This easy, no-bake Banana Pudding Lasagna dessert features “lasagna” style layers of Nilla Wafers, cheesecake filling, pudding, and bananas. It’s a decadent twist on the summertime classic!
As far as baking goes, my motto is: everything’s better with cheesecake. Okay, maybe that’s not true all the time, but it’s true a lot of the time! And this lush banana pudding recipe is a perfect example of how cheesecake can add an extra-special touch to other great desserts.
If you’ve never tried banana pudding before, it’s a sweet, trifle-like dessert that’s very popular in the South. Made with layers of sliced banana, vanilla pudding, and crisp vanilla cookies. Whipped cream usually tops it off, and the entire dessert is served cold, often at potluck dinners. There are also baked banana puddings made with homemade custard and meringue instead of the pudding and whipped cream – sometimes this version is served warm.
I’m going with a cold banana pudding in this recipe, using regular vanilla pudding from a mix. It makes the recipe super simple, and ultra-creamy. To make this a banana pudding lasagna, we’ll be adding a lovely layer of sweetened, whipped cream cheese.
Each ingredient on this list is a basic, easy-to-find grocery store item, making banana pudding a delightfully luxurious dish that’s actually super accessible and simple! Perfection!
For the Crust
- Nilla Wafers: Crush the cookies to combine with the butter and make a cookie crumb crust.
- Butter: A little melted butter brings the crust together.
For the Cream Cheese LayeR
- Cream Cheese: Soften the cream cheese to room temperature.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is fine.
- Cream: Whipped heavy cream makes the cheesecake layer light.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
For the Banana Pudding Layer
- Bananas: Slice the bananas about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.
- Pudding: Instant vanilla pudding makes this layer easy and creamy!
- Milk: I use whole milk, but you could also use reduced fat milk or even dairy free milk.
- Nilla Wafers: Leave these Nilla Wafers whole for layering.
- Whipped Cream: Or whipped topping, for decorating the top.
What Can I Use Instead of Vanilla Wafers in Banana Pudding?
The popular vanilla cookies known as “Nilla Wafers” are standard in Southern banana pudding recipes, but you can definitely change it up if you want to! Other good options include shortbread cookies, Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, or graham crackers.
How to Make It, Step by Step
Let’s go over the method for making and assembling this creamy, dreamy banana pudding lasagna. It’s actually really simple, and fun, too.
- Make the Crust. Combine the crushed Nilla Wafers and the melted butter in a small bowl, stirring with a fork or spoon until well combined. Set aside about two tablespoons of this mixture for topping. Then use your hands, or the bottom of a glass, to press the rest of the crumbs evenly into the bottom of a large (9×13) baking dish.
- Make the Cheesecake Mixture. In a larger mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and the sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Next, take another mixing bowl and beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Finally, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Begin Assembling the Dessert. Spread half of the cheesecake mixture over the crust, in an even layer. Arrange sliced bananas over the cheesecake and press them into the mixture..
- Make the Pudding. In another clean bowl, beat the milk and pudding mix together to make a thick, creamy pudding.
- Finish Assembling the Dessert. Next, spread the pudding over the banana layer in the baking dish. Top with a layer of Nilla Wafers. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture over the cookies, and then sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the top for a pretty garnish.
- Chill. Cover the dish, and refrigerate your banana pudding lasagna for 2 hours (or up to 24 hours) before slicing and serving.
Why Do My Bananas Turn Black in Banana Pudding?
Any time a peeled and/or cut banana is exposed to the air, it begins to discolor. That’s why the bananas in banana pudding are usually covered in pudding, meringue, or whipped cream – it keeps the air away from the bananas! However, once you cut into your banana pudding dessert, some of the bananas will be exposed to the air, so keep that in mind when serving and saving leftovers.
Tips for Success
What else should you know about making this easy dish? Well, I do have some helpful hints to share! These tips will help you make sure your banana pudding lasagna turns out lush and luscious.
- Use Your Favorite Pudding: If you’d rather use a different flavor of pudding, or simply substitute your own homemade custard, go for it!
- Don’t Overmix: When making the whipped cream and cheesecake mixture, be sure not to over-whip, or the cream may separate (and start to make butter!). If this happens, you’ll need to start again with a fresh batch of whipping cream.
- Chill Out: It’s important to chill your banana pudding lasagna for long enough, especially when it comes to the cheesecake layer. If you chill it for a few hours, it will have a mousse-like texture. If you chill it overnight, it will have a sturdier, more cheesecake-like texture. But if you don’t chill it long enough, it will be runny and spoil the presentation of the dessert.
- Decorate: If desired, you can pipe swirls of whipped cream over the top, and place a Nilla wafer and banana slice on each swirl. This is optional, but it makes this dessert beautiful. Do this just before serving, as the banana slices will begin to discolor once they are cut.
As amazing as this recipe is, it’s also a great canvas for adding extra tastes and textures! Here are just a few ways you can customize it:
- Heath Banana Pudding: Sprinkle chopped Heath bars in and around the cookie layers in this recipe for a special twist.
- Dulce de Leche Pudding: Drizzle store-bought dulce de leche sauce over the layers of cheesecake and pudding.
- Pecan Praline Pudding: Sprinkle chopped pecans and caramel sauce over the finished dessert.
How to Store Leftover Banana Pudding Lasagna
This dessert needs to be refrigerated, to keep it fresh and food-safe. Store it in an airtight container, or just cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze This?
I actually don’t recommend freezing this recipe – unfortunately, the bananas tend to turn brown and watery when frozen and thawed out, and some of the creamy ingredients may turn grainy.
For the Crust
- 1 ½ cups crushed Nilla Wafers
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
For the Cream Cheese Layer
- 12 ounces (1 ½ blocks) cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Banana Pudding Layer
- 4 large bananas, sliced
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 ½ cups Nilla Wafers
- Whipped cream or cool whip, for topping
- In a small bowl, combine the crushed wafers and the melted butter. Stir until well combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for topping.
- Press the remaining crumbs evenly into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. You can do this with your hands or the bottom of a glass.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in the vanilla, and then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spread half of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust, spreading it into an even layer. Press the sliced bananas over the cream cheese.
- In a separate bowl, beat the milk and pudding mix together. Spread the pudding over the bananas, and then top with Nilla Wafers.
- Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture over the wafers.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the cream cheese layer.
- Cover, and refrigerate lasagna for 2 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.
- If desired, pipe swirls over the top, and place a Nilla wafter and banana slice on each swirl. This is optional, but it makes this dessert beautiful.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 576Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 11g
More Easy No-Bake Dessert Recipes
Looking for more easy no-bake recipes? ME TOO! They are my go to here in Florida during the hotter months, when the temps are reaching 100°F, and I don’t want to turn on my oven. Here are some of my other favorites:
- The Best Rice Krispie Treats
- Chocolate Eclair Cake
- Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)
- Lemon Pudding Trifle
- No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Toasted Coconut Cream Pudding
- Pecan Pie Truffles
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