Can I share a secret with you guys? Just because something is labor-intenseive or 100% homemade doesn’t mean it’s the best. Making great food doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s stop being martyrs here. I used to think the same way you did. I used to make everything absolutely from scratch. And there are a lot of things I only make from scratch, but if there’s a better, easier way of doing them, I ususally do that instead.

Take, for example, banana cream pie. I used to make it with homemade pie crust and homemade pudding that literally took an hour of stirring over a hot stove. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but my sister-in-law Emily’s recipe for banana cream pie is awesome. And it’s a million times easier. But you purists out there are questioning me–“Jello pudding? Pre-baked graham cracker crust? No stinking way.” To which I say, “Yes way.” Live on the edge here, take it to Easter dinner this Sunday, and be prepared for everyone to love you. Because hey, food is the best way to win friends and influence people! πŸ™‚
Oh, as you may notice in these pictures, there are two boxes of pudding. You only need one, but I wanted to show that you can use chocolate or vanilla pudding. I made mine today with chocolate and it’s super yummy, but it doesn’t necessarily taste like banana cream pie. So if you’re after traditional banana cream pie, use vanilla pudding.
And ONE other thing and then I’ll shut up. If you grocery shop at Walmart, don’t use their sweetened condensed milk. Normally, I’m okay using store brands, but their sweetened condensed milk is gritty and gross. And actually, at least at any Walmart I’ve ever shopped at, the Meadow Gold brand is cheaper.
Okay, let’s get started, shall we?

Banana Cream Pie

1 4-serving size box of instant chocolate or vanilla pudding
1 c. cold water
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cookie crusts. You can use anything–graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, shortbread, even Oreo.
Lots of bananas
1 pint whipping cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, cold water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix well and place in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes. In another bowl, whip 1 c. of whipping cream until soft peaks form.
Slice the bananas (probably 4 small bananas or 2 large bananas) and layer them on the bottom of the crusts. Be sure and save the plastic domes that come with the pie crusts–you’ll need them later!

Set aside. Remove pudding from the fridge and gently dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well-combined.

Now divide the mixture between the two pies.

Prepare sweetened whipped cream with the remaining whipping cream and 1/3 c. of powdered sugar and spread it on top of the two pies. Place the clear plastic shells back on the pies and allow to chill for several hours. This is actually really important–I tried eating it right away once and the pie wasn’t banana-y at all and the moisture hadn’t absorbed into the crust, so the crust just fell apart.
And there you have it–the best AND the easiest banana cream pie you’ll ever have or need!

Chunky Monkey Variation: Blend 1/2 c creamy peanut butter into the pudding/water/sweetened condensed milk mixture (before you fold in the whipped cream). Continue as directed but place in a chocolate cookie crust. Sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts just before serving.


  1. 1
    Emily says:

    Yes! Something I can do. . . and Oh, that pie looks delish.

    p.s. Does everyone have a sister-in-law named Emily?

  2. 2
    Kate says:

    Yep, it’s a rule. Like when I was little, everyone had an Uncle Bob. πŸ™‚

  3. 3
    Sara says:

    Emily, I thought the very same thing. In fact, I don’t just have one sister in law named Emily, I have THREE!

    I neeeed to make this pie too πŸ™‚

    • 3.1
      Wendy Perkins says:

      Oh no! I have 5 sisters-in-law, but no Emily’s. Is that bad? I had an Uncle Bob… does that count?

      • Wendy Perkins says:

        Well, 10, if you count the wives/girlfriends of brothers-in-law. Still no Emily’s. πŸ™

        • Patti says:

          I think they took some of our Emily’s- because I don’t have one either, but I do have an Uncle Bob (and he’s my favorite uncle).

  4. 4
    Tara says:

    Hey Sara,
    I just stumbled upon your blog! This is Jeff B’s sister, Tara…went to HS with Eric. I hear we’re having boys around the same time. Congratulations! Do you have a personal blog? Tell Eric hi.

  5. 5
    Sara says:

    Hey Tara! That’s awesome you’re having a baby, and Jeff too. We’ll have to get all these boys together some time. This is the only blog I have for now- keeps me busy enough! Good to hear from ya!

  6. 6
    Bob & Britt says:

    Yum! This one makes my mouth water! Can’t wait to try it!

    p.s. How weird is it that I am now married to an Uncle Bob?!

