Tag: best recipe

2024 Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests

2024 Minnesota State Fair Special Contests To Feature New Fresh Salsa, Nutty Cookie & Mighty Muffin Recipe Contests

Minneapolis-St Paul, MN – July 12, 2024 – With over 75 baking and cooking categories at the Minnesota State Fair this year, home cooks and bakers will have many ways to win in the kitchen. The annual and much beloved tradition of competing for blue ribbons returns. Home cooks can compete for more than $1,000 in prizes in Blue Ribbon Group special contests and awards.

For the first time in over 20 years, there’s a Fresh Salsa contest thanks to Bushel Boy Farms, a Nutty Cookie contest from the Blue Ribbon Group, and a Mighty Muffin contest from 3 Cricketeers. The general/classic baking categories (divided into “classes”), range from 28 types of bread and 21 types of cookies, to 12 different kinds of cakes, and 3 pie flavors, plus international and gluten-free baking divisions. Let the games, er… Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests BEGIN!

Register by Tue July 30, 2024, 4:30pm; All Special Contests & All Baking Categories Take Place Sat Aug 17, 2024

Rally time is now! Look for these new special contests, each with $100 to $200 for first place, plus runner-up prizes and special awards. Registration is now open. It closes Tue , 2024, 4:30pm CT. All contests happen Sat August 17, 2024, drop off 9:30am to 1pm, Creative Activities Building. Winners announced Thu August 22, 2024. Having trouble finding what you need to participate? Drop us a line here.

Bushel Boy Farms “Fresh Salsa Recipe Rally”

2024 Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests
Make a fresh-tasting, crowd-pleasing salsa with premium, locally grown Bushel Boy Farms tomatoes as the star ingredient. Bushel Boy’s tomatoes are grown right here in Owatonna, Minnesota at their high-tech greenhouses and picked at perfect ripeness. Combine them with other ingredients for a masterful and award-winning homemade salsa (refrigerated, not processed/canned). Present with your favorite chips for dipping. $350 in prizes await the top 3 winners, plus bonus prizes for canned salsas (Class 1245 & 1246). Find recipe inspiration @BushelBoyFarms on Instagram & Facebook.

Join Bushel Boy Farms to celebrate opening day of the fair, Thu August 22, 2024. They will take over the Cambria Kitchen to showcase fresh tomato creations and salsa contest winners, plus offer complimentary samples and other giveaways throughout the day.

Blue Ribbon Group “Nutty Cookie Contest”

2024 Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests

Come compete in the “Nutty Cookie Contest” from the Blue Ribbon Group. We want a creative variety of nut-centric winning cookies. Make your tasty treats with your favorite nuts, from peanuts and pistachios to almonds and cashews. Any nut goes and any type tracks. They can be classic or creative: think biscotti, nut clusters, butter pecan shortbread, monster cookies, and more. Wow the judges with your outstanding cookie, how it looks and what they experience biting into it. A unique mix of cookies will win. Prizes are $200, $100 and $50 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively. Find inspiration @BlueRibbonFoodies on Instagram & Facebook.

Join us Sun August 25 at the fair for our Nutty Tarts & Treats event (Cambria Kitchen, Creative Activities Building). In the meantime, find a fantastic sample recipe to make here.

Mighty Muffin Recipe Contest

2024 Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests

Make your 3 Cricketeers Mighty Muffin entry with 3C’s Pure Cricket Powder (1/4 cup or more) and additional ingredients known to give you power and energy, such as nuts, seeds, oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate. Awards: $100 (1st Place), $75 (2nd Place), $50 (3rd Place). Find their online store at 3 Cricketeers. Use code StateFair2024 for free shipping on your first order. Share your creative process by posting on Facebook or Instagram. Tag #3cricketeers

Join 3 Cricketeers on Fri August 23 for a day of demos and free tastings (Cambria Kitchen, Creative Activities Building)

Special thanks to our prize partner and all-around amazing baking company:

Key Contest Dates to Remember

  • Competitors Register by Tue July 30, 2024, 4:30pm
  • Drop Off Day Sat Aug 17, 20, 9:30am to 1pm
  • View Winner Displays & Recipe Demos Aug 22 to Sep 2 in Creative Activities Building

First Time Participant or Need a Refresher?

