Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
This Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie is made with a Nilla wafer pie crust, topped with slices of fresh bananas, filled with a smooth, creamy, and dreamy banana cream pie custard filling and then topped with fresh whipped cream and decorated with banana slices! It’s the perfect homemade banana cream pie recipe with incredible texture and flavor.
When I made my Banana Cream Pie Cookies, I knew I needed to share a banana cream pie recipe soon! Except I really wanted to do an old fashioned banana pie which is custard based. I love how it turned out! If you’re looking for a recipe that uses instant pudding, check out my Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding recipe.
Why This Recipe Works
- Custard banana cream pie. The banana cream pie filling recipe is made with eggs and extra egg yolks to create a delicious smooth and creamy custard pie filling!
- Made with real bananas. This banana cream pie with real bananas is so delicious! The fresh bananas on the bottom and on top for decoration add the perfect fresh fruit element.
- No pudding. Let me tell you, you can tell a difference with banana cream pie without pudding. There is no instant pudding mix in this old fashioned banana cream pie recipe! All freshly homemade custard!
- Nilla Wafers: You’ll need an 11 oz box of Nilla wafers for the Nilla wafer pie crust. This will yield just shy of 3 cups crushed crumbs.
- Unsalted Butter: The unsalted butter will be used to make the Nilla wafer crust and some will be used in the banana cream pie filling.
- Cornstarch: The cornstarch will help to thicken the banana cream custard pie filling.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is coarser than table salt, so the measurements will differ. If a recipe calls for Kosher salt, use 1/4 teaspoon less of table salt per teaspoon of salt. If a recipe calls for table salt, use 1/4 teaspoon more of Kosher salt per teaspoon.
- Large Eggs + Egg Yolks: Custard is made with eggs and eggs yolks to provide a creamy, thick and smooth texture. The eggs are tempered (slowly cooked) so no worries about raw eggs!
- Whole Milk: Whole milk has a higher fat content, so it will help thicken the banana cream pie filling more than 2% or 1% milk.
- Heavy Cream: In addition to the whole milk, we’ll use heavy cream (aka heavy whipping cream) to really help develop that creamy flavor and texture in the banana cream pie custard filling.
- Bananas: Banana cream pie has a layer of fresh banana slices underneath the pie filling as then topped on top for decoration! The fresh bananas are the perfect element to this custard pie.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: Adding a little bit of Plain Greek Yogurt to the whipped cream topping will give a bit more body to the whipped cream and provide the perfect depth of flavor.
- Make the Nilla wafer crust. Place the Nilla wafers in a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Add the crumbs, 9 T melted butter and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Mix to combine. The texture should resemble wet sand. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350°F for 8-9 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before adding the filling.
- Make the banana cream pie custard. In a medium saucepan (not over heat yet), add the 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3/4 tsp kosher salt (see Ingredient Notes for how to sub for table salt). Whisk to combine. Add 2 eggs, one at a time. Then add 2 egg yolks. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the cream and milk. While whisking constantly, pour int the 2 cups whole milk and 1/3 cup heavy cream. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a low simmer, always whisking. Simmer for 1 minute (always whisking). Remove right after the minute is up and add 2 T butter and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Assemble the banana cream pie. Slice 2.5 bananas in circle slices. And layer on the bottom of the Nilla wafer pie crust. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve over top the layer of bananas. Spread into an even layer. Take a piece of plastic wrap and press it directly against the custard surface (this will prevent any filmy texture to form) and place the pie dish in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
- Beat the cream. Add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 T Plain Greek Yogurt, 3 T powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat until stiff peaks. Remove the plastic from the pie and dollop the whipped cream over the chilled banana cream pie custard and slice bananas to decorate. Enjoy!
Don’t simmer the custard for longer than 1 minute. Once you see the bubbles, start the time. The mixture thickens as it simmers.
Be to make sure not to overcook the custard otherwise it’ll be really stiff once it has cooled and set in the fridge.
Pouring the banana custard mixture through the fine mesh sieve ensures a very smooth texture.
I used a piping bag with a fancy piping tip to decorate with the whipped cream. You can do this for a fancier look if you’d like. Or you can just spread the whipped cream on top and then decorate with the banana slices.
If you don’t have a food processor for the vanilla wafers, add them to a plastic bag and using a rolling pin to crush the cookies.
Feel free to sprinkle a touch of cinnamon on top of this best banana cream pie if desired!
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can definitely make this classic banana cream pie ahead of time! It needs to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. But you can chill it longer if needed (up to 2 days prior to serving). Just don’t add the whipped cream and sliced bananas on top until just before serving.
Store this banana custard pie in the fridge for 3-4 days for best results. Will keep for up to 5 days.
To freeze, wrap the pie in plastic wrap (without the whipped cream on top) and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
You should chill the pie for a minimum of 2 hours for the pie to set. You can chill it for longer if you’d like or if needed.
No. The crust is baked and although the filling is cooked, it’s a chilled pie. The entire pie isn’t baked (the filling isn’t baked either).
It could be that you let the mixture sit too long on the stove. Another factor could be that you didn’t add the eggs 1 at a time or that you didn’t continually whisk the mixture while adding the cream. Putting the mixture through the fine mesh sieve can also reduce the lumpiness.
So the bananas on the bottom of the pie will be just fine! If you’re worried about the bananas on top, then you can slice a lemon and rub it over each side of each slice of banana. Or you can cut the bananas and add them to the top of the pie just prior to serving.
More Favorite Pies
Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
- 3 medium/large bananas
- 1 cup heavy cream - cold
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoons plain greek yogurt - optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine the Nilla wafer crumbs, salt, and melted butter. Stir to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie plate. Bake crust for 8-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling.
- Make the custard: In a medium saucepan (not over heat yet) whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Pour in the milk and heavy cream, while whisking constantly. Place over medium heat and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly. (The custard will thicken as it bubbles.) Simmer for 1 minute (whisking constantly). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Take one banana and slice it in half. Save one of the halves to use as topping. Now take the remaining 2.5 bananas, remove the peel and slice the bananas. Place the banana slices along the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve overtop of the bananas (this step ensures a silky smooth filling). Spread the custard into an even layer. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the custard surface (this will prevent a film from forming) and chill in the fridge for 2 hours, until the custard is cool and has set.
- Final assembly: In a large bowl beat the heavy cream, plain Greek yogurt (if using, or can sub sour cream), powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Dollop over the cooled custard (or place in a pastry bag with a decorative tip) and pipe on top of the pie. Slice the banana half and place the additional banana slices amongst the whipped topping. Slice and serve.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.