Perfect Banana Pudding

Layered banana pudding filling up a glass trifle bowl

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
779 Calories
36g Fat
109g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 779
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 410mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 109g 40%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 74g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 490mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Banana pudding has long been a favorite Southern dessert, and this shortcut version of the classic treat is an excellent choice for a busy day. This recipe is made with instant vanilla 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.

Because this recipe uses boxed pudding mix, there's no need to turn on the oven or stove. It's a great no-bake option for a hot day. Ripe bananas are especially delicious in the layers since they're sweeter and have a stronger flavor, and it's a nice way to use up any extra fruit.

To keep the sliced bananas from turning brown, they are gently tossed or brushed with a small amount of lemon juice. You'll just need a few minutes to mix up the pudding and stack the layers in a trifle dish, glass bowl, or individual dishes. If you're entertaining, make it right before dinner, cover, and stick it in the fridge to chill. Top with freshly sliced banana just before serving.


Click Play to See This Sweet Banana Pudding Come Together

"This banana pudding dish is just heavenly. An extremely luscious dessert that people were going back for seconds and thirds of this dessert when I made it. It was even incredible the next day! I ended up making this twice because it was so insanely good. Definitely going to save this one for the future." —Victoria Heydt

Perfect Banana Pudding Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 firm, ripe bananas

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk

  • 1 (5-ounce) package (6-serving size) instant vanilla pudding

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (12-ounce) container whipped topping, divided

  • 30 vanilla wafer cookies

  • Vanilla sugar, or cinnamon sugar, for garnish, optional

  • 1 firm, ripe banana, for topping, if desired

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for perfect banana pudding recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Peel and slice the bananas and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice. Set aside.

    Banana slices being tossed with lemon juice in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. 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.

    Milk and instant vanilla pudding being beaten to a smooth consistency with a handheld electric mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. With a spatula or spoon, fold half of the whipped topping into the pudding mixture.

    Half of whipped topping being evenly folded into the pudding mixture with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. In an 8-inch trifle dish, 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.

    Alternating layers of pudding, banana slices, and vanilla wafers stacked in a glass trifle bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Garnish the dessert with freshly sliced banana, if desired. For an extra special look, sprinkle the dessert with vanilla sugar or a cinnamon-sugar blend.

    Top of banana pudding garnished with banana slices and cinnamon sugar

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Store

  • To store leftover pudding, cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Note that the bananas will turn brown the longer the pudding is stored and the cookies will become soft.
  • We do not recommend freezing banana pudding since the mixture tends to separate and the texture isn't the same as fresh.


  • If you don't have a lemon, you can use lime juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice to toss with the bananas to help keep them from turning brown.
  • While making the layers, make sure to quickly cover the bananas with the pudding to keep them from turning brown. And don't slice the banana for the garnish until just before serving time.
  • While banana pudding looks lovely in a glass bowl or trifle dish to show off the layers, you can serve it in any dish, such as a 9 x 13 or large casserole. You can also make individual puddings.

Recipe Variations

  • Make your own homemade vanilla pudding for an extra special banana pudding.
  • Swap the whipped topping for three cups of homemade sweetened whipped cream.
  • Swirl some caramel sauce or ice cream topping over each layer of bananas for banoffee flavor.
  • 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.
  • 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.

How Do You Keep Banana Pudding From Getting Watery?

As banana pudding sits, the bananas will release water into the mixture, making the pudding slightly watery. The best way to combat this is to serve and enjoy the pudding freshly made. If you're making ahead, prepare the pudding layer ahead of time, press plastic wrap directly against the top, and store in the fridge for a day or two. Assemble the banana pudding within an hour of serving.