If you're looking for an easy, great banana pudding recipe, I got you covered with the BEST banana pudding you will ever put in your mouth! It's delightfully rich, smooth, creamy thanks to the addition of cool whip, and it's so good served with real bananas and crushed vanilla wafers. The perfect 5 ingredient, 5 minute dessert!
- Banana pudding with cool whip and vanilla wafers
- Tools for this recipe
- How to store banana pudding
- Recipe substitutes and variations
- Using homemade whipped cream
- Can I make this from scratch instead of with instant pudding?
- Why do my bananas turn black in banana pudding?
- Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers and Cool Whip
Banana pudding with cool whip and vanilla wafers
My husband loves anything banana-flavored, while I need a really GOOD banana pudding recipe for me to enjoy it.
Just plain boxed instant banana pudding doesn't quite do it for me... but I do love this pudding recipe that starts with instant banana pudding and gets some cool whip stirred into it to make it extra creamy, extra delicious, and absolutely worth eating.
My favorite part about this recipe is how EASY it is. There's no cooking required, no cooling time. Just whisk, stir, slice bananas, add some vanilla wafers, and enjoy!
More creamy desserts to try: No Bake Key Lime Pie Cheesecake Dip
- 1 3-oz or 3.5-oz box banana cream instant pudding (make sure to get the 3 oz box with 4 ½-cup servings, not the 5 oz box!)
- 1.5 cups cold milk (any kind will work. Fat-free milk will make a thinner pudding, whole milk will make a slightly thicker pudding)
- 8 oz package cool whip, thawed (see notes below if you want to use homemade whipped cream)
- 2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
- 2 medium bananas, sliced (I like them ripe but not mushy for this pudding)
More easy desserts to try: 10 Minute Individual Tropical Trifles
Tools for this recipe
In a large bowl, whisk together the instant banana pudding and milk until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Let it thicken for 5 minutes.
Once the pudding has thickened, fold in the cool whip. You want to fold the cool whip in instead of quickly stirring it in to keep your pudding thick.
Add sliced bananas and crushed vanilla wafers by folding them in or stirring gently.
Serve immediately with extra crushed wafers on top. If not eating immediately, store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve, then garnish with crackers. See more tips for making the pudding ahead of time below.
Try topping the pudding with a drizzle of bourbon caramel sauce from this bourbon milkshake recipe!
More no-bake desserts: Blueberry Delight
How to store banana pudding
I like to store and serve banana pudding in mason jars. If you don’t have mason jars on hand, you can use an airtight container. Banana pudding is best eaten within 2-3 days.
Keep in mind the vanilla wafers will get softer the longer it sits. If you know you're going to be making pudding for later, you can stir in the crushed wafers later right before serving.
More awesome summer desserts: Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker Needed!)
Recipe substitutes and variations
As always, I encourage you to play around with recipes to make them your own and use whatever ingredients you prefer. Here are some ideas:
- Vanilla Pudding substituted for Banana Pudding – I personally think the banana flavor makes this recipe hit! You can always add a little banana extract to vanilla pudding if you like.
- Add vanilla extract—or even better—add vanilla bean powder to the pudding when mixing it with milk.
- The milk can be substituted for almond or any other milk you may have on hand. Keep in mind depending on the milk you are using, the pudding might turn out thicker or thinner.
- You can use homemade whipped cream, but be sure to read the tips below.
- Add some candied pecans on top when serving for more crunch, flavor, and sweetness.
More 5-minute desserts: Protein Brownie Mug Cake
Using homemade whipped cream
I used to make my banana pudding with homemade whipped cream because I do prefer to use from-scratch whole food ingredients. However, I found that when you use the cool whip it helps to stabilize the rest of the ingredients and results in a thicker pudding. Using cool whip also help it last longer sitting out at room temperature, which is good for serving banana pudding at a party.
If you want to use homemade whipped cream, keep the banana pudding in the refrigerator as long as possible. If you are transporting this to a gathering, be sure to keep in a sealed container in a cooler.
Can I make this from scratch instead of with instant pudding?
If you want a quick dessert, I advise against making pudding from scratch because you will need to cool it completely before folding in the whipped cream, bananas, and wafers. Another reason is if you want to make banana pudding from scratch, you'll need to really blend your bananas to make them smooth, and bananas turn brown when cooked and the pudding doesn't turn out as pretty. It's just a lot more work with less favorable results.
If you do want to make stovetop pudding from scratch, give yourself several hours for it to cool completely.
For those who appreciate a good shortcut when it comes to desserts, check out these red velvet cake mix crinkle cookies. If you want a SUPER easy healthier dessert with whole ingredients, try this pumpkin spice whipped cottage cheese.
Why do my bananas turn black in banana pudding?
Bananas turn black brown or black when exposed to air (just like avocados, apples, and potatoes). Another reason bananas turn black when you use homemade pudding that still hasn't cooled and add the bananas to the warm pudding, cooking them a little. That is why I prefer using instant pudding for this recipe—it doesn't need to be cooked and you can fold the bananas in right away.
To keep bananas from getting brown too quickly, slice them right before folding them into the pudding. They don't get brown as quick when they're covered in pudding instead of sitting in the open air.
More easy desserts to try: 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers and Cool Whip
- 3.5 oz banana instant pudding - (look for a 3.5 or 3 oz package, not the 5 oz package)
- 1.5 cups cold milk - any kind, whole milk will make a thicker pudding
- 8 oz cool whip - thawed
- 2 cups vanilla wafers - lightly crushed
- 2 medium bananas - sliced
- In a large bowl whisk together the instant pudding mix and milk until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Once the pudding has thickened, fold in the cool whip. You want to fold the cool whip in instead of stirring to keep your mixture thick.
- Add the bananas and crushed vanilla wafers by folding them in.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container if not immediately serving. (See notes.)
- Serve with extra sliced bananas and crushed vanilla wafers on top!
The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.