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Banana pudding lasagna is the perfect no-bake dessert for holidays, picnics, and potlucks. Creamy cheesecake filling, freshly sliced bananas, and Nilla wafers are layered together lasagna style for a dish that’s always a crowd-pleaser!
Banana pudding lasagna is an easy and decadent dessert recipe that is perfect for any occasion. The layers of banana pudding, Nilla wafers, and whipped cream make for a light and refreshing treat that’s ideal for summertime but can be enjoyed any time of year.
This no-bake dessert can be made ahead of time, making it ideal for potlucks or parties. Plus, it can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a large crowd. Everyone will be asking for seconds. So next time you’re looking for a unique and tasty dessert, try banana pudding cheesecake lasagna!
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Banana pudding is a layered dessert that’s popular in the South. It can be served warm or cold, often at potluck dinners or holiday get togethers. The warm version is essentially a baked banana pudding made with custard and meringue instead of pudding and whipped cream. I like the cold version because it’s just as tasty but way easier to make!
I promise – while it may look fancy, it’s totally foolproof. This dish combines the sweet deliciousness of the best banana pudding recipe with the clever layering of lasagna to make prettier and more portable.
Additionally, making lasagna-like layers ensures the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dish, ensuring a mouthful of each ingredient in every bite.
You really can’t go wrong with this easy no bake banana pudding lasagna! The whole family will love it!
👩🏽🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- All the flavors you love in banana pudding in a fun dessert lasagna form
- Great recipe for feeding a crowd
- Super delicious dessert
- Easy to make – no bake recipe!
- Classic dessert for summertime
- Also perfect for holiday gatherings – it NEEDS to be on your Thanksgiving menu!
- Best dessert to make ahead of time because it tastes even better the next day (once it sits in the fridge overnight!)
Here’s an overview of all the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy banana pudding recipe with cool whip. For exact amounts and full instructions, please see the recipe card below.
- Nilla Wafers: These tasty wafers are included in the crust and in the pudding layers as well.
- Butter: This binds the crumbs of the Nilla Wafers together to make a delicious crust.
- Cinnamon, Sugar & Salt: Sugar is a necessary ingredient for all cheesecake mixtures and sweetens up the tanginess of the cream cheese. Granulated sugar is perfect for this recipe. Cinnamon adds a warm, sweet boost of flavor to the base of this banana pudding lasagna recipe. And a pinch of salt helps balance the sweetness of the other ingredients in the crust.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is used to create that thick, sweet cheesecake mixture in this easy dessert lasagna recipe. Remember to soften it to room temperature first.
- Cold Heavy Cream: Heavy whipping cream gives the cheesecake mixture a light and fluffy texture.
- Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor, but imitation vanilla may be used if that’s what you have on hand.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix: Vanilla pudding mix gives the base a sweet vanilla flavor, but you can use instant banana pudding mix instead if you want a little more oomph of banana flavor. The pudding is the creamy ingredient that brings this dish together.
- Regular Milk: You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of cold milk for this recipe. Combine milk with the instant pudding mix and let it sit for a while to firm up a little before it’s folded into the cheesecake mixture. Whole milk is typically used for cold banana pudding, but reduced fat milk or plant-based milk works, too.
- Bananas: Large ripe bananas are the star of the show! You can’t have banana pudding without fresh bananas. For this recipe, you’ll slice and layer the bananas over the filling mixture and on top of the whipped cream layer, if desired. Keep the slices about ¼ inches thick.
- Whipped Cream: Finish your banana pudding dessert with a creamy layer of Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream.
- Make It Vegan: To make this banana dessert vegan friendly, substitute dairy products for dairy-free alternatives such as vegan butter, plant-based milk, vegan vanilla pudding, vegan cream cheese, and whipped coconut cream.
- Change Up The Cookies: Any crispy cookie will work well in this banana dessert! Try gingersnap cookies, Golden Oreos, shortbread biscuits, gluten free cookies (to make it gluten free), or graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers!
- Banana Pudding Chocolate Lasagna: Add a layer of chocolate chips after the banana layer, and top with a drizzle of chocolate sauce! Or, use instant chocolate pudding mix instead of vanilla pudding!
- Make It Healthier: There’s no getting around the fact that desserts are an indulgence. If you want to soothe your sweet tooth without going totally overboard, though, you can lighten this recipe by using low-fat cream cheese, skim milk, keto vanilla wafers, half the amount of sugar, and light or fat-free Cool Whip.
