The Best Banana Pudding Ever!
This is the BEST Banana Pudding EVER! Seriously! It is a must make recipe, you definitely need in your life. If you love creamy, rich, light and fluffy banana pudding, this one is for you. Not only is this no bake dessert very easy to make and assemble, it’s a huge hit with everyone that tries it!
I have tried many other banana pudding recipes and nothing comes close to Paula Deen’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding. My grandma’s classic banana pudding recipe is delicious, but this one takes the traditional banana pudding recipe to the next level. It’s pretty much my favorite dessert and I love that it’s so quick and easy to make. It’s a go-to for family gatherings, potlucks and barbecues and it’s always the star of the show. There’s never a bite left! And my kids beg to lick the dish clean!
The whole dessert is no bake, which means you don’t have to heat up your oven at all for this one, but you still get a delicious dessert. Perfect for those hot summer days!
Banana Pudding Ingredients
- Cookies. This particular banana pudding recipe uses Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies. They are scrumptious shortbread cookies you can find at most any grocery store. As the cookies sit in the pudding, they become soft and almost cake-like and SO irresistibly delicious! If preferred, you could substitute them for any butter cookies or Nilla Wafers.
- Bananas. Use ripe bananas that are still slightly firm. They will soften as the banana pudding sits in the refrigerator.
- Milk. This recipe uses both regular milk and sweetened condensed milk. I have successfully used almond milk and fat free sweetened condensed milk, but using full fat ingredients will yield the richest, tastiest banana pudding.
- Pudding. I use INSTANT French vanilla pudding like Paula Deen. However, for a stronger banana flavor, you can use instant banana cream pudding mix. Even plain vanilla would work. Be sure to use INSTANT pudding mix for best results.
- Cream cheese. You will need 8 ounces of cream cheese. You can use lite cream cheese, but for a richer flavor use full fat.
- Whipped topping. I like using Cool Whip for any banana pudding that I make. Homemade whipped cream will work, but it is not as stable and more likely to melt.
How do you make banana pudding?
The ingredients and assembly instructions for this banana pudding recipe are really simple.
- Start by lining the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish with Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies. Now, layer the cookies with banana slices.
- Combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer, stand mixer or whisk.
Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the Cool Whip or other whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the cookies and banana slices. Top with additional banana slices and cookies. Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours (4 hours is best) and until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Tips For the BEST Banana Pudding
- I highly recommend using an electric mixer to combine ingredients, so that every layer is super smooth. However, you can use a large spoon or whisk to mix ingredients.
- Be sure to allow time for the cream cheese to soften to room temperature. It’s essential for mixing the cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk!
- For best results, allow the banana pudding to chill for at least 4 hours, overnight is best!
- Bananas for banana pudding need to be just barely ripe, no brown spots. If the bananas are too ripe, they will get too mushy and will brown faster than just barely ripe bananas.
- Make sure you buy INSTANT pudding, that way it will thicken up without having to heat it.
Variations To Try
I absolutely love this recipe as-is, but there are also many fun (and delicious) way to customize it.
- Try using different fruits in addition or in place of banana. I really want to try a strawberry banana version!
- Use a different flavor of pudding mix. Banana cream pudding mix would intensify the banana flavor.
- Personally, I’m a huge fan of the chessman cookies in this, but you can use other shortbread cookies, like Lorna Doone cookies or the classic Nilla Wafers.
- Prepare in a trifle bowl or individual bowls or ramekins to change up the presentation.
How do you keep bananas from browning in banana pudding?
This banana pudding gets eaten up so quickly, the bananas probably won’t have time to get brown! But if you’re concerned with them looking brown, you can spray a small amount of citrus juice on the bananas before adding them to the pudding. This should keep the bananas from turning brown.
How long does banana pudding last?
Banana Pudding can be made a day before you plan to serve it. In fact, I recommend making it the night before serving it to let the flavors intensify. Once you cut into it, for best results, it should be eaten within about three days. After about three days, it’s still good to eat, but the bananas will most likely become brown and very soft.
Store banana pudding in the refrigerator and make sure it is covered well with plastic wrap. If your 9×13 dish has a lid, that works too. I don’t recommend freezing this dessert. As it thaws, the pudding will become mushy and watery.
Can I use Nilla Wafers instead of Chessman Cookies?
Yes, you can ABSOLUTELY use Nilla Wafers. I personally prefer the Chessman Cookies. They really make this banana pudding recipe something special, in my opinion.
Feel free to add an extra layer of cookies and banana, if you prefer. You can really add as many, or as few cookies and banana slices as you want.
Just watch how easy this recipe is to whip up!
Video tutorial is located, below, in the recipe card.
More Family Favorite Desserts
Easy Coffee Cake (personal fave!)
If you try this delicious dessert recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
The Best Banana Pudding Ever!
- 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies*, 20 cookies for the bottom layer and 20 cookies for the top layer
- 4-6 bananas, sliced (I used 5 bananas)
- 2 cups milk, (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- 1 (5-ounce) box INSTANT French vanilla pudding
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I used lite cream cheese)
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (fat free will work)
- 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping (I used lite Cool Whip)
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with cookies and layer banana slices on top.
