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The Best Banana Pudding Ever

The Best Banana Pudding Ever recipe

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Banana pudding is a classic Southern dessert that never fails to delight. With layers of creamy pudding, ripe bananas, and crunchy vanilla wafers, this dessert is both nostalgic and irresistible. This recipe takes banana pudding to the next level with a rich cream cheese layer, making it truly the best banana pudding ever. Perfect for potlucks, family gatherings, or simply satisfying a sweet tooth, this dessert is sure to become a favorite.

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Ingredients

  • 2 boxes Vanilla Wafers
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5 oz.) box French Vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Instructions

1. Prepare the Pudding Mixture

  1. Combine Milk and Pudding Mix: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 cups of milk and the box of French Vanilla pudding mix. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken.
  2. Refrigerate: Place the pudding mixture in the refrigerator to set while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. Cream Cheese Layer

  1. Beat Cream Cheese: In another mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add Sweetened Condensed Milk: Gradually add the can of sweetened condensed milk to the cream cheese, mixing until fully incorporated and smooth.

3. Combine Pudding and Cream Cheese Mixture

  1. Mix Together: Take the set pudding mixture out of the refrigerator and gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
  2. Add Whipped Topping: Gently fold in the thawed whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream until the mixture is light and fluffy.

4. Assemble the Banana Pudding

  1. Layer Wafers: In a large serving dish or trifle bowl, place a layer of Vanilla Wafers on the bottom.
  2. Add Bananas: Top the wafers with a layer of sliced bananas.
  3. Add Pudding Mixture: Spread a layer of the pudding mixture over the bananas and wafers.
  4. Repeat Layers: Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of the pudding mixture on top. You can make as many layers as your dish allows.

5. Chill and Serve

  1. Chill: Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the wafers to soften.
  2. Garnish: Just before serving, you can garnish the top with additional whipped topping, banana slices, or crushed vanilla wafers if desired.
  3. Serve: Scoop out generous servings and enjoy the creamy, dreamy goodness of the best banana pudding ever!

Cook’s Notes and Variations

Tips:

  • Fresh Bananas: Use ripe, but firm bananas for the best texture and flavor. Overripe bananas may become mushy in the pudding.
  • Layering: For a more decorative presentation, layer the ingredients in individual glass serving dishes.

Variations:

  1. Healthier Version: Use light cream cheese, low-fat milk, and sugar-free pudding mix to lighten up the recipe.
  2. Chocolate Banana Pudding: Add a layer of chocolate pudding mix for a chocolatey twist.
  3. Nutty Banana Pudding: Add a sprinkle of chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, between the layers for added crunch and flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use homemade whipped cream instead of store-bought whipped topping?

A: Yes, homemade whipped cream can be used. Simply whip 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form, and use it in place of the store-bought whipped topping.

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Q: How long does banana pudding last in the refrigerator?

A: Banana pudding can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After that, the bananas may become too soft, and the wafers will lose their texture.

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Q: Can I make banana pudding ahead of time?

A: Yes, banana pudding is an excellent make-ahead dessert. Prepare it the night before and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor and texture.

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Q: Can I freeze banana pudding?

A: It is not recommended to freeze banana pudding, as the texture of the bananas and the pudding can change upon thawing.

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Q: Can I use other types of cookies instead of vanilla wafers?

A: Yes, you can use graham crackers, shortbread cookies, or even ginger snaps for a different flavor and texture.

This Best Banana Pudding Ever recipe is a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress. With its creamy layers, sweet bananas, and crunchy wafers, it’s a dessert that brings comfort and joy to any occasion. Whether you’re making it for a holiday feast, a potluck, or just because, this banana pudding will have everyone coming back for seconds. Enjoy every delicious bite and savor the classic flavors of this Southern favorite.

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