A YUMMY layered nilla wafer banana pudding trifle dessert! A wonderfully creamy dessert that will be a showstopper at any summertime gathering. We love making this for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day but it can be enjoyed all year round.
How fun is this classic dessert? Not only is it eye-catching, but it's a breeze to put together. Get the little ones involved, they'll enjoy building this as much as they will eating it! I'm a sucker for any no bake recipe. Especially cookies like my Chocolate No Bake Cookie, Nutella No Bake Cookie, and Butterscotch No Bake Cookie.
A nilla wafer fan's favorite dessert!! Creamy and rich, perfect for a party, and can also be served in a personal-size trifle dish. My youngest had the pleasure of having this banana pudding recipe for her 1st birthday. And yes, it was just as cute and messy as you're imagining.
I love this dish, it is such a luscious banana pudding dessert. An easy recipe and one of our favorite desserts that the kids love helping with. Set up an assembly line, and their favorite trifle dish, and make it fun!
Important Ingredients with Substitutions
- Cream cheese (softened) - Full fat and softened to room temperature cream cheese.
- Sweetened condensed milk - Cream of coconut is an easy replacement for sweetened condensed milk. Gives a hit of a tropical flavor. That is not the same as coconut cream however, cream of coconut is sweeter.
- Instant vanilla pudding mix or instant banana pudding mix - A family-size box of instant pudding. You could customize this recipe's flavor depending on which instant pudding flavor you choose.
- Milk (cold) - Any milk or milk alternative should work well. For best results, try whole milk.
- Vanilla - Pure vanilla extract will offer the best flavor. I've been favoring vanilla bean paste recently. Up the banana flavor and replace the vanilla with banana extract!
- Cool Whip topping - Be sure to thaw the cool whip topping completely before making your dish. Making homemade whipped cream is also an option if you're feeling ambitious. Use heavy whipping cream and whip cream until stiff peaks form.
- Ripe Bananas (sliced) - Sliced bananas into ¼-½ inch coins. You don't want the bananas too ripe, bananas just starting to get brown spots will offer the best banana flavor and still hold their shape.
- Nilla wafers or Vanilla wafer cookies - Roughly half of a large-sized box of vanilla wafers. For a tighter texture, use the mini vanilla wafers, or fill the gaps of the large wafers with the mini vanilla wafers. It's my opinion that there isn't an amount of wafers that is too much.
- Cherries - Optional as a garnish.
See the recipe below for the full list of ingredients and quantities.
Instructions for Banana Pudding Trifle with Nilla Wafers
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl add the softened, room temperature cream cheese.
Using a hand mixer, beat until there are no lumps remaining.
Step 2: Add the sweetened condensed milk, milk, vanilla extract, and the instant vanilla pudding mix to the cream cheese mixture.
Step 3: Beat until combined and no lumps remain.
Step 4: Fold in 8 oz of whipped cream topping.
Chill the pudding mixture for 30 minutes to allow it to thicken up just a little.
Step 5: In your trifle dish, layer the box of vanilla wafers on the bottom and up against the side.
Step 6: Add ½ of the banana pudding mixture and spread evenly across, then add a layer of fresh banana slices on top of the pudding,
Step 7: Layer ½ of the whipped topping over the layer of fresh bananas.
Step 8: Repeat that step another time with the remaining cookies, whipped cream, bananas, and banana pudding to finish off the next layer.
Once your trifle has been constructed chill for at least 1 hour, best if overnight.
Level Up with a Top Tip!
Hint: **Optional garnish - Another great way to garnish this delicious dessert is with any remaining banana slices or remaining wafers. Sprinkle crushed vanilla wafers on top! If you are left with bananas on top, spritz them with a bit of lemon juice so they don't brown too quickly.
I like using banana pudding for that extra banana flavor, but you can always swap it out for vanilla pudding.
You can replace the nilla wafer cookies with any of these:
- Angel food or pound cake cubes
- Graham crackers
- Golden Oreos
Store covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can I freeze a banana pudding trifle? I would not recommend freezing this recipe.
Level Up With Expert Tips & Tricks
If you do not own a trifle dish, any 9 x 13 baking pan, casserole dish, or even a large bowl would work perfectly.
Mini vanilla wafers will work perfectly for a smaller trifle bowl or mason jars.
For smaller personal-sized dishes or layered mason jars, layer as described. Keep refrigerated and wrapped with plastic wrap until ready to eat.
Best to let the banana trifle set in the fridge as long as possible before serving. Best if overnight and a max of 48 hours. This will allow the wafers to become soft and cake-like.
Because the banana slices are layered throughout the trifle, they won't be exposed to the air and they'll stay fresh. However, if you put any sliced bananas on the very top of your banana trifle dish you'll want to spritz them lightly with lemon juice. This will prevent browning while your trifle is being served.
You can, but for the best results, I recommend chilling the trifle in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Even at 30 minutes, the cookies will still have a lot of crunch to them. The longer it's allowed to sit the softer the cookies will be, and it gives time to let the pudding flavors meld and set.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding
- 8 oz Cream cheese softened
- 14 oz can Sweetened condensed milk
- 5 oz Instant vanilla pudding
- 3 cup Milk cold
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 8 oz Whipped topping
- 4 Bananas sliced
- ½ 12 oz Box Vanilla wafers
- Cherries optional as garnish
- In a large bowl add the softened, room temperature cream cheese.8 oz Cream cheese
- Using a hand mixer, beat until there are no lumps then add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and the pudding mix to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until combined and no lumps appear.14 oz can Sweetened condensed milk, 3 cup Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 5 oz Instant vanilla pudding
- Fold in 8 oz whipped cream topping.3 8 oz Whipped topping
- Chill mixture for 30 minutes.
- In your trifle dish, lay the vanilla wafers on the bottom and up against the side. Add ½ of the pudding mixture and spread evenly across, layer bananas on top of the pudding, and then layer ½ of the whipped cream topping over the bananas.4 Bananas, ½ 12 oz Box Vanilla wafers
- Repeat that step another time.
- Once your trifle has been constructed chill for at least 1 hour, best if overnight.
- Garnish as you wish and serve!Cherries
- Best to let the banana trifle set in the fridge as long as possible before serving. Best if overnight and a max of 48 hours. This will allow the wafers to become soft and cake-like.
- For smaller personal-sized dishes, layer as described. Keep refrigerated and wrapped with plastic wrap until ready to eat.
- If you do not own a trifle dish, any 9 x 13 baking pan or casserole dish would work perfectly.
- Store covered and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.