Banana Pudding Parfaits
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This banana pudding bucks tradition a bit but still tastes nostalgic and delicious.
Banana pudding is an old-fashioned Southern dessert traditionally made with layers of Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding, and sliced bananas. Depending on the cook, it’s either topped with baked meringue, sweetened whipped cream, or cookies. The most famous classic version is served at Magnolia Bakery in NYC. This version is a little fancier – it’s made with homemade rum-spiked vanilla pudding and served in parfait glasses. It also bucks tradition a bit by using shortbread cookies instead of Nilla wafers, but it still tastes nostalgic and delicious. The pudding requires a few hours to chill, and the parfaits are best made 3 to 4 hours ahead of time, so plan accordingly.
What you’ll need to make Banana Pudding Parfaits
How to make Banana Pudding Parfaits
Instead of the classic Nilla wafers, I use crumbled shortbread cookies because they have a rich, buttery flavor and stay crunchy even when completely covered with pudding. The crunch of the cookies against the creamy smoothness of the bananas and pudding is what makes these parfaits unique. If you want to stick with tradition and use Nilla Wafers, that’ll work too; just keep in mind that they will have a softer texture.
To begin, combine the egg yolks, the sugar, corn starch, and salt in a medium saucepan.
Whisk to combine.
Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Once the mixture bubbles, turn the heat down and whisk constantly until the pudding thickens. Then, off the heat, add the butter, vanilla and rum.
Whisk until evenly combined.
Transfer the pudding to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours until cold. (Placing the plastic wrap directly over top keeps the pudding from forming a film.)
Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can place the pudding in an ice bath and whisk occasionally until cold.
Once the pudding is cold, whip the heavy cream.
Add the whipped cream to the pudding.
Gently fold it into the pudding and refrigerate until ready to assemble the parfaits.
To assemble, spoon a large dollop of pudding into the bottom of each glass. Cover with a layer of crumbled cookies and bananas and repeat, finishing with a layer of pudding.
Crush some of the cookies into crumbs and sprinkle over top of each parfait. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.
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Banana Pudding Parfaits
This banana pudding bucks tradition a bit but still tastes nostalgic and delicious.
For the Pudding
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 3½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ tablespoons dark rum
For the Sweetened Whipped Cream
- ¾ cup heavy cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 4 bananas, very ripe but not mushy, sliced*
- 2 (5.3 oz) boxes Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Cookies, or similar, broken into ¼-inch pieces
- In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks. Whisk in the milk and bring to simmer, stirring frequently, over medium heat (it will take 5 to 8 minutes). When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, vanilla and rum. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pudding to prevent a film from forming. Chill in the refrigerator until cool, a few hours. (To hurry it up, you can place the bowl in an ice bath and whisk occasionally until cold.)
- Once the pudding is cold, place the heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip on medium-low speed until the whisk or beaters begin to leave tracks in the cream. Add the confectioners' sugar and whip until the cream holds medium, silky peaks. Go slowly towards the end; if it gets grainy or curdled, you’ve gone too far. Use a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream into the cold pudding.
- Spoon a large dollop of the pudding mixture into the bottom of each parfait glass. Top with one layer of cookie pieces and one layer of sliced bananas. Repeat once and top with a final layer of pudding. Crumble some of the cookie pieces and sprinkle over top. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours.
- *Do not slice the bananas until you are ready to assemble the parfaits.
- Per serving (8 servings)
- Calories: 573
- Fat: 27 g
- Saturated fat: 13 g
- Carbohydrates: 73 g
- Sugar: 45 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Sodium: 339 mg
- Cholesterol: 158 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
If I wanted to make the banana pudding the day before serving
should I also fold in whipped cream or wait until the next day?
Hi AnnMarie, You make the pudding completely and serve it the next day. Enjoy!
Do you have a shortbread cookie recipe that would be suitable for this?
I think this recipe would work nicely. Hope you enjoy!
Even after being forgotten in the fridge for two days, the pudding was still good but a little lumpy from having solidified. I whipped up the cream and afterwards I used the same mixer whisk to smooth out the pudding. I made a banana cream pie with shortbread crust and layered it just the same as if it were in a parfait glass. The Walkers shortbread brought a whole new dimension to it, perfect combo of smooth pudding with just a hint of rum to kick it up a notch and ripe bananas and the crunch of a really good crumbly cookie. I had enough left over to put in two ramekins ( bought for Jenn’s warm lemon pudding cakes which are also spoon licking excellent). Gotta say, nothing low fat or low calorie about it, but if you’re going to treat yo’self, well this is the way to go.
First of all I have to say that I LOVEEEE all your recipes! I have yet to have a bad one. If I want to make the banana pudding in a baking dish what size do you recommend? 8×8 , 9×13, or something else?
So glad you like the recipes! I’d guesstimate that you’d need an 8 x 8-inch dish. Please LMK how it turns out!
Hi Jenn! I would like to make the pudding the day before so should
I add the whipped cream the next day before assembling?
Hi AnnMarie, I’d just make the whole pudding the day before. It should be fine. Enjoy!
