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Banana Pudding

Tamron Hall's family recipe for banana pudding
TODAY Show: Tamron Hall shares a favorite recipe of her mother's: banana pudding. -- May 5, 2015Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Banana pudding is a southern dessert that dates back to the late 19th century but it’s only become more popular with time. There are probably hundreds of recipes and theories for how to make the best banana pudding, but this recipe is undeniably one of the easiest. Here’s what you’ll need to make it: instant vanilla pudding mix, milk, condensed milk, whipped cream (such as frozen Cool Whip), vanilla wafer cookies and bananas. 

To make it, combine the pudding with milk, condensed milk and the whipped cream topping until creamy. Next, grab a large mixing bowl or trifle dish and arrange a layer of wafer cookies on the bottom. Top with the pudding, followed by some banana slices, and repeat until you’ve used up all of the ingredients. Chill it overnight; doing so will allow the cookies and banana slices to soften and the banana flavor will penetrate throughout every layer. Serve big scoops of it in a bowl — don’t be too precious about it. This dessert is far from fancy, which is just part of the reason why we love it so much. 

While it’s a delicious cooling dessert, especially for potlucks and casual get-togethers, be sure to keep it chilled and don’t let it sit out of the refrigerator for more than an hour. Otherwise, you’ll compromise the flavor and texture of the pudding.

Swap Option: You may use gluten-free vanilla wafers in place of regular ones

Technique Tip: Be sure to bring the milk and whipped cream topping to room temperature before mixing. Doing so will make it easier to incorporate them.


  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • ½ cup milk (whole or low-fat)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
  • 1 (11-ounce) box vanilla wafer cookies
  • 4 bananas, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds



In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Whisk in condensed milk, followed by whipped topping. The mixture should be creamy, not runny.


Place a layer of cookies in the bottom of a serving bowl. Spread 1/4 of the pudding over the cookies. Lay 1/2 the banana slices over the pudding in a single layer. Spread another 1/4 of the pudding over the bananas. Repeat. Place any remaining cookies on top.


Refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.