For those who are raised in the south, banana pudding is a staple dessert item.  However, for this midwestern girl, banana pudding is something I had never even heard of until just a couple of years ago thanks to the wonderful world of food blogs.  And when I did finally learn of it, I was surprised that it was not banana-flavored pudding, but rather vanilla pudding layered with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers.  That little detail sort of turned me off to the concept for a while but then, just as with banana cream pie, I realized I could add banana flavoring.  Apparently the classic version is also topped with meringue, but I’m not a huge fan so I swapped it out for freshly whipped cream.  So basically what I ended up with was a parfait version of banana cream pie with vanilla wafers instead of crust.  Fine by me, and more than fine by our guests.  Of all the dessert items at the party, these were the favorite by far.  It seems as though we midwesterners know a good thing when we taste it.  This stuff is truly addictive.  You have been warned!


1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2½ cups milk
3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp. banana liqueur or 1 tbsp. banana extract (optional)
3-4 ripe bananas, sliced
Vanilla wafers (mini if you make parfaits)

For the topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Whisk in the egg yolks, then the milk.  Place the saucepan over medium heat.  Add in 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens significantly.  Remove from the heat.  (Strain through a mesh sieve if you are at all concerned about having overcooked it to remove any lumps.)  Whisk in the vanilla, remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and banana liqueur or extract (if using).

  • 02

    Layer a serving dish or individual serving dishes with vanilla wafers and banana slices.  Fill each dish with some of the pudding and continue layering with vanilla wafers and banana slices as desired until the serving dishes are mostly filled and the pudding has been used up.  Cover with plastic wrap and let chill until well set, at least 2-3 hours.

  • 03

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Blend in the vanilla.  Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe a dollop of cream onto each serving of pudding.  Garnish with additional vanilla wafers if desired.


  • Whenever I see parfaits, I can’t help but think of Donkey in Shrek.

    “You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!

    Hah, love them. The addition of banana liqueur is key to a good ‘nanner pudding. They look great!

  • I’m a Canadian and we love banana flavored desserts too! haha…although I wasn’t brought up with them either.

  • RikiTikiTembo

    I cant get over how classy looking they are – it was the first thing that caught my eye on the party table – so so lovely :)

  • Laura F

    I can’t wait to try these! We had banana pudding a lot while growing up – it never occured to me that it was a southern thing. Come to think of it though – we had it a lot because it was one of my dad’s favorites, and he was born and raised in Kentucky, growing up on my grandma’s cooking which is definetly considered southern.

  • annieseats


  • I loooove banana pudding. It brings back such warm memories for me. Growing up, it was a staple at every major holiday’s meal, and even today it’s a favorite. I’ve recently come to discover banana pudding milkshakes at a couple local restaurants–now THAT is blow-your-mind amazing (and might be even better than the actual dish!)

    I’ve never heard of it being made with vanilla pudding though. Yes, it’s layered with bananas and ‘Nilla wafers, but everywhere I’ve been the pudding was banana flavored (and I’ve lived in the south all my life!) So take heart–you’re doing it right!!! :)

  • Renee Lareau

    Beautiful! How far in advance can you prepare and pipe the whipped cream, do you think?

  • Christina

    these are lovely! where did you find the little glasses to serve them in?

  • Jessamyn Peace

    i love the idea of doing banana pudding in parfait form! thanks for sharing! we are big fans of banana pudding around here, and we even had a southern living banana pudding cheesecake for Easter that was awesome! but by far my favorite twist on this classic is paula deen’s version with chessmen cookies….you should give it a try! :)

  • Banana pudding is the go-to dessert for my family. We love the stuff! I love the idea of individual servings–much cuter than a big ol bowl that everyone fights over. I also need to make my own pudding…we’ve always done it the easy way. My favorite part is when the cookies get soft and cake like. Yum!

  • Kelsey

    Love this, Annie. May family never understood the vanilla pudding thing, either. We had banana pudding A LOT, but it was always made with banana pudding, banana slices, Nilla Wafers, and whipped cream. SO much better that way! I love your parfait idea; it makes for a much better presentation and much easier service.

  • Elizabeth

    These are such a great idea! I am dying to ask- Where did you get the serving dishes/shot glasses?? :)

  • annieseats

    They are from Pier 1.

  • annieseats

    Pier 1.

  • annieseats

    Oh, my friend from the south told me she’s only ever had it as vanilla + banana slices so I was going based off her advice and what I’ve seen on blogs. The milkshake sounds amazing!

  • What sweet little shooters! I love this idea!

