This no bake homemade Banana Pudding recipe is a wonderful classic dessert. Easy, comforting, nostalgic, and oh so deliciously creamy in every bite!
There are always bananas on my countertop, and if I can get to them before turning black (and then reserved for banana bread, of course), they usually end up being fried bananas or put to use in this fantastic banana pudding recipe. It’s like simplified banana cream pie in cute parfait glasses, but still equally amazing!
What is Banana Pudding?
Banana pudding is an old-fashioned Southern dessert typically made with layers of butter cookies, vanilla custard, and sliced bananas, then either topped with meringue or sweet whipped cream. The layers can be assembled in a glass serving dish, trifle bowl, or individual custard cups like a parfait. To me, classic banana pudding is to Americans what Tiramisu is to Italians.
Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need to make this pudding recipe:
- Instant Pudding Mix – for this recipe, I use instant French vanilla pudding mix, which is traditional, but you could use banana pudding for an even stronger banana flavor, or even a combination of the two.
- Whole Milk – this is for the pudding mix. You must use whole milk for it to set properly.
- Heavy Cream and Powdered Sugar – many recipes call for Cool Whip (which is fine!), but I just prefer the natural taste of heavy cream and powdered sugar whipped together in this recipe.
- Cream Cheese – this is the ingredient that takes simple banana pudding up a level (or several levels!), making it extra rich and creamy.
- Sweetened condensed milk – creamy, rich, sweet, and amazing blended with the cream cheese.
- Cookies – I went with Nilla wafer cookies for this pudding, but you can also use Pepperidge Farm Chessmen or Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. Really any butter cookie. You could even use pound cake, if you prefer.
- Bananas – you need ripe, but firm banana slices. Purchase bananas that are fully yellow, without many brown spots.
How to Make Banana Pudding
This dessert is a breeze to make and assemble, without any cooking. You end up with layers of flavor and texture that is completely luscious. (Scroll to the bottom for the detailed printable.)
- Make the whipped cream: in a cold bowl, beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks are reached. Transfer to the fridge while you make the pudding.
- Make the pudding: beat together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until combined and smooth. Add in the pudding mix and cold milk; beat for another 5 minutes or so until incorporated. Gently fold in 1/2 of the chilled whipped cream (reserve and chill the rest for finishing.) Transfer pudding mixture to a piping bag.
- How to layer banana pudding: to assemble, you simply layer the cookies on the bottom, followed by slices of banana, and then the pudding. Repeat until all the ingredients are used or as many layers as you want. I almost always assemble and serve these in individual parfait glasses, but you can use a glass serving dish or trifle bowl, if you prefer.
- Cover and chill: cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, so the cookies can soften.
- Garnish and serve: pipe the remaining whipped cream on top and garnish with a banana slice and wafer cookie. Serve and enjoy!
How Long Does Banana Pudding Need to Set?
The time needed for the pudding to set will depend on which cookies you use, and how soft or crunchy you prefer them. Shortbread cookies take longer to soften than Nilla wafers do.
I usually say 4 hours minimum, 6-8 hours is ideal, and no more than 12 hours, that way the cookies have softened, but there is still some texture to them. If you like the cookies to remain crunchy, I would recommend crushing up the cookies and assembling the layers right before serving.
How to Keep Bananas from Turning Brown in Banana Pudding
The best way to prevent sliced bananas from turning brown is to toss them with a little lemon juice (and then pat dry with paper towels.) However, they will absorb some of that lemon flavor, which I’m not a fan of in my pudding. Making sure the bananas are completely submerged in the pudding, not exposed to air, will definitely help, and serve as soon as you can.
- Cover the pudding with plastic wrap – this will prevent the pudding from absorbing other aromas from the fridge.
- Add in a splash of rum – give it a Bananas Foster flair by coating the banana slices with a little bit of rum or by adding in a few splashes to the pudding mixture. Coconut rum would be delicious.
- Crush the cookies – instead of leaving the cookies whole, you can crush them up. Keep in mind that they will soften and be more cake-like much quicker by doing this.
- How many calories in banana pudding? Each parfait contains 555 calories…and worth every one of them! HA. You can always make each serving size smaller by using smaller glasses, which will reduce the calorie count. All nutritional information is included in the printable recipe card below.
- Is banana pudding gluten free? This pudding recipe is not gluten free because of the Nilla wafer cookies and also the instant pudding mix.
How long does banana pudding last? Banana pudding will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but after 2 days it will start to get runny.
Can you freeze banana pudding? Nope, sorry. This pudding does not freeze well due to the dairy and bananas, and once thawed will separate and become a mushy, runny mess.
Watch it Being Made
Homemade pudding is the way to go, friends. It’s so easy to make and tastes a million times better than store-bought, they’re barely even comparable. This is such a great classic dessert during the summer, holidays, or anytime!
Other Pudding Recipes
Homemade Banana Pudding
- 2 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounce package cream cheese , softened
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 3.4 ounce box of Jello instant French vanilla pudding mix (or regular vanilla)
- 2 cups cold whole milk
- 11 ounce box Nilla wafer cookies (you'll need about 60 cookies)
- 4-5 ripe, firm bananas , sliced into rounds
- Make the Whipped Cream: In a cold bowl, beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks are reached. Transfer to the fridge while you make the pudding.
- Make the Pudding: Using a large bowl and a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until combined and smooth. Add in the pudding mix and cold milk; beat for another 5 minutes or so until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as necessary. Gently fold in 1/2 of the chilled whipped cream (reserve and chill the rest for finishing.)
- Transfer pudding mixture to a piping bag.
- Assemble the Layers: Line the bottom of 12 parfait glasses with 2-3 Nilla wafer cookies, followed by 3-4 banana slices. Pipe some of the pudding mixture on top. Repeat layers until you reach almost to the rim of the glass (ending with the pudding.)
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, so the cookies can soften.
- Pipe the remaining whipped cream on top and garnish with 1 banana slice and 1 wafer cookie.
- Serve and enjoy!