Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe

Prep Time 15 mins
Resting Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins

My Mama’s Homemade Banana Pudding recipe has layers of fresh bananas, creamy pudding, vanilla wafers & whipped cream. It has a top secret ingredient that makes it the best banana pudding ever!

Banana Pudding in a layered trifle glass.

The Best Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana Pudding is one of those recipes I dream about. The creamy layers of pudding, slices of banana, and vanilla wafers that get soft from the pudding…each bite more delectable than the last. It’s good the day you make it and somehow even better the next day. 

This banana pudding recipe is my Mom’s and it’s seriously dang near famous at this point. Like most of my mom’s recipes growing up, it’s meant to be quick, easy and delicious! This is a shortcut banana pudding using instant pudding, vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and her secret ingredient — sweetened condensed milk! Below you will also find directions on how to use cool whip or homemade whip cream to give your Banana Pudding that extra silky taste.

There are a few things that my Mom makes that are truly, THE BEST and this Banana Pudding is absolutely one of them. I’m excited to share this easy recipe, and all of my tips for the best banana pudding, with all of you! 

Banana Pudding in small glass jars.

Banana Pudding Ingredients

In addition to the sweetened condensed milk mentioned above, you will use a few other packaged items in this recipe. That’s part of what makes this banana pudding so easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Whipping cream, powdered sugar & vanilla: For making homemade whipped cream. You can use Cool Whip instead if you prefer!
  • Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • Whole Milk
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This makes the banana pudding extra rich and creamy.
  • Bananas
  • Vanilla Wafers

If you are looking for that classic flavor you enjoyed so much growing up, then this is the recipe for you. This banana pudding was the one gracing all the plates at the church potluck, the recipe your mom made for Sunday night dinner and the recipe you are probably going to love the most.

However, if you really want a fully from scratch pudding recipe, I recommend checking out this homemade banana pudding recipe from Add a Pinch!

Sweetened condensed milk in a bowl with a spoon.

Why Do I Use These Ingredients?

The Secret Ingredient: Sweetened Condensed Milk

As with a lot of my Mom’s recipes, the secret to this extra creamy banana pudding is sweetened condensed milk. It’s one of those things that just can’t be replaced. It brings a sweetness and creamy texture that no other ingredient can give. It’s also the secret to her famous sweet potato casserole!

Homemade Whipped Cream vs. Cool Whip

This is 100% a personal choice and I know many people feel strongly about this. I have included directions on how to use both, so it is absolutely up to you! If you want the 90’s version of Banana Pudding that your mom probably made, then use cool whip. If you would like a richer version, use real whipped cream. 

Banana Pudding vs Vanilla Pudding

I know this question is coming. You are going to scroll down and see that this Banana Pudding recipe calls for Vanilla pudding. You are going to read it a few times to make sure you aren’t crazy and then you are going to ask me why not use banana pudding instead. 

Well, because artificial banana pudding does not taste nearly as good as real bananas. In this recipe, we use a ton of REAL slices of fresh bananas mixed into the pudding to give it all the banana flavor that this pudding needs. The vanilla pudding plays perfectly with the flavor from the strong fresh banana flavor to create the perfect balance between the two. 

Whipped cream and pudding in a bowl ready to be whisked together.

How to Make Banana Pudding

This pudding is very easy to make and great dessert to make with the kids! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Make the whipped cream: With a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) whisk heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. Make the pudding mix: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together powdered pudding mix, milk and condensed milk until smooth. Let sit for 3 minutes.
  3. Combine the pudding and whipped cream: Fold in whipped cream until smooth (reserve a little whip cream for decoration if you like).
  4. Assemble the pudding: In a large trifle bowl (or individual parfait glasses) assemble the pudding. First, lay one third of vanilla wafers across the bottom of the bowl. Top with one third of the banana slices. Cover with one third of the pudding mixture. Continue with two more layers, reserving a few vanilla wafers to lay across the top as garnish.
  5. Chill: Cover pudding and let it rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. 

Tips for the Best Banana Pudding

  1. When layering the banana pudding, cut and cover the banana slices quickly with the pudding to minimize the exposure to the air. This will help keep them from browning. (read more on that above!)
  2. Don’t slice the banana for garnish until just before serving time. Or, you can also just garnish it with whip cream and vanilla wafers. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate any leftover banana pudding for up to 3 days. Beyond this, the bananas can start to get mushy.
  4. You can use mini serving bowls (like small mason jars), a large trifle bowl or a 9×13 baking dish to make your trifle. The 9×13 is probably the easiest to make and travel with, but the other two look very impressive.
Top view of pudding in a large bowl topped with whipped cream, banana slices and vanilla wafers.

