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!

banana pudding on a white plate with Chessman cookies on top

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.

  1. Start by lining the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish with Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies. Now, layer the cookies with banana slices.
  2. Combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer, stand mixer or whisk.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
instructions for making the best banana pudding

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.
best banana pudding topped with Chessman cookies

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.

Storing Leftovers

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.

dishing banana pudding onto a white plate

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.

serving banana pudding out of a white dish

Just watch how easy this recipe is to whip up!

More Family Favorite Desserts

Cream Cheese Pie {video}

Chocolate Delight

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

bite of banana pudding on a fork
banana pudding on a white plate with Chessman cookies on top
Print
4.75 from 47 votes
Nutrition Facts
The Best Banana Pudding Ever!
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 557 Calories from Fat 220
% Daily Value*
Fat 24.4g38%
Saturated Fat 16.6g104%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7g
Cholesterol 77.8mg26%
Sodium 332.5mg14%
Potassium 420.9mg12%
Carbohydrates 73.4g24%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 48.7g54%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 1690IU34%
Vitamin C 6.4mg8%
Calcium 740mg74%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Servings:10 large servings
The Best Banana Pudding Ever!
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
 

Try this banana pudding recipe and you'll never want to try any other! Always a crowd favorite!

Ingredients
  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, 20 cookies for the bottom layer and 20 cookies for the top layer (pictured are the spring version)*
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with cookies and layer banana slices on top.

    line dish with cookies and then banana slices
  2. In medium bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer, stand mixer or whisk.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.

    pouring pudding mixture over cookie and banana layer
Recipe Notes

Recipe only slightly adapted from Paula Dean's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly (why mess with something that's already perfect?!), but used lightened up ingredients. I have made this recipe with light ingredients and with the higher calorie ingredients and both work great. The higher calorie ingredients will result in a firmer, more rich pudding layer.

*I suggest buying an extra bag of cookies. This will give you extras in case some are broke.

**Nutritional information is calculated using full fat ingredients. 

Photos by Molly at Yes to Yolks.

Author: Kim
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best banana pudding, chessman cookie banana pudding, cream cheese banana pudding

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This recipe was first published April 2014 and was updated with new content August 2020.