vegan banana pudding in small cups on a serving platter

Why I love this banana pudding recipe

After serving thousands of orders of banana pudding during my brief stint as a Texas BBQ restaurant, it took me years to want to make it at home. But, since my two-year-old son has taken quite the liking to bananas, I knew I wanted him to try it.

There are tons of ways to make banana pudding, and just about everyone has there favorite version. Between the sweetened condensed milk, instant pudding packets and cool whip, I honestly had no clue where to start, let alone find a way to make it dairy free.

So I decided to go back to basics and make my pudding from scratch, like I did for my chocolate pudding recipe, and I was so pleased with the results.

If you haven’t made homemade pudding before, you’ll be surprised by how simple it is, you’ll probably never reach for box mix again.

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

Equipment

Banana pudding ingredients

Before we get started let’s talk about the ingredients, because it’s the ingredients that make this recipe vegan.

  • Vanilla pudding – To make this banana pudding recipe vegan, I swapped out milk for a combination of almond and coconut milk, and opted for a cornstarch-thickened pudding rather than a traditional custard base.
  • Whipped topping – For the topping, you have several options. You can whip up some vegan heavy whipping cream or go for a prepared vegan whipped topping
  • Wafer cookies – I had trouble finding traditional wafer cookies that were both gluten free and vegan. You see, this brand makes a gluten free, dairy free version that still contains eggs (not vegan), and this brand makes them totally vegan, but they still contain wheat (not gluten free). So if you need vegan/gluten free, I recommend trying these animal crackers or an these vanilla sandwich cookies.
  • Bananas – hold off on slicing these until you’re ready to assemble and/or garnish because they will brown if they’re exposed to air for too long.

How to make vegan banana pudding

Make the pudding. Combine the pudding ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk until smooth. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pudding thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Layer the ingredients. Crushed cookies, pudding, bananas, repeat. Do this until you fill your cups or serving dish. Make sure the bananas are completely covered by pudding to prevent them from browning.

Chill. Cover the containers and refrigerate for a few hours, or until you’re ready to serve. Press your plastic wrap directly onto the pudding to prevent a film from forming on the pudding.

Serve with whipped topping. Remove the cups from the fridge and top with your choice of vegan whipped topping (we use this one when we want the fluffiness to last).

FAQs and tips for making banana pudding from scratch

Why is my banana pudding watery?

Most likely, you didn’t cook your pudding long enough. You want to make sure it’s good and thick before removing it from the heat. Alternatively, if your pudding sits for too long, it can start to get watery. That’s a good sign that it’s time to toss it.

How long will banana pudding last?

Homemade banana pudding will for about 4 days in the fridge, but the sooner your eat it, the better it will be. Just be sure to wait at least a few hours for the pudding to chill and set.

Is pudding mix vegan?

Traditional pudding mix is vegan and can be substituted in this recipe. As stated on the box, if you’re using soy milk, the pudding might not set. However, the recipe above will work with soy milk.

How do you make banana pudding without bananas turning brown?

Bananas turn brown when they are exposed to air, so if you want to prevent that, make sure they’re completely covered by the pudding. You can also coat them in lemon juice to prevent browning.

Does homemade banana pudding need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Banana pudding should be refrigerated until you’re ready to eat it. While this vegan recipe technically doesn’t contain any ingredients that will spoil at room temperature, it’s always safest to keep food at safe temperatures, and the fridge is the best place for that.

More vegan favorites:

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Print

Vegan Banana Pudding

With layers of creamy, dairy free pudding, fresh sliced bananas, vanilla wafer cookies and vegan whipped topping, this homemade banana pudding recipe is the ultimate old-fashioned, southern dessert. Serve it in individual portions or pile those layers into a trifle dish for a show stopping dessert.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups dairy free milk (1/2 cup coconut, 1 1/2 cups almond)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 box of vanilla cookies
  • 23 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups vegan whipped topping*

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk to combine.
  2. Slowly pour in the cold milk, whisking until smooth.
  3. Heat saucepan to medium-high and cook until the milk starts to thicken. Stir as needed to prevent lumps. Allow the pudding to cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon with a thick layer.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and let the pudding cool to room temperature.
  5. Layer crushed cookies, vanilla pudding and sliced bananas. Repeat until ingredients are gone or your chosen container is full.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream with sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  7. Top with the banana pudding with a layer of whipped cream.
  8. Garnish with cookies and sliced bananas just before serving.

Keywords: dairy free, vegan, egg free, gluten free, easy, pudding, banana, no bake

Last Updated on August 10, 2020 by Melissa Belanger

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Recipe rating

4 Comments

  1. It was fun too make, but overly sweet. I wish I had followed my gut and put in less sugar than the recipe called for like I initially was going to do. Some people may have a big sweet tooth, but it overwhelmed my taste buds and I couldn’t tolerate more than 2 spoonfuls of this pudding.

    1. I’m so sorry that the recipe was too sweet for you. Traditional banana pudding is generally pretty sweet, but I’m sure it would work just fine with less sugar.

  2. YES! Thank you so much for this DF version. Love that combo of DF milks. We are always looking for other ways to use up bananas (aside from banana shakes or banana bread, etc). Banana pudding from scratch has always been a favorite (& love that this recipe doesn’t call for the box stuff bleh!)