Banana Pudding FAQs

Can Banana Pudding Be Made Ahead?

This is a super common question I get a lot and thankfully the answer is YES! You can make this banana pudding ahead. This recipe is honestly best if you let it rest for at least a few hours before serving it to allow the wafers to soak up some of the pudding. One that happens, this recipe turns into this perfect soft creamy texture that you want. 

If I’m having company, I prefer to serve this pudding within 4 to 6 hours of making it. In that time, the bananas won’t have browned much and it will still look picture perfect. However, if I am serving this just for my immediate family, we all love it just as much the next day or two! Yes your bananas will brown a little, but the overall pudding will taste exactly the same. 

How do you keep bananas from turning dark? Does it matter?

One way to prevent your bananas changing colors is to coat the banana slices in an acidic fruit juice like lemon, lime juice or pineapple juice. However, this is completely unnecessary. A slightly browned banana does not taste any different and the texture is still exactly the same. Plus, once the pudding rests, the brown vanilla wafers and bananas become hard to decipher from each other. 

You just need one secret ingredient to make my mama’s famous Banana Pudding recipe! It’s extra creamy and perfectly sweet with tons of banana in each bite! #BananaPudding #BananaPuddingRecipe #Banana #BananaRecipes #PuddingRecipes #Trifle #TrifleRecipes #TrifleDesserts #SouthernRecipes #ComfortFood #Pudding #EasyRecipes #SummerRecipes #PicnicRecipes

Even with coating the banana slices in something like lemon juice, your bananas are going to turn a little brown…especially the ones towards the top that are most exposed to the air. Once you peel and cut a banana, they will start turning brown almost immediately, it’s just nature, so acting quickly will be in your favor! 

Three jars of banana pudding trifles decorate with vanilla wafers and banana slices.

How long will banana pudding keep?

This pudding will keep for 4 days when stored in an air tight container in the fridge. Your bananas may brown slightly during this time, but the pudding will taste the same. The vanilla wafers will also continue to soften over time.

What if I don’t have Vanilla wafers?

If you don’t have vanilla wafers you can also use graham crackers in this recipe. The flavor and texture will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious!

Banana Pudding layered in a large bowl.

Let Me Know if You Enjoyed This Recipe!

I am so happy to be sharing my Mama’s famous recipe. It has been a staple in our family for over 20 years, and I fully expect my girls to come home from college one day begging me to make it just like I did to my mom. Please leave a comment/review below letting me know how it works out for you!

Yield: serves 10

Best Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding layered in a large bowl.

This recipe for my Mama's famous Banana Pudding has layers of fresh bananas, creamy pudding, vanilla wafers & whipped cream. With one secret ingredient, you will be on your way to making the best banana pudding, ever!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding (dry mix only)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 (11 oz) box vanilla wafers

Instructions

  1. With a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together powdered pudding mix, milk and condensed milk until smooth. Let sit for 3 minutes. Fold in whipped cream until smooth (reserve a little whip cream for decoration on top if desired).
  3. In a large trifle bowl (or individual parfait glasses) assemble the pudding. First, lay one third of vanilla wafers across the bottom of the bowl. Top with one third of the banana slices. Cover with one third of the pudding mixture. Continue with two more layers, reserving a few vanilla wafers to lay across the top as garnish.
  4. Cover pudding and let it rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. Can also be made up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge until ready to serve!

Notes

COOL WHIP: If you would prefer to use cool whip, swap the first 3 ingredients (whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract) with a 12 oz container of Cool Whip.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g

Want to Save This Recipe?

This recipe is perfect for a baby shower, picnic, bridal shower or potluck! 

Today, we are having a virtual Baby Shower for Julianne at Beyond Frosting. I’m so excited for her growing family and wish we could get together in person to share this recipe as it’s perfect for a shower or party. It is always one of the first to go as it’s a favorite comfort food dish for many!

More perfect dishes for a baby shower:

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Comments

122 Responses
  1. Kiley

    I clicked this because it was pretty. Lol I make my pudding pretty much the same way. And just wanted to say if anyone uses actual banana pudding in banana pudding go head and log out for my baby! ‍♀️

  2. Zainab

    I am so glad you used vanilla pudding and used fresh bananas in this!! That’s the way I love it. Can’t wait to try this!

