Banana pudding is one of those iconic desserts that is served at just about every social gathering including tailgates, holidays, reunions, and of course barbecues.
This creamy banana pudding has a sweet vanilla flavor and a velvety texture that pairs well with the Nilla wafers and sliced bananas. This is a Southern classic and something I always crave after some good BBQ!
Plus, it couldn’t be simpler to make. It’s just a matter of mixing, slicing and layering!
Easy Banana Pudding
Ingredients you’ll need
- French vanilla instant pudding
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
- Nilla wafers
- Cool whip or whipped cream
Equipment you’ll need
- Large mixing bowl
- Baking dish
How ripe can my bananas be?
Ideally, you do want ripe bananas, but not too ripe. The last thing you want is brown mushy bananas in your pudding.
Can I eat it right away?
I know it’s hard to wait, but fight the urge if you can!
You could eat it immediately, but it’s best to refrigerate it for a couple of hours. This allows the ingredients to firm up and the flavors to meld, and I think it tastes better cold.
Plus, making it the day before is always a good option when you have a ton of other food to prep.
How to make Banana Pudding
1. The pudding
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, instant pudding, and vanilla extract. Whisk for 2 minutes to thoroughly combine.
Once it thickens, add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk again to incorporate.
At this point, you can use the pudding as is for the recipe, which is a little thicker, like a meringue. That’s the way I like it. However, if you want to thin it out, you can add Cool Whip to the pudding until it reaches your desired consistency. It will also lighten up some.
2. Layer it
In an 8×8 baking dish, begin by layering Nilla wafers and sliced bananas on the bottom.
Then add a layer of the pudding, followed by another layer of the Nilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding.
Finish with a top layer of cool whip.
I like to crumble up some more Nilla wafers to sprinkle on top, along with some whole ones in the middle.
3. Chill it
The banana pudding should be covered and can be stored in the fridge. Best eaten after 2-3 hours or up to one week.
- Serve it in mason jars: A fun way to serve banana pudding is in mason jars. Just layer the ingredients in the jar and top with cool whip and crumbled Nilla wafers. It’s a fun presentation that’s especially great for BBQs. Grab and go.
- Fruit toppings: Switch things up and use fruit like strawberries or blueberries for extra color and flavor. The acidity of the berries works well here.
- Homemade whipped cream: To make your own whipped cream, whip together heavy cream vanilla extract and powdered sugar until you have stiff peaks. It’s best to use a handheld or standing mixer here.
Easy Banana Pudding
- 4 bananas sliced
- 6.8 oz French vanilla instant pudding
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups milk whole
- 11 oz Nilla wafers keep a few aside for decorating the top
- 8 oz cool whip or whipped cream
- In a large bowl combine milk, instant pudding, and vanilla extract. Whisk together for 2 minutes until thickened.
- Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk again to combine. If you want to make the pudding thinner add extra cool whip to thin it out.
- In an 8×8 baking dish add a layer of Nilla wafers and half of the sliced bananas.
- Using half the pudding spread it out all over the wafers and bananas.
- Repeat with wafers, banana slices, and the pudding.
- Top with a final layer of cool whip and sprinkle on crushed Nilla wafers.
- The banana pudding is best enjoyed after it has been covered and refrigerated for 2-3 hours.