Why is My Banana Cream Pie So Runny? (3 Tips to Save Your Banana Cream Pie)

It’s your worst nightmare, but why is my banana cream pie so runny?

Don’t worry; we’ve all been there.

In fact, if you research this subject enough, you will undoubtedly read over and over again how the custard always seems to come out runny.

This is especially true after it has been refrigerated.

So, allow me to explain how to produce the perfect custard for your banana cream pie.

There are numerous reasons why your banana cream pie is so runny. Firstly, you should always use whole milk, although 2% will suffice. You must ensure that you cook the custard for ample time, as it should have the correct consistency before you refrigerate it. With that being said, your custard may look perfect while hot and then come out of the refrigerator extremely runny. If so, you will need to heat it through again while continuously whisking/stirring. Plus, you may need to add more cornstarch as well.

1. What Milk Did You Use?

Whether your banana cream pie turns out runny comes down to the ingredients you use and how you make the custard or vanilla pudding, whichever term you prefer to use.

I’m sure you’ve come across various recipes to make the custard, although the ingredients are pretty standard.

  • Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Cornstarch

Then depending on your preference, you may also wish to add cinnamon, nutmeg, heavy whipping cream, or even butter.

The eggs (along with cornstarch) are the main thickening ingredient, although you have to be wary not to overcook the eggs; otherwise, they’ll end up scrambled.

However, everything can go wrong with the very first ingredient, namely milk.

It is best to use whole milk in order to make your custard.

Admittedly, you can get away with 2% milk, but I’ve always preferred whole milk.

So, don’t even think about using low-fat or skimmed milk.

With that being said, it astounds me the number of people who do.

Realistically, banana cream pie is never going to be a healthy recipe.

I mean, it requires a pie crust for the base and heavy whipping cream for a topping.

So, please don’t scrimp on the filling.

Always use whole milk for the best results, which will ensure your custard is a perfect consistency.

2. Did You Cook the Custard Long Enough?

There is a tendency to give up on the custard too early and simply hope that it comes together in the refrigerator.

Big mistake!

Cooking your custard takes plenty of stirring and a lot of patience.

You don’t want the milk to boil, as this will scramble the eggs when you add them.

So, you initially only want to see small bubbles appear on the surface of your milk (or milk mixture if you added heavy whipping cream), and then remove it from the heat.

Once you add the egg mixture, you should then cook over medium heat while stirring or whisking continuously for 8-10 minutes.

Furthermore, in cooking terms, sugar is viewed as a liquid, which is why it’s important to have enough protein and starch (egg yolks and cornstarch).

If you adhere to these points, you should have the perfect custard thickness.

You can check this by coating the back of the spoon with custard and then running your finger down the middle.

If the custard stays on either side of the trail, it’s done.

However, if it runs back into the middle, you’ll need to keep stirring.

Perfect Vanilla Bean Custard With Jamie Oliver

3. How to Rescue Your Custard After Refrigeration?

You may find that the consistency of your custard appears perfect before you refrigerate it but comes out runny afterward.

Then again, you may even have added your custard to the pie crust and then realized that it’s far too runny.

Either way, you’ll, unfortunately, need to go through the whole heating and stirring process again.

So, it will literally be like starting from scratch.

However, you will want to add extra cornflour and obviously ensure that you don’t allow the custard to boil.

Once complete and with the right consistency, you will need to refrigerate your custard once more.

If you did add the custard to the pie crust, you may need to rebake the crust to remove all the moisture.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, there are various reasons that your banana cream pie is so runny.

Firstly, you should always use whole milk in order to make your custard.

Low-fat or skim milk simply won’t produce the right consistency.

Also, remember that your custard requires time and a lot of love.

So, use low heat and plenty of elbow grease when it comes to stirring.

If you find that your custard is runny after refrigeration, you’ll need to put it back on the heat, add extra cornstarch, and go through the stirring process all over again.

If you are a fan of banana-based desserts, here’s a fascinating read that explains where banoffee pie originated.

1 thought on “Why is My Banana Cream Pie So Runny? (3 Tips to Save Your Banana Cream Pie)”

  1. I made my betty crocker banana cream pie filling in the sauce pan from scratch as I always do. the filling came out nice and thick like normal, I waited for it to cool down before I planned to add it to the pie crust, I decided to add some pure vanilla to the filling because it needed it. I gently stirred it in, then my thick perfect filling suddenly turned into soup. I also used allulose ( ugar alternative) instead of regular sugar this time. I am trying to figure out if the vanilla had a bad reaction with the allulose or if I added the vanilla at the wrong time to cause this? The betty crocker recipe did not call for vanilla, but it lacked flavor so I added it.
    Please help, I need to know what went wrong and why.


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