipped cream as desired.