Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Recipe (No Bake)

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you’ll ever eat! 

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Recipe (No Bake)

Our family loves bananas and whenever we have a few extra lying around in the kitchen, I love whipping up and surprising my family to a delicious no bake banana pudding dessert for us to enjoy together.

This Dreamy Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Dessert easily goes on my Top 10 list of favorite desserts not only because it’s super yummy, but because it’s SO easy to make!

This no bake banana pudding dessert starts with a vanilla wafer crust and is topped with light and luscious layers of a homemade whipped cream and sweetened cream cheese mixture, sliced bananas, then topped with more whipped cream and vanilla wafers.

It’s a simple and delicious twist on a classic homemade banana pudding, and the flavor combinations are just perfect together.

I love making this simple banana pudding with cream cheese for the family on the weekends or for taking to potlucks with family and friends.

It’s a great no bake dessert to make ahead a couple days in advance and banana pudding is one of those desserts that gets better the longer it’s refrigerated.

Grab the simple recipe and all the kitchen tools you need for this layered banana pudding dessert below!

For step by step instructions, check out my Youtube video over here.

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This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

No Bake Banana Pudding Dessert

This no bake banana pudding with cream cheese only takes about 15 minutes to prep making it a great choice when you want an easy, no-bake dessert.

Nilla Wafer banana pudding is made with simple ingredients and it’s one of those recipes that is easily adaptable.

For this recipe I prefer using instant vanilla pudding mix while making my own homemade whipped cream, but this layered banana pudding dessert can also be made with cool whip if that’s all you have, and there’s several variations you can make to switch up the flavors.

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding Ingredients –  What’s in Banana Pudding?

  • Bananas – For the best flavor, use fresh, ripe bananas with no brown or green spots on them
  • Nilla Wafers – This classic ingredient is a must in this delicious no bake banana pudding, and you will use them both whole and as a crushed cookie crust
  • Butter – You’ll need just a couple tablespoons for melting in your Nilla wafer cookie crust
  • Vanilla Pudding – You will need 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
  • Milk – I recommend using 2% or whole milk for the best flavor
  • Cream Cheese – I like using 1/3 fat light, but you can use whole fat or fat-free, if preferred
  • Powdered Sugar – You will need this to sweeten up the cream cheese mixture and for making homemade whipped cream
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – For your homemade whipped cream
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds flavor to your cream cheese mixture and whipped cream

 

Check out all my helpful tips and recommendations below, as well as answers to banana pudding frequently asked questions.

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Layered Dessert Tips:

Although this no bake banana pudding is extremely easy to  make, I wanted to share some of my most helpful tips with you to make the absolute best banana pudding dessert.

 

What Pan to Use:

This dessert makes the perfect amount for tall layers in an 8×8 glass baking dish, but can easily be doubled for a 9×13 pan.

Simply tap the 2x button on the recipe card below to double it.

It’s also perfect for making in a pretty trifle bowl like this.

 

How to Easily Spread Layers:

Use a long, rubber spatula like this one for carefully spreading each layer.

If you don’t have one, a butter knife or an offset spatula works well too.

I recommend dropping small dollops around the pan and carefully spreading outwards to the corners.

 

How to Avoid Bananas Turning Brown:

Work quickly when preparing this layered banana pudding to avoid your bananas turning brown.

Wait to slice bananas until right before you need them, and cover them quickly with pudding to prevent air exposure.

 

Garnish As Desired:

I love the classic look and ease of whole vanilla wafers on top, but feel free to garnish other ways.

Crushed vanilla wafers, chopped nuts, or sliced bananas can be added on top, if desired.

Just make sure if you slice bananas, you do this right before serving to avoid them turning brown.

 

Refrigerate Before Serving:

Refrigerate your banana pudding dessert for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.

Overnight is actually preferred, as this will really enhance all the flavors of the dessert. See my tips below on how to prep ahead.

 

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

Homemade Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers and Banana Slices FAQ’s

 

What bananas are best for banana pudding? (How ripe should bananas be for banana pudding?)

The best bananas for banana pudding are the ones that are fresh and ready to eat.

When shopping, look for ripe bananas with no brown or green spots for the absolute best flavor.

 

Can I use banana instant pudding instead of vanilla instant pudding?

Yes. Banana, vanilla, French vanilla, white chocolate, or even lemon pudding are all delicious flavors that can be used in banana pudding.

 

Can I use Cool Whip instead of homemade whipped cream?

Yes, if you don’t have all the ingredients to make the whipped cream homemade, you can easily substitute cool whip instead.

Although I prefer homemade, cool whip is actually more stable for prepping in advance, so feel free to use that if you need to make it a few days ahead of time.

