If you’re looking for THE Very Best Banana Pudding Ever, look no further! This truly is the greatest! Rich and creamy and surprisingly simple to make, it’s sure to become a family favorite and a huge crowd pleaser!
Sometimes I just make a recipe and it just does not work out. Other times I make a recipe and I knock it out of the park.
This is a knock-it-out-of-the-park kinda recipe!
I absolutely love banana pudding… and any banana dessert, really! Banana nut muffins, banana cake, banana pudding, banana bread, banana cream pie – I love it all and will never be able to resist any of them if presented the chance to eat something banana-y. But of all the banana things, pudding may have to be my number one fave!
There’s something so comforting about banana pudding – it just hits the spot every single time. And this banana pudding delivers in spades. It is totally delicious, light and fluffy but also creamy and decadent with amazing banana flavor, fresh whipped cream and lots of tender bananas and crunchy Nilla wafers. Like any self-respecting ‘nana pudding needs!
The pudding consists of a few parts. First, to make it extra rich and creamy and to offset *some* of the sweetness, we’re going to use some cream cheese and whip it up until it is light and fluffy. To that, we’ll add some sweetened condensed milk – aka nectar of the gods – and combine the two. Then we’ll add in a large box of instant banana pudding mix, beat it in, followed by some milk – I used reduced fat but whole works too! Once it has all come together, we’ll fold in some freshly whipped whipped cream to make a super fluffy mixture. You could also use Cool Whip that’s been thawed, but when it comes to banana pudding, I really think because it is a simple dish it needs the flavors to shine, so I prefer fresh whipped cream.
This particular pudding dish is layered in a pan which makes serving a breeze since you can cut it into squares as seen in the photos – super simple! You’ll just start by adding a layer of Nilla Wafers to a lightly greased baking dish, followed by a layer of sliced banana coins, then a layer of half of the pudding mixture. Repeat your layers and finish off with a layer of some saved whipped cream. Cover, and we’ll refrigerate overnight – the hardest part of this recipe is waiting! Once we’re ready to serve, we’ll garnish with additional Nilla Wafer crumbs. Additionally, if you don’t like Nilla Wafers or can’t find them, shortbread or Chessman cookies can be used.
Light, fluffy, creamy, rich and SO dreamy, this Very Best Banana Pudding truly is the greatest!
*adapted from Paula Deen’s banana pudding
The Very Best Banana Pudding Ever
- 2½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, softened
- 14 oz (1 small can) sweetened condensed milk
- 5 oz (1 large box) instant banana pudding mix just the dry powder
- 1 cup 2% or whole milk
- 11 oz (1 box) Nilla Wafers
- About 8 medium bananas, sliced make sure they're barely ripe - too ripe/soft and they'll brown faster
- Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the heavy whipping cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract and, using the whisk attachment, whip until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the whipped cream to a separate medium bowl and set aside.
- To the wiped out stand mixer bowl, add the cream cheese and, using the same whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth and no lumps of cream cheese remain, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the dry pudding mix and mix well, then slowly stream in the milk and mix until fully combined.
- Add 2/3 of the whipped cream to the pudding mixture and fold it in gently until fully combined and no whipped cream streaks remain. Set aside.
- In your prepared pan, place an even layer of Nilla wafers and top with an even layer of sliced banana coins. Top with half of the pudding mixture and spread evenly. Repeat with another layer of Nilla wafers, followed by another layer of sliced banana coins, and the remaining pudding layer, spreading it evenly. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, crush any remaining Nilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Store leftovers covered in the fridge, maximum 2 days.
You’re going to LOVE this recipe! My family, neighbors and I went crazy for it!
Have a super sweet day!
Hi there! Love your recipes!
For this recipe, what can I use as a substitute for the instant banana pudding mix?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Shazwina, nothing unfortunately!
Awwwhh. It’s okay then, thanks for the reply! ?
I couldn’t find the banana mix so I just used instant vanilla pudding mix instead.
Actually you can use plain vanilla pudding mix, or whatever flavor you would like!
Made this last night and it is AMAZING!! I’ve been looking for thick, fluffy banana pudding recipe and this is it. The layers are perfect, and the whipped cream layer on top completes it. I used less bananas though (4), only because I like fewer slices in my pudding :p Thanks so much for posting this recipe!!!
