If you’re looking for something sweet, creamy, slightly fruity, and downright addictive, this Eagle Brand banana pudding is for you.
It’s luscious and moreish with just the right amount of smooth, creamy pudding and tender, crumbly vanilla wafers.
Plus, it’s loaded with sliced bananas for natural sweetness.
Did I mention it’s crazy-easy to make? All you’ll need is some condensed milk, vanilla pudding, Cool Whip, and store-bought cookies.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to dig in!
Eagle Brand Banana Pudding
If you’ve ever tried a certain New York City bakery’s banana pudding, you might think that this has to be a complicated recipe full of fancy ingredients and techniques.
Well, let me tell you: even that uber-famous bakery uses instant pudding!
Mix the instant pudding with condensed milk for the most creamy and decant pudding ever, then lighten it up a little with either Cool Whip or whipped cream.
From there, it’s just a matter of layer pudding with vanilla wafers and banana slices. How easy is that?
The Best Bananas for Banana Pudding
I’m so used to advising you to bake with brown and spotty bananas that it feels weird to suggest the opposite!
In most baked goods, you want soft and sweet bananas that are overly ripe and basically mushy.
They’re not very pleasant to eat alone but work wonders in banana bread.
But for this recipe, you’ll want fresh, ripe bananas that are firm enough to hold their shape.
That means they should be yellow. No brown or green spots here, please!
Why Use Vanilla Pudding?
Vanilla pudding is best for this banana pudding dish because banana pudding has a very synthetic taste. Instead, you’ll add lots of fresh and flavorful banana slices, which will add all the banana flavor you need. Also, vanilla helps to balance the flavors out, so nothing is too overwhelming.
Let’s be honest, anything banana flavored is similar to vanilla essence. It’s way too strong and tastes unnatural.
Don’t get me wrong; I love banana pudding! But in this case, it’s too much against the sliced bananas.
Of course, you could always make your own banana pudding with real fruit for something much more subtle and delicious.
And you could even make your own vanilla pudding. But the beauty of this recipe is that it’s so easy. So go ahead and use the box!
How Do You Ripen Bananas for Banana Pudding?
To ripen bananas for banana pudding, try storing them in a warm area of your kitchen. Alternatively, keep them in a bunch and store them in a brown paper bag. Close loosely with an apple inside and leave for one to two days, depending on how green they are.
I don’t recommend using the oven to ripen bananas for banana pudding because they will turn brown too fast.
Instead, try to find either ripe bananas in the store or bananas that are just slightly green. Trust me; it’s worth the wait.
If you know you want to make this over the weekend, try buying slightly green bananas on Wednesday or Thursday and store them in a paper bag. They should be ready by Saturday.
Tips for Making The Best Pudding
I know I said that this is an easy recipe, and it is! You’ll use boxed pudding, store-bought cookies, and Cool Whip, so how can you go wrong?
Believe it or not, I’ve seen all kinds of kitchen fails in the past, and since I don’t want that to happen to you, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve.
Don’t Feel Bad About Using Short Cuts!
If you feel the need to make your own pudding or whipped cream, go for it! I won’t stop you, and I’m sure it will taste incredible.
But keep in mind that homemade whipped cream and vanilla pudding is not as stable as the ready-made stuff.
That means your banana pudding might turn watery if you don’t serve and eat it right away.
I think the best thing about this dish (other than the scrumptious taste) is that it’s so easy to make.
So, don’t feel bad about using boxed pudding or Cool Whip.
Heck, it’s expected with this one!
Don’t Forget That Bananas Turn Brown Sooner Than You Think
As soon as you peel and slice the bananas, they’ll start to oxidize. That means the clock is ticking before they begin turning brown and mushy.
Of course, if you make this in the morning and plan to serve it for dinner, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
But if you need to make this a day in advance, you’ll need to lightly coat the banana slices in citrus.
And when I say “lightly coat,” I mean very lightly. As in, brush them with a tiny amount of orange or lemon juice.
Too much, and you’ll taste it in the finished dish.
Layering Is Key
I like to use a trifle dish for this or make them in tall individual glasses so you can see the layers.
Start with pudding, and then add sliced bananas, covering them quickly with another thin layer of pudding.
Next up are the wafers and more pudding. Repeat until you’ve filled the dish, being sure to end with pudding and maybe wafers on top, but not bananas.
You’ll need to work pretty quickly, so the bananas aren’t exposed for too long. And be sure they’re totally covered to keep them from turning brown.
Banana Pudding Variations
Once you see how fantastic this dish is, you’ll want to make it over and over again. But to keep from getting bored, why not try some yummy variations?
- Add salted caramel to the mix by drizzling over the layers.
- Try adding chocolate chip cookies or buttery shortbread instead.
- Add a layer of brownie bites and shaved chocolate on top.
- Drizzle melted peanut butter over the banana layers and top with peanut butter cups.
- Add melted Nutella and top with chopped, toasted hazelnuts.
How to Make Eagle Brand Banana Pudding
This recipe is enough to fill a 2 1/2-quart glass serving bowl. If you have a larger bowl, you’ll need to double the recipe.
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