This Texas-style banana pudding is a creamy, cool dessert. It's easy to layer up and store in the refrigerator and the sweet crumble topping takes this recipe to the next level!
Banana pudding has become one of my favorite desserts. It's the type of dessert you can layer up, make a big bowl of, and bring to a party. We actually this to a family Thanksgiving gathering almost every year. And it's perfect for a summer bbq.
Or you can layer it up, make a big bowl of it, and eat all the banana pudding yourself at your house. Which is what we recently did, because yum.
This banana pudding consists of layers of vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and a graham cracker crumble topping. It's all delicious, but that crumble topping just takes it to the next level.
Let's talk a little more about those layers!
Layers of banana pudding:
- Vanilla wafers - The perfect base. I love how they start out crispy, but then soften up over time. They take on a bit of a cake-like texture that pairs perfectly with the other layers.
- Pudding - We use vanilla for this, but for extra banana flavor, you can use banana pudding.
- Bananas - Slice 'em up! We like our bananas to be pretty ripe for this.
- Whipped cream - For this layer, we use freshly whipped cream that is slightly sweetened. We don't want it too sweet, since we have a lot of other sweet ingredients in the banana pudding.
- Caramel drizzle - This is optional, but it adds a nice flavor. And when you drizzle it on top, it makes the banana pudding look so pretty!
- Graham cracker topping - This is made from crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar. It's stirred together then baked in the oven to get caramelized and delicious.
- Repeat the layers one more time, adding more vanilla wafers up the side of the bowl as you go.
Dish and plating options:
- Big glass bowl - This will allow you to see the layers, and it's an easy way to make and store the banana pudding!
- Disposable aluminum pan or rectangular cake pan - This won't allow you to see the gorgeous layers, but it is easy to take to a gathering this way. If you make the banana pudding this way, I'd suggest only doing one layer of each ingredient instead of two. You may also want to add more vanilla wafers on top of the pudding.
- Individual servings - If you're getting fancy, you can make individual servings of banana pudding. We rarely do this, because it's more work and we're not really trying to impress anyone. We just want to eat delicious banana pudding.
How to serve banana pudding:
Honestly, we just take a big spoon and scoop it out of the bowl. Onto plates or into bowls. We usually have some of the crumble topping leftover, so we toss a little more on top and add a few more vanilla wafers once it's plated.
How to make and layer banana pudding:
First, you'll get some prep work done! You'll make the crumble topping, the pudding, and the whipped cream. After that, it's just all about layering!
So, first step. Make the crumble topping. You'll crush up some graham crackers. I suggest just doing this in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. You don't want to get them into a powder. You want it to still have some good texture, and bigger pieces mixed in. Once you do that, you'll mix it with sugar and melted butter.
Then you spread it onto a baking sheet and bake just slightly before removing from the oven and cooling.
Next, make the vanilla pudding as directed on the package and chill.
Finally, you'll make the whipped cream by whipping up heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. You want the whipped cream to be kinda stiff, but not at butter stage. You don't want it too soft for the banana pudding. They key is to watch it closely and turn the mixer off when the whipped cream starts getting too stiff.
Once those ingredients are prepped, it's time to layer!
Layer one... the vanilla wafers. You'll take out a big, glass bowl and start to add some to the bowl. You don't add them all up the sides, because they wont stay properly at this point. So you start with about how many you see below.
Then, you slice up your bananas.
Next, you add about ⅓ of the pudding to the bowl and ⅓ of the banana slices to layer.
Note - Even though you're layering this up two times, you only do a third of the mixture to start, because of course the bottom of the bowl is smaller than the top. So you'll use the remaining ⅔ for the top layer.
After the banana, and ⅓ of the whipped cream.
Next, drizzle on the caramel sauce in a criss-cross pattern. Then you'll add half of the crumble topping, and then start to layer again!
Add another layer of the pudding and another layer of bananas, adding more vanilla wafers to the sides as you go.
Top with the rest of the whipped cream and more caramel drizzle.
And then finally, add the crumble!
At this point, refrigerate it for at least and hour to firm up! Cover with saran/plastic wrap to store and keep leftovers in the refrigerator.
Texas Banana Pudding
- 5 graham crackers
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 2 boxes French vanilla pudding, 3.4 oz each
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- 3 ripe bananas, sliced
- caramel topping or caramel sauce (for drizzling)
- Set the oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the graham crackers in a large sealable plastic bag and smoosh with a rolling pin until most of it is pulverized, or pulse in a food processor for just a few seconds before you end up with a coarse sand-like quality.
- Mix the graham cracker in a bowl with the melted butter and ¼ cup of sugar. Spread out on the cookie sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir and let cool on the cookie sheet.
- Make the pudding as directed on the package and chill. (This usually means mixing the pudding mix with the milk).
- Pour the cream, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and mix until you have whipped cream (about 3 minutes).
- To assemble, line a bowl with the Vanilla wafers, flat side down. Spread in one-third of the pudding. Place a layer of the sliced bananas on top of the pudding. Top with one-third of the whipped cream. Drizzle the sundae topping onto the whipped cream and then sprinkle half of the graham cracker bits on top of that.
- Repeat the layers one more time with the rest of the ingredients, adding Nilla wafers to the side of the bowl as you go.
- Cover in saran/plastic wrap and chill for an hour before serving.
- See post for other options in terms of dishes to use and how to layer.