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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! It really is the BEST Banana Pudding recipe!Print
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
- 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 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.
- 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 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