These banana pudding jars are made with layers of creamy vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers, and fresh banana slices all in cute little jars. They're the perfect no-bake dessert to give away as delicious homemade gifts!
This is a classic southern dessert that's both delicious and portable - banana pudding in a jar! These banana pudding jars are the perfect combination of creamy and cakey textures. The crunchy vanilla wafer cookies become soft and spongey as they soften from the pudding while the firm and fresh bananas add a creamy bite that's so satisfying.
By serving them in individual jars, they're a portable treat for picnics, parties, or for giving as gifts. Mason jars with a lid are perfect for this! They're a convenient and easy-to-serve dessert that's sure to impress.
In this recipe, I'll show you how to make these mouthwatering banana pudding jars step by step, so you can enjoy this classic dessert in a fun and unique way.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This recipe is so easy to make with only a few ingredients! It comes together in less than 30 minutes - the hardest part is waiting for the banana pudding jars to set in the fridge for a few hours.
- It's a no-bake dessert!
- These banana pudding jars are made in perfect single-serving jars. They make great gifts since they're in a nice and convenient package.
- They're so delicious with soft cookies, silky pudding, and banana flavour!
- Cold water - This is for mixing your pudding box mix. You can also use milk for a richer pudding! Cold water or milk will set your pudding faster to cut down on chilling time.
- Condensed milk - This sweetens the pudding and gives it a milky flavour that you can't get with just regular sugar.
- Vanilla pudding mix - Use any store-bought packaged vanilla pudding powder. I recommend using the Jello brand pudding mix!
- Heavy cream - Use a heavy cream with 36%+ fat content for a creamier and richer pudding or use whipping cream with 30-36% fat content for a lighter pudding. Both work well in this recipe!
- Vanilla wafers - These are small, round, crunchy, vanilla-flavoured biscuits. One common brand is Nilla but you can use any brand you have available. You can also substitute vanilla wafers with shortbread cookies or ladyfingers.
- Bananas - Use bananas that are just ripe but not overly ripe. You want the bananas to be firm otherwise they'll just turn to mush in the pudding. Peel and slice them into coins before adding them to your banana pudding.
How to make banana pudding jars
Make vanilla pudding - In a large bowl, stir together cold water, condensed milk, and vanilla pudding mix until smooth and combined. Chill this in the fridge while you do the next steps or overnight.
Whip cream - In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip heavy cream until it becomes stiff peaks.
Mix pudding and cream together - Add the pudding to the whipped cream, half at a time, folding with a spatula until no streaks remain. Transfer this pudding mixture to a piping bag and snip the tip off.
Fill jars - In your small serving jars, pipe in a layer of pudding at the bottom. Arrange a layer of vanilla wafers and then banana slices on top. Use chopsticks or tweezers to help get the wafers and bananas into a narrow jar opening.
Top with another layer of pudding. Repeat with as many layers as you want until you've filled the jar. Leave some room at the top of the jar if you'll be putting on a lid.
Chill - Chill banana pudding in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours for the wafers to soften but serve on the same day before the bananas brown.
These banana pudding jars should be stored in the fridge for 3-4 hours before serving but they're best eaten in the first 1-2 days after they're made. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days but keep in mind that the bananas will start to become brown and mushy the longer they are stored.
You can freeze banana pudding but the bananas may become more brown and mushy after thawing. If you have to freeze it, I would recommend thawing it slightly and eating it as an ice cream rather than thawing it completely.
When freezing banana pudding in glass jars, make sure the jars are made of tempered glass like mason jars or specifically made for freezing. Always leave about 1" of empty space at the top of the jar to account for expanding.
- Use a different pudding flavour. Instead of vanilla pudding, you can use a banana pudding mix for a stronger banana flavour. Chocolate pudding pairs perfectly with bananas or go for something completely different like butterscotch pudding for a unique dessert.
- Add mix-ins. Add chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or other fresh fruits like sliced strawberries for extra textures and flavours.
- Use different cookies. Vanilla wafers are the classic choice for banana pudding but you can also try using butter cookies, shortbread cookies, ladyfingers, or biscoff cookies.
- Add a topping. Classic banana pudding is topped with whipped cream or meringue. You could also add something like caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, or more of your mix-ins.
Frequently asked questions
Use bananas that are just ripe but still firm. Bananas that are still slightly green are great to prevent them from breaking down too much in the pudding. You can brush your banana slices with a small amount of lemon juice or citric acid to prevent them from browning. I find that using barely ripe bananas, slicing the bananas just before use, and serving the banana pudding on the same day is good enough!
Banana pudding tastes good the first day and better the next day. The vanilla wafers become soft after soaking in the pudding overnight and the pudding firms up slightly. Just be sure to serve it before the bananas have browned too much.
I would recommend making the pudding mix part ahead of time and storing it in the fridge for up to 3 days. On the morning you plan on serving the banana pudding jars, make the whipped cream, mix in the pudding, and assemble the banana pudding jars. Chill them in the fridge until you serve them later in the day.
More pudding recipes to try
Banana Pudding Jars
- 340 g cold water
- 1 can condensed milk
- 1 package Jello vanilla pudding mix
- 500 g heavy cream
- 72 vanilla wafers, about 2 boxes
- 3 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into coins
- In a large bowl, stir together cold water, condensed milk, and vanilla pudding mix until smooth and combined. Chill this in the fridge while you do the next steps or overnight.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to whip heavy cream until it becomes stiff peaks.
- Add the pudding to the whipped cream, half at a time, folding with a spatula until no streaks remain. Transfer this pudding mixture to a piping bag and snip the tip off.
- In your small serving jars, pipe in a layer of pudding at the bottom. Arrange a layer of vanilla wafers and then banana slices on top. Top with another layer of pudding. Repeat with as many layers as you want until you've filled the jar.
- Chill banana pudding in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours for the wafers to soften but serve on the same day before the bananas brown.