  3. Pat

    Yummy — Just had cervical spine surgery and can’t swallow much. Banana pudding is a special favorite. Hopefully I’ll be able to eat it!

  4. Roberta

    I’ve never even had banana pudding before but want to try this! My question: Is banana pudding best made only a couple hours before serving so the wafers will still be crisp, or is it supposed to have softened wafers? If I make it like 6 hours before the party, will that be enough time for the wafers to soften?

  5. heather

    If I make homemade whipped cream do I add the powdered sugar and vanilla like I normally would or do I just whip the cream and not add sweetener before mixing it in?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Heather! I would add the vanilla and a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar, but you don’t need a ton of sugar. It’s already sweet from everything else! 

  6. Kaitlyn

    Amazing banana pudding! Before making this recipe I had never tried banana pudding before, I’m hooked now! I found your recipe when searching for other ideas to use my ripened bananas in besides banana bread and I was not disappointed.
    During strawberry season I used the vanilla pudding mixture (instant pudding, milk, sweetened condensed milk and freshly whipped cream) and layer with vanilla pound cake and strawberries for an amazing strawberries and cream trifle, I highly recommend trying it!

  7. Marinda

    I never take the time to post comments on blogs HOWEVER i have to for this banana pudding recipe! I made this for my entire family for mother’s day BBQ amd i was Crowned the new banana pudding queen! My dad said this tastes just like the pudding he remembers as a kid. I’m a little embarrassed to say we ate the entire double recipe in less than 24 hours! So delicious! Thank you thank you!!!! 

  8. Helen Conway

    Hi Jessica Making it for friends tonight – how many serves would there be? – making it in a bowl. Thanks.

  9. Rachael

    The instructions say to fold in the whipped cream to the pudding mixture, but your picture seems to have layers of whipped cream in addition to the layers of pudding. Do you set aside part of the whipped cream called for in the recipe, or use more whipped cream above the 12 ounces listed?

      1. Michele

        Hi Jessica! If you look at your trifle bowl it looks like the pudding layer and whipped cream are separate and not combined as the recipes says to do. That’s what I think Rachel meant. I was wondering the same thing. Planning on making this tomorrow. Separate layers or combine pudding and whipped cream?? Tks for clearing this up. Michele

        1. Jessica

          Hi Michele! I would recommend following the exact recipe for the best flavor. For my trifle, I pushed a think layer of cool whip to the edges for a prettier overall look. So that’s always an option too!

  10. Kristonta

    I don’t bake much and tried this recipe for banana pudding tonight as dessert for Sunday dinner. My husband wanted banana pudding and after reading this recipe and bio….I really wanted to try it. First off, this is so quick and easy to make! The mix tastes so good that my kids and husband were licking the spoon and wish after. Secondly, adding it all together was super easy. All of my family member said they want to try it. This was delicious and hit the spot for my family. Thanks so much for this recipe. It was really appreciated!

  11. Jeanne

    I always cook my pudding, the difference in the taste and texture can’t be matched by instant. And since I learned the no muss, no fuss way to make it in the microwave it is done in almost the same time.

  12. Lauren

    I know you mentioned using a regular sized trifle bowl but do you have an ounce size? Sometimes serving bowls have an exact size and want to be sure I buy the right one! Thank you! 

    1. Jessica

      If you put any on top, yes, but if they are all inside the layers they shouldn’t turn super brown since the air won’t be getting to them. 

  13. Tammy

    Hi… any recommendation on the ripeness of the bananas? Planning to make this for Mother’s Day and trying to determine how far ahead to buy my bananas. I’m thinking they shouldn’t be TOO ripe, but they need to be ripe enough to have some flavor. Would love some thoughts on this very important topic! 

  14. Eileen DIAMOND

    I made this puddiNG this morning at it was perfect. I forgot to buy milk so made it with all cream and it was delicious. Thanks

  15. JOE

    I did not have the sweetened condensed milk..I used evaporated with water for the milk one time and a can of straight evaporated and regular milk and a can of evaporated the second time. It was very well received both times, some said they preferred it to the sweeter tasting sweetened condensed milk. Anyway, a great recipe..

  16. Ena

    If you make the individual cups how much does the recipe serve? Wondering if I should double the recipe to make about 20-25 individual cups.

  17. Dawn

    This was may first try at a banana pudding! The recipe was easy to understand, and easy to make. I made individual banana pudding cups for a Black history event at church. They loved them, young & old! Delicious just like Mama’s.

