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The Best Banana Pudding

The Best Banana Pudding recipe is a no-cook recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, pudding, fresh bananas and Nilla wafers!


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!

layers of banana pudding shown in a large glass serving bowl with a bunch of bananas in the background.


What is Banana Pudding?

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.

What is the difference between this pudding and a cooked banana pudding?

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.

Can I use banana flavored pudding instead of vanilla?

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.

Can I make my own homemade whipped cream?

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.

Can you make banana pudding without Nilla wafers?

Yes. However, the wafers add that traditional 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 (paid affiliate link.)

How do I keep my bananas from turning brown?

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.

How long does banana pudding last?

Banana Pudding can last for up to three days in the refrigerator, 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. I do not recommend freezing.

The Best Banana Pudding recipe from The Country Cook, serving of banana pudding on a small white plate with a spoon inserted into pudding.


  • cream cheese – this needs to be fully at room temperature. I cannot express this enough. If it’s not fully soft then you’ll end up with a lumpy banana pudding and no one wants that. I have a tutorial on How to Soften Cream Cheese Fast if you need to speed up the process a bit.
  • sweetened condensed milk – Many times people confuse evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk so you’ll want to play close attention to the labels. Evaporated milk doesn’t work here and it certainly isn’t sweet. I know they can be close to each other in the grocery store so just be careful.
  • instant vanilla pudding – it needs to be INSTANT. Do not get cook and serve. That is a whole different animal of pudding. It will not set if you get cook and serve. It can be hard to notice on the packaging sometimes so look closely.
  • milk – I haven’t tried this with any kind of milk substitute so I can’t tell you how that would go. I always just use 2% cows milk or whole milk.
  • vanilla extract – you can use banana extract if you want to amp up the banana flavor. I know some people think it tastes fake but that’s your call.
  • Cool Whip – if you’ve never bought Cool Whip (or whipped topping before) you are going to find it in the frozen dessert section of your grocery store. You’re gonna need to let it thaw before using it. But don’t thaw it on your counter. Pop it into your fridge and let it thaw overnight.
  • Nilla wafers – it has to be name brand Nilla wafers for me. Y’all know I never have a problem with store brand stuff but this is the one thing I just cannot accept any substitutes.
  • ripe bananas – when I say ripe bananas, I mean yellow bananas that have a speckling of brown here and there. You don’t want overripe super brown bananas or they’ll turn too soft on you too quickly. And you definitely don’t want any green bananas either because they aren’t ripe and sweet yet.
Banana Pudding ingredients: cream cheese, sweetened condensed, milk, instant vanilla pudding, milk, vanilla extract, Cool Whip, Nilla wafers, ripe bananas.


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. AlsoI 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. 

collage of two photos: cream cheese mixed in a bowl; pouring bowl into milk with pudding and cream cheese.

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! 

collage of two photos: whipped topping added to banana pudding; Nilla wafers layered into the bottom of a bowl.

Next comes a layer of sliced bananas. Then pour one-third of the pudding mixture on top (enough to cover all the bananas).

collage of two photos: sliced bananas layered on top of Nilla wafers; banana pudding layered on top of bananas in the bowl.

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.

side view of layers of finished pudding with Nilla wafers and pudding

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.

a serving of banana cream pudding on a white plate with a bunch of fresh bananas in the background

Then dig in!

spoon showing a serving of pudding, Nilla wafers, cool whipped a slice of banana


Originally published: February 2014
Updated & Republished: February 2024

The Best Banana Pudding recipe from The Country Cook

The Best Banana Pudding (+Video)

This Banana Pudding is a no-cook pudding recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese and pudding, fresh bananas and Nilla wafers!
4.95 from 431 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 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 teaspoons 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 cream ceese, with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
    cream cheese mixed in a bowl.
  • Add in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla pudding mix, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined well.
    adding milk along with instant pudding to bowl.
  • Finally, stir in half of the whipped topping.
    cool whip added to banana pudidng in a bowl.
  • To layer: place one-third of the Nilla wafers in a layer on the bottom of a trifle dish, large bowl or a 9×13-inch baking dish.
    Nilla wafers layered in the bottom of a bowl.
  • Add a single layer of the sliced bananas.
    slices of banana layered onto Nilla wafers in a bowl.
  • Then pour one-third of the pudding mixture on top (enough to cover all the bananas).
    pudding layered on top of sliced bananas and Nilla wafers in a bowl.
  • Continue with two more layers.
  • Top with remaining whipped topping.
    whipped topping spread on top of banana pudding bowl.
  • 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.
    layers of banana pudding shown in a large glass serving bowl with a bunch of bananas in the background


YouTube video


  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • Please pay attention to the pudding you’re buying. It needs to be INSTANT not ‘Cook and Serve’. They are near each other on store shelves. Cook and Serve WILL NOT WORK. 
  • Also, be sure you are grabbing a can of sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk. This dessert will not set up and it won’t be as sweet. 
  • 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. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 408mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 54g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“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 and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I haven’t made Banana Pudding in so long that I couldn’t find my recipe. I found this one and I believe it’s the same one I used to use. It smelled so good while I was making it. Tasted even better when completed. My husband raved about it for days so it must have been different from my previous recipe. I don’t remember him ever complimenting my previous recipe so much.

  2. I’m making this today but my family all argues not to put the cream cheese in because it was left out overnight, after reading all the google pages it says cheese left out overnight will spoil in 2 hours.. but the recipe calls for it. Help!

  3. 5 stars
    have made this for all ages and they swear its the BEST THANK YOU FOR STAYING WITH THE OLDER RECIPES

  4. 5 stars
    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!

  5. 5 stars
    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.

  6. 5 stars
    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!

      1. Thanks! I’m making this for my son’s diaper shower. He requested banana pudding so I thought I would try this recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    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!!!❤️

  8. 5 stars
    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

  9. 5 stars
    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!!!

  10. I love your recipe, my husband love how i make banana pudding for him. I add a different recipe on my own.

  11. 5 stars
    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!

  12. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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.

      1. Ugh! Went through the trash and verified it was indeed “cool and serve” vanilla pudding. I will never doubt you again, Brandie.

      2. 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! ❤️

  13. 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?
    Thank you

    1. 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/

  14. 5 stars
    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.

  15. 5 stars
    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!

  16. 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!!

    1. 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!

      1. 5 stars
        Awesome! Thanks so much for the quick reply, I’ll definitely be making this soon 🙂

  17. 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?

  18. 5 stars
    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!