All registration goes through the Minnesota State Fair competition department. Registration is free! Once you’re signed up, there is no obligation if you later can’t participate. Go to the Competitions/Creative Activities/Baked Products section at MNStateFair.org to sign up (under the Participants tab).

Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests: Quick-start tips:

  1. Find all baking rules, regs, open classes, and cool special contests here and be sure to download the Creative Activities/Baked Goods Premium Book Section. Jump to pages 12-14 for the special contests, page by page.
  2. Sign up for the Competition Department email list here and be sure to choose “Creative Activities” as your email list.
  3. Create your online account here (then be sure your registration clears and is confirmed by email).
  4. For step-by-step guidance: go here (for a written tutorial) or here (for a video) For FAQ (frequently asked questions) go here.

Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon Special Contests: Resources are aplenty, but if you still have questions, never hesitate to ask. The state fair competition office can be reached 651-288-4417 or competition@mnstatefair.org. We are available too, at statefairteam@blueribbongroup.net.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes: Any time I come across a recipe for something I grew up baking with my mom, I’m filled with warm fuzzies and food cravings. Lots of no-bake cookies and “strike-it-rich” cakes come to mind. Imagine my delight then, when I bought this Guittard Chocolate Cookbook.

I was blasted to the past with these “Black Bottom Cupcakes.” They were a go-to treat in my family, bigtime. I was thrilled to make them again after all these years.

Black Bottom Cupcakes 2

This “cake-meets-cheesecake” dessert is so absolutely fabulous. I couldn’t even wait until they fully cooled to dig into one. It is definitely a winning recipe!

Black Bottom Cupcakes 3

Warm, melted chocolate chips inside a tangy cream cheese filling, all surrounded by a rich and tender chocolate cupcake. There’s something about this ingredient combination that is marvelous. As a bonus, these cupcakes are incredibly easy to make!

Easy Bake

Once you prep the batter, divvy it up in a lined cupcake tin.

Black Bottom Cupcakes Step 1

Whip up the cream cheese filling. Add that on top of the chocolate batter.

Black Bottom Cupcakes Step 2

After about 20 minutes in the oven, you get your Black Bottom Cupcakes.

Black Bottom Cupcakes Step 3

Thank you Guittard for taking me and my taste buds back in time. This one is blue ribbon worthy for sure! Their recipe was my inspiration, but I changed a few things. I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and added almond extract. I also upped all the amounts of cocoa, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. Coffee creamer came in handy when I didn’t have whole milk. Plus I made a few other minor tweaks.

Solo cupcake

Black Bottom Cupcakes is a forgiving (translate: very easy) recipe, so it is a fun one to make with kids. Grab your ingredients and get baking!


p.s. The Guittard Chocolate Cookbook is filled with fabulous recipes. I give it a thumbs up and hope you buy it. Here’s a link.




Baking Contest Seeks Best Low-To-No Sugar Pies, Cookies, Cakes, Breads, Chocolate Desserts, Citrus Sweet Treats

Minneapolis-St Paul, MN – June 20, 2023 – Watch for the Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No-Sugar Showdown” 2023 state fair recipe contest series this summer in 6 different cities in the Midwest and two southern states. If you love cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweet treats but prefer them with little to now sugar, this competition is for you!

$350 in Prizes at Each of 6 Fairs

Six prominent state fairs will host the contest, including Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, and Arkansas. Prizes are $200 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd place, and $50 for 3rd place. Judges choose winners for the best flavor combinations, taste and aroma, among other criteria.

Splenda Magic Baker Low to No Sugar Showdown

The pop-up events will feature giveaways of Splenda Magic Baker, the brand’s new zero-calories, zero-sugar sweetener, while supplies last. Splenda Magic Baker comes in 16 ounce bags. It measures and tastes like sugar. Use it 1 to 1 for replacing sugar. You can find recipes and baking tips at Splenda.com.


Six Fairs – Six Sets of Prizes

Here’s a quick run-down of when each fair is, a link to their competition department, their contest theme, register by date, contest date, and location at the fairgrounds. Most fair’s require advance registration, which bakers do, directly with each fair’s competition department.

For questions about competing, contact the fair’s entry office or the Blue Ribbon Group here.  If you can’t compete at any of the above 6 fairs, don’t fret. Read below about our bonus prizes for low to no sugar state fair winning recipes.

