This Easy Banana Pudding Recipe is very close to my heart. I make it every Easter and for BBQs and family events. Hands down, the very best part of this banana pudding is the texture. It’s so thick and creamy. You can serve it sliced instead of scooped. The Chessmen cookies are amazing in this recipe too. They hold their shape and make for perfect portions. If you take this to a party, make sure you print off a few copies of the recipe, because people are going to ask!
This is originally a Paula Deen recipe, but I’ve made it so many times, I have quite a few tips and tricks to share with you. My first tip is to buy 3 bags of the cookies even though you only really need two. Buy three bags because very often these cookies are broken. If I have a few broken cookies, that’s ok. I just arrange them in the bottom layer as pictured below. But more than once, I haven’t had enough unbroken cookies for the top layer. I also double check the expiration dates in the store. Right now, they have the spring version in stores which are fresh, but the traditional chessmen in both my grocery store and at Target where one day from expiration.
Second, prepare the pudding mixture before slicing your bananas. This cuts back on the time the bananas are are exposed to air. I also like to use fresh bananas rather than over ripe bananas in this banana pudding recipe. The firmer texture is a nice contrast to the soft pudding.
The pudding mixture is the absolute star of this recipe. The original recipe calls for Cool Whip with a note that you can substitute with homemade whipped cream. I reccomend substituting with homemade whipped cream that has been only slightly sweetened. I’ve included instructions for the homemade whipped cream and taken care of the measurements in my version. I’ve also tried to streamline the steps.
One of my favorite parts of this easy banana pudding recipe is the addition of cream cheese to the mixture. You can’t taste the cream cheese, but it makes for a really amazing thick and smooth texture.
For the final layer, I have found that the best way to arrange the cookies is to fit them vertically in a glass baking dish. Four cookies across and five down. Evenly space them, then fill in the rest of the cookies so they make a lovely grid pattern. I use the cookies to measure portions and get twenty servings from each banana pudding recipe.
- 6 large bananas
- 1 5.1 oz box of vanilla JELLO-O instant pudding
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 2 to 3 7.25 oz bags of Pepperidge Farms Chessmen cookies
- 1 8oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip chilled cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Measure out 3 cups of whipped cream and refrigerate remaining whipped cream to serve as topping.
- In a small bowl, whisk together pudding mix and two cups of milk.
- Rinse the bowl of the stand mixer and using paddle attachment, beat together softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
- Add pudding to stand mixer and continue to stir until combined.
- Then, gently fold in 3 cups of homemade whipped cream.
- To assemble banana pudding:
- Line bottom of 9x13 casserole dish with 20 Chessmen cookie.
- Slice bananas and arrange over cookies.
- Spread pudding mixture over bananas.
- Finally arrange another layer of 20 Chessmen cookies on top of pudding mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until chilled through.
- Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.
Adapted from Paula Deen’s Banana Pudding recipe
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