RECIPE

19 best cream pie recipes for a light-as-air dessert

Transport your taste buds to cloud nine with banana, chocolate and pumpkin

By Kelly Vaughan

Published October 25, 2021 4:53PM (EDT)

 (Julia Gartland / Food52)
(Julia Gartland / Food52)

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Cream pies are not the same thing as custard pie. They're also not exactly pudding pies or ice cream pies or gelato pies (yes, those are a thing, too). They're in their own lovely lightweight field, able to take on the flavors of summer with juicy berries and coconut just as easily as they can become chocolate or maple or eggnog, making the perfect holiday dessert. Every cream pie is a little different, but they generally call for egg yolks, heavy creamvanilla extract, sugar, and butter. 

From coconut cream pie to chocolate cream pie, from graham cracker crusts to classic buttery pie crusts, these cream pie recipes will make your heart flutter and tummy grumble. 

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Our best cream pie recipes

1. Banana Cream Pie

I grew up eating my grandma's banana cream pie for every holiday — Father's Day, Thanksgiving, my grandpa's birthday, and even anniversaries. Each bite of this cream pie recipe, featuring a Nilla wafer crust and whipped cream topping, tastes like home to me.

2. Perfect Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut lovers (myself included) will adore this triple-coconut cake, which has flakes in the crust, filling, and whipped cream topping. It gets even more flavor and richness from coconut milk, which teams up with egg yolks to form the luscious filling.

3. Lemon Cream Pie

For a silkier, richer, and all-around-better cream pie, follow recipe developer Alexis DeBoschnek's lead and make the filling with sweetened condensed milk. While you're at it, swap the usual graham crackers for a Biscoff cookie crust instead.

4. Pumpkin Cream Pie

If you want to serve pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving but are sick of the old-fashioned, somewhat temperamental version, make this light and airy cream pie instead. You're best off making it at least a day in advance so that it has plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator.

5. Chocolate Cream Pie

Recipe developer Kenneth Temple thought long and hard about how to make a better chocolate cream pie. The solution? A filling made exclusively with egg yolks, rather than whole eggs, for more flavor, less moisture, and a richer consistency.

6. Strawberry Cream Pie

Think of this dessert as a strawberry shortcake in the form of a decadent cream pie.

7. Coconut Rum Cream Pie

"Light, fluffy, and wonderfully creamy, this pie is made with a Biscoff cookie crust, which gets topped with a rich, rum-tinged vegan coconut custard and an airy, lightly sweetened coconut whipped cream," writes recipe developer Murielle Banackissa.

8. Vanilla Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust and Raspberry Whipped Cream Peonies

This springtime cream pie is a total showstopper, starting with raspberry whipped cream piped into the shape of blossoming flowers and a sweet vanilla custard filling.

9. Baby Chocolate Strawberry Cream Pie

Leave it to Erin Jeanne McDowell to not only make a pie out of a romantic flavor combination — chocolate and strawberries — but make it look so sweet, too!

10. Caramelized Banana Pudding Pie from Millie Peartree

Caramelized bananas get their sweetness from brown sugar and cinnamon in this rich, delicious upgrade to the classic banana cream pie.

11. Key Lime Meringue Pie from Petra Paredez

Craving a taste of the tropics? This luxe key lime pie with a perfectly torched vanilla sea salt meringue will take your taste buds to the southernmost point of the U.S. in no time.

12. Creamy Lemon Custard Pie

In a creamy twist on the classic lemon pie, Swiss meringue buttercream is piped in a never-ending swirl on top of the cream filling, instead of the usual meringue. The filling gets a triple dose of tartness from lemon oil, lemon zest, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

13. Milk Chocolate Cream Pie

You can thank Erin Jeanne McDowell for this double-chocolate pie that features two layers: a ganache base topped with the milk chocolate cream filling. It's rich (but not too rich), fudgy (but not too fudgy), and perfectly chocolatey.

14. Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie

Meet everyone's favorite childhood sandwich in the form of a cream pie featuring a graham cracker crust, peanut butter and cream cheese filling, and a thin layer of jam on top. Recipe developer Erin Jeanne McDowell loves raspberry or strawberry, but use your favorite flavor for a taste of nostalgia.

15. Crème Brûlée Pie

Is this the chicest pie that's even been baked? Possibly. Hiding beneath a crunchy, crystallized sugar topping is a rich vanilla custard and buttery crust. It's two desserts in one — what's better than that?

16. French Silk Pie with Chocolate-Coffee (Grounds) Crust

Coffee and chocolate are #couplegoals. They bring out the best in each other. Sweet chocolate softens the flavor of bitter spent coffee grounds, and coffee enhances all the dark notes in the chocolate. Together, they make for one incredible cream pie.

17. Maple Cream Tart

Come fall, we want maple in anything and everything. We want it in the form of ice cream and hard candies. We want it in the form of a glaze for pork tenderloin and roast turkey. And we definitely want it in this cream tart with a press-in pastry crust.

18. Oreo Pie

"With crushed-up Oreo cookies as the crust and a beautifully textured black-and-white appearance, this pie is a wonderful cooling-off dessert for the summer, but is also delicious enough to serve at the end of any holiday meal, from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve and beyond," writes recipe developer Sarah Jampel.

19. Maida Heatter's Rum Pie

Add 3/4 cup of dark rum to the dreamy custard for a pie that tastes like a glass of eggnog on a beautiful winter's night.


Kelly Vaughan

MORE FROM Kelly Vaughan


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Desserts Food Food52 Holidays Pies Recipe Thanksgiving