Want to Win Year’s Supply of Splenda Magic Baker Sweetener?

Bonus Prizes for Sugar-Free Winning Bakers at ANY Blue Ribbon Group Top 30 Fair

We invite you to compete in any general baking class/category at ANY of our top 30 fairs for a shot at winning a year’s supply of Splenda Magic Baker ($96 value). To qualify, use any Splenda product and place 1st, 2nd or 3rd at your fair, in any general baking class/category. Then submit your details, winning recipe, and photo here by 11:59pm on October 13, 2023. We will choose up to 6 winners: 1 for each of 6 U.S. regions, if applicable: Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Pacific, or Rocky Mountain regions. Winners will be chosen and contacted by year-end, by 11:59pm on December 31, 2023.

Good luck to all the participants!

This post was originally published June 20, 2023 and was updated July 13, 2023.


Rainbow Soba Noodle Salad

This rainbow soba noodle salad combines colorful produce (zucchini, yellow squash, snow peas, carrots, cabbage, and spring onions) with a flavorful ginger sesame dressing. It’s a winning recipe. In fact, we’ve been calling it one of our favorite “winner for dinner” creations.

Sensational Soba Noodles

I made this salad a few weeks ago after hitting a couple of my go-to farmer’s markets: the Lyndale Market, and Mill City farmer’s market. I got a boatload of vegetables plus these great buckwheat soba noodles from Dumpling & Strand, “Noodlers at Large.” Their artwork is awesome too.

These soba noodles are gluten-free and cook up in seconds, like 120 seconds. I really had only used them in one other recipe, a “fast food” one where I thawed some frozen peanut dipping sauce–I had made a quadruple batch last time around and put half cup portions in freezer bags–and simply mixed it in with some noodles and a tiny bit of water. It is like a 2 ingredient salad. Like I said: fast food.

This time however, I imagined something with a bit more heat and a lighter, vinaigrette-type dressing. That’s how this rainbow soba noodle salad came to be. I love the chili oil in it. It goes great with the sesame oil/liquid aminos combo. Well, the salad turned out delish and was a BIG winner at dinner. I had hosted a potluck party. I marinated and cooked some tempeh to go on top of the soba salad. Together those two elements make a vegetarian main dish for some, and a hearty side dish for others. By the way, I’ll have to share the tempeh recipe another time. I wasn’t able to snap any photos this time around.

I will definitely be making this rainbow soba noodle salad time and time again. It was so easy and flavorful. I hope you enjoy it soon too, and that you enjoy the rest of your summer!



Best-Ever Chicken Satay

Without a doubt, this Best-Ever Chicken Satay recipe earns its title. The recipe makes the most delicious chicken I have ever tasted. Serve it with my spicy peanut sauce and you will think you have takeout from your favorite Thai restaurant.

Chicken Satay 2

I make this almost every week and have started making quadruple batches of the marinade to keep on hand. This has been going on for months. Plus, any time I serve it to family, friends or bring it to a potluck, it disappears fast. It’s my most requested recipe for everyday meals as well.

Step By Step

Check out this picture tutorial that walks you through making this best-ever chicken satay, step by step.

Chicken Satay Assembly 1

Fresh garlic. Fresh ginger. Fresh lime. Lemongrass. Pepper flakes. Curry. Cardamom. Such great flavors. Mix all that with some fish sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, and agave, and you got a completely delicious way to season your chicken. This is something you could make in bulk also and freeze. As a result, you’ll get dinner on the table fast. Tip: If you want to reduce the sodium, swap out the soy sauce and use liquid aminos instead. Bragg’s in my favorite. I also love the coconut version as well.

Chicken Satay Assembly 2

Once you have the marinade ready, you add it to your chicken. I like to use a sealable or disposable plastic bag. Glass and metal dishes work great also.

Chicken Satay Assembly 3

I usually let it marinade overnight but 30 minutes works too; then, it’s ready whenever you are.

Chicken Satay Assembly 4

This is where uniform size pays off. Cut the chicken breasts in matching sizes. As a result, each will bake at the same rate, all coming out tender and delicious.

Chicken Satay Assembly 5

You will definitely want to also make the spicy the peanut sauce shown below. Again, you will want to make this is bulk also. It is addictive, in a good way! Find the recipe here!

