Fe Fi Fo Fana: Banana Pudding

I know it’s a widely considered a Southern dish, and I consider myself a Midwesterner at heart, but banana pudding has always been one of my favorite desserts. I like it in all of its forms: homemade custards topped with meringue and toasted in the oven. The recipe on the back of the Nilla Wafers box. Or the recipe I’m sharing with you today—which I have no memory of how it came into my arsenal of banana pudding recipes—which involves instant pudding, whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk.

Sounds a little weird and maybe gross? Wait until you try a bite!

And with the hottest part of summer preparing to bear down on us, you’re going to need some easy, delicious cool desserts for backyard barbecues and picnics, right?



  • 1 large package instant vanilla pudding (I always used the Jell-O brand)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cold milk
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 1 container Cool Whip or whipped topping (the large one)
  • Sliced bananas (to taste, but usually 2-3)
  • Vanilla wafers (I use Nilla Wafers because they are the most delicious!)


  • In a large bowl, mix together the pudding and milk. You can stir or whisk, but your goal is to make sure there aren’t big lumps of pudding mix.
  • Fold sweetened condensed milk into the pudding mixture. Blend well.
  • Fold in half of the container of Cool Whip. Trust me; this is genius. And delicious. But I also must admit that for a big part of my childhood, I ate Cool Whip by itself because I think it’s delicious. Mock and yell IMG_0061at me if you must, but I still like it!
  • In a large, pretty bowl, line the bottom and maybe a little of the side with vanilla wafers. Top with sliced bananas, as many as you like.
  • Layer on banana pudding.
  • Top with vanilla wafers and sliced bananas, then pudding. Continue to layer until all of the pudding is used up. Your final layer should bea layer of pudding.
  • Top the final layer with the remaining half of whipped topping. You can decorate that with crushed vanilla wafers.
  • Then, refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving. I prefer overnight, but 2-4 hours is probably sufficient. This allows all the flavors to meld.

It’s an easy dessert, but a delicious one that’s sure to please a crowd. And who wants to spend a long time slaving over a stove in a hot kitchen in the summer? Not me!

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