Banana pudding has long been a favorite Southern dessert, and this shortcut version is an excellent choice for a busy day. This recipe is made with instant pudding, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla wafers, prepared whipped cream, and sliced bananas, making for an easy and convenient layered dessert that is sure to impress.
To keep the sliced bananas from turning brown, they are gently tossed or brushed with a small amount of lemon juice. Assemble the pudding in a glass bowl or individual glass dessert dishes to show the attractive layers and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving for the very best flavor.
- 3 bananas, firm, ripe, plus 1 banana for topping, if desired
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups cold milk
- 1 (5.1-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (6-serving size)
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12-ounce) container whipped topping, divided
- 30 vanilla wafer cookies
- Optional: vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar, for garnish
Gather the ingredients.
Peel and slice the bananas and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice. Set aside.
Combine the cold milk and instant vanilla pudding mix and whisk or beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix until thoroughly blended. Let stand for 2 minutes.
With a spatula or spoon, fold half of the whipped topping into the pudding mixture.
In a glass serving bowl or individual dessert dishes, alternate layers of pudding, banana slices, and vanilla wafers. Spoon or pipe the remaining whipped topping over the pudding. Chill the pudding for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish the dessert with banana slices, if desired. For an extra special look, sprinkle the dessert with vanilla sugar or a cinnamon-sugar blend.
- If your bananas aren't ripe enough, put them in a paper bag along with an apple (this helps speed up the process) a day or so before you plan to make the pudding.
- If you don't have a lemon, you can use lime juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice to toss with the bananas.
- While making the layers, make sure to quickly cover the bananas with the pudding to keep them from turning brown.
- Don't slice the banana for garnish until just before serving time.
- To store leftover pudding, cover and refrigerate for up to three days.
- Add a few mint leaves or crumbled vanilla wafers on top for additional garnish.
- Swirl some caramel sauce or ice cream topping over each layer of bananas for banoffee flavor.
- Make your own homemade vanilla pudding if you'd like.
- Make toasted coconut banana pudding: Put 3/4 cup of flaked sweetened coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring until the coconut is browned and aromatic. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the toasted coconut over the banana layer and save the remaining 1/4 cup for topping just before serving.
- Sprinkle each layer of bananas and vanilla wafers with miniature marshmallows.
- Replace the vanilla pudding with all or part banana cream pudding or cheesecake pudding.
- Instead of vanilla wafers, use small butter cookies or broken shortbread.
- For an adult version, replace a few tablespoons of the milk with banana liqueur or rum.