Chicken Satay 1




Pineapple Coconut Cream Pie

This Pineapple Coconut Cream Pie is a 1st place winning recipe from the State Fair of Texas. It’s an all-time favorite from our archives, from a 2016 pie contest. Bake like a blue ribbon winner with this recipe. You will wow your friends, family, and your taste buds.

If you have never made a pineapple coconut cream pie this is a terrific recipe to start with because it’s got a great crust recipe and straightforward instructions for the two layers.

Slice of Pineapple Coconut Cream Pie

We did a test run and absolutely loved its flavors and its texture. The crust ingredients come together nicely and nothing beats a homemade pie crust. This version uses butter flavored shortening. If you prefer a butter/lard crust, try this one here.

Tip: use a pre-made refrigerated pie crust if making your own sounds too intimidating. It’s okay if you need a time-saving shortcut.

The filling in this pineapple coconut cream pie is sweet, rich, fruity, thick, and lush. The meringue whips up in a easy breezy wonderful way. It is velvety and that’s a good thing.  The toasted top gives it a picture-perfect finishing touch.

Beautiful meringue atop a blue ribbon Pineapple Coconut Pie

Sue Rainey: Queen of the Crust

This award-winning recipe comes from Sue Rainey, a long time baking contest participant at the State Fair of Texas. Sue’s friends call her the “queen of the crust.” Baking is an art and her talents are plentiful.

Her top tips for perfect, flaky crusts: handle the dough as little as possible and use the least amount of flour you can when rolling it out. Sue also favors the intensity of vanilla from Mexico. She goes through giant bottles of it during her busiest baking times of the year: the State Fair of Texas and the year-end holidays.

Sue originally titled her creation “Paradise in Texas Coconut Pineapple Pie.” One taste and you’ll be in paradise yourself.




Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner: MN Blackout Cake

The Kowalski’s Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair was this phenomenal “MN Blackout Cake.”

With its three layers, pudding filling, chocolate drip, and decoration, this cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. It’s intense color and flavor are going to wow you, just like it did us and the judges.

Replicating it as we did, takes time, but every bite makes it worth the effort.

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner MN Blackout Cake

Kudos to Michelle Seywerd who was the Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair with this inspired creation.

Michelle’s husband loves Guinness chocolate cake which was her first idea of what to enter. Then she recalled the notorious Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Michelle’s winning recipe is a twist on it. She used this recipe as her base and then adapted a Food Network pudding filling. She added the fun chocolate shards on top too. We were shocked to learn Michelle had barely baked a cookie before the pandemic but really got into it with her daughter, who was a toddler at the time. They started with basic baked goods, watched a lot of YouTube channels, and worked up to more challenging recipes. “It’s been quite a journey,” Michelle shared.

Decadently Dark Cake

In her own words, Michelle describes her MN Blackout Cake here:

A decadently dark cake perfect for the dark chocolate lover in your life! I created a twist on the classic Brooklyn Blackout Cake by featuring black cocoa. Black cocoa is used to give Oreos that distinct color and flavor. Here, I’ve featured chocolate in 4 ways –  layers of moist cocoa cake, filled with black cocoa pudding filling, dripping with a semi sweet chocolate ganache, and topped with intense dark chocolate shards. The result – the boldest and richest chocolate flavor possible without use of food coloring. Enjoy with a nice glass of cold milk! Thank you!

Baking Tips: Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner

Some random tips we got from Michelle and learned along the way, are these:

  • You’ll want to double the cake portion of the recipe if you want to recreate Michelle’s 3-layer version she won with at the fair. You’ll have an extra single layer that works great to taste and decorate separately. We did crushed salted peanuts on ours (4th unused layer) and loved it. You could also go for a 4 layer cake, but that’s mighty big.
  • If you opt to not double the cake and don’t want extra of the pudding filling, you’ll want to cut that recipe portion in half or do 2/3. The thick filling layer makes this cake a show stopper in our opinion. I would eat that pudding filling as a solo dessert. It’s that good.
  • We got our black cocoa from King Arthur and loved the results. Get yours here.
  • Using black cocoa over the buttered parchment helps the cake keep its intense color.