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

How do I make homemade whipped cream?

Homemade whipped cream is SUPER easy to make and the key is using COLD ingredients and tools.

I recommend placing your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before preparing.

Once chilled, place heavy whipping cream, 2-3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a COLD large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip together on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

It typically only takes 1 – 1 1/2 minutes to come together and that’s it!

 

What can I use in place of Nilla Wafers?

If you can’t find any vanilla wafers, feel free to use butter cookies, shortbread cookies, chessman cookies, animal crackers, or graham crackers instead.

 

Variations for Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

  • Drizzle the top with delicious caramel, chocolate, or peanut butter sauce.
  • Switch vanilla pudding with banana, lemon, cheesecake, chocolate, or white chocolate pudding.
  • Top with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, almonds, or toasted shredded coconut.
  • Use butter cookies, shortbread cookies, chessman cookies, animal crackers, or graham crackers instead of Nilla wafers.

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

Do you have to refrigerate banana pudding?

Yes. As banana pudding has both dairy and fresh bananas in it, it should be refrigerated and kept cold at all times.

Prior to serving, I recommend refrigerating it for a minimum of 4 hours, and any leftovers should be stored in the fridge.

 

Can I make banana pudding ahead of time?

Yes, and that’s one of the reasons I love making this layered banana pudding dessert so much!

You can prepare it up to 2 days in advance, and I personally always prefer making it a day before to give the pudding enough time to set up and all the flavors to meld together.

It also allows the Nilla Wafers to soften, which is my favorite part.

To save prep time the day of, you can also prepare individual ingredients in advance including vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and crushed Nilla Wafers, and store air-tight until you are ready to assemble.

 

How long does no bake banana pudding last?

Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding lasts in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

By day 3, the bananas will typically start to turn brown and the texture of everything will soften, but aside from discoloration, it will still taste delicious.

 

Can banana pudding be frozen?

No, I personally don’t recommend freezing this no bake banana pudding.

As indicated above, it will last refrigerated for up to 5 days but after that I would recommend tossing any leftovers (although our house never has any – ha!)

 

How to make healthier (low fat) banana pudding –

If you want to make this layered banana pudding a tad healthier, feel free to make the following adjustments.

  • Use skim or 1% milk
  • Use fat-free Cool Whip
  • Use fat-free cream cheese
  • Use sugar-free pudding
  • Use reduced fat Nilla Wafers

 

How do you keep bananas from turning black/brown in banana pudding?

Bananas will inevitably turn brown after they are exposed to air, but there are a couple tricks you can do to minimize this and slow the process down.

  1. Don’t slice your bananas until you are ready to layer them in the pudding so that the air doesn’t hit them for long.
  2. Toss the banana slices in a bit of citrus juice such as lemon juice or orange juice.
  3. Cover the banana slices completely with banana pudding when preparing your banana pudding dessert.

 

Why is my banana pudding watery?

If you find your banana pudding has turned watery at any point after storing it, it’s probably due to letting it get too warm from sitting out.

I always recommend keeping your banana pudding cold and returning to the fridge when you aren’t eating it.

If you’re at a party or gathering, try to keep it on ice or stored in a cooler.

 

What order do you layer banana pudding dessert?

I don’t really think there’s any right or wrong way to layer banana pudding, but here’s the order we use for this no bake banana pudding:

  1. Crushed Vanilla Wafers
  2. ½ of Cream Cheese/Whipped Cream Mixture
  3. Whole Vanilla Wafers
  4. Sliced Bananas
  5. Vanilla Pudding
  6. ½ of Cream Cheese/Whipped Cream Mixture
  7. Whole Vanilla Wafers
More Banana Recipes You’ll Love:

 

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

How to Make Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding (No Bake)

If you want to learn how to make this delicious and easy layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding, then check out the list of all the kitchen tools you’ll need below, as well as a visual guide, and printable recipe card with full instructions.

You can also watch my full step-by-step video tutorial over here on YouTube.

 

Kitchen Tools for No Bake Banana Pudding Dessert:
Visual Guide on How to Layer Banana Pudding:
This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 
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Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Recipe (No Bake)

  • Author: Kindly Unspoken
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 9-12 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you’ll ever eat! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
Crust:
  • 1 cup Nilla Wafer crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups of vanilla wafers, processed or crushed)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Cream Cheese Mixture:
  • 1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Homemade Whipped Cream: *

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 23 tbsp powdered sugar (use more or less based on preference – I used 2)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Banana Pudding Filling:
  • 25 whole Nilla Wafers
  • 23 medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 small (3.4 oz.) package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 c. cold milk

Topping

  • Nilla Wafers (25 whole if you want it like mine, or crumbled)
  • Banana slices for garnish, if desired

