This cool and creamy Banana Pudding Dessert is simple to put together and ‘oh so delicious! Make in a square pan or easily double for a 9x13 dessert and get ready to be the talk of the party!Jump to Recipe
These days, we seem to have a plethora of bananas on the counter at all times. McKinley loves bananas, so it's a perfect quick and easy snack to give to her (and less messy than her often-requested yogurt!).
Having them on the counter has been giving me new recipe ideas and this one, you guys, is a WINNER!! I really love banana cream pie with graham cracker crust, but after making one of those a couple weeks ago and messing with the finicky graham cracker crust, I tried something different. (I've got very little patience trying to get the crust perfect on the sides! haha)
I decided that a layered dessert would be the way to go! I typically send leftover blog treats to the office with myself or my hubby, but this one....we kept all to ourselves. Give it a try and you'll see why!!! 🙂
How do you make Banana Pudding Dessert?
I love that there are layers and layers of goodness in this dessert. But don’t let that fool you - this dessert is truly easy to make! I’ll walk you through each one…
Layer 1 - The Crust!
If you have a food processor, this layer really is a cinch! And if you don’t, it’s still pretty darn easy. First, you’ll put the vanilla wafers (or graham crackers) into the food processor and pulse until they’re in fine crumbs. Then, you’ll pour in the melted butter and sugar and blend until combined.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can either use purchased graham cracker crumbs or crush vanilla wafers or graham crackers in a baggie. I like to add them to the baggie, get as much air out as possible, then use a rolling pin to smash them until they’re the desired texture. Then you’ll add them to a bowl and stir in the butter and sugar.
Next, you’ll press the crust mixture into the bottom of a pan and set aside.
Layer 2 - The Cream Cheese Layer
And now for the cream cheese layer - yummy!! (I really think this is what makes this dessert so special!). Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to mix until smooth…nobody wants lumps of cream cheese in their dessert! 🙂 Then you’ll add the powdered sugar and whipped cream and mix until smooth.
Now, spreading this on the crust layer does take a little bit of patience, but if I can do it with my lack of patience, I know you can too! The trick is to add dollops of the mixture over the crust before trying to spread it.
You’ll want to make numerous small dollops all over the crust then use a spoon to slowly spread it out. If you do get some crumbs into the cream cheese layer, no big deal. Heck, it’s all going in your mouth eventually! Ha!
Next, you’ll cut two bananas into ¼ inch slices and arrange them over the cream cheese layer.
Layer 3 - The Pudding Layer
And this wouldn’t be called a banana pudding dessert without a pudding layer! You’ve got a couple options here. If you’re really in a hurry, you can simply whip up some instant vanilla pudding. Simply take a 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding and whisk in 1 ½ cups of cold milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes before spreading it over the cream cheese filling.
The instant pudding is a great option if you’re in a hurry. However, there’s just nothing quite as delicious as a homemade vanilla pudding! It’s pretty darn simple (made in the microwave!!), so don’t be intimidated.
Add the milk, yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt into a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Use a whisk to blend vigorously for 30 seconds. Next, you'll cook this in the microwave on HIGH for 5-7 minutes, whisking well after each minutes. After 4 minutes, you'll stop and whisk every 30 seconds to ensure a smooth pudding.
Once the pudding is nice and thick, it's done cooking. Stir in the vanilla and butter until the butter is completely melted. Press plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool in the fridge or in an ice bath if you're in a hurry....or lack patience, like me! 😉 Once it's cool, you can spread it over the bananas.
Then you’ll place a layer of vanilla wafers (or graham crackers) over the pudding. Easy peasy!
Layer 4 - Whipped Cream & Garnishes
Whipped cream!! Is a layered dessert any good without whipped cream on top? Well, I’m not really sure, but I also don’t want to find out! 🙂 Therefore, we’re topping this bad boy with a layer of it! Heck yeahhh.
The hardest part comes next….waiting. I do recommend refrigerating the dessert for at least an hour before serving. This will help the layers firm up a bit so you have beautiful layers to cut into and serve!
And last but not least, you can sprinkle a few more graham crackers, wafers, and/or chopped up bananas on top. However, I would wait until you're ready to serve to add the bananas so they don't get brown.
Some of my other favorite banana recipes...
When I've got super ripe bananas, I've got two go-to recipes. My frosted Banana Cookies have been a huge hit! And my husbands favorite has to be the Banana Crumb Muffins I posted awhile back. They're really the perfect way to get the day started!
Banana Lollipops make for a delicious afternoon snack. I love that the kids can help top them - oh and they're delicious frozen, too!!
Printable Banana Pudding Dessert recipe below!
Banana Pudding Dessert
- 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 1 8 oz tub whipped cream thawed; divided
- 2 large bananas
- 2 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup vanilla wafers or graham crackers
- banana for garnish, if desired
- vanilla wafer (or graham cracker) crumbs for garnish, if desired
- Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs) with the 2 tablespoon sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a pan. (8x8, 9x9, or 8x11 will work!) Set aside.
Cream Cheese Layer
- In a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese for 30 seconds or until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and 1 cup of the whipped cream (save the rest for the top layer!); mix until smooth.
- Dollop the mixture over the crust layer (lots of little scoops will work best!). Carefully spread until smooth.
- Slice the two bananas and arrange them over the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the milk, egg yolks, ⅔ c sugar, corn starch and salt into a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Use a whisk to blend vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Cook in the microwave on HIGH for 5-7 minutes, whisking well after each minute.
- After 4 minutes, whisk every 30 seconds.
- Once it begins to thicken, make sure to whisk it vigorously to smooth it out.
- Once it's thick like a pudding should be, it's done cooking.
- Stir in the vanilla and butter, until the butter is completely melted.
- Press plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool in the fridge (or in an ice bath if you're in a hurry!).
- Once the pudding is cool, spread it over the cream cheese and banana layer.
- Arrange the vanilla wafers (or graham crackers) over the pudding and return to the refrigerator.
Whipped Topping & Garnishes
- Spread the remaining whipped topping over the wafers.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle a chopped banana and crushed wafers (or graham crackers) on top!