The Best Banana Pudding (+Video)
This Banana Pudding is a no-cook recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, pudding, fresh bananas and Nilla wafers!
A FAVORITE SOUTHERN RECIPE
Banana pudding is a classic Southern dessert that has been loved for generations. This creamy and delicious dessert is made with layers of vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and Nilla wafers topped with whipped cream. It’s the perfect dessert to serve at any occasion, whether it’s a family gathering or a summer barbecue. So grab a spoon and let’s go!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Banana Pudding is a classic Southern dessert made with layers of vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, Cool Whip and Nilla wafers. It is served chilled and is a favorite at potlucks, picnics, barbecues and family gatherings.
I have a Cooked Southern Banana Pudding recipe that I’ve shared already on the site. The only issue with cooked pudding is the bananas tend to brown pretty quickly. If you are taking this to a potluck or a picnic, you want to show up with pretty, non-brown bananas. This no-cook version is great for picnics or potlucks, bananas stay fresher, longer and because it travels great and serves up easily.
Of course you can! Some folks don’t enjoy the artificial banana flavoring in the banana cream instant pudding but this is entirely a personal preference. You could also use banana extract instead of vanilla.
Yes you can. Just keep in mind that homemade whipped cream doesn’t stay stabilized as long as Cool Whip so it may break down into a more liquid state if not eaten right away.
Yes. However, the wafers add a distinct texture and flavor to the dessert, so it won’t be the same without them. A lot of people substitute other cookies though. A popular choice is the Pepperidge Farm Chessman Butter Cookies.
You can sprinkle a little citric acid powder onto the sliced bananas. Just a little so as not to change the flavor. Or, you could lightly coat the sliced bananas in lemon or orange juice. Again, just coat lightly so as not to change the flavor.
Banana Pudding can last for up to three days in the fridge, as long as it is stored in an airtight container. Be sure to refrigerate it as soon as possible after preparing it. Note: Once you start digging into the banana pudding, the bananas will start turning brown so keep that in mind.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- cream cheese
- sweetened condensed milk
- instant vanilla pudding
- vanilla extract
- Cool Whip
- Nilla wafers
- ripe bananas
HOW TO MAKE BANANA PUDDING:
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
Add in sweetened condensed milk, pudding mix, and milk. Finally, add in vanilla extract and stir well.
Keep your mixer on low speed at first so the milk doesn’t fly everywhere. If you are using a stand mixer, make sure you get in there with a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is getting incorporated. That cream cheese likes to stay on the bottom of the bowl. Also, I find that the pudding can sometimes become a bit lumpy (especially if my cream cheese isn’t soft enough). If this happens to you, just keep mixing until most of the lumps are gone. The mixture will also begin to thicken too. After a few minutes of constant mixing, it will smooth out. Finally, stir in half of the whipped topping.
Time to layer. Place one-third of the vanilla wafers in a layer on the bottom of a trifle dish, large bowl or a 9×13 baking dish. You will notice that as I add the wafers, I face some outwards and up the sides. This is not necessary but when you are using a clear dish like this, it sure does make it look pretty when it’s done!
Next comes a layer of sliced bananas.
Then pour one-third of the pudding mixture on top (enough to cover all the bananas).
Continue with two more layers. A layer of wafers, followed by bananas, then pudding mixture. I like a lot of bananas in there. I want at least a piece of banana in every bite. The final layer will be pudding. Then you will top the pudding with the rest of your whipped topping.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one to two hours before serving so it can thicken up and the wafers can soften.
Then dig in!
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Originally published: February 2014
Updated & Republished: April 2019
The Best Banana Pudding (+Video)
- 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 5 ounce package Instant vanilla pudding mix (larger box)
- 3 cups milk (2 % or higher)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounce tub whipped topping (COOL WHIP), thawed (divided use)
- 11 ounce box Nilla wafers (divided use)
- 5-7 bananas, peeled and sliced (divided use)
- In a large bowl, beat 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened to room temperature with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Add in 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk, 5 ounce package Instant vanilla pudding mix, 3 cups milk and 2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Mix until combined well.
