This Banana Pudding with Cream Cheese is one of those classic desserts that never goes out of style. With layers of creamy pudding, sweet banana slices, and a delightful crunch from vanilla wafers, it's a dessert that's loved by all generations.
The best part? You don't even need to turn on your oven to make it! And if you're a fan of no-bake desserts, be sure to try my Easy No Bake Cherry Pie with Graham Cracker Crust.
No Bake Banana Cream Pudding is a delightful and simple dessert perfect for picnics, special events, or when craving a delicious treat. It's one of my favorite desserts to share that will have everyone asking for seconds. Enjoy making and savoring this timeless favorite!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Delicious Dessert - No Bake Banana Pudding is the perfect combination of creamy, crunchy, and sweet. It's a crowd-pleaser that satisfies both kids and adults.
- Only SIX Simple Ingredients - This recipe uses straightforward ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. You probably have some of them in your pantry and fridge already.
- No fuss - If you like the layered look of traditional banana pudding, you can cut this dessert into pieces. However, don't feel intimidated by serving perfect squares. This dessert can be scooped into bowls and topped with whipped cream for an equally yummy-looking treat.
Why Is The Cream Cheese Important In This Recipe?
While making a banana pudding dessert without cream cheese is possible, incorporating it can enhance this no-bake dessert's overall taste and texture. Cream cheese contributes a rich, creamy texture to the dessert. This helps create a smooth and luscious base for the pudding.
For our recipe, adding cream cheese is the best way to stabilize the pudding layer, providing structure and preventing it from becoming too runny. This is crucial in a no-bake recipe with no baking process to help set the dessert.
- Nilla Wafer Cookies - You will use the majority of the box for the dessert layers and a few will be left to be used as garnish.
- Cream Cheese
- Instant Banana Pudding Mix
- Whole Milk
- Cool Whip
- Fresh Banana Slices - Use fresh bananas with a firm texture without any brown on the peels for best results.
*Please scroll down to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient amounts.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix - While banana pudding mix is used in the recipe, you can swap it out with vanilla if you prefer a milder banana flavor.
- 2% Milk - For best results and creaminess, we recommend whole milk, but you can use other options like 2%.
- Homemade Whipped Cream - You can replace the whipped topping with heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
- Shortbread Cookies or Graham Crackers - In keeping with traditional banana pudding, we used Nilla Wafers. However, shortbread cookies or graham crackers make great substitutions if a switch is needed.
Step 1. Place softened cream cheese in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth (about 30 seconds).
Step 2. Add the instant pudding mix and cold milk to the cream cheese and start mixing on low speed. Increase the mixer speed and blend to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Step 3. While the pudding is setting up, cut the bananas into slices that are about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.
Step 4. Fold in ½ of the Cool Whip to the cream cheese mixture until completely incorporated.
Step 5. Place a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 9"x 13" glass casserole dish (or baking pan).
Step 6. Add ½ of the pudding mixture, spreading it evenly over the wafers.
Step 7. Add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the pudding.
Step 8. Repeat by adding another layer of cookies, the remaining pudding, and sliced bananas.
Step 9. Top with remaining Cool Whip to cover fresh bananas.
Step 10. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until cold. Garnish with crushed cookies, more banana slices, and whipped cream.
Storage and Freezing
This Easy Banana Pudding may be made one day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezing is not recommended for this dessert.
If you are unable to find the large box of instant pudding, you may use two of the smaller 3 ounce size boxes.
To prevent your bananas from browning too quickly, brush them with a little lemon juice or orange juice before layering them in the dessert. This helps maintain their fresh appearance and flavor.
Yes, you can make No Bake Banana Pudding ahead of time. However, it's best to assemble it a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Absolutely! Homemade whipped cream adds a beautiful, airy texture. Use your favorite recipe and whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Sure! I used a 9" x 13" casserole dish for ease. But this is a perfect dessert to layer in a glass trifle bowl to show off all the layers.
Both desserts contain cream cheese, but their usage differs. In Banana Pudding, cream cheese is incorporated into the pudding mixture to add richness and creaminess. In a No Bake Cheesecake, cream cheese is the star ingredient, forming the main body of the dessert.
Yes, feel free to get creative! Some like adding strawberries, crushed pineapple, or caramel drizzle for extra flavor and variety. Customize it to your liking!
Banana Pudding with Cream Cheese (No Bake Recipe)
- Large Mixing Bowl
- hand mixer
- 9" x 13" Glass Dish or Pan
- Plastic Wrap
- 11 oz. box Nilla wafers
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 5 oz box instant banana pudding
- 3 cups whole milk cold
- 16 oz. Cool Whip thawed
- 5-6 ripe bananas plus more for garnish
- Place softened cream cheese in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth (about 30 seconds).
- Add the instant pudding mix and cold milk to the cream cheese and start mixing on low speed. Increase the mixer speed and blend to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- While the pudding is setting up, cut the bananas into slices that are about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.
- Fold in ½ of the Cool Whip to the cream cheese mixture until completely incorporated.
- Place a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 9"x 13" glass casserole dish (or baking pan).
- Add ½ of the pudding mixture, spreading it evenly over the wafers.
- Add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the pudding.
- Repeat by adding another layer of cookies, the remaining pudding, and sliced bananas.
- Top with remaining Cool Whip to cover fresh bananas.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until cold. Garnish with crushed cookies, more banana slices and whipped cream.
- I had about 5 vanilla wafer cookies left after making the layers. I crushed those cookies and used them to sprinkle on the top of the dessert.
- If you can't find instant banana pudding mix, vanilla is a good substitute.
- Two small 3-ounce boxes of pudding mix may be used in place of the larger 5-ounce size.