Sky-Is-The-Limit Pudding Pie

All this week I’ll be detailing some stellar Thanksgiving-worthy desserts.

First up, prepare yourself to meet one of the most delicious and adaptable pies you’ve ever seen.

Let’s walk through this together.

1) Choose a crust. It can be a pre-baked pie crust, a graham cracker crust, Oreo crust, shortbread crust…the options are endless, my friends.

2) Choose a pudding flavor. You can use a large box of cook-and-serve pudding (shhh, I won’t tell!) or 3 cups of a homemade recipe. You can opt for chocolate, vanilla. Butterscotch? Perhaps you want to live on the wild side and go for pistachio.

3) Choose your add-ins. Peanut butter. Raspberry jam. Marshmallow creme. Let your imagination go wild with the flavor combinations.

4) Choose your topping. Whipped cream is not optional, but what goes on beyond that is up to you. Crushed candy bars, finely chopped chocolate, fresh berries. Impress your tastebuds!

This pie is more a method than anything, but when my Aunt Marilyn emailed me saying she and her friend Debbie had made it three days in a row, I knew it had to be documented. I am currently in love with the vanilla pudding/peanut butter/whipped cream/crushed butterfinger variety. Don’t forget to let me know what pudding pie combo your mad cooking skills come up with!

Sky-Is-The-Limit Pudding Pie

One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

Sky-Is-The-Limit Pudding Pie

Sky-Is-The-Limit Pudding Pie

Note: Let’s talk about the adaptability of this pie, since that’s what makes it so great. First, choose a crust. Plain everyday pie crust (already baked), graham cracker crust, Oreo crust, the options are endless. Second, choose a pudding flavor. I opted for the easy route and used a box of cook-and-serve pudding but you could absolutely use a homemade pudding recipe. Vanilla, Chocolate, Banana, Butterscotch. Again, the pudding options are astounding. Third, choose add-ins of your choice. My rule of thumb is about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of “something” to add to the pudding. 1/3 cup of peanut butter in a chocolate or vanilla pie, 1/3 cup of raspberry jam in a chocolate pie, 1/3 cup of marshmallow creme in a butterscotch pie….got it? Finally, top the pie with whipped cream and finely chopped chocolate, berries or crushed candy and you’ve got yourself an amazing pudding pie.

Just to give you a starting point, I’ve included a recipe below for a delicious peanut butter pudding pie with a graham cracker crust and below the recipe you’ll find two of my go-to recipes for homemade vanilla or chocolate pudding in case you don’t care to use the boxed pudding.


    Graham Cracker Crust:
  • Sub out the graham crackers with Oreos, omit the sugar and voila! Oreo crust.
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 11 long rectangle crackers crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Pudding Layer:
  • 1 (4.6 ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding or about 3 cups homemade vanilla pudding, recipe follows
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup creamy or crunch peanut butter
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed butterfinger bars


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar and mix. Stir in the butter until well combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until the pudding layer is ready.
  2. Follow the package or recipe directions for your pudding of choice. When the pudding is thickened and starting to boil (at the point that you would normally take it off the stove) stir in the peanut butter until it melts. Pour the pudding into the pie crust. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface and refrigerate until the pie is well-chilled, 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
  3. In a small bowl, whip the cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and top with the crushed candy bars. Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: adapted and expounded upon from my Aunt Marilyn and her friend, Debbie

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

*Makes about 3 cups

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (the higher the percentage of fat in the milk, the creamier the pudding)
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks to combine. Set aside.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in milk gradually, whisking to combine fully. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring/whisking constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil with large popping bubbles. Boil and stir for one minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and while whisking the egg yolks vigorously, whisk in all of the hot mixture gradually into egg yolks. This will temper the egg yolks so they don’t scramble in the pudding. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot, whisking quickly and constantly. Return the pot to the stove and bring the mixture to a boil again, stirring all the while. Boil for one more minute. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter and vanilla. The pudding will thicken as it chills. (If you think your pudding may have become a bit lumpy in the cooking process, after you remove it from the heat the last time, you can strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.)

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

*Makes about 4 cups

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (the higher the percentage of fat in the milk, the creamier the pudding)
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly and set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until the pudding is thick, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisking the egg yolks quickly and constantly, gradually add the hot chocolate mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk in the chopped chocolate until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and velvety. (If you think your pudding may have become a bit lumpy in the cooking process, after you remove it from the heat the last time, you can strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.)

Recipe Source: I’ve been making both of these recipes for years based on recipes in my ancient recipe binders.