- In medium bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer, stand mixer or whisk.
- Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. (I used my stand mixer for all ingredient combining)
- Pour the mixture over the cookies and banana slices. Top with additional banana slices and cookies. Refrigerate about 2-3 hours and until ready to serve.
Did you make this recipe?
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This recipe was first published April 2014 and was updated with new content August 2020.
Loved the pudding! But, the cookies were just too much in my opinion. Had it after about 5 hours in fridge, and the cookies were not softened. So, the thickness and crunchiness of the cookies didn’t allow the banana pudding to be the dominant flavor and creamy texture. Will try today after over 24 hours, and see if this improves.
Hey there. Thanks for sharing. Banana Pudding is my all time favorite dessert. The addition of cream cheese makes this so decadent and I love the texture and flavor it lends to the pudding.
I always use heavy whipping cream instead of cool whip. I fold it into the pudding once everything is combined and to kick up the flavor profile I use 1 teaspoon vanilla, a 1/2 tspn cinnamon along with 1/2 tspn nutmeg. The chessman cookies are delicious. It’s refrigerating until dinner tomorrow. Can’t wait to enjoy.
Thanks for your feedback! Enjoy!
I make this often, but never with bananas (my sister doesn’t like them, so I started getting creative). Chocolate pudding with fresh strawberries, canned cherries, cheesecake pudding with either of those or canned blueberries. I want to try lemon pudding with blueberries or raspberries next. So good.
Yum! Love all of those ideas… I definitely need to give some other fruits and such a try!
Can I use shortbread cookies instead of chessman butter cookies?
sure! That would work fine. Enjoy!
Made this for a Christmas dessert and it was a huge hit! Might be my favorite dessert of all time. and it definitely took the normal banana pudding up a notch!
Love! Love! Love! This recipe!!
When I said I was making Banana Cream Pie for Thanksgiving, well let’s just say no one was excited. That is until they saw it. Eyes got big, smiles on faces, questions about what kind of pie is that??
Banana Cream Pie! Do you want a piece?
It was the first pie finished!!
Thank You for giving an oldie but goodie and new style and look!
Love hearing this!! It is truly one of my favorites too! Thanks so much for taking time to comment!
This was the first banana pudding I have ever made. It was excellent and we consumed it at record speed. Next time I will use heavy whipping cream instead of Cool Whip. Ran out of Chessmen Butter cookies because they are my favorites and I had to snack on them a bit. Embarrassing!
Haha! Sounds like me! So glad you enjoyed!
I always make for all family get togethers but had never tried it with these cookies and it was definitely delicious!!💖🤗 I don’t think I’ll ever make it a different way!
I already know I love this recipe since I’ve used it in the past! I am curious though.. would regular vanilla pudding work just the same as French vanilla? My local stores were out when I went. If there is a major difference I will keep looking for French vanilla. Thankyou!
French vanilla has a bit of a sweeter, richer flavor. I think the regular vanilla will work just fine. Happy holidays!
This was delicious especially with the cookies. Most banana puddings I’ve had use Nilla wafers and for me they seem too sweet especially when you get a few wafers in a spoonful it’s like a sugar bomb. These cookies aren’t as sweet and help balance out the flavors.
Yes, it is definitely a favorite of mine! Glad you enjoyed!
I made this with my daughter and we absolutely loved it! Is the nutrition info for the entire recipe?
The nutritional info listed is for one serving using full fat ingredients. This recipe makes 10 servings and servings are large. You could definitely be satisfied having 1/2 of a serving. You can also lighten this recipe up quite a bit using light and fat free ingredients. I have made it this way and it was delicious, just not quite as firm or rich. Enjoy!
This was so good and didn’t last long! My whole family gobbled it up!
This was excellent! I love Banana Pudding and seriously you know being from the South we make this a lot! This is honestly my favorite recipe I’ve ever tried. Thanks so much… I will make this again and again!
I made this yesterday! It is to die for wonderful! I used sugar-free pudding and 1% milk. Will probably go with lower-fat cream cheese and lite cool whip next. I will definitely make this again!
I have made this recipe before. It is awesome. My whole family loves it!
Oh my gosh, this was delicious! So easy to make and my husband already requested I make it again this weekend. A hit for sure! Loved the chessmen cookies on top too.
My whole family loved this! Great recipe, Kim!
Favorite dessert ever! I actually asked my mom to make this for my b-day! 🙂
Made this yesterday for a cookout. It was a hit! Thank you for sharing.
Really good! This recipe tastes homemade and not like instant pudding mix that you use. I was concerned it would be too sweet but it was perfect and flavorful. My husband said it’s the best banana pudding he has ever had. Light and easy to make for summer!
I made it today and it was super delish. Everyone loved it. Thanks for posting it. I think what makes the difference is the cream cheese in it. I loved it. I’ll make it for sure again.