Much like the last dessert recipe I posted (my peanut butter and jelly pop tarts), my peanut butter pie also has a teeny tiny bit of a sentimental backstory. If you know me well, you know that feels are kind of my thing, so of course, I decided to pair this recipe with a little bit of reminiscing;)
If you’re just here for the recipe, that’s totally cool…feel free to scroll past all my mushy-ness to get to the good stuff! You'll love this pie even if you don't love my long, nostalgic stories. It's just the right blend of creamy and decadent without being overly sweet or too peanut buttery. I make it for lots of parties and cookouts and there are rarely any leftovers.
Anyway, if you're here for the story too, let's get down to it. We'll start with the fact that this recipe really isn’t even my recipe...it's surprisingly a family recipe.
If it seems weird to you that I describe the fact that this recipe is a family recipe as "surprising", it's because I don't come from a family that has a ton of recipes...or even one that uses them often. Despite the fact that I am a total foodie and I love to cook and am always experimenting with different recipes, that's not really how my family was/is. My family definitely wasn’t one of the kinds that has a bunch of recipes they've passed down throughout the years…in fact, we’re actually a family that literally ate chicken nuggets and ramen noodles together on Easter Sunday this year. (Not even close to joking)
While we didn’t eat as healthy as we could have, we also never really ate a ton of desserts. Maybe a snack cake or something as an afternoon snack, but not a ton of cake, cookies, or pies. We’d potentially bake Santa cookies on Christmas eve…but we also weirdly once left him sliced cheese that I ate when I thought no one was looking.
Hopefully, these anecdotes help illustrate not just how funny and quirky my family is, but also help show how special it really is that we actually had a recipe for one special dessert!! We really weren’t foodie people…I’ve just managed to turn bougie/foodie as an adult.
I’m still not really a huge dessert person (the pop tarts and donuts and things are kind of misleading, I know…those are really breakfast snacks though, not desserts) but this peanut butter pie will always have a place in my heart because it’s one of the things that my mom, sister, and I would spend time together making. We always made this pie together as a treat for my dad for his birthday because it was his favorite…and he was never really a birthday cake kind of guy anyway. His mom, my grandma, was the one who started the tradition years and years ago during a beach week. My mom took over and kept it going in subsequent summers when we weren’t at the beach.
Every time I taste this pie I remember hot summer afternoons spent making it for dad with my mom and my sister. I remember helping my mom shop for the simple ingredients (always reminding her of the exact measurements without having to look at the written recipe) and carefully measuring out the peanut butter and powdered sugar. I remember feeling the cool air of the AC kicking on and the taste of the creamy pie mixture when my sister and I each took one of the beaters to lick after the pie was mixed. Just a bite of this pie takes me back to those simpler days.
Yes, this pie is freaking delicious and yes, it is super freaking easy to make. But more than anything else this pie is special to me because it was a way that we showed our love for someone who meant a lot to us. I like to think that I’m continuing a special family tradition and sharing a little bit of my heart and my childhood every time I make it and share it with my friends. I can’t wait to one day make this with my own little ones and make the kind of memories that will make bring them back to childhood with just even one little bite of a special, five-ingredient pie.
- 1 Graham cracker or Oreo pie crust
- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter (the original version had creamy, but I think crunchy or extra crunchy adds a good texture!)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 8oz package of Cool Whip, thawed
Mix peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer on high until well combined. Fold in thawed Cool Whip and evenly spread in pie crust. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours (the longer, the better!!)