This Easy Banana Pudding Recipe is no-cook (and no-bake!), incredibly simple to assemble and so dangerously delicious! Featuring thick layers of ripe bananas, crisp Nilla Wafer cookies and luscious banana pudding flavored with sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese! This creamy, rich banana dessert is perfect for easy after dinner indulgences and sinful snacking, along with picnics, potlucks, barbecues and all your holiday entertaining!
Optional for topping: Vanilla Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar or White Chocolate Curls
Prepare Pudding – beat cream cheese: In large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until well whipped, about 2 minutes.
Add condensed milk + vanilla: Add the condensed milk and vanilla to the bowl. Beat on medium for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bows with rubber spatula. Continue to beat on medium for an additional minute, or until smooth and well combined.
Add pudding mixes + milk: Add the pudding mixes to the bowl. Gradually add the milk, beating on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and thick, about 3-4 additional minutes – scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary!
Fold in cool whip: With a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1 (8 ounce) tub of the cool whip topping.
Refrigerate: Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3, but preferably 4 or more hours.
When ready to assemble – prep bananas: Peel and slice SIX of the bananas into ¼-inch thick coins. Add them to a medium size mixing bowl and add the lemon juice. Gently stir to coat the bananas with the lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Assemble pudding: You can use a 9x13-inch baking dish, a 4 to 5-quart trifle bowl or 16 (6 ounce) jars to assemble your pudding. TIP: Figure out how many layers you want to do so you know how much of each component to use. I used a trifle dish and was able to get 3 layers. SEE NOTES!Layer One: Line the bottom of your dish with a layer of vanilla wafers.Layer Two: Top with some of the pudding. (For 2 layers use ½ the pudding, for 3 use 1/3 of the pudding.)Layer Three: Cover the pudding with a layer of banana slices.Layer Four: Top with a thin layer of cool whip. (For 2 layers use a little less than 1/2 the cool whip, for 3 use less than 1/3 of the cool whip – you want to have more Cool Whip to use on the top layer as a garnish.)Repeat layering wafers-pudding-bananas until you have filled your dish or bowl.For the top: Dollop or pipe the remaining cool whip on top of the dish. Make sure the top layer of bananas are COMPLETELY covered will cool whip to prevent them from browning.
Chill: Chill the pudding for 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish and serve: Peel and freshly slice your remaining banana. Garnish the top of your pudding with the banana slices. Sprinkle the pudding with Vanilla Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, White Chocolate Shavings and/or crumbled wafer cookies. Serve and enjoy!
Pudding Mixes: This recipe uses INSTANT pudding mix. You can stick to just one flavor of pudding mix if you like! I have found that the combination of Banana Cream + White Chocolate is absolutely DELICIOUS. I have used Sugar-Free Instant Pudding Mix before and the taste was fine! The Cool Whip is plenty sweet, so if you want to use Sugar-Free Pudding Mix – Go for it!! (Note: Please see the post for a full list of different flavors and flavor combinations you can use to make this layered dessert!)
Cool Whip: You can use one 16-ounce tub of cool whip; however, I found it’s easier to use two 8-ounce tubs so I don’t have to use a scale to measure and fuss about.
Bananas: Make sure you use barely ripe bananas in this recipe! Barely ripe bananas will keep much longer; plus, they are also less sweet, which makes them a better match for the sweet cool whip!
Assembling layered pudding: The number of layers will depend directly upon the depth of your serving dish or bowl.
For individual jars: You will probably only be able to get one layer of each component – wafers, pudding, bananas & cool whip.
For a 9x13-inch dish: You will probably only be able to get two layers of each component.
For a 4-to-5-quart trifle dish: You will be able to get two three layers of each component, depending upon how thick you want each layer.
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 16 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.