- Finally, stir in half of the 8 ounce tub whipped topping (COOL WHIP), thawed.
- To layer: place one-third of the 11 ounce box Nilla wafers in a layer on the bottom of a trifle dish, large bowl or a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Add a single layer of the 5-7 bananas, peeled and sliced.
- Then pour one-third of the pudding mixture on top (enough to cover all the bananas).
- Continue with two more layers.
- Top with remaining whipped topping.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one to two hours before serving so it can thicken up and the wafers can soften.
- To keep the bananas from turning brown too quickly, you can sprinkle a little citric acid powder onto the sliced bananas. Just a little so as not to change the flavor. Or, you could lightly coat the sliced bananas in lemon or orange juice. Again, just coat lightly so as not to change the flavor.
- Banana Cream Pudding flavor can be substituted for the vanilla pudding. Alternatively, banana extract can be substituted for the vanilla extract.
- It’s very important to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. If not, you won’t be able to get it super smooth and you’ll end up with lumps.
- Bananas obviously come in many sizes so I say 5-7 bananas depending on the size of the bananas you purchase. I like a lot of fresh banana in my banana pudding but you should bo by your personal preference.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
This was the absolute BEST banana pudding I have ever tried. Quick, easy to make recipe! We tried it after about 2 hours and it was amazing. Just when I thought it couldn’t get tastier, it was even better after sitting overnight!
I just made this according to the recipe and it’s in the fridge. Taking it to my friend’s birthday lunch tomorrow. I can’t wait to try it. I tasted the pudding mixture while making and it is soooo good. Not overly sweet at all like I thought it might be. I can’t wait to hear the comments.
Best I’ve ever had!
Woo hoo! That’s wonderful Lisa!
Best EVER!My family never has any left over! NEVER!!
Woo hoo!! Absolutely love hearing that – thank you Priscilla!
This is my all time favorite banana pudding recipe. The cream cheese and condensed milk take it up a notch. One thing I will occasionally do is use a large, deep rectangular pan and READY FOR THIS… layer the bottom with TWINKIES. Yes, twinkies, then follow the layers as indicated in the recipe. It is out of this world, crazy good! Either way, you can’t go wrong! Thank you for this recipe!
Is it ok to make this the day before you plan to serve it?
Yes you sure can! Just make sure it is covered with plastic wrap.
Thanks! I’m making this for my son’s diaper shower. He requested banana pudding so I thought I would try this recipe.
This recipe is AMAZING.. Every-time we have a family get together, they request I bring this! It’s a huge hit.. Thank you so much for sharing!!!❤️
Awww wow – thanks so much Sara Lynne!
I made the Banana Pudding following the recipe, except I used one each 3.5 ounce Banana Cream and one Cheesecake INSTANT PUDDING. Then I split it into two 9-inch square pans. The men of my church cook a Country Breakfast for our church members on Easter morning to serve before the service. I received a number of compliments on how good it was. As the men were cleaning off the tables, I saw my pan being taken to the kitchen. I offered the remains to a couple I know and got a washed pan back. lol
Thanks so much Grandma Meg! Always a good sign to come home with an empty pan – ha
This is so yummy, my family loved it and it looked beautiful in my 70’s Libbey deep bowl! I love your simple sweet recipes, but this nanna puddin takes the cake! I didn’t know how a can of condensed milk and a lil lemon juice to the bananas could make this extra rich, silky, and bright! Its easy too so I will be making this for years to come so thank you so much for sharing!!!
Woo hoo! Love hearing that Kim! I bet it did look beautiful in your bowl!
I love your recipe, my husband love how i make banana pudding for him. I add a different recipe on my own.
Thank you so much Lois!
Used this recipe to make my first ever banana pudding and will live by this now! The BEST banana pudding I have ever had — and now I can make it whenever I want! Super simple and easy!
