This quick and easy banana pudding recipe is just what it claims to be: quick and easy.
You’ll make it with Cool Whip, sweetened condensed milk, instant vanilla pudding mix, bananas, and vanilla wafers.
It’s perfect for potlucks, family get-togethers, and picnics.
It’s a straightforward recipe with only seven ingredients. And it takes less than 30 minutes to pull together.
Plus, it’s no-bake! So it’s super easy to make ahead of time for whatever occasion you have in mind. You can even let the kids help!
So, grab your prettiest footed bowl, and make this quick and easy banana pudding today!
Easy No-Bake Banana Pudding
If you’re like me, banana pudding was a staple at almost every family get-together. It’s a classic Southern comfort-food loved by kids and adults alike.
In the good old days, most grandmothers made a much more laborious version. That version included sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla wafers, and meringue on top.
It also required quite a bit of cooking.
These days, we don’t have nearly as much time to spend in the kitchen. That’s where this quick and easy banana pudding recipe comes in.
It’ll satisfy all your cravings and delight your taste buds. But it isn’t nearly as much work.
You won’t need much for this banana pudding. Just these seven simple ingredients:
- Instant vanilla pudding mix. Remember, this banana pudding recipe is all about simplicity. So be sure to get instant (no-cook) pudding.
- Cold milk. I prefer whole milk because it provides the richest taste and creamiest consistency. However, you can use whatever you have.
- Sweetened condensed milk. This ingredient provides sweetness and creaminess.
- Vanilla extract. A little bit of vanilla extract makes everything taste better. It makes the pudding warmer, richer, sweeter, and all-around more delicious.
- Frozen whipped topping. Let it thaw overnight before using it.
- Vanilla wafers. I stick to the classic Nilla wafers brand, but you can use whatever you like best. You can even substitute cookies if you prefer.
- Bananas. Use ripe – but not over-ripe – bananas.
How to Make Banana Pudding
This dessert looks best in a glass serving dish or trifle bowl. These dishes really showcase the pudding’s layers. So, grab one of those and have it ready.
Then, you’ll make the pudding using the following steps:
1. Make the pudding layers. Combine the pudding mix and milk in a large bowl. Beat them together for 2 minutes. Then, add the condensed milk.
Stir the mixture until it’s smooth. Then, gradually add in the vanilla and whipped topping.
2. Assemble the pudding. Add a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom. (Or whatever cookies you’re using.)
Then, add a layer of banana slices, followed by a layer of creamy pudding. Finish the layers off by topping them with Cool Whip.
Continue layering in this manner until you reach the top of the bowl. The top layer should be Cool Whip.
3. Chill. Cover the pudding loosely with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. Give it at least 3 to 4 hours to chill before serving. Then, enjoy!
Tips & Variations
Here are a few awesome tips (and a few variations) to ensure your easy banana pudding is the best that it can be:
- Use different cookies. Vanilla wafers are a classic, but butter cookies, Chessmen cookies, and graham crackers are also quite divine.
- Add toppings. Try adding crushed Nilla wafers, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, caramel sauce, or chocolate shavings. You can even add your favorite nuts for some extra crunch.
- Cut back on the calories. If you’d like a healthier version, you can use 1% milk, low-fat sweetened condensed milk, and lite vanilla wafers.
- Use maple syrup. Using it in place of vanilla extract provides an even richer, more maple-like flavor.
- Use real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. Simply pour heavy whipped cream into a large (cold) bowl and mix on high speed until peaks start to form. (About 1 minute.) Don’t over beat.
- Add a tropical twist. For more flavor, layer in some bits of pineapple in between the layers of vanilla wafers and bananas.
What Kind of Cookies Can You Use for Banana Pudding?
Vanilla wafers are the traditional choice for banana pudding.
However, there are many wonderful variations you can make with this classic recipe. I love using butter cookies — Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies, in particular.
But you can use pretty much any vanilla / white cookie. Shortbread cookies and graham crackers also work well!
How Ripe Should Bananas Be for Banana Pudding?
The longer bananas ripen, the sweeter they become. However, if you let them get too ripe, you risk the bananas getting mushy. So, I recommend using medium-ripe bananas.
You don’t want them to be green because they’re not sweet enough. However, you also don’t want any brown spots.
Using firm but still sweet bananas will ensure that your pudding lasts longer in the refrigerator. Although, if your family is like mine, this dish won’t be around for long.
How Long Does Banana Pudding Last?
Banana pudding is one of those desserts you’ll want to eat within 48 hours. Otherwise, the bananas can get a little funky.
Of course, if you’re like me, you won’t mind so much. I find it keeps pretty well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
Still, if you’re taking it somewhere and want it to look pretty, I would serve it within 48 hours.
Can Banana Pudding Be Made Ahead of Time?
You can absolutely make banana pudding ahead of time!
I recommend making this recipe the night before a potluck, picnic, or family get-together. That way, it has plenty of time to chill.
Plus, the flavor gets even better when it chills overnight, and the cookies get nice and soft. Yum!
How to Store Banana Pudding
Store banana pudding in a covered dish in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just keep in mind that the cookies will eventually get mushy.
The bananas may also turn brown or black.
Still, while banana pudding may not look as pretty after day 2, it’s usually safe to eat for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Banana Pudding?
To be honest, I don’t recommend it. Banana pudding is quite tricky to freeze because of its high water content. The consistency changes dramatically after it’s been thawed.
Plus, the bananas will most likely start turning brown and mushy.
However, you can blend it all together and freeze it into ice cream or pudding popsicles.
More No-Bake Desserts
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