  7. 7
    Bob & Britt says:

    Yum! This one makes my mouth water! Can’t wait to try it!

    p.s. How weird is it that I am now married to an Uncle Bob?!

  8. 8
    Bob & Britt says:

    Yum! This one makes my mouth water! Can’t wait to try it!

    p.s. How weird is it that I am now married to an Uncle Bob?!

  9. 9
    Lisa says:

    We love this! It is one of our desert staples now. I have never done it with chocolate pudding. Maybe I’ll have to try that. For Easter this year I was thinking of making it without the bananas and putting strawberries on top instead. (with cheesecake flavored pudding.)

  10. 10
    Wells Family says:

    I made the banana cream pie for a fundraising desesert auction last night, and it sold for $50! Quite a pie…

  11. 11
    Sara says:

    Wow, that’s awesome! Now…which “Wells” are you…I can’t figure it out!!

  12. 12
    Wells Family says:

    i’m probably the only “ingrid” in the large and looming Wells Family. i’ll see you in 2 weeks!

  13. 13
    Kate says:

    Wow, $50! And now you’re famous! πŸ™‚

  14. 14
    Sara says:

    I made this last night (for a special occasion? No. To sit on my couch and eat? Yes:) I used vanilla pudding and put in raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries instead of the bananas and popped it in a homemade cinnamon-graham crust and it was awesome!

  15. 15
    Emily B says:

    Katie– I’m stoked my recipe was good enough to make it into your blog! I know this comment is a little late, but better late than never?

  16. 16
    Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    WOW that looks incredible – this is one of hubby's favorite desserts and now I have no excuse not to make it for him!!

  17. 17
    Jennifer says:

    YUM!!!! I love banana anything! This looks so simple and yummy! Thanks!!

  18. 18
    Kevin says:

    There's nothing wrong with things being quick and easy. The banana cream pie looks great and the chunky monkey version sounds good as well.

  19. 19
    elesa says:

    Do you think it will screw it up if I use sugar free/fat free pudding?

  20. 20
    Kate says:

    Oh, Elesa…I don't know! πŸ™‚ Fat free/sugar free puddings are pretty darn good, so it would probably be fine since there's so much sugar in the pie, anyway. But I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure! If you try it and it's fabulous (or not!), let us know!

  21. 21
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    I've only ever made it with fat free/sugar free, so I can tell you it works great! All of the pies pictures used the sugar free.

  22. 22
    Kat says:

    THE BEST banana cream pie I have ever eaten, more or less made! And so easy.

  23. 23
    Emily says:

    Great recipe! I particularly loved it with the chocolate pudding. But a word to the wise: Splurge and buy Keebler crusts rather than the cheap store brand. I tried to save a bit by doing the latter and the crust was nasty! At least the filling was delish.

  24. 24
    Jen says:

    Way yummy and way easy!! (The choc. pie crusts make it the best)

  25. 25
    Kendra says:

    This was really good and super easy and quick. I used french vanilla pudding, shortbread crust, topped with a few extra banana slices, and drizzled with caramel syrup. IThe caramel syrup really gave it an extra "umph"! Thanks for sharing!

  26. 26
    Beffy says:

    I don't know if anyone will see this…but could I use something else instead of Whipping the whipping cream? I live in a dorm, and I don't have a blender, but I really wanted to make my BF this for his birthday πŸ˜› Could i use CoolWhip, or something? THanks if anyone knows!

  27. 27
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Hey, Beffy! I've never tried Cool Whip, so I can't say, but it might be worth it to go and get a cheap hand mixer–like, seriously, don't spend more than $7-$10 on it. You'll use it all the time and it won't be the end of the world if it breaks or gets left behind.

  28. 28
    Bri, Ash and Ty says:

    So is the Chunky Monkey version still have bananas? Is it the chocolate pudding with the peanut butter?

  29. 29
    Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    Bri, yup, still has bananas (otherwise there would be no monkey, haha). You could use chocolate pudding, but I used the vanilla as called for in the recipe.

  30. 30
    Alicia says:

    I made this for Thanksgiving this year; not very traditional for Thanksgiving but it turned out great!!!! I also have stood over the stove in the past for over an hour making homemade banana cream filling but no longer. When asking the company what kind of pie they wanted everyone asked for Banana cream. I did make this in a traditional pie crust instead of graham, used a deep pie plate so only made one pie. I got compliments from the whole family. Thanks for the recipe!