23 Responses to Sky-Is-The-Limit Pudding Pie

  1. Jamy says:

    Super easy! I needed a pie for Pi day and this fit the bill! I made a really easy shortbread crust (Thanks for the idea Mel, I never would have thought of that!) and did the peanut butter one. I used an instant vanila pudding mix and just melted my peanut butter then whisked together. Turned out super yummy! Topped with whipped cream and mini choc. chips!

  2. Ashlee says:

    K I made this Sunday with a few changes. First, I had a box of chocolate cheerios no one was loving, so I used those to make a crust. Then, I didn’t have any cook and serve puddings, or enough half and half to do homemade, so I used an instant pudding and followed the directions for pie. Since it doesn’t get heated, I melted peanut butter in the microwave. It wasn’t perfectly smooth in the pudding but we kinda liked the spots of peanut butter. Finally, I used cool whip and reeses broken on top. It was delicious! Thanks for an awesome, adaptable recipe! I’m making a crockpot chicken masala recipe now so we’ll see how it goes

  3. Dan's Wifey says:

    Hi Mel. I made the chocolate pudding as directed but it never set. I was thinking it needed to be cooked more after adding the eggs but decided to follow the recipe. The next day I cooked it a bit more and then it set up like pudding. Just wanted to point this out because the second time cooking appears in the vanilla version but not the chocolate so I think maybe you forgot to completely type it all out?

    I wanted to say thank you for all the great recipes you post! I am sure it takes a lot of time but we all appreciate it so much – especially our happy, well-fed husbands!

  4. Debbie Roderick says:

    Melanie – This is Marilyn’s friend, Debbie…I need to give credit where credit is due. My mother in law, Yvonne Roderick, made up a simplified version of this pie up one day when my husband happened to be visiting. It was so yummy that Marilyn and I started experimenting with it but she was the inspiration!


  5. grace says:

    fab. u. lous. i pick…graham cracker crust laced with coconut, butterscotch pie filling, marshmallow creme, and crushed heath bars on top. too much? NEVER! 🙂

  6. ingrid says:

    Definitely a keeper recipe/method! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Angela says:

    Thanks so much for your insight! I look forward to giving this peppermint fun a whirl!

  8. Melanie Erickson says:

    If you are using cook and serve pudding, do you follow the directions for making pudding or making a pie? Usually there is a difference in how much milk you add.

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – I’ve only ever noticed separate directions on the pudding boxes that are not cook-and-serve, but then again, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve used a boxed pudding. If there are separate directions, err on the side of caution and use the directions for the pie. Hope that helps!

  9. Deborah says:

    What a great idea! Next time I don’t know what pie to bring, I’m turning to this recipe!!

  10. teresa says:

    great great tips! i love it!

  11. Danielle says:

    Oh yumm! Thanks for the idea(: I knew that I had to make some kind of pie for thanksgiving but i didn’t really know what kind. Love the blog!

  12. Angela says:

    So I’ve been craving an oreo crust with peppermint…but am a little wary… Would you risk adding peppermint extract to vanilla pudding or just playing it safe by crushing peppermint as the candy add-in?

    • Mel says:

      Angela – a really simple way to add peppermint would be to use mint-filled oreos. If you don’t want to do that, I think you could do either of your options. I’d play it safe with the mint extract…if you add it to the vanilla or chocolate pudding, I’d only add 1/4 teaspoon at a time and then taste to see how minty it is. Crushed peppermint as a garnish would be lovely, too!

  13. Jessica says:

    Yummmm!!!! I love this!! 🙂

    Mel, Have you ever tried working with sugar free recipes? I am experimenting more and more with Stevia and Erythritol. For example I made sugar free whip cream, and it was so yummy!

  14. briarrose says:

    How fun. Pudding pies are always wonderful.

  15. I love pudding pies. My mom used to make a butterscotch pudding pie every year for Thanksgiving. She doesn’t any more unfortunately, but maybe I’ll have to carry on the tradition!

  16. CaSaundra says:

    Oh wow–I could have so much fun with this recipe. I think I’d add in pumpkin, with cranberries sprinkled on top!!! 🙂

  17. Rich says:

    Yeah, maybe it’s adaptable, but if I’m making peanut butter pie, I just may make that over and over again. It looks and sounds delicious!

  18. Melynda says:

    This is great, and thanks for the attached pudding recipes.

  19. Kim in MD says:

    YUM! This will be a huge hit on my Thanksgiving table. I love your peanut butter/butterfinger combination, Melanie! I can’t wait to see what other fabulous desserts you post this week!

  20. I love pudding pies. They are actually my favorite. So delicious.

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