This quick and easy banana pudding recipe is made with cool whip, sweetened condensed milk, instant vanilla pudding mix, bananas, and vanilla wafers. Perfect for potlucks, family get-together’s, and picnics.
If you’re like me, this was a staple at almost every family get-together. It’s a classic Southern comfort-food loved by kids and adults alike.
In the ‘ol days, most grandmothers made a much more laborious version with sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla wafers, and meringue on top.
But these days, we don’t have nearly as much time to spend in the kitchen. So I’ve got a quick and easy banana pudding recipe that will satisfy all your cravings and still delight all your taste buds.
This simple recipe has just 7 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to whip together.
Plus, it’s no-bake! So it’s super easy to make-ahead for get-together’s and the kids can join in as well.
How to Make Banana Pudding
This dessert looks best in a glass serving dish or trifle bowl. You’ll start with a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom. You can also use graham crackers or Chessmen cookies.
The next layer is made up of sliced, ripe bananas.
Then comes my favorite part. You’ll spread a layer of creamy pudding over the bananas. The condensed milk in the pudding gives it a rich, sweet flavor that makes this dessert even more decadent.
You’ll top it off with freshly whipped cream (or cool whip). Chill for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
The cookies will into a cake-like texture after the dessert has been chilled in the refrigerator.
1 (5oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1/2 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 (12oz) container frozen whipped topping (thawed)
1 (16oz) package vanilla wafers
6 bananas (sliced)
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Blend in condensed milk until smooth. Stir in vanilla and fold in the whipped topping.
2. In a glass dish, layer the wafers, bananas and pudding mixture.
3. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Can also be chilled overnight.
Quick Note: To keep your bananas from browning, soak them in lemon or lime juice after slicing. This will keep them nice and white for a few days.
Banana pudding always looks extra divine in a trifle bowl.
How ripe should bananas be for banana pudding?
The longer bananas ripen, the sweeter they become. However, we also run the risk of the bananas getting mushy. So I recommend using medium-ripe bananas.
You don’t want them to be green because they’re just not sweet enough. But we also don’t want any brown spots.
Using bananas that are firm but still sweet will ensure that your pudding last longer in the refrigerator.
Although, if your family is like mine, this dish won’t be around for long.
Can you freeze banana pudding?
To be honest, I don’t recommend it. Banana pudding is actually quite tricky to freeze because of the 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 into ice cream or pudding popsicles.
How long does banana pudding last?
Around our house, banana pudding rarely lasts the day! But banana pudding is one of those desserts that you’ll probably want to eat within 48 hours. Otherwise the bananas can get a little funky.
But if you’re like me, I don’t mind as much and I find it keeps pretty well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
But if you’re taking it somewhere and want it to look pretty, I would serve within 48 hours.
Can banana pudding be made ahead of time?
You sure can! 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, I find the flavor gets even better when it chills overnight. While the cookies get nice and soft. Yum!
What kind of cookies can you use for banana pudding?
Vanilla wafers are traditionally used in almost every banana pudding recipe you find online.
But there are so many wonderful variations you can make with this classic recipe. I personally 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!
Tips & Variations
If you’re looking to spice things up a little bit, here are some fun variations you can try.
* Vanilla wafers are a classic, but butter cookies, Chessmen cookies, and graham crackers are also quite divine.
* Pour chocolate or caramel sauce on top.
* Sprinkle with chocolate shavings on top.
* If you’d like a healthier version, you can use 1% milk, low-fat sweetened condensed milk, and lite vanilla wafers.
* You can also use cook ‘n serve Vanilla Pudding or Banana Cream Pudding and Pie Filling mix instead of the instant pudding. Just be sure to let it cool first. The cook ‘n serve version is a bit creamier.
* You can also use real whipped cream. Simply pour heavy whipped cream into a large (cold) bowl and mix on high speed until peaks start to form. About 1 minute. Do not over beat. Can also whisk by hand. You’ll just need some extra elbow grease.
* For a nice topping, you can also sprinkle some crushed vanilla wafers on top.
* You can also use maple syrup instead of vanilla extract.
* For even more flavor, you can also add 8 oz of cream cheese. Blend the cream cheese with the condensed milk. Then add the pudding and whipped cream.
* You can even layer in some bits of pineapple in between the layers of vanilla wafers and bananas.
Let me know your favorite variations in the comments!
Also, when was the first time you had banana pudding?
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