Im so sorry to ask this I hope its not a stupid annoying question. 😛 I live in a small town with terrible grocery stores. I am having a hard time finding the instant banana pudding, but have found the cooked version. Will that still work? If not I will continue my search!
Hi Candice, unfortunately it will not work. Have you tried Walmart? I suppose in a pinch you could use instant vanilla pudding mix and add in 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp banana extract to the pudding mixture!
This is my first ever recipe review it was that good! Super different than any other banana pudding out there. I definitely recommend taking the extra time and making the whipped cream and not using cool whip, it makes this recipe that much better. Also, I didn’t need as many bananas, I was able to just use four.
You can definitely use already made banana pudding!
IMO banana pudding HAS TO have whipping cream. Cool awhip just doesn’t cut it.
Agree! Thanks PJ!
Finally found the perfect recipe! Ty
I’ve tried a similar recipe but with cool whip and boy toys one using whipped whippingcream is top notch ? thank you for another amazing recipe!
What is substitute or equivalent for nilla wafer. ? I can’t seem to find it
You can use the shortbread Chessman cookies!
Just curious, what adaptations did you do to the recipe? Wondering if you toned it down or made it sweeter or easier in general.
Hi Iris, I believe the original recipe uses Cool Whip, so I used fresh whipped cream which I believe adds superior flavor. You can absolutely use Cool Whip but I think the fresh whipped cream is best.
I made this banana pudding yesterday 5/30/21. It is frickin amazing! The best I have ever had! I made it for our doctors and co-workers….they loved it. Thank you very much for sharing your recipes ?
I made this recipe last night, just wanted to confirm that the pudding mixture after you mix in everything should be liquid and sets over night. Or should it have a thicker consistency when you are pouring it for the layers.
Hi Chrissy, it should not be super liquidy, no. The pudding mixture gets mixed with the whipped cream so it is definitely more like a pudding/thick consistency.
This makes a large amount. Can I freeze it?
Hi Meredith, I would not recommend freezing this. It would not thaw out well.
Absolutely, positively, THE best. The entire family went crazy over this and requested it each daily until the last bite was battled over!
Seriously phenomenal. The tip on using less ripe bananas was so wise. The filling is very sweet and those bananas cut that down perfectly. I pride myself on always making fresh whipped cream so no Cool Whip in this house!
Made today exactly how the recipe states-8 bananas, instant banana pudding and making your own whipped cream. It is delish! I also like knowing I’m not using the horrible ingredients that Cool Whip has. I’ll be trying more of your recipes :o)
This looks divine. Unfortunately, here in South Africa we do not have the wafers or the substitute. We do, however, use Tennis biscuits (a buttery coconut biscuit) in our no-bake fridge desserts and cheesecakes. I’m wondering if I could use vanilla pudding and layer with the Tennis biscuits but forego the bananas altogether and use maybe strawberries instead, but just to decorate the top. It would then be a vanilla pudding. I just love the recipe so much but I’m not really keen on the bananas.
Hi Tanya, yes, that would be good! Obviously it wouldn’t be banana pudding, but it would be delicious.
Have you ever made this using vanilla instant pudding ? I wonder if that would work
or would it lose some of the flavor?
Hi Jill, you absolutely can. It obviously won’t be as banana flavored.
How would you make this using a real pudding mixture to not get the artificial flavor from the packaged instant banana pudding?
I would adjust the time in the mixer to make the whipped cream! 5-7 minutes makes butter, I had to start over. It only takes less than a minute to get it to whipped cream. Other than that, this recipe turned out fantastic!!!!!
Loved this. I was worried it was going to be difficult to make but it was easy and tastes so good! Will definitely make this again! I used Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies instead of Nillas. Yum!
steph shahan says
has anyone used vanilla oreos ???
Hi Steph, that would work!
Suzanne Bridges says
My FAVORITE!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Hands down the best recipe ever. I’ve made it several times already. I’m wondering how to make this a 8×8 or 9×9 recipe? Thoughts?
I am making this for just two, and I don’t we will able to eat all of it in a few days. Will cutting the recipe in half work?
Carol Anne Szewczak says
Can I crush up the vanilla wafers and have a layer of crushed up wafers instead of using them whole?
Hi Carol Anne, yes you can!
Carol Anne Szewczak says
Thank you so much for getting back to me. I cannot wait to make this!!!! 👍🏻👍🏻