This Southern-style vegan banana pudding layers sweet vanilla pudding with fresh banana, wafer biscuits, and dairy-free whipped cream. With just 10 ingredients and less than 30 minutes of prep time, this simple dessert will surely impress!
Recently I posted my recipe for Gluten Free Vanilla Wafers – with this vegan banana pudding in mind. It is everything you remember about the classic dish – but minus all the dairy, eggs, and gluten! If you love banana cream pie, you’ll also fall in love with this dessert!
What Is Banana Pudding?
Traditionally, this American dessert is made with layers of vanilla custard/pudding, wafer cookies, fresh bananas, and topped with cream or toasted meringue. In terms of looks, the pudding reminds me of a layered trifle or Vegan Tiramisu but packed with sweetness and banana.
If you’ve never tried a Southern banana pudding before, you might be confused about the fact that, surprisingly, this dessert isn’t a banana-flavored pudding. I thought I’d get that out of the way immediately since it’s a common misconception. But don’t worry, it’s still ridiculously delicious!
As with lots of Southern recipes, this dairy free banana pudding is comfort food at it’s finest; creamy, rich, decadent, and packed with flavor.
Just 4 Elements to Creamy, Vegan Pudding Recipe Perfection
This recipe is made up of just four elements (and 10 total ingredients) for a dessert set to impress without keeping you cooped up in the kitchen for hours on end.
The elements include:
Bananas: Use ones that are ripe but not overripe. You want them to be easily sliced through but not mushy.
Vanilla Pudding: I added a cheeky couple spoonful’s of peanut butter too, for extra flavor. Though, this can be subbed for alternate flavors and a nut-free version (check notes).
Vanilla Wafer Biscuits: Small, crisp, and vanilla-infused. I love to use homemade for the perfect texture.
Whipped Cream: Lightly sweetened and vanilla-infused. However, you could also use vanilla meringue topping instead.
Read my Ingredient Notes section for a full list of ingredient substitutes and options- including how to make a nut-free, sugar-free, gluten free banana pudding, etc.
The Step-By-Step Instructions
For this recipe, I used homemade vegan vanilla wafer cookies, so those will need to be pre-made (unless you choose to use a store-bought option). Otherwise, there are just 3 elements to prepare for this recipe and a few super-simple steps.
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, then please read the printable recipe card below.
Step 1. Prepare The Pudding
First, combine all the pudding ingredients except the vanilla extract into a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk, without heat, until the cornstarch has dissolved. Then turn on the heat and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Then, once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and whisk continuously for two to three minutes. During this time, the pudding will thicken and become very creamy.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap to avoid a film of skin forming on the top of the pudding and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2. Prepare The Remaining Ingredients & Assemble
As the pudding cools, whip up the vegan whipped cream (read notes). You’ll need around ½ cup to just dollop on top, or more if you want to create additional cream layers. At the same time, thinly slice the bananas.
To assemble, I layered my banana pudding in jars. First, add 1-2 tbsp of the pudding, then a layer of whipped cream, a few vanilla wafer biscuits, and a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat this step once more and then garnish with an additional dollop of whipped cream, banana slice, and crumbled vanilla wafer biscuits.
Depending on the size of your jars, you should be able to fill 2-4 jars.
Enjoy the dessert immediately if you prefer crisp cookies. Alternatively, allow it to chill in the fridge for a few hours to infuse the flavors more and for softer cookies.
How To Store
This vegan banana pudding can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days when covered. You can also freeze the dessert for up to 2 months.
Ingredient Notes & Variations
- Canned Coconut Milk: This will make the pudding really rich and creamy. However, if you don’t like coconut, then use 2 cups of your favorite plant-based milk. The pudding will be less rich and creamy – though still delicious (also best if you want a healthy banana pudding option)
- The Sweetener: You can use organic cane sugar, maple syrup, or – if you want a sugar free banana pudding – then Erythritol, as your sweetener within this dessert.
- Peanut Butter: Feel free to use another nut butter, if preferred, such as almond butter. For a nut-free version, then use sunflower seed butter.
- Vanilla Wafers: I made homemade, gluten-free vanilla wafers. However, you can also use store-bought vegan wafer biscuits or even graham crackers.
