In today’s post: Easy Banana Pudding is a delicious no bake dessert that you can put together in minutes. It’s made with sliced bananas, vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding and sweetened condensed milk.
We’re coming up on the holiday season, which generally means it’s time to start thinking about PIES. And yes, pies are pretty amazing, but I’m actually a fan of other desserts as well on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Like a delicious pumpkin pie cake or even a brownie ice cream cake. Or, of course, banana pudding. Years ago when we lived in Memphis someone brought a pan full of bananas and vanilla wafers to a potluck, and I said “What in the world is that stuff?” Little did I know what a treat I was in for!
Turns out banana pudding is really good, and I think this is the BEST banana pudding recipe! It’s a great Thanksgiving dessert for those of us who don’t love pumpkin pie, but it’s so easy to make you can whip it up anytime you’re in the mood for something special.
It only takes seven ingredients to make this easy layered dessert:
- Bananas: It’s best to use bananas that are mostly yellow – underripe bananas that have a lot of green on the peel won’t taste quite sweet enough, while over ripe bananas that have lots of brown spots will be too mushy
- Vanilla Wafers: You can use Nilla Wafers brand or a store brand
- Instant Vanilla Pudding: You need a large 6 serving size box of instant pudding mix (don’t purchase cook+serve pudding mix)
- 2% Milk: Whole milk would also be ok, but I don’t recommend using skim milk
- Vanilla Extract: This recipe uses a whole tablespoon of vanilla to really amp up the flavor!
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This gives a lovely sweetness to the pudding layer. Not to be confused with evaporated milk.
- Frozen Whipped Topping (Cool Whip): You’ll fold this into the pudding layer to lighten it up.
How to make banana pudding
Banana Pudding comes together very quickly! You’ll start by whisking the pudding mix into the 2% milk in a large bowl until slightly thickened. Then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla. Finally, fold in the Cool Whip. This completes the pudding mixture that will get layered with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers. You can layer everything in a large serving bowl or trifle dish, but I prefer to use a 9×13 baking dish because it looks nicer when served.
To make it in a 9×13, start by reserving 15 whole wafers to go on the top. Then lay out half the remaining wafers on the bottom of a 9×13 dish, as shown below. Top with half of the sliced bananas and then half of the cream mixture.
Repeat each layer one more time, making sure that the top layer of pudding completely covers the bananas – this will keep them from turning brown. Then place the 15 reserved vanilla wafer cookies on top and sprinkle with a couple crushed vanilla wafers to make it look pretty (use crumbs or broken cookies from the bottom of the bag). Finally, you need to chill the whole thing in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours to let the wafers soften before serving.
When served this way, I slice it in 15 pieces. It’s a good idea to make it when you have plenty of people around to eat it because, like all desserts involving banana, it’s not going to stay good much longer than a couple of days. Be sure to cover any leftovers tightly and store in the fridge.
- 1 package Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix 5.3 oz
- 2 cup 2% milk cold
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 14 oz
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 12 oz cool whip defrosted
- 1 box vanilla wafers 12 oz
- 5-6 medium bananas
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- In a large mixing bowl, whisk pudding mix and 2% milk for 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Stir in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Fold in cool whip, 1/3 of it at a time, until smooth.
- Reserve 15 wafers for topping. In a 9×13 pan, layer half the remaining vanilla wafers, half the sliced bananas, and half the pudding mixture. Repeat the layers one more time.
- Be sure all bananas are covered with pudding or they will dry out and brown. Top with reserved 15 vanilla wafers. Chill 6-8 hours before serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator and eat within 24 hours if possible.
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