This is the easiest and yummiest banana pudding recipe ever and you can’t have summer in the South without banana pudding. I think just about every picnic, church gathering, and family reunion will have at least one banana pudding dessert. That’s how much we love our banana pudding here! If you are looking for a baked banana pudding, this is not it. I am not a fan of baked ones. Please don’t take any offense if you’re a fan of baked. I know pudding style banana pudding vs. baked pudding is like fighting over Duke’s mayonnaise vs. JFG. All are welcome here. I just love the no-bake version and it’s a lot less work and I don’t have to deal with a meringue, which I’m not really good at, to be honest.
This is the recipe that my grandmother and my mom used. Well, pretty much my entire family! It’s great year-round, but it’s perfect when you want something cool and it’s sweltering outside and since it’s not icky sweet, it’s perfect. Honestly, once it’s made and ready to eat, it doesn’t last long because everyone just devours it. So make sure you get a big bowl first! This version is really just a slight variation of Kraft’s recipe. It is light and fluffy and only takes a few minutes to make and a few hours to set. It’s a favorite around here!
It’s so simple to make and there’s no special equipment needed. You can use a hand mixer if you want to for the pudding, but you can just break out the whisk to mix it.
Make sure when you fold in the whipped cream that you do not use a hand mixer. You have to do this by hand, preferably with a spatula or spoon. Folding is meant to be gentle. It’s fine if the whipped cream isn’t completely mixed in because you don’t want to lose any of its fluffiness. A hand mixer would be too aggressive and you’ll lose all the fluff.
If you like to make your own whipped cream, feel free to do so. You’ll want about 2 cups.
Also, make sure that the bananas are ripe to very ripe but not getting mushy. You want the bananas to be sweet and soft. Make sure you remove any of the strings.
I prefer the actual Nilla Wafer brand. To me they make a difference, but if you like another brand, feel free to use whichever one you and your family love.
Pull out your pretty glass trifle dish, you’ll want to show this banana pudding off. Or you can scoop it into individual bowls or clear glasses or cups for individual servings.
Easy Southern Banana Pudding
- 3 cups cold milk
- 2 pkg. 4-serving size each JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
- 1 box NILLA Wafers
- 3-4 bananas sliced (the riper the better)
- 1 large tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping thawed
Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Let stand 5 min until thickened. Then, gently fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip. Be gentle, you want it to be fluffy. Set aside.
Arrange wafers on the bottom and around the side of the serving bowl or trifle dish. Top each wafer with banana slices, feel free to add as much as you like. Then spread a layer of pudding on top. Repeat layering until you get to the top of the dish. You should end with a layer of pudding. Cover with the remaining Cool Whip.
I like to take some of the crumbs and some of the broken wafers left in the bag and crumble them to make a pretty topping to sprinkle on top.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.