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Banana Cream Pie

Jessie Sheehan
Cook Time:
4 hrs
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Banana pudding is not only beloved by most, but it is one of the most comforting, homey and nostalgic desserts. Typically it’s made with a store-bought vanilla pudding mix, and is layered with sliced bananas and vanilla-flavored cookies, such as Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers. When banana pudding is given the pie treatment, however, the bananas and pudding are tucked in a pastry shell. When this happens,  the cookies are often left by the wayside or merely used as a decoration before serving. And in our book that is a travesty, as the combination of cookies and pudding is one of life’s great pleasures and should be experienced whenever possible. So, when we make banana cream pie, we pour our easy, homemade banana pudding (studded with loads of small banana pieces, thank you very much) into a crispy vanilla cookie crumb crust and top it with billowy whipped cream. We get all the elements of the classic “pudding,” but in pie form. And by making a cookie crumb crust, instead of a traditional pastry crust, you’ll  save loads of time and won’t need to turn on the oven!

Yes: this banana cream pie is a no-bake situation and one that comes together in minutes. After (quickly) assembling the crust and placing it in the freezer, prepare an easy stovetop vanilla pudding, thickened with cornstarch. As soon as the pudding bubbles, add the banana  — doing so when the pudding is warm intensifies the resulting banana flavor. You’ll also add some vanilla and butter for flavor and richness. Once the pudding is scraped into the crust, a rest in the refrigerator is required, making this the ideal make-ahead (and no-bake!) dessert. A topping of billowy, slightly sweetened whipped cream is a must — and an additional cookie or two, or a couple of decoratively placed banana coins, would also make for a lovely presentation. 

Technique Tips: Make sure you grind or crush the cookies finely so they stick together, almost like wet sand, when you add the melted butter. And press the crumbs firmly in the pan with your fingers and the bottom of a dry measuring cup. This will make for a sturdy crust that does not crumble. 

Whisk continuously while cooking to prevent the pudding from burning. Be sure to cook and whisk for an entire minute once the pudding has bubbled to activate the cornstarch.

If you see curdled bits of eggs and/or little brown bits from the bottom of the pot in your pudding, strain it through a fine wire mesh sieve before adding the bananas, vanilla and butter.  

To remove the pie slices easily from the pan, rub the bottom of the pan with a damp dish towel that has been soaked in hot water and wrung out. 

Swap Option: For a somewhat less indulgent dessert, you can substitute whole milk for the heavy cream in the pudding. You may swap a baked store-bought or homemade traditional pie crust for the vanilla cookie crumb crust. 



Vanilla Wafer Crust
  • 2 cups finely ground vanilla wafers, about 9 ounces, plus additional crumbs for decorating
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cups whole milk
  • cups heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 medium bananas
Whipped Cream Topping
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Fulfilled by



Grease a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the finely ground cookies, sugar and melted butter with a flexible spatula or your hands. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides, using a 1-cup measuring cup or your fingers. Place in the freezer while you assemble the filling.


In a medium saucepan, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk and cream, followed by the eggs and egg yolk, and whisk until the eggs are fully incorporated.


Place the pan over medium-high heat, and whisking constantly until bubbles begin popping on the surface and the pudding thickens. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk continuously for 1 minute.


Remove the pan from heat and whisk the vanilla and butter into the pudding until the butter melts. Chop the bananas into small cubes. Fold the cubed bananas into the pudding. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the pudding, smoothing the top. Chill for 4 to 6 hours and up to overnight.


When ready to serve, beat the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft to medium peaks form.


Spread the whipped cream decoratively over the pudding. Sprinkle with additional cookie crumbs, if using. The pie is best eaten the day it is made, but will keep for two days in the refrigerator lightly wrapped in plastic wrap.