Hands down the best banana pudding recipe around! With minimal ingredients and a five minute prep time, this creamy 3-ingredient banana pudding recipe is the perfect way to impress at a party or to satisfy a sweet tooth at home.
Banana pudding is a classic dessert. Typically, it involves a good bit of work, from separating eggs and boiling milk, to cooking the pudding and whipping it into that light texture we all know and love. Not so here! This pudding requires exactly two steps and will take you between 5-10 minutes. If you need a last minute dessert, this recipe is the perfect treat!
And you sacrifice nothing in taste and texture. This pudding looks lovely –it’s a dreamy ivory color — and packs a sweet, creamy punch. It’s full of that fresh banana flavor and feels like velvet on the tongue. Take it to a party and no one will know your perfect dessert was this easy (unless you tell them, of course)!
What’s in Creamy Banana Pudding?
Well, I’m sure you’ve figured out that banana is involved, so that’s one of three! The other two simple ingredients can both be kept on hand, so whipping this easy pudding recipe up is a cinch.
- Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix: For this recipe, you need the 3.4 oz box (that’s the smaller one). Do NOT make the pudding; instead, you’re going to use just the mix to add sweetness and flavor to this quick dessert.
- Cool Whip: The regular 8 oz tub of Cool Whip is perfect for this. Your classic banana pudding will come together easier if you thaw the Cool Whip in the refrigerator. If you forget, no worries! You can pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
- Bananas: This is what makes this pudding recipe different from going to the store and buying some banana pudding mix. The difference in delicious banana flavor you get from using ripe bananas is worth the one extra step and 30 seconds it adds to the recipe!
Making 3-Ingredient Banana Pudding
Step 1 | Mash the Bananas
In a large mixing bowl, either use an electric mixer or a fork to mash your banana. You can also do all of this in a food processor or blender if you have one. You want a pretty smooth mixture — no large banana chunks!
Step 2 | Add Cool Whip and Pudding
After mashing the banana, stir in the vanilla pudding mix and the Cool Whip. A hand mixer, stand mixer, blender, or food processor makes this step easy, but you can totally do it with a wooden spoon. You should end up with a slightly off-white, silky pudding mixture that looks ready to eat!
Step 3 | Serve!
This delicious recipe is best served fresh, with dollops of whipped cream, Nilla wafers or graham crackers, and a few fresh slices of banana. If you need to keep it before you serve, just cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. When you get it out, give the pudding a stir to bring out that fluffy texture, and it will be ready to serve!
- You can dip your Oreos in cream or milk before using them as the base. This will make them soften even faster to create that cakey crust.
- Add a drizzle of hot fudge or chocolate syrup to level this up!
Is the store out of vanilla pudding or Cool Whip? Check out these options for what you can do instead:
- For the pudding: Any other pudding flavor you think would taste good! Butterscotch or cheesecake would be fantastic.
- For the Cool Whip: If you’d like to make this recipe a little lighter on the calories, consider replacing regular Cool Whip with Cool Whip lite. You can also use a non-dairy option, like So Delicious Cocowhip. Finally, you can replace the Cool Whip with homemade whipped cream. Just whip 2 cups of cold heavy whipping cream until you get stiff peaks, then fold that into your pudding in place of the Cool Whip. You can see what stiff peaks and folding in looks like in the how to sections of this cheesecake recipe or in this Oreo no-bake dessert.
Make this easy recipe your own by adding a few ingredients or changing some base ingredients up. Here are a few tried and true ideas:
- Banana Butterscotch Pudding: Just replace the instant vanilla pudding mix with instant butterscotch pudding mix. Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel!
- Banana Cheesecake Pudding: Sub cheesecake instant pudding mix for the vanilla pudding mix. Add a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers
- Chunky Monkey Parfaits: Make the recipe as directed, then serve layered with chocolate chips. Cool Whip, and peanut butter chips. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of the pudding.This looks super fancy in a trifle dish!
This recipe is gluten-free as written. It is not vegan; however, you can make it vegan with only one substitution — change the Cool Whip out for a dairy free option, like So Delicious Cocowhip!
I do not recommend freezing this pudding. Bananas brown in the freezer, and your pudding may come out several unappetizing shades darker than when you put it in.
The banana pudding itself should not brown, although it does taste and look best when eaten within a few hours of being made. If you are adding sliced bananas as a garnish, you can coat them lightly with lemon juice. This should keep them from browning for about a day.
How to serve no-bake banana pudding
This delicious dessert is so versatile, you can take your pick of serving techniques.
- As banana pudding or banana mousse: This pudding needs no extras — you can eat it just as it is! Feel free to add some Nilla Wafers and banana slices to make it look even more delicious.
- As a dip: For your next party, you can put this in a large bowl and serve it with dippers. Shortbread cookies, wafer cookies, Nilla Wafers, graham crackers, and fruit would all be delicious options!
- As a parfait or trifle: You can alternate layers of pudding, Cool Whip, and sliced fresh banana in a trifle bowl for an elegant and easy dessert. Just be aware that the fresh bananas will brown if refrigerated or left out for more than an hour. See the FAQs for advice on how to deal with that!
- As an easy no-bake banana pie: Pour your pudding into a premade graham cracker crust (or make your own using this recipe). Refrigerate, then top with whipped cream and Nilla Wafer cookies for an easy homemade pie!
What do I do with the leftovers?
Easy banana pudding can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Be aware that there might be some darkening of the color the longer your pudding is in the fridge. If you have sliced bananas in the pudding, they will brown unless they have been coated with lemon juice.
Do NOT freeze this pudding. The pudding will brown and will thaw with a mealy texture. This recipe is best served and eaten fresh.
3-Ingredient Easy Banana Pudding
- 2 ripe bananas
- 3.4 oz pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
- 8 oz tub Cool whip thawed in the refrigerator
- In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas
- Add the instant pudding mix and Cool Whip and stir until well combined.
- Serve your pudding with fresh banana slices, Nilla wafers, or graham crackers.