Costco's New Banana Cream Pie Is A Too-Sweet Buy With A Rock Hard Crust

Costco recently launched a new banana cream pie with a graham cracker crust, which you can find in its bakery section. If the idea of Costco having a bakery is news to you, don't be surprised. While we all know the big-box retailer as a one-stop shop for just about everything, Costco bakery has a reputation for producing a unique array of snacks. (Though they're not all created equally.)

Pies are a big draw at Costco. Seasonally, the bakery is known to role out pumpkin, apple, and even pecan pies. Banana cream pie is new a new flavor for Costco, and while I couldn't find it on its website, they were able to confirm its existence when I called my local warehouse. So if you attempt searching for it on the website or app but you're unable to locate it, calling ahead is a useful way to confirm before you make a trip. I've had my fair share of banana cream pie before, so I was excited to try Costco's version. 

What exactly is in a banana cream pie? For the most part, it's all in the name. It involves bananas, a cream element, and a pie crust. Costco's version is quite a bit different. To review this pie, first and foremost, I looked at its flavor and whether that holds up compared to traditional banana cream pies. Stacking this against the cost should give you a good idea of whether this Costco banana cream pie is worth your money.

What is Costco's banana cream pie?

The banana cream pie from Costco has a graham cracker crust, a banana cream center, and a cream top with a drizzle of caramel. For any allergy considerations, it does contain wheat, milk, and soy. Additionally, it's been processed in a facility with peanut cross-contamination, so keep that in mind. This pie weighs a hefty 54 ounces, making it a shareable dessert that's over three pounds. Keep this pie refrigerated as it is a highly-perishable cream-based treat with dairy. The label on the pie listed it as having a three-day shelf life past the date that I purchased it.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any information on the Costco website about this pie, but the in-store sign by the dessert said it's made with real bananas. The pie is contained inside a black plastic bottom tray that snaps into a clear lid, meaning it has a reusable container for storage. There's not nutritional data or serving sizes on the pie shell. Additionally, there are no instructions on how to serve it other than to keep it refrigerated.

Where can you find the banana cream pie?

Judging by the wide map of postings on social media, these pies seem to have rolled out in Costcos nationwide. You will find them in the refrigerated area of your bakery or at an endcap near it. The bakery area doesn't have a huge refrigerated section, so you should be able to spot it quickly. Since it's new, it was the closest fridge as I walked into the bakery section. You might also be able to find it in the fridge closest to the actual bakery area where they're preparing the baked treats.

This area usually has cakes and other goodies for patrons to pick up with ease. The banana cream pies were fully stocked, and there was no shortage of them.

Luckily, you're bound to find it pretty easily, but if not, you could always ask someone who works there. Costco warehouses are large and the last thing you want to do is wander around trying to find something.

How much does Costco's banana cream pie cost?

The banana cream pies cost $15.99 at my location in the San Diego area, but the price could vary depending on where you're located. For a pie that weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces, $15.99 is a steal, which I suppose is the entire point of Costco. A whole banana cream pie from a chain restaurant like Marie Callender's costs $19.99, although not as large, and a slice from there costs $5.49.

At a local San Diego bakery, Extraordinary Desserts, an individual banana cream pie runs between $10.95 and $11.95. Regardless if you like bananas or pies, there's no denying that $15.99 for three pounds of dessert is a tremendous value. Banana cream pie isn't too obscure of a dessert, so you can likely find it at a bakery in your general area if you want to compare the price and size to Costco's. 

Taste test: Costco's banana cream pie

Costco's banana cream pie has a distinct bottom graham cracker layer, a middle banana portion, and a creamy top with a drizzle of caramel. The banana layer appears and feels whipped, but has moistness like pudding. There are also no physical pieces of banana. There's a hint of the tropical flavor, but it's not overpowering. All in all, this can be a sensory upgrade if you dislike the texture of bananas. Neither the banana layer or cream layer are terribly sweet, so the caramel topping gives it a sugary boost.

As a cheesecake fan, I love graham crackers and graham cracker crust. When it's good, it should be crunchy and sweet, but the Costco crust was very hard. While I like the flavor and appreciate the thickness, which can be lacking and soggy in some pies, this dense crust is challenging to cut through with a fork. Be warned, you cannot use a plastic utensil on this bottom. 

As I cut a slice from the container, I thought I'd gotten through to the bottom of the pie. Only upon wedging it out did I notice I hadn't fully made it past the graham cracker crust portion. A piece of my crust ended up falling off entirely because of this. The following day, however, the crust was considerably softer. It nearly crumbled in my mouth as opposed to the noticeable crunch it had the day before.

Costco's banana cream pie vs. traditional banana cream pies

A classic banana cream pie usually has physical banana slices and a butter or pie crust. Costco's version has a butter graham cracker crust, no banana pieces, and a caramel drizzle. so given the ingredients of a traditional pie — the classic crust, the banana slices — this pie takes a different tact. Still it does manage to do a few things similar to a traditional pie.

Although the crust is thick and difficult to cut, the inside banana layer does have a smooth, whipped texture that recalls a traditional banana cream. Costco has managed to make a filling that, even after a few days in the fridge, doesn't get runny. Instead, it stays airy and whipped, as does the exterior cream layer. It's no small feat to get a well-set interior on banana cream pies. As for the caramel topping, this is something that ends up as being a bit of bakers choice when making a traditional pie. Some pies have it, some don't. We can't knock Costco for adding it to the topping, however, it does make things a bit sweeter than necessary.

Is Costco's banana cream pie worth it?

At $15.99 for a pie that weighs over three pounds, this has an extraordinary value. It's is perfect to serve at a function, as long as you have the right cutlery. Plastic utensils won't be in your best interest unless you want to test the strain they can withstand before snapping. I'm not here to give anyone serving-size recommendations (and the packaging doesn't include any sizing information), but this is a large pie. This is worth a taste test, as long as you have a few people to share it with. 

However, if you prefer banana pieces or the classic crust, you'll want to skip this pie. Despite the value, it isn't worth trying if you already have preferences for enjoying banana cream pie. I liked the flavor, although I wanted to taste more banana. I can understand the lack of real banana pieces, since this pie has a short shelf life, and sliced bananas tend to brown at a rapid pace, which doesn't make for something sell-worthy. Plus, it is very cream-based. If you're someone who scrapes excess cream from desserts, you won't like this.

I was most disappointed with the graham cracker crust, which had no in-between, going from basically rock hard to crumbly in less than 24 hours. Given that three slices of banana cream pie from Marie Callender's costs more than the entire Costco pie, this is still a delicious dessert to share amongst family and friends.