- Banana Pudding Pie: Instead of using a lasagna pan, layer these ingredients in a couple of pie pans instead. You’ll have a banana pudding pie for yourself and an extra one for a friend or neighbor!
This recipe for banana pudding lasagna is easy as pie. Literally! Just prep your crust, create a cheesecake mixture with cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla pudding, and put it all together with alternating layers of filling, bananas, and wafers. Yum!
Crumble The Cookies: Crush Nilla wafers to get 1 ½ cups. In a medium bowl, mix together the wafer crumbs, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon until well combined.
Make The Crust: Press the mixture into a rectangle baking dish. Place the dish in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Prepare The Cheesecake Mixture: Using a stand mixer or a large bowl and electric hand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, whipping until stiff peaks form.
Make The Pudding: Grab another bowl, and whisk the vanilla pudding and milk together. Let the pudding sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature to allow it to thicken.
Combine: Fold pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
Assemble: Pour half of the filling over the cookie base. Add a layer of Nilla wafers and a layer of sliced banana. Top with another cheesecake layer and add another banana pudding layer and wafers.
Add One Last Layer: Add a thin cheesecake layer on top, to cover the bananas (so they don’t brown in the fridge).
Let It Chill: Place the pudding lasagna in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours. Overnight is better.
Serve It Up: To serve your banana split lasagna, top with whipped cream (or Cool Whip), crushed Nilla wafers, and sliced bananas.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Store Nilla wafer banana pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may also store it directly in your baking dish by covering it tightly with plastic wrap.
Banana pudding lasagna lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Do not freeze homemade banana pudding. The bananas will turn brown, and other ingredients may separate or take on a grainy texture.
For the crust or base, you can use graham cracker crumbs or any other similarly flavored cookie instead of vanilla wafers. To layer in the dessert, try gingersnap cookies for a big flavor boost! Shortbread cookies also work nicely in this banana pudding recipe.
Cut the dessert lasagna into squares, just as you would with any other layered dish. Serve it cold, with whipped cream, Nilla crumbs, and banana slices on top. A drizzle of caramel sauce or chocolate sauce wouldn’t hurt, either!
💭 Expert Tips
- Make sure you soften the cream cheese before you start mixing it, to avoid lumps in your pudding mixture.
- Let the yummy banana dessert chill in the fridge for 2 hours (for a mousse-like consistency) or overnight (for a firm, cheesecake-like consistency). Letting it sit overnight makes cutting and serving it way easier! Plus, it lets all the flavors come together.
- Don’t put your bananas on the top until you’re ready to serve this layered dessert. When bananas are exposed to air, they begin to brown. Although they’ll be just as tasty, it ruins the presentation. Waiting until right before serving ensures the bananas look just as they should.
- If you can’t find vanilla pudding, use any other flavor of pudding you like! Homemade custard will work too.
- Don’t overmix: When making your cream cheese mixture, whip it just until soft peaks form. Don’t keep going, or the cream may separate!
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📋 Recipe Card
Banana Pudding Lasagna
- 1½ cup Nilla Wafers crushed
- 4 tbsp Butter melted
- 1 pinch Salt
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 2 8 oz Blocks cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 cups Heavy cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 3.4 oz Packet instant vanilla pudding
- 1½ cups milk
- 5 large bananas sliced
- 1 11 oz box Nilla wafers
- whipped cream or Cool Whip
- Nilla wafers crushed
- banana slices
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all base ingredients until well combined.
- Press into a rectangle baking dish (I used a 12×9 dish). Place in the freezer while preparing the filling.
- Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth using a stand mixer. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, whip until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the vanilla pudding and milk, allow it to thicken for 10-15 minutes.
- Gently fold the pudding mixture through the cream cheese mixture.
- Pour half of the filling mixture over the prepared biscuit base.
- Add a layer of sliced banana and Nilla wafers. Top with remaining filling and another layer of sliced bananas and wafers. Add a thin cheesecake layer on top, to cover the bananas (so they don't brown in the fridge).
- Chill in the fridge, covered, for 2 hours or overnight.
- To serve, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip, crushed Nilla wafers, and sliced bananas.
- You can use either banana or vanilla instant pudding for the filling.
- To make this recipe vegan friendly, substitute the dairy products for dairy free alternatives such as vegan butter, plant based milk and whipped coconut cream.
- It’s best to chill the lasagna overnight, allowing all of the flavors to infuse and taste amazing!