This Classic Southern Banana Pudding is made with whipped sweetened condensed milk and layered with vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and homemade whipped cream. Meet your new favorite dessert! A complete sweet indulge!
Ah, Southern Banana Pudding. You can find this dessert all over the American South at family gatherings, picnics, church functions, and any other large celebration. To me, banana pudding is all about love. It's always shared among loved ones. For many families, this is a foundational dessert.
My Classic Southern Banana Pudding is traditional banana pudding with a twist. This version is a copycat recipe of the banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery and a twist of the recipe that my Grandma used to make for me growing up---although she often baked hers.
Any great banana pudding will have fresh bananas, vanilla wafer cookies, whipped cream, and either banana-flavored or vanilla pudding. Each element brings something interesting to the recipe. They're all layered together into one beautiful dessert that can be enjoyed in scoops.
And when I’m feeling fancy, these Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bites always hit the spot.
Oh and if you're into banana puddings, then I HIGHLY recommend trying this Delicious Peanut Butter Banana Pudding, which really is one for the books!
If you're into creating easy recipes, this banana pudding is a great no-bake recipe to try out in the kitchen. Also, kids can whip up the banana pudding and help you layer the dessert as well---making for a fun family activity.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’ need any special equipment outside of an electric stand-mixer or hand-mixer and a boxed pudding mix-----which makes it totally fool-proof.
Here’s what you need to throw together this 20-minute Classic Banana Pudding dessert:
To make Banana Pudding entirely from scratch, you'll need to have THREE components ready:
First you'll start by making your homemade vanilla pudding over the stovetop and whisking in the butter and vanilla, and then it's on to assembling your banana pudding: starting with a layer of vanilla wafer cookies, followed banana slices, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream. Repeat until all ingredients are used, then add crushed cookies at the very top.
Then you place plastic wrap atop everything (lightly pressing it in so that the wrap touches the top of the pudding) and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Let everything chill for at least 4 hours, but know that it always tastes even more delicious the next day---once the flavors really "set in".
To make your own vanilla pudding instead of buying a store-bought version, here's what you'll need:
Technically, classic banana pudding is an icebox cake. An icebox cake is an unbaked dessert that usually includes cookies and a cream filling. The ingredients are layered together in a pan and chilled in the refrigerator overnight. As the cake sits in the fridge, the cookies soften from the moisture of the cream filling. While the cream loses moisture, it thickens and solidifies. The result is a cake-like texture when you serve the chilled cake the next day.
Some familiar and classic icebox cake recipes include:
OK, so maybe you didn't know that there are two types of banana pudding recipes. A true classic Southern traditional banana pudding is baked with a beautiful meringue and everything is married together well! And then there's a no-bake version, which is this Banana Pudding recipe that I'm sharing.
For the baked version of banana pudding, you'll make your homemade pudding per usual, layer everything, and then whip together an easy meringue using egg whites which will be fluffy and cloudy and is used as the "topping" of your banana pudding.
Then you bake everything for a few minutes until the meringue is browned and remove it, let it cool, and then serve.
For a great recipe, see Food Network's Banana Pudding recipe.
I recommend serving this banana pudding in a glass bowl. If you have a trifle bowl with a stand, even better!
Once your pudding is made and chilled, you’re ready to assemble. Here’s how to do it:
For garnish on top, add more cookies, plain whipped cream and finally a last drizzle of peanut butter. Then chill the fully assembled dessert for 2 to 3 hours. For the best flavor and texture, chill the dish overnight.
You'll start making this recipe by whipping up the pudding. I add sweetened condensed milk to build a thick body to the pudding. This way, the cookies melt into the pudding more slowly so you still have some nice crunchy texture when you serve the cake.
You can use homemade whipped cream or store-bought. Cool Whip will work fine, just use it at fridge temperature, not frozen.
Remember to layer the pudding in the dish or bowl you want to serve it from. You can use a big baking dish or a pretty glass trifle bowl.
Yes! If you prefer to make individual servings of dessert, you can layer the cookies, banana slices, and pudding in small glass mason jars for a cute and portable dessert.
Just before serving, add a few more crushed vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and dollops of whipped cream for garnish. This adds a wonderful textural component to the pudding.
Store leftover banana pudding in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. The cookies will continue to get soggy, so the texture of the entire dish will change the longer it's left in the fridge past those amount of days.
If you love this classic southern banana pudding dessert, you will also love these other sweet treats:
If you make this Classic Southern Banana Pudding, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!
Classic Southern Banana Pudding.