Instructions

Vanilla Wafer Crust:
  1. Use a food processor or blender to finely crush Nilla Wafers into 1 cup of small crumbs. You can also use a gallon-size ziploc bag and a rolling pin.
  2. In a bowl, stir the vanilla wafer crumbs crumbs and melted butter until fully combined.
  3. Press crumb mixture with a fork into the bottom of a 8×8 glass baking dish that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Cream Cheese and Whipped Topping Mixture:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer and cream together the softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. In a separate COLD mixing bowl, make the homemade whipped cream by combining heavy whipping cream, 2-3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and whipping on medium-high speed with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. It usually only takes 1 minute or so.
  3. By hand, mix together the whipped cream and cream cheese mixture until well combined.
  4. Spread a little less than half the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture evenly over the crust by dropping small dollops and spreading gently outwards.
  5. Arrange the vanilla wafers in a layer on top of the cream cheese/whipped cream layer. Set aside while you prepare the banana pudding filling.
Banana Pudding Filling:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine vanilla instant pudding powder and cold milk.  Use an electric hand mixer and whisk until well combined and the pudding has thickened.
  2. Slice bananas into about 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange in a layer on top of the vanilla wafers.
  3. Next, carefully spread the vanilla pudding into a layer on top of the bananas, ensuring all the bananas are completely covered to prevent browning.
  4. Top vanilla pudding layer with the remaining cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Gently spread it evenly over the pudding layer.
  5. Place remaining vanilla wafers on top of the whipped topping/cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight (preferred) before serving.
YouTube video

Notes

  • You can also use 8 oz of Cool Whip if you don’t want to make the homemade whipped topping, but if you can I definitely recommend the homemade kind. It’s very easy and DE-LICIOUS!
  • This recipe makes the perfect amount for an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with nice and tall layers. If you want to do it in a 9 x 13″ pan, please double the recipe.
  • As bananas quickly turn brown once exposed to air, you’ll want to slice the bananas right before placing them in the dessert and make sure you cover them all the way with the vanilla pudding.
  • This banana pudding dessert tastes even better the next day! If possible, refrigerate overnight before serving.

Keywords: nilla wafer banana pudding, no bake banana pudding, banana pudding no bake, banana pudding, banana pudding dessert, layered banana pudding dessert, layered banana pudding, banana pudding with cream cheese, quick banana pudding, best banana dessert, homemade banana pudding

More No Bake Desserts You’ll Love:

 


Hope you’ll give this Delicious No Bake Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Recipe a try! It’s a yummy twist on regular banana pudding and is an easy no bake banana pudding that will receive lots of requests from your family and friends to make again.

Do you love homemade banana pudding with cream cheese too? Let me know below!

Thanks for stopping by! – Cara

This Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert! Sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, and a luscious sweet cream cheese mixture are layered on top of a buttery vanilla wafer crust for the best no bake banana pudding dessert you'll ever eat! 

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Recipe rating

 

13 Comments

  1. Jenna wrote:

    When you just want the ingredients and recipe but you have to scroll forrrrrever just to get it.

    Posted 4.16.22 Reply
    • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

      Hi Jenna, if you don’t want to scroll/read any of my helpful tips, you can always click “jump to recipe” at the top of any of my recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted 4.18.22 Reply
  2. maryanne wrote:

    I was so excited to finally see this great recipe without sweetened condensed milk added. I made it today for a St Pattys Day gathering, so turned the whipped cream cheese green. I will let you know how it went, thanks!!

    Posted 3.15.22 Reply
    • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

      Hope you all love it!

      Posted 3.15.22 Reply
    • maryanne wrote:

      Green cream was a hit for St Pattys Day! Didn’t affect the taste either.

      Posted 4.17.22 Reply
      • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

        Awesome to hear, thanks for sharing that helpful feedback!

        Posted 4.18.22 Reply
  3. Cherryl Ehlenburg wrote:

    I just love banana pudding and pies! I will be trying this one soon!

    Posted 3.25.20 Reply
    • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

      Me too! Hope you enjoy it!

      Posted 3.26.20 Reply
  4. Nadine wrote:

    Banana pudding is one of my favorites! I always have to try it if I see a restaurant has it on the menu. Especially BBQ places around here!

    Posted 3.24.20 Reply
    • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

      Mine too! Old fashioned banana pudding is always so yummy!

      Posted 3.25.20 Reply
  5. chelsea jacobs wrote:

    this sounds delicious!

    Posted 3.24.20 Reply
    • Kindly Unspoken wrote:

      Thank-you! We love anything with bananas! 🙂

      Posted 3.25.20 Reply