Hosting a party, potluck or summer BBQ and in need of an easy no-bake dessert recipe? Try this banana pudding trifle that can easily be made gluten-free! This classic southern dessert is made with a vanilla wafer layer, fresh bananas, vanilla pudding, and homemade whipped cream.
Banana Pudding Recipe
The first time I tried banana pudding was in New York City at the world-famous Magnolia Bakery. I’m not sure why it took me so long to try this dessert, but I was instantly hooked! The fresh bananas and vanilla pudding pair perfectly with vanilla wafers. I may have gone back for a serving every day we were there.
Of course, this was years before discovering food allergies. I’m sure I’ll miss enjoying the famous banana pudding next time we’re in New York, but thankfully I can easily make it at home with gluten-free alternatives. I simply replace the Nilla wafers for gluten-free vanilla wafers and everyone in our family loves it!
It has been about a year since I found out about my food allergies. Right now, I’m really enjoying trying dessert recipes with simple gluten-free alternatives. The Strawberry Pretzel Salad is a great example. I’m discovering so many dessert recipes can be made gluten-free without sacrificing flavor. Usually, my family can’t tell the difference and they’re perfect for parties.
If your family is not gluten-free you can make this recipe with regular Nilla wafers.
What is in a banana pudding recipe?
- Vanilla pudding
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla wafers
- Fresh bananas
- Heavy cream
What kind of cookies can you use to make banana pudding?
- The most commonly used cookies in banana pudding recipes are vanilla wafers. You can use Nilla brand or, like in my case, gluten-free vanilla wafers.
- Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies are a great alternative. Paula Deen’s banana pudding recipe calls for the butter cookies as a crust layer and topping.
- Graham crackers
- Shortbread cookies
To make this recipe as a trifle you can layer the ingredients in individual cups or a large trifle dish
- Start with a layer of vanilla wafers
- Add a layer of freshly sliced bananas.
- Pour half of the vanilla pudding
- Repeat with a layer of wafers, bananas, and pudding.
- Top with the remaining fresh whipped cream, wafers, and sliced bananas.
Banana pudding is best served cold. I recommend refrigerating for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. The recipe can be made 24 hours in advance. The longer the pudding sits, the stronger the banana flavor will come through. In addition, the pudding will help soften the cookies to create a bread-like texture.
Tip: slice the bananas right before assembling the trifle. The longer the bananas are exposed to air, the quicker they will start to brown. It’s best to slice the bananas as you go so that they quickly get covered in the vanilla pudding.
More easy dessert recipes you may like:
You can find gluten-free vanilla wafers HERE
Gluten-Free Banana Pudding
- 5.1 oz box vanilla pudding
- 2 cups milk
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 2 boxes gluten-free vanilla wafers
- 4-5 bananas sliced
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Use a chilled bowl to mix heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sugar together until whipped cream forms. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk with a hand mixer.
- In a large bowl, mix together milk and pudding. Stir in cream cheese mixture and continue mixing until smooth.
- Fold in 2 cups of fresh whipped cream; stir until thoroughly combined.
- Layer vanilla wafers and freshly sliced bananas in a trifle dish or 9x13 pan. Pour half of the pudding mixture on top. Repeat with another layer or wafers, bananas, and pudding.
- Top with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with wafer crumbs and banana slices.