Best Banana Pudding Recipe
I’m going to let you in on the homemade banana pudding recipe my grandmother made, with my own special touches.
When you follow my easy steps below, you will impress all your friends and family with this no-bake dessert ready in just 30 minutes.
There are so many new variations of the classic southern banana pudding, but sometimes taking it back to the basics is the very best.
Classic, creamy banana pudding transports me right back to childhood. This simple, old-school banana pudding hits the spot every single time.
Beginner Friendly Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding
If you’ve never tried banana pudding, this is the perfect recipe to start with! With layers of fresh bananas, layers of creamy vanilla pudding, and layers of crunchy vanilla wafers… my mouth waters just describing it!
This easy recipe is the perfect make-ahead dessert. Assemble your banana pudding in an airtight container or cover it with plastic wrap if you plan to make it the day before or take it to a get-together.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Banana Pudding Recipe
- Ready in 30 minutes
- 5 Simple ingredients
- No-bake dessert
- Ultimate comfort food
- Great recipe for family gatherings
What You’ll Need For Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding
This classic dessert is a hit with the whole family, and the perfect summer treat to take to cookouts or family gatherings. Get the full measurements in the recipe card below.
- Instant vanilla pudding
- Milk – Make sure to use cold milk! Whole milk, 1%, or skim milk works well.
- Cool whip
- Nilla wafers
- Bananas – Make sure your bananas are ripe!
How to make Banana Pudding
This nilla wafer banana pudding is one of my favorite banana desserts, especially because it’s so easy. Get the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Make pudding mixture. Whisk together the pudding mix and milk in a medium mixing bowl for 2 minutes.
- Add cool whip. Allow the pudding to sit for 3 minutes. Fold in 1/3 of the cool whip to the pudding.
- Layer banana pudding. Add a layer of vanilla wafer cookies to the bottom of a trifle dish. Add ¼ of the pudding mixture on top of the wafers, then top that with a layer of banana slices. Repeat these layers until you fill the trifle bowl.
- Add toppings. Spread the remaining cool whip on top. Add crushed nilla wafers and fresh banana slices to the top.
Homemade Banana Pudding Tips
- Let the pudding thicken. Make sure to let the pudding thicken completely before adding it to the recipe. Otherwise, your banana pudding may end up watery.
- Avoid brown bananas. If you make this easy banana pudding recipe ahead of time, your bananas may start to get brown spots. To avoid this, use a very light spritz of lemon juice on the banana slice before adding them to the pudding. If you’re not worried about the look, leave them as is. The flavor won’t be changed when the bananas start to brown.
- Serve this dish cold. The best way to serve banana pudding is cold. It can even start to get a little runny once it starts warming up. Keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
- Use instant pudding. Instant pudding is the trick to making the best banana pudding recipe because it cuts the time majorly! Homemade pudding is great, but instant pudding is just as delicious and saves you so much trouble.
Substitutions & Variations on this recipe for Banana Pudding
- Reduced Fat – Reduce the fat and calories in this easy banana pudding recipe by substituting ingredients. Reduced-fat vanilla wafers, fat-free milk, and low cool whip can be used.
- Use regular pudding mix (instead of instant) – If you already have a regular vanilla pudding mix on hand, you can use that instead. You’ll just need to allow for time to cook the pudding and allow it to cool and thicken for at least several hours.
- Make it Paula Deen Style – Try my Paula Deen Banana Pudding recipe, which uses Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies and cream cheese for a twist on this classic recipe.
Storing Homemade Banana Pudding
You want to store this in a refrigerator covered for up to four days. You can use a container with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap to cover your nilla wafer banana pudding.
Best Banana Pudding Recipe FAQs
Yes, a banana instant pudding mix is a great way to amp up the banana flavor in your banana pudding. If you still want the vanilla flavor, add a little vanilla extract to the banana pudding.
You can use homemade whip cream instead of the Cool Whip but make sure you’re not using the can of whip cream on top of the pudding. It will just water down the pudding and become a mess.
Yes, I’d prefer to have this delicious dessert the next day just because all the flavors start to meld, and the layers of vanilla wafers begin to soften.
To prevent bananas from turning brown, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the banana slices before adding them to the pudding.
For best results, you want to store this in a refrigerator, covered, for up to four days. You can use a container with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap to cover your nilla wafer banana pudding.
Using a milk alternative or not letting the pudding thicken can cause banana pudding to be runny. Be sure to use cow’s milk and to let the pudding sit for 3 minutes to thicken before moving onto the next step.
You want to use bananas that are fully yellow with little brown spots throughout the peel. Choose bananas that are soft, but not mushy.
More Banana Recipes
Best Banana Pudding Recipe
- two 3.2 oz packages instant vanilla pudding
- 4 cups milk, cold
- 8 oz cool whip
- 11 oz box nilla wafers
- 8 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
- Whisk together the pudding mix and milk in a medium mixing bowl for 2 minutes. Allow the pudding to sit for 3 minutes. Fold in 1/3 of the cool whip to the pudding.
- Add a layer of wafers to the bottom of a trifle bowl. Add ¼ of the pudding mixture on top of the wafers, then top that with banana slices. Repeat these layers until you fill the trifle bowl.
- Spread the remaining cool whip on top. Add crushed nilla wafers and banana slices to the top.