Banana Pudding Bars — Faster and easier than making a banana cream pie and taste AMAZING!! A crunchy crust, tender banana slices, luscious banana pudding, and creamy whipped topping make these layered pie bars WINNERS!!
Easiest Banana Pudding Bars
It’s been years since I’ve made a creamy banana pudding dessert until these easy banana cream pie bars came to life.
Note the operative word is bars. I am not a pie maker and avoid making pies like the plague and always opt for pie bars rather than making an actual pie. I don’t relish making pie crust.
But this crust is so easy and made in the food processor with just three ingredients: Nilla Wafers, Fisher Pecan Halves, and butter before being baked briefly. The pecans add lovely nutty flavor to the crust and as the crust bakes, the scent of lightly toasted nuts wafting through the kitchen is heavenly.
Other than baking the crust for 12 minutes, the pie bars are a (nearly) no-bake dessert which I love.
And all those layers. Oh my. A crunchy crust, tender banana slices, luscious banana pudding, and creamy whipped topping. Move over, banana cream pie, because there’s a new sheriff in town!
What’s in the Banana Pudding Bars?
To make this easy banana pudding dessert, you’ll need the following:
- Nilla Wafers
- Fisher Pecan Halves
- Unsalted butter
- Instant banana pudding mix
- Whipped topping
This is my fifth year working with the Fisher nuts brand and I choose to work with Fisher nuts because their nuts are fresh out of their shells, have no preservatives, and are non-GMO Project Verified.
Fisher has nine varieties of recipe nuts certified as Heart Healthy by the American Heart Association. The stand-up bag is designed for convenience and it is resealable so your nuts stay fresh longer.
How to Make Banana Pudding Bars
First, you’ll need to make the crust. To do so, pulse the Nilla Wafers, Fisher Pecan Halves, and and melted butter in a food processor. Then, press the crust into a foil lined 8×8-inch baking dish and bake until set.
Once cool, top the crust with banana slices, instant banana pudding mix that’s been spiked with whipped topping, and finish the pie bars off with a layer of whipped topping. Bananas and whipped topping were made for each other!
This banana pudding dessert needs to chill in the fridge for at least 90 minutes before it can be sliced and served.
Do I Have to Use Boxed Pudding Mix?
No, you don’t have to! I also have a scratch recipe for banana pudding that you can use.
However, while homemade banana pudding is lovely and amazing, it’s more time consuming. Instant pudding is just fine to keep this layered banana dessert fast and easy.
Can I Make This Recipe Into an Actual Pie?
If you’d like to make an actual banana cream pie rather than pie bars, I recommend following my banana cream pie recipe. I’ve tested that recipe multiple times and know that it works!
Tips for Making Banana Cream Pie Bars
You need to make the banana cream pie bars with instant pudding and NOT cook and serve. Likewise, sugar-free pudding may not work (I haven’t tested this recipe with sugar-free instant pudding so I can’t speak to the results).
You’ll need to use regular 2% milk for this recipe. Make sure it’s cold as that will help the pudding set up faster.
I recommend using ripe bananas for this recipe and not overripe. Overripe (i.e. black or heavily speckled) bananas will turn to mush when layered underneath the pudding and whipped topping.
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- 25 Nilla Wafers (I used reduced fat)
- 1/4 cup Fisher Pecan Halves
- 1/4 cup (half of one stick) unsalted butter, melted
- about 3 medium/large bananas, sliced into thin rounds; divided (see Notes below)
- one 3.5-ounce box instant banana pudding
- 1 1/2 cups cold 2% milk (use real dairy milk or pudding will not set up)
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping (I used fat free), divided
- Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8x8-inch pan with foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To the canister of a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the Nilla Wafers, pecans, and mix on high speed until you have fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter and mix to incorporate.
- Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and hard pack it with a spatula to form an even, flat crust layer.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is set.
- Add the banana slices evenly over the crust so it's covered completely; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the pudding mix, milk, and whisk for 2 minutes until pudding has thickened.
- Add 3/4 cup whipped topping and whisk to incorporate; reserve the remaining whipped topping.
- Turn pudding mixture out over the banana-topped crust, smoothing it gently with a spatula as necessary.
- Evenly turn the remaining whipped topping out over the pudding layer, smoothing it very gently with a spatula as necessary.
- Place pan in the fridge for about 90 minutes, or until well chilled and it has had time to set up.
- Before serving, garnish each pieces with a couple banana slices.
Use bananas that are ripe but not overripe; save those super ripe ones for banana bread. Very ripe bananas will get even mushier underneath the pudding layers and aren't as appetizing.
Storage: Dessert will keep airtight for up to 3 days in the fridge, possibly longer; however you run the risk of the bananas inside the dessert oxidizing as time passes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 3g
More Banana Dessert Recipes:
Easy Banana Cream Pudding Pie with Cream Cheese Crust — The no-bake filling tastes like a fluffy slice of heaven and the crust is no-roll! An easy, goofproof pie that anyone can make in minutes!
Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding – Sweet and creamy pudding with oodles of Nilla Wafers! A classic comfort-food dessert that’s so good!
Upside-Down Banana Bread Cake — Don’t settle for making another loaf of plain banana bread when you can have caramelized banana slices on top of soft banana cake! A decadent spin on banana bread! The best use for your ripe bananas!
Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread – Banana bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake – Have ripe bananas? This cake has their name all over it! Dripping with rich, buttery, caramel sauce!
Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze – The banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies! Best use ever of ripe bananas!
Banana Bread Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze – Banana bread in bar form with a glaze that soaks in and is just so.darn.good!
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