The BEST Banana Pudding

The BEST Banana Pudding Recipe ever! Served in a bowl with extra cookies!

The BEST Banana Pudding is a recipe you NEED! If you love creamy, rich and almost mousse-like banana pudding, this is for you. 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.

The Best Banana Pudding is unassuming, innocent, old fashioned and completely perfect.

The BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! So creamy , rich and thick. A classic recipe!

Tips On How to Make Banana Pudding

The ingredients for this banana pudding recipe are indulgent and simple. All you do is mix some cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together to start.

  • 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.
  • Next mix in vanilla pudding mix, milk, and vanilla extract. Make sure you buy INSTANT pudding, that way it will thicken up right on the spot and you don’t have to heat it. I have been asked if this recipe can be made with (non instant) pudding and the answer is no, unfortunately.
  • Beat the pudding mixture on high speed for about 5 minutes using the whisk attachment on your mixer. You want the mixture to thicken up nicely.
  • In my recipe I use Cool Whip. You fold that right in the cream cheese mixture to make the texture mousse-like. Now, if you don’t love Cool Whip, you can ABSOLUTELY use whipped cream in its place.

How to Make the best banana pudding

Can I use Nilla Wafers instead of Shortbread?

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.

Why do you use Vanilla Pudding in this Banana Pudding Recipe?

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.

The BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! So creamy , rich and thick. A classic recipe!

Tp assemble the banana pudding, just layer the cookies, bananas, and pudding mixture!

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.

The BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! So creamy , rich and thick. A classic recipe!

But then you have to let it chill for a few hours. This will give the pudding time to set up and the cookies to soften! I like to make this the night before actually!

It’s worth the wait, though. I swear.

The BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! So creamy , rich and thick. A classic recipe!

I mean COME ON.

The BEST Banana Pudding you will ever have! So creamy , rich and thick. A classic recipe!

You should definitely dig in. And then go back for seconds.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! It really is the BEST Banana Pudding recipe!

The Best Banana Pudding Recipe in a bowl

The BEST Banana Pudding

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 15 mins + 3 hours chill time
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category: Pudding
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: Dessert


The BEST Banana Pudding Recipe is creamy and delicious. An easy, classic recipe that is perfect for a crowd!


  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 1/2 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fold 4 ounces (half) of the Cool Whip (or whipped cream) into the pudding until combined.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9×13 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.
  5. Crumble any remaining cookies on top of the Cool Whip and/or place more cookies around the edge of the pan for decoration.
  6. Cover with Cling Wrap and chill at least 3-4 hours.


You could use a small package of instant vanilla pudding and a small package of banana pudding in place of just the vanilla for a more banana flavored pudding.

You can serve this in any dish you prefer, like a trifle dish, individual dishes etc.

Store airtight for up to 3 days



35 Responses

  1. Teija

    You had me with the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk….Do your bananas turn brown? Have you ever dunked them in pineapple juice to prevent browning? I have another recipe (a homemade macaroon banana trifle) that calls for this and it helps prevent the brown banana syndrome. Can’t wait to try this recipe – sounds super good!

    1. Shelly

      Since the bananas are buried in the pudding I have never really noticed that they turn brown, but that’s a great tip!

      1. Teija

        I have to tell you – I made this last night and Oh. My. GOSH…..this is DELICIOUS!!! I used 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 banana pudding. It got RAVE reviews from my family and co-workers so I’m definitely making it again!! I think it’s what I’ll take for Easter dessert, actually! One of the guys at work said it takes him back to his childhood, it’s just like his mom used to make. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Tracy

    Here’s a thought, let me know what you think please.
    you can use low fat cream cheese
    you can use fat free sweetened condensed milk
    and instead of milk, use fat free half & half.
    I’m going to try this way, and see if I can tell any difference. I’m betting I won’t, that was you have your cake and eat it too without feeling so guilty???
    I mean does it sound crazy?

    1. Karen

      You’ll definitely be able to tell the difference, plus low fat and fat free stuff is even worse for you with all the chemicals.

  3. Ashley

    Made this today for our Easter dinner tomorrow. Wow! So so yummy! I did add 1 3.4oz box of BOTH vanilla and banana (and added an additional 1/4 cup milk). I made fresh whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream, 2tbs sugar, 1/2tsp vanilla) and folded it in. I layered plastic wrap right on top of the pudding and tomorrow I’ll make another bath of fresh cream for the top and add some crushed cookies. My husband and whole family agreed (after an early taste-test) that this is the BEST banana pudding recipe ever. Thank you!

  4. Desiree

    I have never really liked banana pudding and I thought dessert had to involve chocolate somehow. But my son really wanted banana pudding, I saw this recipe and had to give it a try. Wow, this is amazing. It was perfect, I found out that dessert doesn’t necessarily need chocolate and I really love banana pudding.

  5. Steve

    Just found this one…was looking for a good one for my family reunion in June, going to do a test run but it looks like what my grandmother used to make. Can’t wait to try it. Then I have to make enough for 50 servings…scale it up…a little bit…lol

  6. Jamie

    Truly the best! I used 2 small boxes of pudding instead of 1 large box, because that’s all I had. It turned out perfect! My husband does not like traditional banana pudding but he LOVES this recipe! Thank you!

  7. Katherine

    Hello, I am about to make the recipe for a get together tomorrow, I already got all my Ingredients but when I look at the vanilla pudding I bought by mistake the one that needs to be cook… ?. What can I do? I have not time to go get the instant one.. HELP

  8. Hi! So glad I found this recipe as I’m excited to try and make it this year for Thanksgiving! Question though: how far in advance can I make to where itll be chilled and just taken out of the fridge for Thanksgiving?? Thanks!!

  9. Brandi

    So funny this is almost EXACTLY Paula deans recipe..maby that’s where grandma got it..very delicious . You talked me into making a batch

    1. Narhan

      Say sounds like an amazing recipe and I will try it, but I wanted to know could this recipe be warm up, I grew up eating oven baked banana pudding,, if not I will have to try a new trend eating it chill.

  10. SD Shields

    OMG! I made this recipe for Christmas dinner. It was very delicious! I loved the shortbread cookies over wafers! I will definitely use this recipe again and again! ??

  11. Denise

    Delicious recipe! Made this last night for an event today, and it was a huge hit! I mixed all of my Cool Whip into the pudding mixture (kind of by accident!), but it was really light and fluffy and delicious! I will definitely be making this again!

  12. Tamikcha

    made this with and without whip cream liked better with out it tasted like the cooked kind almost whip cream made it to thick

  13. Giana

    I made it today and it was super delish. Everyone loved it. Thanks for posting it. I think what makes the difference is the cream cheese in it. I loved it. I’ll make it for sure again.

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