Easy Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Trifle is quintessentially the dessert among desserts with a southern soul.
Coming down off the holidays, it’s hard for me to go cold turkey after all of the pound cake, cookies, and chocolate tortes I’ve been sampling!
This layered banana pudding dessert begins with a homemade vanilla pudding to which I add banana extract.
No instant vanilla pudding mix in this banana trifle.
And, the pudding mixture calls for 2% milk which is a huge bonus without the added calories.
Sliced bananas, Nilla Wafers, and Cool Whip make up the remainder of this mastery.
You could go real whipped cream in this trifle dish, however I find that frozen whipped topping not only saves on time, but also stands up to the heavier layers that get piled on top of it.
Easy Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Trifle is my go to comfort dessert without being a heavy dessert.
Banana pudding is a dessert with a southern soul. Why do I say this?
Because after I moved south in 2005, banana pudding was INSTANTLY on my radar.
Literally. For the first time in my life.
Growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s, there was vanilla, chocolate, tapioca, and the occasional butterscotch pudding.
And the butterscotch was only if it was your birthday or something, That’s it.
The very first banana pudding trifle recipe I ever recall seeing must came out of Southern Living Magazine I’m sure.
I think that I likely laughed a little at the idea of using Nilla Wafers in pudding.
Growing up, they were only used for making pie crusts and crumb or bar bottoms.
So, the idea of a banana pudding bowl by itself was ‘out there’ let alone vanilla cookies to somehow ‘make it fancy’ seemed unpretentious.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Make this banana trifle as light as you’d like but I suggest getting these Nilla wafers to make it truly unique (click images for pricing).
It took dating a southern boy who loved his Momma’s cooking to rattle my cage.
No story of a birthday celebration at the Waldorf Astoria gone awry, or a tall tale about spilling wine on Walter Cronkite at a horse show in the Hampton’s was going to be as high ranking as the ‘guess-you-had-to-be-there-story’ of his mom’s ‘famous Nilla Wafer pudding.’ SERIOUSLY?
Every Southern Momma makes her version, and more likely her mommas version, of a banana wafer pudding.
Also, expect to find some of the most luscious banana pudding in southern states barbecue joints and smoke houses.
Entire competitions are built around the stuff. I must have been sheltered as a kid.
That, or us Yanks just didn’t have it as good as the kiddos down here.
To date, I have collected several banana pudding recipe ideas.
A chocolate banana pudding trifle recipe and pudding recipes which use sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream and a vanilla extract.
This is in lieu of lighter 2% milk.
Vanilla wafers, or in the case of this recipe, mini Nilla Wafers and tried and true Cool Whip allow this easy banana pudding trifle to be, well, truly EASY!
How Do You Layer Banana Pudding In A Trifle Bowl?
So, there are no real rules to this method for vanilla wafer banana pudding in terms of getting it “pretty” in the trifle dish.
For me, it is all about going slowly.
It’s also about pouring or spooning my ingredients into the center of my trifle.
I then using a rubber spatula to push it where I want it to go. I absolutely spin my trifle dish around to suit my spatula constantly. Do this.
Also, it should be noted that there are MANY different sizes of trifle bowls.
I am using a rather smallish one, about a 1 quart capacity, which I picked up junkin’ for $1.
If you do not own a trifle bowl, use a pretty glass bowl. Scalloped salad bowls work great.
Just as long as you can see through it to the festive borders you will create.
Oh, and the delicious banana cream trifle that awaits!
If all else fails and if you REALLY need an economical trifle bowl, despair not.
For those pretty desserts and Seven Layer Hostess Salads, click on any of these pictures. I have added a link for purchase within.
Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
- Trifle bowl or other pretty glass serving bowl
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 6 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Easy Layered Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding Trifle
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter diced
- 2 – 3 teaspoons banana extract I am using McCormick
- 5 bananas medium sized, ripe but not overripe
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 11 ounce package Mini Nabisco Nilla Wafers
- 2 cups whipped topping such as Cool Whip
- Fill a deep-bottomed baking dish with equal parts ice and water. Set aside.
- Whisk the milk, eggs, sugar, and flour together in a semi-deep sided saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for about 20 minutes. The mixture will start out watery and will end moderately thickened. Cut in the butter and the banana extract, stirring until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.
- Place the saucepan in the prepared ice bath and let it stand, whisking occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and thoroughly chilled.
- Cut the bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices and toss to coat well with the lemon juice.
- Line the bottom of a pedestaled trifle dish or glass serving bowl with wafers. Cover with custard. Use a rubber spatula to 'guide' the custard to the sides of the bowl. Make a decorative band using some of the Nilla Wafers and go around the bowl, tucking each cookie gently into the custard. Top with bananas. Repeat. Make an additional decorative band using some of the banana slices.
- Cover the final/top layer with whipped cream. Garnish with crushed wafers. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
If you enjoy a smooth and creamy banana pudding, you may also enjoy these creamy desserts!
What Are Some Tips For Making Banana Pudding?
I confess that I have cheated here and there with this dessert.
Yes, I specify Nilla Wafers, however you can also assemble banana pudding trifle with graham crackers in a pinch.
I crush them sprinkle heavily as both a bottom layer as well as a middle layer.
If you go this route, you will likely need additional bananas beyond the 5 called for herein to make two rows of the border rather than just one.
Also, real whipped cream is fine to use. Heavy whipping cream with a teaspoon vanilla extract added and confectioners sugar, whipped stiff.
If served immediately, it can work. Simply make the banana pudding layers a bit thinner than the whipped cream layers.