Sky-High Banana Pudding Pie

published Nov 6, 2023
No-Bake Banana Pudding Pie Recipe

With a buttery Nilla wafer crust, a whipped mousse-like filling, pecan caramel, and fluffy whipped cream, this sky-high pie is a major upgrade to classic banana pudding.

Serves10 to 12

MakesMakes 1 (9-inch) pie

Prep35 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Head on view of a slice of banana pudding pie, topped with thick whipped cream on a white dessert plate.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Julia Choi-Rodriguez

Banana pudding is a fairly easy and down-to-earth dessert that’s just the thing for an everyday dessert — after all, it’s just layers of pudding, bananas, and whipped cream. This sky-high pie version turns these familiar flavors into a with airy height and added flair. 

In my banana pudding pie, I skip the traditional pudding. Instead, I whip instant banana pudding mix with cold heavy cream to create a light but sturdy banana cream mousse. This gets layered with Nilla wafers, sliced bananas, and a gooey salted caramel studded with pecans in a no-bake Nilla crumble crust. It’s simple, yes, but a far cry from a humble pie.

This dreamy no-bake dessert is surprisingly quick to put together, requires zero time in the oven, and can be made up to . All the ingredients are available at any standard grocery store, and yes, you will use an entire box of Nilla wafers, so no snacking! 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Julia Choi-Rodriguez

Tips for Making Banana Pudding Pie

  • Use banana cream or vanilla flavored pudding mix. If you can’t find banana pudding mix, get vanilla. It’ll still taste like banana pudding. 
  • Buy real caramel sauce. The jarred caramel sauce will be in the ice cream section. Do not get caramel syrup in a squeeze bottle; it’s not the same thing. Opt for a brand that doesn’t use artificial flavorings, such as Mrs. Richardson’s — you can even get salted caramel if that’s available. 
  • Save on time with Cool Whip. Save even more effort by substituting a large (sixteen ounce) tub of Cool Whip for the homemade whipped cream topping at the end. 
  • Or, go the extra mile with homemade caramel. If you want to go above and beyond, make Kelli Foster’s salted caramel from scratch. You won’t regret it. 

No-Bake Banana Pudding Pie Recipe

With a buttery Nilla wafer crust, a whipped mousse-like filling, pecan caramel, and fluffy whipped cream, this sky-high pie is a major upgrade to classic banana pudding.

Prep time 35 minutes

Makes Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1

    (11-ounce) box Nilla wafers, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup

    jarred caramel sauce (not syrup), such as Mrs. Richardson’s

  • 1 cup

    chopped pecans (4 ounces)

  • 4 cups

    cold heavy cream, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    instant banana cream pudding mix

  • 2

    medium ripe bananas

  • 2 tablespoons

    cold water

  • 1 teaspoon

    unflavored powdered gelatin

  • Chocolate curls or cocoa powder, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Make the crust:

  1. Melt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  2. Place 35 Nilla wafers in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until fine crumbs form, about 25 (1-second pulses). Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, crush the wafers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the salt and butter by hand.)

  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish) and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides as best as you can. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press the crumbs into a tight, even layer.

Make the pecan caramel and banana cream:

  1. Place 1 cup caramel sauce in a glass measuring cup or medium heatproof bowl. Microwave until warm, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 cup chopped pecans and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher, and stir to combine.

  2. Transfer half of the pecan caramel (about 3/4 cup) into the crust and spread into an even layer (do not go up the sides). Refrigerate while you prepare the banana cream; leave the remaining caramel out at room temperature.

  3. Place 2 cups of the cold heavy cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Add 1/4 cup instant banana cream pudding mix and beat on medium speed until thick, fluffy, and mousse-like, about 30 seconds more.

Assemble the pie:

  1. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Peel and slice 2 medium bananas crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick disks. Arrange them evenly over the caramel. Top with half of the banana cream (about 2 cups) and spread into an even layer. Arrange 19 Nilla wafers in a single layer over the banana cream.

  2. Repeat layering the remaining pecan caramel, followed by the remaining banana cream. Arrange 24 Nilla wafers over the cream in a single layer, letting some of them extend over the crust like a shelf. Refrigerate while you make the topping.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin, and let sit for 5 minutes. Microwave until the gelatin dissolves (there may be a few tiny lumps), 5 to 10 seconds. Set aside to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, place the remaining 2 cups cold heavy cream in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with an electric hand mixer or with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the gelatin and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  5. Top the pie with the whipped cream mixture, mounding it higher in the center so it looks like a dome. Refrigerate uncovered until the filling is cold and set, at least 4 hours or ideally 8 hours. Before serving, garnish with chocolate curls, a dusting of cocoa powder, or crushed leftover Nilla wafers. (To make chocolate curls, use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to shave curls from a chocolate bar.)

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pie can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. If storing for longer than 8 hours, loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. They can also be wrapped in foil and frozen for up to 3 months; thaw overnight in the freezer.

Make holiday entertaining less frantic and more fun with our guide to the best hosting hacks and tips. This content was presented by a sponsor; it was created independently by our editorial team.