No Cook Banana Pudding has just six ingredients AND a secret ingredient: sour cream! It’s the perfect complement to the sweetness of the mousse-like filling.
No matter the time of year, sometimes I just don’t want to turn on my oven. I love no-cook, no-bake recipes that are easy to put together, flavorful, and don’t require any fancy equipment.
This 1980s No Cook Banana Pudding is just the type of recipe I’m talking about. It was a staple from church cookbooks at that time. It uses instant vanilla pudding, so there’s no need to make the filling from scratch on the stovetop.
Also, unlike some recipes for banana pudding, it does not have meringue on top.
It is also one of the best recipes I have found for using up those ripe bananas on your countertop (Banana Bread with Pecans is another great one!).
And, No Cook Banana Pudding is great for feeding a CROWD—it’s great for lots of guests or leftovers, potlucks, and holiday meals.
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Tips for making No Bake Banana Pudding
You’ll want to use ripe bananas for maximum banana flavor. They shouldn’t be mushy, but a few brown spots on the outside are a good indication that the banana is ripe.
I recommend leaving some room around the edges at the top of the pudding to showcase a visible Nilla wafer layer. Once your friends and family see the peek-a-boo cookie layer, they’ll want to dive right in.
Don’t forget to reserve a few Nilla wafers for crumbling on top. It’s optional, but I love the color/texture contrast on top.
This recipe can be made in a matter of minutes, but you’ll need to leave time for the pudding to set in the refrigerator before serving. It will need at least two hours, or can be refrigerated overnight.
- Using instant vanilla pudding (two 3-oz sized boxes OR one 6-oz box) makes this dessert so easy to put together. You could also try the banana pudding or white chocolate pudding varieties.
- Different variations of this recipe use between 2 and 3 cups of milk. I liked how creamy and soft the pudding was when I used 3 cups of milk. I recommend using a higher fat percentage of milk, like whole or 2%, for the best texture. If you want to make it lower calorie, you can use skim or 1% milk. The pudding will still firm up, but it might be slightly thinner. Some no cook recipes use Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. I don’t recommend using it because it will make the pudding way too sweet.
- Sour cream is the secret weapon in this recipe—it prevents it from becoming overly sweet and the tanginess complements the sweet pudding nicely.
- I used Cool Whip when I made this recipe, but you can use any brand of whipped topping you like. Original recipes from the 80s called for the “large size” of Cool Whip, which used to be 12 ounces but is now 16 ounces. I used 1½ regular sized (8 oz) tubs to equal 12 ounces.
- Nilla Wafers are such a classic! They add so much flavor and texture to the pudding. The recipe uses an entire 11oz box and it’s so nice not to have any leftovers. However, you are welcome to use any vanilla wafer brand or other crisp cookie you have available. Even graham crackers work!
- Slightly softened, ripe bananas provide the banana flavor for this dessert. You’ll want to slice them about ¼-inch thick.
How to make Banana Pudding with sour cream
Place the instant vanilla pudding, milk, and sour cream in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed with a hand mixer for 3 minutes until creamy.
Fold in the thawed whipped topping until just incorporated.
Reserve 4–5 Nilla wafers for decorating the top. Chop them, and set aside.
Place a layer of the pudding mixture in a 13×9-inch dish. Top with a layer of whole Nilla wafers and a layer of bananas.
Keep layering the pudding mixture, Nilla wafers, and bananas until the pudding mixture is gone.
Top with the chopped vanilla wafers.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
Make ahead instructions
Banana pudding with sour cream is designed to be made several hours or up to 1 full day ahead of time. You’ll need at least two hours to let it set properly before serving.
- If you don’t have or don’t like vanilla wafers, you can substitute the cookies with graham crackers, Pepperidge Farm chessman cookies, or other thin crisp cookie.
- You can also experiment with different instant pudding flavors like banana or white chocolate instead of vanilla.
- This recipe is forgiving and can be made lower calorie by using skim milk, lower fat sour cream, and fat free whipped topping if you’d like.
- I love a good crunch with soft pudding desserts. This would taste delicious topped with finely chopped walnuts or pecans just before serving.
- Create a fancier presentation by making the no bake banana pudding in a trifle dish or large glass bowl. You could even make individual portions in disposable clear plastic cups (like Chinet cut crystal) or stemless wine glasses.
How to store No Cook Banana Pudding
Cover the pudding with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The bananas will start to go bad if it sits longer than that.
Can I freeze banana pudding?
Unfortunately, no cook banana pudding does not survive the freezing/thawing process without becoming runny/mushy. If you’re worried about it making too much, you can make a half recipe in an 8×8 inch dish (affiliate link).
More old fashioned no cook desserts
Still looking for more no cook inspiration from the past? Check out more of my favorite crowd pleasing desserts:
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
No Cook Banana Pudding
- 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding (3-oz each)
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 12 oz whipped topping such as Cool Whip, defrosted (I used 1½ regular size 8 oz tubs to equal 12 oz)
- 1 box Nilla Wafers or other vanilla wafer cookies, (11 oz)
- 5–6 medium bananas sliced about ¼ inch thick
- Place the instant vanilla pudding, milk, and sour cream in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed with a hand mixer for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Fold in the thawed whipped topping.
- Reserve 4–5 Nilla wafers for decorating the topping. Chop them, and set aside.
- Place a layer of the pudding mixture in a 13×9-inch dish. Top with a layer of whole Nilla wafers and a layer of bananas.
- Keep layering the pudding mixture, Nilla wafers, and bananas until the pudding mixture is gone.
- Top with the chopped vanilla wafers.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
- Substitute the cookies with graham crackers, Pepperidge Farm chessman cookies, or other thin crisp cookie.
- Experiment with different instant pudding flavors like banana or white chocolate instead of vanilla.
- Make lower calorie pudding by using skim milk, lower fat sour cream, and fat free whipped topping.
- Top with finely chopped walnuts or pecans just before serving for crunch.
- Create a fancier presentation in a trifle dish, large glass bowl, or individually portioned servings in clear plastic cups or stemless wine glasses.