banana pudding

by Patricia on October 8, 2009 · 8 comments


Banana pudding is what my childhood dreams were made of. That and my grandmother’s applesauce cake. Oh, and Monkees reruns… and River Phoenix. He was dreamy in Stand By Me, wasn’t he? I feel like I’m twelve again just thinking about that movie. Still, banana pudding is somewhere in the top 15 or 20.


I don’t think my mom made banana pudding. In fact, I’m not sure where I had it for the first time. It could have been at one of those “meat and 3 veg”/”blue plate special” restaurants (is this a Southern phenomenon? I haven’t seen one those type of restaurants out here in California. I miss those places with the little old ladies running the joint and food that would give your Aunt Sudie Faye’s a run for its money… And that’s saying a lot because she made the best biscuits and gravy on whichever side of the Mississippi she happened to be on at the time. Then again your Aunt Sudie Faye probably worked in a similar restaurant anyway… I know mine did). Going out to eat was always a special thing as a kid, so maybe that’s why I think of banana pudding as both comforting and special.

1-banana-pudding-wafers 3-banana-pudding-layers4-banana-pudding-layer1 6-banana-pudding-whipped-cream

Anyway, if you’ve been reading along, by now you know I am ruled by my cravings. Sure, I can resist them for a little while but in the end, the cravings win. This is the same old story…
Banana pudding demands making.
I say, No, not now. Dan’s out of town this week, I can’t be left alone with an entire batch of pudding.
But the pudding persisted: Make me!
Me: No!
Pudding: I’m dreamy… and creamy.
And damn if I didn’t cave and make some. And eat it. Well, not all of it. Just most of it.

5-banana-pudding-layer2 7-banana-pudding-too-much

I made the pudding in pint-sized containers I found at Smart and Final. It made three pints and I gave one to my friend April. I should have given away two but instead I had banana pudding for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week… ok, not really, I didn’t eat it for breakfast. But I did eat two pints of it… sometimes with chocolate syrup on top.


Banana Pudding
(adapted from the back of a box of Jell-o brand vanilla pudding)

There are other recipes out there, but this is the classic. Some recipes will have you top it with meringue instead of whipped cream… I won’t judge you if you do this, but why would do that? Whipped cream, dude… whipped cream.
Given my unsuccessful attempts at making pudding from scratch, I stuck with the the pudding mix. You’ll find a lot of Southern desserts apply gestalt theory to cake and pudding mixes. It’s a science unto itself. Maybe I should apply for a grant so I can study it further…


  • No special equipment is needed for this recipe, but a mixer of some kind will make it a little easier

1 six ounce box of vanilla flavored Jell-o pudding
2 1/2 cups cold milk
2-3 bananas, sliced
36 Nilla wafers
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered (icing/confectioners) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine pudding mix with the milk in a medium bowl. Stir with a spoon, whisk, or electric mixer until it becomes thick, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
2. Combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk by hand or with a mixer until it forms stiff-ish peaks (or becomes “whipped cream”). Set aside.
3. In the vessel of your choice (a bowl or several smaller bowls or ice cream containers), layer the Nilla wafers, bananas and pudding.
4. Repeat layers.
5. Top with whipped cream.
6. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Yum.

Other banana pudding goodness:


1 Karine October 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I have never had a banana pudding. Kind of weird because I love bananas. Your banana pudding sounds delicious! :)

2 Patricia October 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

@BritHammer – well, the banana pudding is all gone, but luckily it is easy enough to whip up so if you do come over, I could make some real quick. The thing I like about this pudding is you get a little texture with the cookies and bananas… and how the cookies soften and kind of become part of the pudding. Well, and the flavor. But then I’ve always like bananas. Have you tried bananas with chocolate? That’s one of my favorite combinations.

3 Brit Hammer October 9, 2009 at 5:51 am

I’ve never been a big fan of bananas…or pudding, for that matter…something ’bout the texture. BUT you might just have converted me with this recipe. Last year I “discovered” Banoffee when A made it. And banana yoghurt shakes with cinnamon and honey. And baked banana with real vanilla ice cream (as in, both the vanilla AND the ice cream) topped with honey, walnuts, and cinnamon. That’s my banana repertoire…but I think it’s heavily influenced by the cinnamon and honey. Real whipped cream sounds good, too. Hmm. Can I come over and try some? :-)

4 Patricia October 8, 2009 at 9:50 pm

@charlene/crazedparent – you’re welcome :) I hadn’t had it in a while either but for some reason it crept into my cravings last week. I’m sure your kids will love it!

@Syrup magazine – thanks, me too :)

@maggie – Exactly. The instant vanilla pudding… it’s almost too easy.

5 maggie October 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Oh, I’d love to have some of this now. And yes, I’d eat a whole pint straightaway. Did you use instant pudding mix? No cooking involved, right?

6 Syrup magazine October 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm

That looks so good! I love nice, simple desserts.

7 charlene/crazedparent October 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Yum. I haven’t had — or made — banana pudding in a long, long time. Thanks for reminding me of a simple pleasure that is so easy to make! I think I might have to do this for the kids soon.

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