Banana Pudding Bars

Prep 15 mins
Add'l 2 hrs
Total 2 hrs 15 mins

Before the summer’s over, you simply MUST make these sweet, creamy, and oh-so decadent Banana Pudding Bars! They’ve got everything you love about silky banana pudding, all in one sliceable bar. This is a no-bake recipe that I just can’t get enough of lately! 

Two white plates have slices of banana pudding bars.

*This post is sponsored by Challenge Butter. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Novice Chef possible.*

Banana Pudding Bars

Can you believe that July is already half way through? While I am the self professed pumpkin queen, I have to admit that I’m a little sad that summer seems to be slipping by so soon. I won’t necessarily miss the hot weather here in Florida, but I will miss making sweet summery desserts like these amazing banana pudding bars! These creamy bars that are rich with banana flavor always bring a smile to my face, even on the most sweltering of summer days.

Speaking of sweltering heat, it’s always nice to make a no-bake dessert during the summertime! There’s nothing quite like heating up the kitchen with a preheated oven while it’s also hot outside, right? I prefer to avoid any excessive heat during the summer, and if you’re also from the south, I know you feel the same way! That’s just another reason I love these banana pudding bars – they only require the cool refrigerator, not a hot oven.

The silky banana pudding itself is delicious, but I think I might love the vanilla wafer crust the most! It’s made with delicious melted Challenge Butter and finely crushed vanilla wafers, creating a sweet and salty crust that’s truly divine. When that buttery, flavorful crust is topped with the creamy banana pudding, it becomes a dessert sent straight from heaven! Well, if heaven was my refrigerator… But you get the idea!

Overhead image of Banana pudding bars are garnished with banana slices, whipped cream and mint sprigs.

Buttery Nilla Wafer Crust

The amazing sweet and buttery crust is what really elevates these Banana Pudding Bars. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust, you only need two ingredients to make this easy no-bake crust: Challenge Butter and Nilla Wafer cookies.

I always use Challenge Butter in my kitchen because it is churned fresh daily, as it always has been since the company began in 1911! Challenge Butter is also farmer-owned with more than 450 family-owned dairies.

Challenge Butter is made the old-fashioned way with the freshest milk and cream from happy cows. It is 100% natural and doesn’t have any artificial preservatives, fillers, dyes or added hormones.

Considering we have are a family of five with three young, growing kids, I confidently reach for Challenge Butter at the store. Not only is it great for my own family, I also know we are helping to support other families.

The ingredients for banana pudding bars are spread out on a gray surface.
More ingredients for the crust are placed on a blue and white surface.

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Wafers – These serve as the base of your crust and will need to be crushed very finely.
  • Challenge Salted Butter – To create the salty and sweet flavor, be sure to use the Challenge salted, not unsalted butter. Also, it’ll need to be melted.
  • Cream Cheese – Use a full fat softened cream cheese.
  • Instant Pudding – Either banana cream or vanilla flavored will do the trick.
  • Whole Milk – Make sure it’s nice and cold!
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cool Whip – It should be thawed if previously frozen.
  • Bananas – Slice the medium bananas into 3/4-inch thick coins.
A prepared baking sheet is filled with crust.
Banana slices line the crust.

How to Make Banana Pudding Bars

Prepare. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sling that hangs off of two sides. This will make for an easier removal of the bars from the pan!

Make the buttery crust. In a large bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until well combined. The mixture should hold it’s shape in your hand when you squeeze it. 

Press into pan. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press very firmly into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread sliced bananas on top of the crust layer.

Banana pudding is mixed in a white mixing bowl.

Beat. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the dry pudding mixture, milk and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour the pudding mixture into the beaten cream cheese, beating constantly, until all pudding mixture is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let pudding mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken up, then fold in cool whip, until well combined.

Pudding is spread in an even layer in a baking sheet.

Pour and chill. Pour pudding mixture on top of banana slices and smooth the top with a spatula as needed. Cover bars with foil or saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

A block of banana pudding has been sliced into twelve even bars.

Serve! When ready to serve, take the bars out of the refrigerator and carefully lift the parchment paper sides out and set on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice the bars into squares.

*CUTTING TIP* To keep your slices clean/neat: run your knife under hot water in between slicing and wipe off with a towel. For garnish, you can top each bar with more cool whip, banana slices and/or mint sprigs.

Banana pudding bars are garnished with banana slices, whipped cream and mint sprigs.

Recipe Tips

  • Banana Pudding vs Vanilla Pudding: You can use either that you prefer, but I personally like the flavor best of vanilla pudding with real banana slices. I personally find banana pudding to taste a little artificial, so I prefer to use vanilla pudding with fresh bananas for the banana flavor.
  • INSTANT: It’s very important that you double check that your pudding (no matter which flavor!) is the instant kind and not the heat and serve version. If you do not get the instant pudding, the bars will not set up.
  • Nilla Wafers: If you don’t happen to have Nilla wafers on hand, you can also graham crackers. However, I highly recommend using Nilla Wafers for the overall flavor to taste like the classic banana pudding.
  • Chill Time: I know it’s super hard to wait, but the chill time is very important if you want these bars to fully set up, so you can slice them into nice looking squares.
  • Make Ahead: These are a wonderful make ahead dessert. I like to make them the day before and garnish them before serving so they taste and look perfect!

How long will banana pudding bars stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the refrigerator, these sweet bars will stay fresh for up to 3 days. Although they’re still tasty on day 3, I recommend serving these banana bars within the first 24 hours of making them for the freshest results! Over time, the fresh bananas will start to turn brown.

A fork is placed on a white plate with a bar of banana pudding next to a box of challenge butter.
Yield: 15 bars

Banana Pudding Bars

Banana pudding bars are garnished with banana slices, whipped cream and mint sprigs.

Before the summer's over, you simply MUST make these sweet, creamy, and oh-so decadent Banana Pudding Bars! They've got everything you love about silky banana pudding, all in one sliceable bar. This is a no-bake recipe that I just can't get enough of lately!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11 oz box vanilla wafers, crushed very fine
  • 1 stick Challenge Salted Butter, melted
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 5.1 ounces box instant pudding (banana cream or vanilla flavored)
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk , cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cool whip, thawed
  • 3 medium bananas, sliced into 3/4-inch thick coins

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sling that hangs off of two sides. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until well combined. The mixture should hold it’s shape in your hand when you squeeze it. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press very firmly into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread sliced bananas on top of the crust layer. 
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside. 
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the dry pudding mixture, milk and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour the pudding mixture into the beaten cream cheese, beating constantly, until all pudding mixture is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let pudding mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken up, then fold in cool whip, until well combined. 
  5. Pour pudding mixture on top of banana slices and smooth the top with a spatula as needed. Cover bars with foil or saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (or overnight).
  6. When ready to serve, take the bars out of the refrigerator and carefully lift the parchment paper sides out and set on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice the bars into squares. To keep your slices clean/neat: run your knife under hot water in between slicing and wipe off with a towel. 
  7. For garnish, you can top each bar with more cool whip, banana slices and/or mint sprigs. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15 bars

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g

Want to Save This Recipe?

More Amazing No-Bake Desserts

Don’t feel like turning on the oven? Me neither! Here are a few more no-bake recipes I love:

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Related Posts

Comments

Share a Comment

Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
Novice Chef eCookbooks
Skip to Recipe