  • With chocolate drip, if you’re starting with a chocolate bar (versus chocolate chips), chop it into small pieces until they’re about the size of chocolate chips. You’ll get a smoother, more efficient melt.
  • If you can’t find 90% cacao chocolate, use 100% (2 ounces) and semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce) as a substitute.
  • When we did the chocolate drip, we started with the edge. We worked by the spoonful for more control and to get the drizzle/drip look we wanted.
  • Michelle says this cake is not a fast one to make, but the payoff is totally worth it.

We invite you to re-create the magic of this MN Blackout Cake. Be sure to share on social media and tag @blueribbonfoodies. We want to see what you’re baking!




New Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

Enter Our New Blue Ribbon Group Contests at the 2022 State Fair of Texas

Cash Prizes of $200, $100, $50 Offered in New Cooking & Baking Contests 

Dallas-Fort Worth, September  13, 2022 – Calling all Texas home cooks and hobby bakers! You’re invited to compete in our new Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas. Up for grabs is $350 in prizes in each of four contests/categories, plus bonus prizes and additional ways to win. Do you make great game day foods that are total crowd pleasers? How about some homemade low-sugar sweet-treats? If you do, then these new contests are for you!

Tom Thumb “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round Up” (Game Day Themed Recipes/3 Categories) 10/2/2022

The first Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is the Tom Thumb  “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up” on Sunday, October 2. With a “Game Day Delights” theme, the Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up calls for crowd-pleasing appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. The event is essentially three contests in one. We want to see your best-tasting recipes that are perfect for parties! Each category/type has $350 in gift card prizes, including $200 for 1st Place, $100 for 2nd Place, and $50 for 3rd Place. Plus, bonus prizes will celebrate overall baking category winners (among the fair’s total contest line-up) and offer additional ways to win, even if you don’t compete at the fair.

Splenda Magic Baker™ “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” (Creative Cookies) 10/5/2022

The second Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is Wednesday, October 5, for the Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown.” This contest includes a free product giveaway – while supplies last – and calls for CREATIVE COOKIES that are low in sugar or sugar- free! Use any Splenda product, such as Splenda Magic Baker, a new zero-calorie, zero-sugar, plant-based sweetener that tastes and measures just like sugar. The product  is now available from Amazon, Walmart and other grocery stores.

Winner Selections

State Fair of Texas official judges (a varied panel of food professionals, local celebrities, and foodies) will decide each contest’s winners based on evaluating entries with this judging criteria:

  • Unique, innovative, creative recipe (35%)
  • Taste, flavor, aroma (30%)
  • Appearance, color, presentation (25%)
  • Texture, internal appearance (10%)

Extra Ways to Win

Be sure to follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram and/or Facebook or join our mailing list here for a chance to win one of our $25 gift card giveaways. Whether or not you are competing at the State Fair of Texas, we invite you to take part. We will offer random prizes and perks to our community members and followers throughout the 2022 state fair season, which for us, ends October 22, 2022.

Participation Tips/Guidelines – Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

 All state fair recipe/cooking contest registration and judging goes through the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Department.

  • Get all the competition details here (Jump to pages 19 & 26, for the Tom Thumb and Splenda Magic Baker contests)
  • Only Texas residents can win at the State Fair of Texas. Advance registration is recommended but not required.
  • When you are ready to register, follow this link (TX Registration Shortcut)


Special thanks to our 2022 Texas Contest Partners


Minnesota State Fair Baking Competition Winners Announced

Minnesota State Fair 2022 Baking Competition Winners Announced

  • Blue Ribbon Group special contests celebrate the best in home baking & cooking

  • Find the complete Creative Activities Building winner list here

  • Take in daily live demos/tasting Events in the Cambria Kitchen, starting with Kowalski’s Markets opening day


Minneapolis-St Paul, August 25, 2022 – Please join the Blue Ribbon Group in congratulating all the talented and creative entrants in our Blue Ribbon Special Contest Series at the Minnesota State Fair.


Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” Winners

1st Place – Gina Walker of Savage for “Gina’s Sugar-Free Gourmet Banana Bread”

2nd Place – Billie Holterman-Schniepp of Cottage Grove for “Low-Sugar Apple Coffee Cake”

3rd Place – Christina Bergstrom of Twin Lakes for “Peaches & Cream Coffee Cake”


Kowalski’s “Great Chocolate Cake Contest” Winners

1st Place – Michelle Seyward of Woodbury for “MN Black Out Cake”

2nd Place – Erin Dooley of St Paul for “Tribute to Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake”

3rd Place – Colleen Jensen of Woodbury for “Merry’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes”


Kowalski’s Supreme Sourdough Contest Winners

1st Place – Guillermo Guardia of Minneapolis for “Peruvian Sourdough Croissants”

2nd Place – Karen Cope of Minneapolis for “Beer & Cheese Sourdough Bread Twist”

3rd Place – Molly Abbattista of Minneapolis for “Sourdough Focaccia Barese”


Blue Ribbon “Best Peanut Butter Cookie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Betsy Faber of St. Paul for “Crispy Creamy Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies”

2nd Place – Emily York of Hopkins for “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Macarons”

3rd Place – Sheila Mullen of Woodbury for “Salted Caramel Nougat-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies”


Blue Ribbon “Best Cream Pie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Melinda Chapel of Rosemount for “Blueberry Mojito Pie”

2nd Place – Randy Ferguson of Randolph for “The Pie-phrodisiac” (Chocolate Almond Coconut Pie)

3rd Place – Rachael Hood of St. Louis Park for “Blackberry Smash Cream Pie”


Blue Ribbon “Salad Bowl Tournament” Winners

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St Paul for “Lemony Summer Kale Salad”

2nd Place – Mia Bremer of Minneapolis for “Herby Tortellini Harvest Salad”

3rd Place – Ellen Joseph of Minneapolis for “Peppery Greens with Shrimp, Soba Noodles & Crunch Herbs”


3 Cricketeers “Energy Bars & Power Balls” Recipe Contest

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St. Paul for “Magic Chai Power Balls”

2nd Place – Tiffany Mainella of Rochester for “Apple Pie Energy Balls”

3rd Place – Eamon Whiteaker of St. Paul for “Cherry Chocolate Almond Energy Balls”


Find the Minnesota State Fair’s complete Creative Activities Building winner list here. During the fair, visit the Creative Activities Building to view entries across all baking classes and categories. To get involved:

  • Sign up for Creative Activities Mailing list (Under Participant tab at MNSTATEFAIR.org)
  • Follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram or Facebook


Thank you to the brands that made this Minnesota blue ribbon contest line-up possible:








Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe

This winning “Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe” is a banana lover’s dream come true. You use 5 bananas to make it, including an early step of making a “banana milk.” You use that banana milk to create a custard thickened with egg yolks and cornstarch.  This amps up the flavor, as does using both vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Also, using both heavy whipping cream and whole milk gives the pie the richness it deserves.

Whipped Cream Topping

This creation is adapted from a best cream pie winning recipe at the Iowa State Fair. Jessica Denner won 3rd place for her banana cream pie back in 2015. She split her filling into multiple layers and used a different crust. I simplified the layering, reduced the chill times needed and swapped out the winner’s dough crust recipe for a graham cracker version.  I like the texture a cookie-like crust adds, especially when you crumble some crunchiness on top.


Baking Tips

Save the smashed bananas used for making your “banana milk” and put them into smoothies, banana bread or muffins.

The winner’s tip of doing a quick lemon juice soak with the banana slices is genius.


With that step, plus a quick rinse and a pat dry, your fruit will hold its bright color and avoid turning brown. Doing such a step, helps this “Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe” have a winning presentation.

Best Banana Cream Pie Recipe Overhead ShotThe filling resembles a thick pudding. It comes together easily. Be sure to cook the custard until it thickens. As a result, the pie will set up properly and not be runny. Avoid overcooking it as well. Hint: the filling should thickly coat the back of a spoon and stay separate if you run your finger down the center of the spoon.

You also want your whipped cream on top to be thick, almost firm. Whip it until moderately stiff peaks form and it can hold its shape. This is the consistence you want.

Moderately stiff peaksCrazy for Crust? If you prefer a dough crust instead of a graham cracker crust, use the winner’s butter-lard pie crust found here. Our tasters loved that version as well. Plus, we had fun with the whipped cream presentation.

Best Banana Cream Pie - Decorated

A Pie in the Sky: keep an eye out for even more cream pies as we’ve been testing and tasting loads of them. We’ll share more soon!