Growing up, it was one of my favorite desserts that my grandmother made. She always served up bowls of pudding right before we binge-watched thriller and horror films. I remember her loading her banana pudding recipe with vanilla wafers and loving every bite of it. Haha. And really nothing has changed since then.
I still enjoy a big bowl of banana pudding, and my little guy has followed in my footsteps. These days, though, I like to put my own twist on my grandma’s recipe by adding peanut butter. The result is a beautifully layered dessert that’s easy to make and full of creamy, rich and fruity flavors.
How to Make Peanut Butter Banana Pudding
If you have a little helper at home like me, this is a great no-bake recipe to get them involved in the kitchen. Kids can whip up the banana pudding and help you layer the dessert.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’ need any special equipment and a boxed pudding mix makes it totally fool-proof.
Here’s what you need to throw together this 20-minute dessert:
Bananas. You’ll need 3-4, depending on the size. Make sure they’re soft and ripe for the sweetest flavor.
Ice cold water. It’s important to use cold water to get the right consistency in your pudding.
Sweetened condensed milk. I use low-fat for this pudding. It adds plenty of richness and sweetness with a wonderfully thick texture.
Heavy cream to make whipped cream. You can also use softened Cool Whip.
Vanilla wafers or Nutter Butter sandwich cookies for more peanut flavor.
Vanilla extract. Make sure you’re using the real stuff, not imitation!
Vanilla pudding mix for the easiest pudding you’ll ever make.
Peanut butter. Use natural, smooth peanut butter for this pudding. That way you can control the texture and sweetness of your dessert.
Assembling Layered Butter Banana Pudding
I recommend serving this pretty dessert 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:
Start with a layer of cookies on the bottom.
Add a layer of sliced bananas.
Spread on some of the pudding.
Drizzle with melted peanut butter.
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.
Why Do I Need To Chill the Pudding?
Chilling is an important step you don’t want to skip.
As the assembled peanut butter banana pudding chills, the cookies with absorb some of the banana flavor and soften up. Plus the pudding will solidify a bit more so you have a scoopable, sharable treat.
Plus, chilling means that you can use this as a make-ahead dish for entertaining, which always keeps things lower stress.
Can I Make Single-Serving Puddings?
Yes! If you prefer to make individual servings of dessert, you can layer the cookies, banana slices, peanut butter and pudding in small glass mason jars for a cute and portable dessert.
1(16 oz.) packageNutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies(I used about 10-12 cookies, crushed)
1(3 oz.) boxvanilla instant pudding mix
1(14 oz.) cansweetened condensed
4cupsVERY COLD filtered water
pinch ofsea salt
4cupsWhipped Cream, homemade or store-bought(See Notes!)
1cupnatural peanut butter, softened or melted
5-6vanilla wafer cookies, optional(See Notes!)
Mix together the ice cold water, vanilla pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk until thick, about 10 minutes on medium-high speed. NOTE: The mixture should look like pudding.
Finally, add in vanilla extract, salt and mix for another minute or so.
Gently fold in the homemade whipped cream (or Cool Whip) into the pudding mixture using a spatula until, well incorporated.
In a trifle bowl (or your favorite dish), layer peanut butter sandwich cookies, vanilla wafers (if using), sliced bananas, melted peanut butter, and pudding mixture; repeat layering until all ingredients have been used.
Garnish top with remaining peanut butter cookies + vanilla wafers (crushed) and Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Best if chilled overnight.
Tips & Tricks
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM:In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream (3-4 cups), using the whisk attachment for 4-5 minutes, until fluffy peaks begin to form. **NOTE: When it begins to thicken after the first 2-3 minutes, gradually add in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt.** Once fully fluffy, remove from mixer bowl and continue recipe.
STORAGE: Keep leftovers tightly sealed and refrigerated. Best if consumed within 3 days.
PEANUT BUTTER: To melt peanut butter, simply add 1 cup into a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until completely softened, smooth, and easily falls off spatula or whisk.
COOKIES: For an extra kick of delicious flavor, I tried mixing both the Nutter Butter cookies and original Vanilla wafers cookies and it was amazing! I definitely recommend trying if you're open to it!