This is the BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! It’s creamy, rich and almost like mousse. It’s a classic recipe that my Grandma used to make, and I know you’re going to love it!
I have held out on you…and I feel awful about it. This Banana Pudding recipe has been sitting in my Grandmother’s recipe index card holder for years. I don’t know why I haven’t ever shared it here with you. Well, maybe I do… You see, I don’t really love bananas. They’re just not my favorite. So banana pudding is never really front and center in the dessert vortex of my brain.
But my Grandma used to make Banana Pudding Pie when I was little and I really loved it. Which seems weird… like why do I like banana pudding, but not bananas? Maybe it’s the same idea as I hate onions, but love a White Castle Burger with onions.
Also, please forget I just said that I love White Castle. I am ashamed.
Anyhow, this pudding is probably a version of the same Banana Pudding you grew up eating. My Gram was a notorious recipe clipper. So many of her recipes are from 1980’s magazines, or ones that her friends would all share. But I have tried other Banana Pudding recipes and nothing comes close to this one. That is a promise. Whether you think you will like this recipe or not, I URGE you to try it. She made it in a pie crust sometimes and served it like pie, but for sure you could make it in a trifle dish as well. More times than not, we had it in a simple 9×13 pan, like i made it today.
It’s unassuming, innocent, old fashioned and completely perfect.
The ingredients are indulgent and simple…
All you do is mix some cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together to start. Told you it’s good…
Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature. If it’s cold it won’t mix up smooth, and you’ll probably have little cream cheese lumps.
To that, you will add vanilla pudding mix, milk, and vanilla. Make sure you buy INSTANT pudding.
Beat that on high speed for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to thicken up nicely.
To that, you need to fold in some Cool Whip. Now, if you don’t love Cool Whip, you can ABSOLUTELY use whipped cream in its place.
It’s smooth and creamy and basically perfection. Also in other news I shared that picture on Instagram this weekend to see if you guys could guess what I was making. I think only one person got it! Good on you!
To assemble the dish, just line the bottom of a baking dish with shortbread cookies. And yes, you can ABSOLUTELY use Nilla Wafers. I just prefer shortbread.
Also, don’t get too hung up on how many cookies you add. I just cover the bottom of the dish. You could really add as many, or as few cookies as you want.
Then slice up some bananas. It is banana pudding after all.
Side note – if you are a real banana lover, you can absolutely use banana pudding mix in place of the vanilla…OR use a a combo of vanilla and banana. My Grandma always used just vanilla, so that’s what I do.
Ok, back to the recipe…layer the banana slices on top of the cookies. Again, you could increase or decrease the amount of bananas you add. It will be fine.
Then spread that glorious pudding on top.
I like to spread a little more Cool Whip on top, but that’s optional! Then if you have some extra cookies lying around, crumble some up and sprinkle the cookie dust on top. Or press some cookies into the pudding as decoration. Or do both like I did. Or not at all. This part is totally loosey goosey.
But then you have to let it chill for a few hours. Totally obnoxious.
It’s worth the wait, though. I swear.
I mean COME ON.
You should definitely dig in. And then go back for seconds.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
- 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
- 2½ cups cold milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, or 8 ounces heavy cream, whipped
- 4 bananas, sliced
- 10 ounces shortbread cookies
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment mix the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
- Add in the dry pudding mix, milk and vanilla. Begin mixing on low for 30 seconds, slowly turning up the speed until you're on high speed. Mix this for 4-5 minutes until thickened and smooth, again scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Fold 4 ounces (half) of the Cool Whip (or whipped cream) into the pudding until combined.
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 dish with as many shortbread cookies as you can fit. Evenly place the banana slices on top of the cookies. Spread the pudding on top of the bananas. Spread the remaining Cool Whip (or whipped cream) on top of the pudding.
- Crumble any remaining cookies on top of the Cool Whip and/or place more cookies around the edge of the pan for decoration.
- Cover with Cling Wrap and chill at least 3-4 hours.
You can serve this in any dish you prefer, like a trifle dish, individual dishes etc.
Store airtight for up to 3 days