Gluten-Free Banana Cream Pie With Graham Cracker Crust – Our gluten-free banana cream pie recipe uses an easy trick to majorly turn up the flavor!
Now that you know how to make a great gluten-free graham cracker crust, we should probably fill it with something amazing, right?
At Thanksgiving, I love to do a mix of “warm” pies (like cherry, apple, etc.) and “cold” pies (chocolate cream, lemon meringue, etc.) Since we’re working with a graham cracker crust today, a cold pie seemed like just the thing. So, today we’re going all out with an amazing gluten-free banana cream pie!
This is the best gluten-free banana cream pie recipe–no pudding mix required! I find many banana cream pies don’t have a lot of banana flavor in the custard, but this recipe packs in the flavor without a lot of fuss.
Here’s what you need to make the best gluten-free banana cream pie from scratch…
This Easy Gluten-Free Cream Pie Recipe, At A Glance:
Here’s What You Need To Make This Gluten-Free Pie:
- Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust. I prefer my banana cream pie with graham cracker crust, so I’m using our go-to gluten-free graham cracker crust recipe as the base for this pie. You could certainly make a cookie crust or a traditional flaky crust if you prefer! Be SURE to use gluten-free graham crackers!
- Whole Milk. Then, for our big flavor trick: banana milk! In advance, you’ll heat the milk and combine it with sliced ripe bananas to infuse for several hours, up to a day ahead of time. If you want your pie to set up firmly, it’s important to use whole milk. Using lighter milk, like 2%, 1% or fat-free, will mean your banana cream filling will be runny.
- Ripe Bananas. These help flavor the filling and you don’t have to worry about them browning! It’s like magic.
- Heavy Cream. This does double duty. We’ll add a bit of cream to the filling to keep it lovely and thick, then, whip up the rest for a luscious whipped cream topping.
- Egg Yolks. Using just the egg yolks helps the custard for the pie filling thicken beautifully. Save those whites for another use! (PS – Never separated eggs? Here are 3 ways to separate egg yolks and whites!
- Sugar. To sweeten the filling. I use cane sugar or granulated sugar (white sugar).
- Cornstarch. Another thickener that helps give the banana cream pie filling its glorious thick texture.
- Kosher Salt. Another flavor trick! Some recipes don’t use any salt, but adding just a bit helps balance and wake up the flavors. Don’t skip it!
- Vanilla Extract Or Vanilla Bean Paste. Once the pudding mixture has thickened and cooked, you’ll stir in a bit of vanilla or vanilla bean paste. Vanilla bean paste adds gorgeous little vanilla bean flecks, but if vanilla works better for your budget, go for it!
- More Bananas (If You Want). Thanks to our banana steeping trick, I find that our banana cream pie has TONS of banana flavor without the need to add sliced bananas, but if you’d like, you can add a layer of bananas to the bottom of the pie when you build it.
- Toppings To Make It Pretty. Last, but not least, I love to make this gluten-free pie pretty by adding a few fun garnishes as a final flourish. Don’t miss our list of ideas below!
How To Make Gluten-Free Banana Cream Pie, Step By Step
In Advance, Make The Banana Milk
- Heat The Milk To Steaming. At least 8 hours in advance (if you can), steep the bananas in milk. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it’s steaming (don’t boil or simmer, just heat until steaming).
- Cover The Bananas. Add sliced ripe bananas to a heat-proof bowl or container and pour the steaming milk over the bananas.
- Steep 8-24 Hours. Cover and chill in the fridge at LEAST 8 hours to steep. The longer you steep, the stronger the banana flavor. I recommend 12-24 hours when possible. If you steep less than 8 hours, the banana flavor will be weaker.
- Strain. When you’re ready to make your banana cream pie filling, place a fine mesh sieve over a liquid measuring cup and strain the bananas out of the milk. Discard the bananas, saving as much of the milk as possible. (The bananas will be soaked, so they are unsuitable for the pie.)
Make Your Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pie Pan. Set out a 9-inch pie plate and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Crush & Measure The Graham Crackers. In a food processor (or a gallon-size zip-top bag with a rolling pin or sturdy cup), crush the graham crackers until no large chunks remain. Measure the crumbs and add them to a large bowl.