Love, love, love hearing that Jessica!! Yay! Thanks so much!
Dang it!!! Didn’t mix it enough. Should have watched the video and notice when applying the whip cream that the sauce had thickened. Placed it in fridge thinking it would set, but came out runny. It was runny but so good. I don’t bake or make desserts, but just exactly how long should the ingredients have been mixed. I think if you go back and highlight where the consistency/texture needs to be, this will be the ultimate banana pudding recipe in the universe. Despite the end product being runny, it was indeed very rich and delicious. Thank you.
My guess is you used cook and serve vanilla pudding rather than instant. Instant pudding sets up almost immediately. With cook and serve pudding, it needs heat to set up. That would be the only reason it would be runny. I wish the grocery stores wouldn’t put those two boxes so close together. It’s easy to mess up if you aren’t paying close attention.
Ugh! Went through the trash and verified it was indeed “cool and serve” vanilla pudding. I will never doubt you again, Brandie.
I’m still bummed you went through all that though! I know what it’s like and you feel like you totally wasted ingredients. You have to promise me you’ll try it again and let me know how you like it with the instant pudding! ❤️
Ive not made this yet,but will be.my question is,can i use very ripe,black on outside bananas? If not any suggestions to make with them?
Hi Myra, yes you could. If you don’t mind a little brown on your bananas, they are perfectly fine to use and should be very sweet which is a good thing. My other suggestions would be to perhaps make banana bread or banana cake. It is perfect for those brown and black bananas! Here are some links for you to check them out – Banana Bread: https://www.thecountrycook.net/the-best-banana-bread-recipe/ – Banana Cake: https://www.thecountrycook.net/homemade-banana-cake-with-vanilla-frosting/ or Banana Bread Crumb Cake: https://www.thecountrycook.net/banana-bread-crumb-cake/
Excellent banana pudding!
Can you make this without the whipped cream? Thanks in advance
Hi Ernestine, no it won’t set up properly without it. However, if you are okay with it not being as thick then you could do that.
Made this for a friend who just had surgery and he knows his banana pudding and said this was amazing. In the south we know our nana puddin and this one is a good one!!!! Can’t wait to make it again.
Thank you for this recipe. I follow the instructions and made no substitutes. My family loved it. I can say that it’s best to refrigerate overnight. I tried it after 2 hours and then again the next day. The next day was better. It’s delicious!
Hi, this recipe look absolutely delicious and I’m thinking about making it but I was wondering how much you can taste the cream cheese? My brother can’t stand the taste of it, so I wanted to make sure that the “disgusting tang” (as he describes it ) doesn’t shine through the other flavors. Thanks so much!!
Lol! I understand. It’s not tangy at all! It really adds to the thickness. I would add a teaspoon of banana extract too and there will be no way he can taste it. My husband also does not like cream cheese and he tears through this. Ha!
Awesome! Thanks so much for the quick reply, I’ll definitely be making this soon 🙂
If I were to make this without the bananas ( hubby doesn’t like them in the pudding) and not add the wafers until serving time would this last very long in the fridge?
You’d have to play that by ear. It never lasts that long in my house. LOL.
I loved this recipe and so did my friends and family! Seriously as we all dug in, the room became quiet except for my 72 year old friend uttering “Lord have mercy this is good”!
It was easy to make and the only thing I did differently was I added a teaspoon each of vanilla and banana extracts, and I topped it with real whipping cream (I did use Cool Whip in the pudding itself) just before serving.
I used a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish and I tightly covered it with Glad Press and Seal wrap then snapped on the plastic lid. The bananas were not brown at all and I used very ripe bananas.
I hate to say it, but this recipe beats the pants off my Grandmother’s lol. But if she’d been here to taste it she would have completely agreed! There’s one small serving left in my fridge that I saved for my daughter, but I may just eat it myself!
Oh Amy – you have me cracking up reading your comment! Oh mercy – you made my day! LOL! Thank you so so much for that!