- Banana Slices: To keep the banana slices from browning, dip them in a little lemon or lime juice.
- Vegan Whipped Cream: You can chill a can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge, then scoop out the hard layer of cream on top and whip up (use the remaining liquid for smoothies, etc.) You could also use a vegan brand of whipped cream- such as ‘So delicious coco whip.’
- Instead of a whipped cream topping, you could make a vegan meringue topping. To do this, use 1/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine – use a can with no added salt), 1/8th tsp cream of tartar (or a little lemon juice) 3 tbsp powdered sugar (or Xylitol or Erythritol) and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whip the aquafaba and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form (between 5-8 minutes). Then, slowly incorporate the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Though it isn’t something I’ve tried, this Southern banana pudding can be eaten warm too. If doing so, you’ll need to assemble the dessert in oven-safe dishes and then bake for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through. When eating this way, all the layers mash into one, and the bananas lightly caramelize.
- This dish could also be layered in a casserole dish, rather than individual jars.
- There are various ways to infuse this dish with even more flavor. For example, you could top the dessert with a drizzle of vegan salted caramel, chocolate ganache, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- For more crunch, feel free to add some crushed nuts – such as pecans, to top or even within the layers of the vegan banana pudding. Or even toasted coconut flakes if you’re using coconut whipped cream.
- For an even more decadent dessert, you could serve it alongside some ice-cream. Vanilla will work well. However, you could also serve it with banana, caramel, toffee, or even Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream.
- Vegan Tiramisu
- Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers
- Vegan Flan (Crème Caramel)
- Peanut Butter Mousse
- Gingerbread Tiramisu
If you give this vegan banana pudding recipe a try, I’d love a comment and recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
Vegan Banana Pudding
- 1 cup (240 ml) plant-based milk of choice
- 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk canned (*see notes)
- 3 1/2 tbsp (28 g) cornstarch or arrowroot flour
- 2 1/2 - 3 tbsp Erythritol or organic sugar (*see notes)
- 2 tbsp (32 g) peanut butter (*see notes)
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 dash of turmeric (*optional for color)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegan whipped cream (*see notes)
- 16-20 vegan vanilla wafers (*see notes)
- 2-3 bananas sliced (*see notes)
MAKE THE PUDDING:
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all pudding ingredients except vanilla extract. Do not turn on the heat yet, first whisk until the cornstarch dissolves. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently.
- Once it starts boiling turn the heat to low and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes. The pudding will thicken and get very creamy. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, cover with a plastic wrap to avoid a film, and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the bananas, and whip up your favorite vegan whipped cream. Use about 1/2 cup if you just want to dollop it on top or more for additional layers.
- In a jar, add 1-2 tablespoons of the pudding, then a layer of vegan whipped cream, a few vanilla wafers, and a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat this step one more time. Depending on the size of your jars, you will be able to fill 2-4 jars.
- Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a few banana slices, and vanilla wafer crumbles. Enjoy immediately if you prefer the cookies to stay crisp, or refrigerate for a few hours if you prefer a chilled dessert and soft cookies.
- Canned Coconut Milk: It will make the pudding creamy and rich. If you don't like coconut, use 2 cups of your favorite plant-based milk, however, the pudding will turn out less rich and creamy.
- Sweetener: You can use organic sugar, coconut sugar, etc. or use Erythritol for a sugar-free version. Maple syrup should be also fine.
- Peanut butter: Feel free to use any other nut butter, e.g. almond butter. Use sunflower seed butter for a nut-free version.
- Vegan whipped cream: You could chill a can of coconut cream in the fridge overnight, scoop out the cream (use the water for smoothies) and whip up the cream. Or use your favorite vegan whipped cream or product like "So Delicious Coco Whip". Another option would be to use vegan meringue made from 1/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine - I recommend using a can without added salt), 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (or a little lemon juice), 3 tbsp powdered sugar (or Erythritol) and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whip up the aquafaba and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form (about 5-8 minutes). Then slowly add in the powdered sugar, and finally the vanilla extract.
- Vanilla wafers: I made homemade vegan vanilla wafers that are also gluten-free, but you can use store-bought vegan vanilla wafers.
- Banana slices: To keep the banana slices from turning brown, simply squeeze some lemon juice or lime juice over the slices.
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo: