If you know me, you know that I’m a bit of a vanilla enthusiast! In fact, I love the stuff so much that I even created my very own Cognac Barrel-Aged Pure Vanilla Extract. Fancy, right? It's a labor of love, made with the finest Madagascar vanilla beans (also known as Bourbon Island vanilla beans). It is soooo good. Finding the barrels was an adventure in itself, but that’s a story for another day.

If you’re going to try this recipe, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle of my artisan vanilla—and I’m not just saying that because I made it! Because it’s aged for 30 days in cognac barrels, it has this richness and depth of flavor that most vanilla extracts just don’t have.

Banana pudding is a great dessert option when you need to serve a crowd.

Can you guess what else I love besides vanilla? I have a soft spot for the humble banana. My upcoming pie cookbook is chock-full of delightful recipes starring bananas, because we just can’t get enough of them in my house. When we have family and friends over for a visit, this banana pudding recipe with Nilla wafers is a go-to crowd-pleaser. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it serves up to 12 people. 

Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers ingredients Mary Disomma recipe
Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers Mixing Mary Disomma recipe

How do you stop a banana from turning brown?

Slightly green bananas will turn brown slower than ripe bananas, so for this recipe, I lean towards picking bananas that are on the green side. Don’t use totally green bananas—they’re not ripe yet!

If you go for a yellow banana or you let them sit an extra day or two, there are still some ways you can slow down the banana browning. Lightly brushing the sliced pieces with fresh lemon juice will help, but it can also affect the taste of your dish. Rinsing the slices with cool water and drying them with paper towels will also help slow the browning process. You can even rinse them with club soda. Just don’t use tonic water because that will affect the taste.

Make sure to plan ahead when you make this recipe.

This pudding needs some time to set up. You can prepare it all in one day if you start early enough—it requires 8 hours total in the refrigerator. I personally prefer to spread the preparation out over two days: I make the pudding the day before serving so it gets nice and cold in the fridge, and the next morning I whip my cream, fold it into the pudding, and put everything together. Doing these steps the second day gives it plenty of time to chill before serving it later in the day and ensures that the bananas don't discolor. Ready to go? Let’s get baking!

Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers Step One Mary Disomma recipe
Vanilla wafers Step Two Mary Disomma recipe
Vanilla wafers Step Two Mary Disomma recipe
Vanilla wafers Step Two Mary Disomma recipe
Yield: Makes one 9x13-inch pan, serves 12
Mary’s Favorite Banana Pudding Recipe with Nilla® Wafers

Mary’s Favorite Banana Pudding Recipe with Nilla® Wafers

Prep time: 45 MinInactive time: 8 HourTotal time: 8 H & 45 M
This vanilla pudding—made with the versatile, humble banana—is easy, scrumptious, and serves up to 12. That’s what I call a guaranteed winner!


  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ cup ice-cold water
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 4 cups peeled and sliced bananas—see step 3 before starting
  • 1 (12-ounce) box of vanilla wafers (I use Nilla® wafer cookies)—reserve about 8–10 wafers for the topping


  1. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat together the sweetened condensed milk and cold water for 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat for 2 minutes. Keeping the mixture in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. This will set up the pudding and is an important step.
  2. After the pudding is set, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture. Make sure there are no streaks of pudding left in the whipped cream.
  3. Prep the bananas—you should have 4 cups of banana slices. The number of bananas required depends on their size. To keep your bananas from turning brown, see my tips in the blog article above.
  4. Using ⅓ of the vanilla wafers, cover the bottom of the pan, overlapping the wafers if necessary. Now, layer ⅓ of the sliced bananas evenly over the wafers, followed by ⅓ of the pudding mixture. Use an offset spatula to even out the pudding mixture. Repeat this layering process two more times for a total of three layers.
  5. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. It’s best to serve the dessert in the 4–6 hour range. After that time, the bananas will begin to brown.


You need a 9x13” pan for this recipe—you’ll start using it in step 3.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it #BananaPudding
January 11, 2024 — Mary DiSomma