  31. 31
    April says:

    my husbands FAV pie! I too have slaved for hours making homemade pudding and the works, instant pudding is great and I recently tried a cooked Organic pudding and it was as good as homemade with just a tad more time than instant! Premade graham crusts are not for me though, homemade ones are SO easy and taste SO much better! give a package of graham crackers a whirl in the food processor while you’re melting butter, press it in the pan and bake for 10 minutes, how easy is that?!? I’m going to have to give this a try with my homemade crust πŸ˜‰

  32. 32
    patty says:

    Lupe, no you don’t make the pudding first – just add the mix with the condensed milk and water.

  33. 33
    Lupe says:

    Thanks for clarify that Patty, I’m such a rookie at cooking, lol…

  34. 34
    Lupe says:

    I meant thanks for clarifying that Patty.

  35. 35
    Suzanne Frustaci says:

    Hi Girls!
    Just thought I would tell you that I used this pudding recipe combined with another of your recipes – the coconut strawberry lime shortcake to make trifle.
    I can’t believe what a hit it was at our dinner. My husband especially couldn’t stop commenting on it.
    I used the little coconut donuts that you can get at Walmart for the cake part, just break them up a bit; your vanilla pudding with sweetened condensed milk; the sliced strawberries mixed with lime juice and sugar; and cool whip instead of whipping my own (I was in a hurry).
    I just layered them all in a pretty bowl and topped it with the coconut that was left in the bottom of the donut container.
    The only bad part of all of this is that it disappeared so fast.
    Thanks for all of your great ideas!!

  36. 36
    Kristina says:

    If I want to make one banana cream and one chunky monkey version out of the one recipe for the filling would I still mix in 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter? Thanks!

    • 36.1
      sara says:

      Honestly it’s been so long since I made that, I’m trying to remember! lol I’m almost sure that was for one pie. I would start with 1/4 cup and add another 1/4 cup if it needs it!

  37. 37
    Dottiegirl says:

    I came across your site today and was quite impressed. I plan to make your banana cream pie and have a question. (You may think it is dumb, but here goes.) I only want to make one pie so would I cut each ingredient in half? *Don’t laugh*

    • 37.1

      *Not laughing.* Banana cream pie is never a laughing matter. πŸ™‚

      No, really, I’ve thought about doing this before so I only make one pie. The thing that has always held me back is the pudding–it’s so hard to accurately divide the pudding in half, you know? But you sound like you’re a brave woman, so I say go for it. πŸ™‚

  38. 38
    Bethany says:

    I make it basically the same way with instead Banana pudding, I’m curious now how the vanilla would taste, but afraid to loose my banana flavor, have you tried the Banana pudding instead?

  39. 39
    Liane says:

    I made this with Banana pudding and a Nila wafer crust (I baked it so it wouldn’t get soggy), and it was the first pie to go at Thanksgiving! And that is saying a lot since my in-laws are known for their pies! Thank goodness there was 2 of them! I have also tried this with Chocolate pudding, for choco cream pie, and the cheesecake pudding for a cheesecake pie and they also come out tasty!!

  40. 40
    STACYB says:


  41. 41
    Patti says:

    My sister fed this to me tonight and in no time at all, there was absolutely no evidence of any pie on my plate. at. all. Yum-o-riffic!

    • 41.1
      Patti says:

      …now I want to try one Chunky Monkey style, and instead of adding the peanuts, add some Reese’s PB cups, roughly chopped. Oh yeah!

  42. 42
    Jay Jeffery says:

    It does not take an hour of stirring over a hot stove to make a scratch Banana Cream Pie.
    My double thick all scratch pie, from the Martha Belle lard crust to the Grandma Lena sweetened whip cream top, takes three repeat plays of Barry White’s All-Time Greatest Hits CD, plus a little more. You can only request this pie once a year at our house, for your birthday. It is a true labor of love. But, as Barry says, “Baby, you can feel the love, and you can taste the love.”

    Big Hint: Use Pillsbury Softasilk cake flour to make things smooth as silk.

  43. 43
    Rosanna says:

    I am just wondering if I can use 1 cup milk instead of 1 cup water in the pudding mixture? wouldn’t the milk make it richer and more creamy?

  44. 44
    Kel says:

    #1 I made this recipe for my boyfriend the first time I cooked a dinner for him when we were dating. He fell in love with it. The only change I made was that since I didn’t have a “pie pan” I made it in a 9×13… So I needed to figure out a crust. I dug in my Grandma’s old cookbooks and paired your banana cream pie filling with a macadamia nut shortbread crust… and HELLO can you say HEAVEN!!

