These easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make the best Peanut Butter Pie! Homemade whipped cream, rich cream cheese, LOTS of peanut butter and a delicious semi-homemade graham cracker crust come together to make this mouthwatering sweet treat.
Whenever my husband and I dine out, I’m all in if there is room for dessert! Unfortunately, my husband isn’t a huge dessert fan, so he’s not nearly as enthusiastic. He doesn’t have much interest in sharing desserts with me either -unless there happens to be peanut butter pie on the menu (or key lime pie).
My husband may actually be old fashioned peanut butter pie’s #1 fan, so every now and then, I like to whip up one of these insanely delicious peanut butter pies for him. Now, I will put a little disclaimer on this recipe: this is not what one might call a “light” dessert. That said, this indulgent and perfectly decadent peanut butter pie is a tough one to resist! Not to mention, the leftovers are a pretty delicious breakfast.
The best part about making a peanut butter pie from scratch? I almost always have the ingredients on hand and you probably do too! You could easily buy the graham cracker crumbs -but giving graham crackers a quick whiz in the food processor is super simple.
For the graham cracker crust:
- Graham Crackers: Using store-bought graham crackers for pie crust yields a soft and cohesive texture. Technically this peanut butter pie is “semi-homemade,” but no one will ever know the difference.
- Sugar: The graham crackers are already sweetened. However, adding a bit more sweetness makes the crust SO good.
- Melted Butter: You’ll need melted butter to moisten the crust mixture, so it sticks together and firms up a bit in the oven.
For the peanut butter pie filling:
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Whipping up heavy cream is so quick and easy that I prefer to do it myself, but you can use Cool Whip in a pinch. Your pie filling will just be a bit sweeter.
- Peanut Butter: I always use smooth peanut butter and the filling comes out perfect. I do not recommend using crunchy or “natural” peanut butter.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese adds a rich and tangy flavor. You can’t go wrong with a cream pie made with Philadelphia cream cheese.
- Vanilla: A touch of quality vanilla enhances all of the flavors perfectly.
- Chocolate Chips: These are entirely optional, but peanut butter + chocolate is kind of a no-brainer. I like adding mini chocolate chips to my peanut butter pies.
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Make the crust:
Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into a fine crumb.
Then, add the sugar and melted butter and pulse a few more times to combine.
Step 2: Press in the crust:
Transfer the crust mixture to a pie pan and then press to cover the pan surface evenly (I find the bottom of a measuring cup is a good tool for getting a nice, even crust).
Step 3: Bake crust:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bake the crust until it firms up and becomes golden brown and toasted. Let cool completely before starting on the filling.
Step 3: Whip heavy cream:
In a bowl, add the heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks form. I forgot to take a picture of the whipped cream, but you know what that looks like, right?
Step 4: Cream together:
Cream together the peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a separate bowl and then stir in the vanilla.
Here is the peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla mixture. It should be similar in consistency to thick cookie dough.
Step 5: Fold in whipped cream and chocolate chips:
Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Take your time folding in the whipped cream. You want the pie filling to be light and pillowy. If using, gently stir in the chocolate chips.
Step 6: Add filling to the crust:
Spread the pie filling into the cooled graham cracker crust and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips (if using).
Step 7: Let pie chill:
Transfer the pie to the refrigerator and let it chill for at least two hours before serving.
Step 8: Serve:
Share with a friend (or don’t) and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks //
- Chill your bowls. Using chilled bowls to whip the cream and make the pie filling will help achieve the perfect consistency.
- It’s super important that you GENTLY fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture so it holds its shape. Otherwise, the whipped cream might destabilize and essentially fall apart.
- A few readers mentioned using granulated sugar and the filling turning out gritty. I have never had that issue. However, one reader swapped granulated sugar for powdered sugar with no problems. The filling was just a bit sweeter.
- If you’re in a rush, you can chill the pie in the freezer for about an hour instead of in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Why is Peanut Butter Pie So Good?
- It’s so simple! This recipe couldn’t be any easier.
- You can make it a day or so in advance. It is perfect for potlucks, parties and holiday gatherings. It also freezes well.
- The cool, sweet and fluffy peanut buttery filling pairs perfectly with the soft and flaky graham cracker crust.
- You can customize the crust with a different type of crumb and add yummy mix-ins to make this pie you’re own.
Pie Crust Options: No graham crackers? No problem. This peanut butter pie is just as lovely made with chocolate graham crackers, Oreos, shortbread cookies, vanilla or chocolate wafers, etc. The list goes on and on.
Topping Ideas: Mini chocolate chips are my go-to, but any of the following toppings would be yummy!
- Shaved Chocolate
- Shredded Toasted Coconut
- Candy-coated Chocolates like mini M & M’s or Reese’s Pieces
- Chopped Peanuts
- Candy Bar Crumbles like Snickers, Reeses, Milky Way, etc.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie: To completely cut the oven out of this recipe, you can use a store-bought graham cracker crust. However, making the crust yourself is super simple!
How to Store //
This peanut butter pie is both fridge and freezer-friendly.
Refrigerating: Store any leftovers in the fridge loosely covered for 3 to 4 days.
Make-Ahead and Freezer Options //
Freezing: This pie can be frozen whole or in slices. All you need to do is put the entire pie or individual portions in the freezer until they freeze solid. Then, wrap the frozen pie or slice in a few layers of plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag or container. for 2 to 3 months. Before serving, let the frozen pie thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until the filling loosens up a bit
To save yourself some time, yes -you can make this pie with a premade crust. You’ll need a pre-baked store-bought 9″ graham cracker crust for this recipe.
Yes, you can swap out homemade whipped cream with Cool Whip. Your filling may be sweeter and the density wouldn’t be quite the same. Make sure the Cool Whip is thawed but COLD.
Using the right amount of melted butter is key to getting the graham cracker crumbs and sugar to stick together. You may need to add a little more to the crust mixture a little at a time until it is cohesive.