- Combine Crumbs With Sugar & Butter. Add sugar and melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs and use a fork to lightly combine, until the crumbs are well coated with the melted butter and sugar.
- Transfer To Pie Pan. Pour the graham cracker crust mixture into your pie pan and use your fingers or the back of a measuring cup (my favorite) to gently pat the crumbs outward and up the sides of the pan. (Try not to pack them down too tightly, or it can be difficult to slice later.)
- Bake & Cool. Place the pie crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden. Let the crust cool to room temperature before adding the pie filling. (This goes faster if you place the pie pan on a wire rack.)
Make The Pie Filling
- Combine Milk, Cream & Egg Yolks. Add strained banana milk to a large liquid measuring cup, then add about 1/4 cup cream, making sure you have at least 1 3/4 cups liquid. (Sometimes the bananas absorb more or less milk.)
- Combine Sugar, Cornstarch & Salt. Add sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a medium saucepan and whisk until well combined.
- Add The Custard Mixture. Pour the milk/cream mixture into the saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch. Add egg yolks and whisk until this mixture is completely smooth before you turn on the heat. (You can even use an immersion blender so it’s perfectly smooth) Whisking constantly, stir the custard over medium heat or medium-low heat 8-10 minutes, or until it thickens significantly. You should easily see the trail your whisk is making and the pudding should be very thick at this point. If you don’t cook it enough here, it will not set up firmly in the fridge. You want the custard to move more like jello and not like liquid.
- Stir In Vanilla. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla or vanilla bean paste. Whisk until totally smooth. (If you notice any lumps at this point, you can strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.)
- Cool Filling & Add To Crust. Press plastic wrap or food wrap into the surface of the pudding and set the pan aside to cool to room temperature (20-30 minutes). You can speed this up by popping the pan into the fridge to cool down. When the pudding has reached room temperature, pour into the baked, cooled crust and smooth the surface.
- Cover & Chill. Re-cover the surface of the pudding (you can re-use the same plastic wrap) to avoid a “skin” forming on top, then chill the pie at least 4 hours to set. Top with whipped cream & your favorite garnishes!
Pretty Ways To Decorate A Banana Cream Pie:
- Pipe The Whipped Cream. For an impressive finish, you can pipe the whipped cream on instead of swirling it with a spatula or dolloping it on with a spoon. I recommend making stabilized whipped cream (which helps the whipped cream last!), but feel free to use something pre-made (like Cool Whip or TruWhip)
- Drizzle With Chocolate Sauce Or Caramel. Add a swirl of chocolate sauce or caramel sauce (or both!) to a plate before adding the pie slices.
- Top With Chocolate Curls. Or, add a stunning flourish by piling the pie (or individual slices) high with chocolate curls on top of the whipped cream!
- Add Toffee Bits Or Chopped Nuts. Sprinkle individual slices with toffee bits or chopped salted peanuts or toasted almonds.
- Banana Slices. Play up the banana flavor by garnishing each slice or the top of the pie with some banana slices. (Do this RIGHT before serving to avoid the banana slices turning brown.)
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Gluten-Free Banana Cream Pie
Try Stabilized Whipped Cream! For the best presentation, I recommend using stabilized whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream is simple whipped cream with something added to it to help it hold its shape and not melt as quickly. I usually use powdered sugar, but there are lots of ways to do this! Add 1-2 cups heavy cream to a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until you reach soft peaks. Add 2-4 Tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue to beat until you reach stiff peaks.
How Do You Keep Bananas From Turning Brown In A Cream Pie? The big trick is to eliminate exposure to air as much as possible. To eliminate oxidation (that exposure to air), make sure the pudding completely covers the banana slice on the crust and gets into the nooks and crannies in between the slices. Then, cover the pie carefully with plastic wrap.
How To Store Banana Cream Pie: You should always chill banana cream pie in the refrigerator. It’s made with a custard/pudding filling and topped with whipped cream, which both need to be kept in the fridge. You can’t freeze banana cream pie, or the filling can separate.
How Long Does Banana Cream Pie Last? If you make your pie with banana slices, it’ll only keep 2-3 days in the fridge. If you make it with banana custard and whipped cream only (as pictured), it’ll keep 3-4 days.