  • annieseats

    At least a few hours if not longer.

  • Leslie

    Yep..I love me some banana pudding!!!

  • Emily Green

    Oh my goodness I am obsessed with your blog. Best recipes ever, and you are the cutest mom ever! I want to be you when I grow up! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Heather W.

    This is one of my all time favorites! I live in Mississippi and I’ve had it both ways with vanilla and banana. I prefer the banana hands down. I also prefer whipped cream to the meringue. I will have to try this out on my family one day this summer.

  • UrbanWife

    Love, love banana pudding. In fact, Sonic (yup, the fast food chain) has this really amazing banana cream pie milkshake that I remember trying back in college. Wow, it was pretty epic. But undoubtedly, this homemade pudding will be way better. :)

  • I would be able to eat all three of those without taking a breath. That’s a combination I just love.

  • Kathleen Richardson

    Nothing beats the taste or texture of homemade pudding.

  • pat1645

    Love banana pudding desserts but I also like whipped cream topping much better than meringue. Your birthday party for your beautiful daughter looked fabulous.

  • Jen @ Jen’s Favorite Cookies

    I have a kid that has a serious weakness for bananas. He would die of happiness if I made this for him! I think I better pin it immediately!

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out here:

  • I love banana pudding, but I’m pretty sure I like your version even more!!

  • Denise Wesely

    I know it’s a matter of personal preference, but which do you prefer: banana extract or banana liquor? I’ve never used either.

  • These look delicious.

  • These banana pudding parfaits look amazingly wonderful. When I saw the picture from your sweet daughter’s birthday party, I knew that I needed this dessert in my life. I cannot wait to try it.

  • annieseats

    I use liqueur because it’s what I have on hand (and really, only suggest extract for those who are opposed to alcohol, though extract is in fact alcohol.)

  • Alisha.T.

    Annie, this looks wonderful! I am planning on making this for mother’s day brunch. I know it says at least 2-3 hours refrigeration time, but have you refrigerated overnight with the cookies already in it? Will they get soggy or is that the idea? I have never had this before, but am sure it will be a big hit! Thanks!

  • annieseats

    The cookies will get soggy either way, but obviously will be more with time. Though I thought they were pretty good in all stages and it certainly didn’t stop me from eating any leftovers, I think for serving to others the best prep period is probably somewhere between 3-8ish hours beforehand to have the best texture. I hope that helps. Enjoy!

  • Cristyrugo

    Holy smokes, this looks delicious! And SO much better than the Jell-O box my kids pine for!!! Thank you!!!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I made this for dessert as a trifle and it was seriously good! One note: I used my natural vanilla bean paste, which I normally love because it gives things that lovely speckled appearance that you get from real vanilla but it lent this particular recipe an off-brown color that was less than pretty. I plan on making this again for a baby shower I’m hosting in a few weeks (I’m going to use it as an excuse to get some of those adorable mini parfait glasses) and Im going to use the clear vanilla extract to avoid the color issue. I’m going for that really pretty contrast of the pale yellow and white cream.

  • I think this is an awesome take on banana cream pie! Perfect translation to an individual-sized party serving–very creative!

  • Antia

    Any idea if I could sub splenda for the sugar? My father in law is diabetic but I try to accommodate him as often as possible. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks!

  • Ashley

    My toddler saw this picture and said he wanted to make these! And so we did! He loved it! We did it as one big dish since I didn’t have small containers. It tasted great, but was a little bit too sweet for me. I would definitely make the recipe again, but would do less sugar in the pudding. Anyone else who doesn’t like things “too sweet” you might want to cut back the sugar too! Overall, a beautiful and easy dessert!

  • Joi Delaney

    I am making a banana cream pie for a friend’s birthday this weekend and I thought immediately of this banana pudding recipe of yours. It is SO delicious. Would it set up enough to use in a pie, or should I use the filling from your peanut butter banana cream pie recipe? Thanks so much!

  • annieseats

    I’d probably go with the banana cream pie filling because you know it will set up well enough to be sliced. This definitely sets, but I’m not sure how it would slice.

  • Athena

    This is my best friend’s favorite dessert from my recipe collection, so anytime she’s feeling under the weather, I like to whip this up real quick and bring it on over. It’s her favorite remedy! :)

  • Angie_R

    I know this is an old post, but just thought I would mention that what you were told, Annie, is what I know as well. I’m a born and raised Texas girl whose mom was born in a rural Texas community, as well as lots of other family members. My grandmother’s handed down recipe, as well as other family members recipes, are all a vanilla custard (made from scratch), bananas and Nilla wafers.