Creamy and smooth from-scratch custard joins bananas, whipped cream, and a buttery flaky baked pie crust to make one epic banana cream pie. There are plenty of ways to make this banana cream pie recipe ahead of time. See various steps.
- 1 unbaked pie crust (what I used) or all butter pie crust*
- optional egg wash: 1 large egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 yellow bananas (not super ripe yet)
- optional: sprinkle of ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ or granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- At least 2 hours ahead, make the pie dough: Make the pie crust through step 5 according to my directions and video tutorial in my pie crust recipe. Make pie dough in advance because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling out (step 2). The recipe makes 2 crusts, and you only need 1 for this pie, so save the other for another pie.
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is completely smooth. To make a lovely thick edge, I do not trim excess dough around the edges. Instead, fold the excess dough back over the edge and use your hands to mold the edge into a rim around the pie. Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. If dough is too warm, fluting/crimping will be difficult, so you can always chill it in the refrigerator for 5–10 minutes first. After fluting/crimping the edges, chill the pie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days. Cover the pie crust with plastic wrap if chilling for longer than 30 minutes. Chilling the shaped dough helps prevent the crust from shrinking.
- While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Blind bake the crust: Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights or dried beans. (Note that you will need at least 2 standard sets of pie weights to fit.) I like to push the weights up against the sides of the pie crust to help ensure the sides don’t shrink down. Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown, about 15–16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the pie. Prick holes all over the bottom crust with a fork. If desired for a shiny golden crust, brush egg wash on edges. Return pie crust to the oven and bake for 14–15 minutes, or until bottom has browned. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack completely before filling. You can blind bake the crust up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover cooled crust tightly and refrigerate until ready to fill. (Review this how to par-bake pie crust page if you need extra help with this blind-baking step.)
- Make the custard filling: Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together. (A fork works nicely for this, or a small whisk.) Set aside. Combine the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally. Once simmering, remove about 1/2 cup (120ml) of the milk mixture and, in a slow and steady stream, whisk into the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture. Keep those egg yolks moving so they don’t scramble. In a slow and steady stream, pour and whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pot. The pudding will immediately begin to bubble and thicken. Stand back and use caution as the bubbles may burst. Cook for 1 full minute, whisking constantly.
- Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the vanilla and butter. You will have about 3 cups of filling. If you notice a lot of little chunks of egg yolk, they may not have been tempered properly. To fix, you can run the warm custard through a fine mesh sieve.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the warm pudding to prevent a skin from forming on top. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. I do not recommend any longer than this, as it will be too thick to spread neatly into the crust.
- Slice 2–3 bananas and arrange slices into the cooled pie shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Spread custard on top (it’s ok if it is still slightly warm). An offset spatula is helpful for spreading. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard; again, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
- When ready to serve, or up to 1 hour before serving, make the whipped cream: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3–4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts.
- Pipe or spread the whipped cream on top. (I use Wilton 1M tip.) Slice remaining banana and garnish with banana slices and serve pie immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour and then garnish with banana slices and serve. (Best to garnish with banana slices immediately before serving, but whipped cream can go on the pie up to 1 hour in advance.)
- Slice and serve. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. There are plenty of ways to make this recipe ahead of time. See end of step 2, end of step 8, and step 10. This is not the best pie to freeze; the filling’s texture is never quite the same. However, if you have leftover slices and aren’t concerned as much about taste and appearance, you can freeze leftover pie for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Rolling Pin | Pie Dish | Pie Weights | Pastry Brush | Egg Separator | Whisk | Offset Spatula | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand Mixer) | Piping Bag (Disposable or Reusable) and Wilton 1M Piping Tip if piping
- Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the 2nd half for another use.
- Crumb Crust Alternative: To cut back on time, try using a graham cracker crust. Make sure you bake it for 10 minutes at 350°F (177°C), then let it cool completely before filling. Or you can use the crust recipe and baking instructions for the peanut butter cookie crust used in this peanut butter banana cream pie.
- Whole Milk & Heavy Cream: These are imperative for the custard to set properly. I do not recommend any substitutions.
- Prevent Bananas From Browning: Feel free to very, very lightly spritz or brush banana slices with lemon juice prior to arranging in pie crust shell, and prior to using as garnish. They will eventually brown, so it’s best to assemble the pie up to 1 day in advance (step 8), and garnish with banana slices right before serving (step 10).
- Update in 2023: Recipe used to call for 1 and 3/4 cups whole milk and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. For a slightly smoother, more flavorful custard, I now use 2 cups whole milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla, as you can now see in the recipe.
Keywords: banana cream pie