I try not to call all of the recipes I share here best ever, because that feels like a bit much. But I assure you, this recipe for BEST EVER Banana Pudding is most deserving.
What kind of magic happens when Nilla Wafers and pudding sit side by side in the fridge for a few hours? It becomes all soft and almost cake-like, and the pudding sets into the smoothest, creamiest vanilla-y goodness. Add a few slices of banana and some homemade whipped cream, and you’ve got a pretty sweet little make ahead dessert that is comfort food to the max!
A little tip on assembling the pudding cups – I used these glass jars – they are the perfect size for an individual layered dessert. You could even put the lids on if you needed to transport them.
I also like to use a piping bag or gallon sized Ziploc with the corner cut off to pipe the pudding mixture into the jars. It just makes it easier to control how much goes in as opposed to trying to get it off the spoon neatly.
I used three whole Nilla Wafers in each jar, plus a layer of crushed Nilla Wafers in the middle, and a few more on top of the whipped cream. You can also top each jar with freshly sliced banana right before serving.
This dessert does need to be made at least 3 hours ahead of time so that the Nilla Wafers have time to soften. It really is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in quite a while! Hope you try them!
Did you make this recipe?
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Best Ever Banana Pudding
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
This truly is the Best Ever Banana Pudding recipe! Such a sweet little make ahead treat that is comfort food to the max!
For the Pudding
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla (or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
- 24 whole vanilla wafer cookies
- 30 vanilla wafer cookies, coarsely crushed
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
For the Pudding
- In a medium saucepan, stir sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks and milk and whisk together. Over medium heat, gradually whisk the milk and egg mixture into the cornstarch mixture. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and boiling. Boil for one minute then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in softened butter and vanilla.
- Cool the pudding to room temperature. An ice bath will speed this up if needed.
For the Whipped Cream
- Add the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment fitted. Turn mixer to medium speed for a minute, then increase speed to high and the cream thickens. Whisk until cream has thickened to soft peaks, about 2 more minutes.
- Arrange eight 1-cup jars on a tray or baking sheet.
- Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding, being careful not to stir the air out of the whipped cream. Pour the pudding into a gallon size Ziploc bag, squeeze the air out, and seal the bag. Cut a 1/2 inch hole in one of the corners. Pipe a small dollop of pudding into the bottom of each jar. Press three whole vanilla wafer cookies into each jar in a single layer. Pipe another layer of pudding to cover the cookies, then three slices of banana. Add a tablespoon or so of crushed cookies over the bananas, reserving a 1/4 cup for garnish on the very top. Pipe the remaining pudding over the crushed cookie layer, and then top with a spoonful of the remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with crushed cookies. Cover the cups with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, so that the cookies have time to soften. Top with a banana slice or two just before serving if desired.
- These pudding cups are best served anywhere from 3-24 hours after assembling.
The pudding portion of this recipe is slightly adapted from my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook.
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 442
- Sugar: 33g
- Sodium: 318mg
- Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 12g
- Unsaturated Fat: 8.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 55g
- Fiber: 1.2g
- Protein: 6.8g
- Cholesterol: 141mg
Keywords: best ever banana pudding, banana pudding, comfort food, make ahead dessert
Kathy B says
What a cute idea! Love banana pudding.
Thank you Kathy!
Can the pudding recipe be doubled at the same time or would you recommend making two separate batches?
Good question, I think I would just play it safe and do one at a time. Enjoy!
I’ve doubled it several times with no issue at all 😊
Good to know, thank you!
Angela Minich says
Do you think these can be made a day in advance? Or made in the morning for an evening event?
You can definitely make it the morning of an evening event. We keep it in the fridge and eat it a few days later, but the wafers are very soft and bananas a little brown. Still delicious!
Heather Lynn Kolowca says
can you make it with frozen, mashed banana mixed into the pudding mixture?
I’m not sure about that… might change the color but if you don’t mind that you could give it a try. I would stir it in after the pudding is made.
What size jars are those
They hold 1 cup.
Liz Alonzo says
Salted or unsalted butter does it matter?
Seema Dhamani says
I cant find nilla wafers in Canada, any substitutions?
Do you put lemon or lime juice on the bananas if you are making the day before so the bananas won’t turn brown?