    #2 All the initial comments on this post talking about UNCLE BOB!! Awww… my dad was an Uncle Bob πŸ™‚

  45. 45
    Steph says:

    I’ve made this pie twice and followed the recipe to the T both times and BOTH times it just wouldnt set despite refrigerating overnight. THe whole pie was just so runny and I really don’t know what I did wrong. πŸ™ It’s really upsetting because the cream tastes so good but it’s just like eating soup out of a graham cracker crust.

    • 45.1

      Are you using instant pudding and not the kind you have to cook? That’s the only thing I can think of. How frustrating!

      • Steph says:

        oh poo you’re right. =[ I just used the pudding boxes I had sitting in my pantry without checking if it was the one you have to cook. All I checked was the flavor and serving size.
        oh well :\
        better luck next time I guess.
        …third times a charm.

  46. 46
    Annie says:

    Delicious! We had this tonight! Thanks for sharing all your yummy recipes! We are fans of you!

  47. 47
    Eileen Lee says:

    How would I half this recipe to make just one pie? Please help ASAP!

  48. 48
    Lynde F says:

    i made one banana creme & one peanut butter (no bananas) with this recipe. I used a lg box of pudding & upped the milk & whipped cream a bit. For the peanut butter pie I used one cup pb, a chocolate crust, & topped with mini Ghiradelli chocolate chips. They were both so good & easy! The banana was especially good the next day. There was a small scuffle between my husband & oldest son over the last pc of PB pie:)

  49. 49
    Lisa C says:

    Just wondering wondering, how far in advance can you make this pie?

  50. 50
    Thea says:

    We absolutely adore this pie. It’s super easy and sooo yummy! I do have one question, though… Can you freeze it? We have a small family and by the time we get through the first one, the second one is usually on the verge of yuck.

  51. 51
    Kristen says:

    This was amazing & so easy to make. I highly recommend this recipe!

  52. 52
    Christine says:

    This is going to sound like a dumb question but, when you say mix the pudding mix, water & sweetened condensed milk…do you mean just mix with a spoon until the dry ingredients are incorporated or beat with a mixer like you would with normal pudding?

  53. 53
    Brit says:

    I just accidentally used cook and serve Jell-o and its super thin! Is there anyway of salvaging this? Help please quick!

  54. 54
    Nicole says:

    I’m so glad I found your recipe! My mom died suddenly & banana cream pie was the only dessert she knew how to cook -she was truly a tomboy & never bothered with girly things including cooking. Anyway I was truly missing her & since she died while I was young, she never got to teach me to cook her recipe. I used the recipe on the pudding box but it never turned out right, but this one did! I used entire package banana pudding with 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (that I previously added a can of water to); with half of a pint of heavy whipping cream. No water or sugar, I was afraid of the pie becoming too sweet or soupy & it turned out nice & thick just like I hoped for. This isn’t exactly like hers but it did make me feel a bit closer to her thanks so much.

  55. 55
    Sara says:

    Can I make this a day in advance/night before?

  56. 56

    […] found the second one on Our Best Bites here. Β In this recipe, the filling was a combination of condensed milk and vanilla pudding mix. […]

  57. 57
    Mary says:

    Can I make this on a Wednesday night and serve it on Friday?

  58. 58

    […] i mentioned that i made a chunky monkey pie for our sunday barbeque. this pie was inspired by our best bites. what’s better than: honey roasted peanut butter, fresh bananas, oreo crust and fresh whipped […]

  59. 59
    laressa says:

    Can you make this the night before or will the bananas go brown?

  60. 60
    Rachel Page says:

    That was one delicious banana pie! It was a toss up between this one and the key lime pie for me. This one was definitely really good!

  61. 61
    Michelle Harris says:

    Hi! I love this recipe and will be sharing it with the young women on Wednesday. Just wanted to let you know that the link to the sweetened whipped cream is broken!

  62. 62
    Sjana says:

    Try it with Betty Croker chocolate chip cookie as the crust, prepare as directed, divide in half, press into pie dish, bake 375 for 17-20 min, or until edges are brown. Best freaking pie ever! Someone made it for us this way, but used coconut in with the pudding instead of bananas. Didn’t know I liked coconut cream pie until then!

  63. 63

    FYI your link to “Sweetened Whipped Cream” is broken. It should link here –

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