  18. Joanna

    Hello
    It looks delicious! I want to try it but I live in the Middle East and I am not sure if I can find instant vanilla pudding mix. Do you know how can I replace it? Thank you!!

  19. Kels

    Made this yesterday and it came out pretty good but how come your pudding is yellow? My pudding powder was yellow but after the 12oz cool whip it is super white? Not a biggy just love your photo and wanted to recreate the mason jar look

    1. Jessica

      I’m not sure if it’s different brands of pudding or what, but it seems some peoples turns out yellow and some more creamy white. I use the standard jello brand of vanilla pudding and it always turns out yellow tinted for me!

      1. Amy

        I was wondering the same thing. I used the exact same jello pudding and mine isn’t yellow at all like the pictures. It looked to me like your trifle in the video wasn’t as yellow. It looked the same color as mine, like an off white. I too want that yellow color in the small mason jars. 

  20. Lety Mendoza

    What does “Fold in whipped cream until smooth” does that mean make the pudding then add the whip cream on top and start layering?

    1. Rachel

      Fold is how you mix it. You stir the whipped cream in with slower, longer strokes as opposed to rapidly stirring or mixing. The pudding is used as a dry ingredient. You don’t prepare the pudding according to the box directions. Just use the powdered pudding and add the milk and sweetened condensed milk to it.

  21. Rachel

    Mine turned out incredibly thick and doughy, despite following the recipe and instructions to a T. The flavor is great, but the texture is all wrong. I’ve continued adding more whipped cream and milk and it seems to be thinning out some. But I’m calling it quits for tonight and will see if it can be salvaged in the morning.

  22. Amanda

    It says the big pudding mix (5.1oz) but the big pudding mix I bought is actually 1.5 oz so do I need to buy more or was that a typo?

  23. Darien

    Hi I am currently making this recipe for thanksgiving tomorrow, I did use the correct pudding mix and whipped cream (I used a bit less than 3 cups/24 oz) and it is very runny and taste solely like whipped cream, not pudding… not sure why. I sat it in the refrigerator overnight without adding the bananas or wafers to see if the consistency would thicken but it didn’t by much… not sure what to do next 

    1. Jessica

      Hi Darien – It’s 3 cups of whipped cream or coolwhip – so already whipped cream, it would be more like 10 oz of heavy cream before being whipped, not 24 oz.

      Hope that makes sense. Sorry if it’s confusing, I don’t know how else to describe how much to use since coolwhip is already whipped and whipped cream you have to whip yourself.

    2. Jessica

      Darien, I just update the recipe to say: 12 oz cool whip or 12 oz heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks. This is how I had it listed before, but people were still getting confused, so I listed it in cups to try to help. Again, sorry for any confusion and for the loss of ingredients — I hate that!

  24. Freda Marie

    This is my new go-to banana pudding and it is so GOOD…I halved the recipe straight down the middle (cause I live alone), and it still turned out TO DIE FOR!!! Thanks for sharing!

  25. tara ward

    I made this for my son’s 3rd birthday curious george themed party and it was a HUGE hit! I think I’m gonna try this with chocolate pudding sans bananas.

  26. Sarah

    This was  a great recipe, thank you for sharing.  I made this for a family gathering where we had a desert contest and it got first place!  This was my first time doing anything like that  and everyone loved it!   

  27. Taylor

    Hi! I just made this and it was amazing!! I was wondering if you knew how long it would last in the refrigerator before going bad? It made a huge batch and I will not be able to eat it all today (or tomorrow probably)! Thanks for your response!

    1. Jessica

      Hi Taylor! So glad you enjoyed it!! It will store for up to 5 days. The bananas might turn a little brown, but it’s still good to eat! 🙂

  28. Banana Yum Yum

    Hi Jessica!

    Our banana pudding was runny as well. In the directions, could it be more clearly stated to not make the pudding separately before mixing it in? Should have read the comments before. We still love our banana soup! 

    Xoxo,
    Soup City

    1. Jessica

      I’m sorry, I thought it was clear, but I have now added an additional note for anyone else who is confused. It is the dry pudding mix that you mix in the listed ingredients with. Hope you try it again!

    1. Jessica

      Hi Maritza, Folding is a very gentle way of mixing additional ingredients into a batter/mixture. It just means to gently stir in the whipped cream/cool whip.

  29. Mary

    Is the pudding banana flavored? Or is it vanilla pudding with bananas in there? I’m a little confused about how it becomes yellow banana pudding….

  30. Bryn

    I’m pretty sure people are using “whipping cream”. Not whipped cream.  they must be folding in just the liquid and not whipping it first.  Made it this weekend…not runny at all.

  31. Susan

    Made this Monday for a party. It was so yum. First dessert fully gone.

    Not sure what people are doing to make theirs runny. Maybe not using instant pudding? Mine was perfect. Definitely not runny at all. 

  32. Ella

    **warning** do not fold 3 cups of whipped cream into the pudding. It will be runny and unusable. The recipe directions are very misleading, not sure exactly what they meant by fold in?? Going to have to start over with a different recipe 🙁

    1. Jessica

      3 cups whipped cream/cool whip is NOT that much liquid to make it runny. Did you perhaps use un-whipped cream? And if it’s not that – did you use the giant box of instant pudding? 

      I made this again this weekend for a family gathering and it definitely was not runny! 

  33. Lauren

    How much does this recipe make? I don’t have a large bowl to use so was going to use a 13×9 baking dish. Will that be too small and I should reduce the ingredients? So looking forward to making this and love that I don’t need to wait hours to eat it!!

    1. Alicia

      Mine becomes runny the next day but tastes So good. Ive made this same recipe for years except I mix my bananas in the pudding and mash some of them. It creates a very strong banana taste. I also mix my cool whip in the pudding as well. Everyone who has ever had my pudding has said its the best they’ve ever had.

  34. Rony Young

    1stly i am going to introduce my self my name is Rony i live in sydney, and i love your recipe and i am goona Surely goona try this recipe for my childrens. keep on sharing these kind of beautiful and healthy

    recipes

  35. Courtney

    I used homade whipped cream and folded it onto the pudding, milk and condensed milk and it got really runny 🙁 what did I do wrong? I thought I was to fold it together until it got smooth, which I did, but that also meant runny. help! 🙂

    1. Jessica

      Hi Courtney! Did you use the large box (5.1 oz size) of instant pudding? It definitely shouldn’t be anywhere close to runny! 

      1. Courtney

        Um well I’m a dork! I just pulled the box out of the trash and realized I used cook and serve 🙁  dang! I was so focused on my whipped cream I guess I overlooked the pudding I grabbed…I will try again this weekend…thanks for your response! 🙂

  36. Danielle

    I accidentally mixed the cool whip into my cook and serve pudding i totally screwed this up and read the directions 15times before making it. Fold in* was not what i thought it meant

  37. Maureen

    Hi This looks Devine! I live in South Africa. You say “Vanilla Wafer Biscuits”. In the photo your biscuits do not look like our wafer biscuits. Ours are layered. The biscuits in the picture look solid. Is that correct?
    Thanks 
    Maureen 

    1. Amber

      Hi Maureen, I’m south african too but I live in the USA now. You could probably use Marie biscuits. I can’t think of any other close substitute to vanilla wafer biscuits. They’re kind of like thick Marie biscuits, not at all like SA wafers. Hope that helps! 

    1. Ashley

      I just called my friend to ask this question. If you bought “cook and serve” you have to cook the pudding first. Instead of 3 cups of milk, use 2 cups and the condensed sweetened milk.  If you bought instant pudding you do not have to cook the pudding first. Hope this helps. It confused me too 🙂

    2. Jessica

      Yasmin & Ashley, 

      Sorry if it’s not clearer – it’s the instant pudding mix (not cook & serve] and then you just use the powder. You do not prepare it according to box directions! I hope this clarifies for you both! 🙂 

  38. Ashlee

    I made this over the weekend for my families Sunday dinner. There are 22 of us, so I made a double batch. It was GONE! Everyone LOVED it! Thanks so much!

  39. Maryanne @ the little epicurean

    My mom also puts sweetened condensed milk in everything. It just tastes so good! Mamas know best 🙂 This banana pudding looks excellent!

  40. Laura @MotherWouldKnow

    I love this semi-homemade pudding. I love chocolate more than bananas, so you won’t mind if I add a bunch of chocolate or use chocolate pudding, will you:)?

  41. Bintu | Recipes from a Pantry

    Oh I love how this is put together individually. I was never a fan with banana pudding in a whole casserole because it made the cookies soggy. Love that this can be put together right before serving!

  42. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    Uh, LOVE banana pudding! The day before I had my first son, my best friend invited me over for dinner and served banana pudding for dessert. I knew it was the last time I could really pig out, so I ate THREE bowls! It is truly one of my weaknesses.

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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.
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