If you had to choose between a light rum or no rum, what’s the verdict?
I have enjoyed your recipes so very, very much!!
Glad you like the recipes! I’d use the light rum — enjoy!
If I wanted to make my own shortbread cookies, would your Scottish Shortbread recipe work, or will it be too tender to hold up? Any other suggestions?
Sure, Penny, those should work. Hope you enjoy!
This turned out so delicious! I ended up putting them in (8) half pint mason jars which was just enough for an individual serving (and super cute too). I’ll definitely be making this again!
Hi Jenn! How far in advance can I make the pudding? I would like to make this for a dinner party, and can do the assembly 3-4 hours ahead, but would prefer to make the pudding earlier (ideally a day ahead)? What do you think?
You can make the pudding 2 to 3 days ahead of time. Hope you enjoy!
I have oodles of cookbooks but really down to one blog and cookbook now and it’s
Once Upon a Chef! Love everything I have made and so have family and friends.
Tomorrow I am making banana parfaits but unfortunately I do not have rum.
Do you think I can substitute Grand Marnier or just add vanilla?
I am also using your turkey recipe, stuffing recipe, carrot and butternut squash soup recipe,
and roasted veggies! So Thank You again!
I’m so flattered that my recipes are you go-to’s!! You can just leave the rum out — the parfaits will still be delicious. 🙂
Hi Jenn. Could you use almond milk instead of whole milk in this recipe?
Hi Karen, I’m not confident that this recipe would translate well to almond milk — sorry!
What is the difference in using cornstarch rather than flour? I’ve seen them both ways but don’t understand why one is chosen over the other.
Hi Carol, I prefer to use cornstarch for puddings — this article does a good job explaining the differences.
Thank you, Jenn, this really helps. Now to making this one with cornstarch for my banana
pudding crazy family!
This is absolutely sublime! The rum really gives it a nice depth. Perfection!
Hubby loved it 😍. I added an add’l tablespoon of rum and used vanilla wafers.
I made your Banana Pudding Parfait today for my 4th of July dessert it was wonderful your recipes are always on point.
Thanks so much!
From Birmingham Al
Have made this for a birthday treat (as requested) and it was fantastic. I was wondering if I could modify your crust from the coconut cream pie ( 2 boxes of Walkers shortbread and 4 tablespoons of butter) to serve this as a pie? Thanks for your help.
Yes, Jane, I think that would work out nicely-great idea! You didn’t mention the coconut from the crust but I think it would also be tasty here. Please LMK know how it turns out!
I made the coconut cream crust per your recipe instructions (with coconut). I made the banana pudding and whipped cream per recipe. I assembled the pie a few hours before the party: mixed cold pudding and whipped cream, put 1/3 of mixture in crust, used 3 sliced bananas, covered with remaining mixture, and placed filled crust in refrigerator. Before serving, I crushed the remaining shortbread cookies on top of pie. Jenn, People went CRAZY for it. It was a HUGE HIT. Thank you for getting back to me in time for my party. Many had seconds and wanted the recipes. It was nice to have a pie versus individual servings if you do not know how many to expect. Thank you so much for another holiday hit!
Yay! Thank you for reporting back (and for creating a new recipe for me…I’m going to try it!).
This is great to hear! Going to try this weekend.
Hi! If I can only assemble the pudding 6 hours or 2 hours in advance of serving, which would you recommend?
Thanks in advance!
Hi KJ, I’d do 6 – it will be fine. 🙂
Hello, just wanted to check if I can use whipping cream instead of heavy cream? I previously used double cream and it was great but now can’t find it.
Yep that’s fine. 🙂
My husband loves banana pudding and this hit the spot with him. A little more sophisticated than the usual banana pudding I make and oh so delicious. The addition of short bread cookies is great. I couldn’t find the brand Jenn used so I used the common “pecan short bread cookies” found in most stores. Turned out fantastic! Thank you, Jenn for another great recipe!
Does not need the rum.
Had high expectations since jenn’s recipes are wonderful. This one fell flat from flavor standpoint. The pudding came together beautifully no issue with execution. I experimented using Walker shortbread cookies , coconut cookies and chocolate wafers. SPrinkled shredded coconut on top, others have chocolate shavings. From color to flavor, it was lacking wow factor. Pudding was sufficient to make eight portions.
Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your recipes,and looking forward to getting lots more. Thank you Patricia Martin
So glad you’re enjoying them Patricia– thanks for letting me know!
This recipe is so delicious. I do think next time I would cut each serving in half as it is filling. My kids loved it.
What could I use instead of rum in the banana parfait. Diane
Hi Diane, you could leave the rum out (it’ll still be delicious) or replace it with cognac or apple cider.
I have been using a similar pudding for my banana cream pie (from my mom). I do not like custards or creme brûlée- too eggy for me, but this is the perfect proportions. My recipe only uses 2/3 c. sugar and I find it sweet enough.
This looks delicious, thanks for sharing your recipe. I’ve never seen Walker’s butter anywhere. How much would that be, in terms of cups or ounces? Thank you.
Hi Sashine, it would be the equivalent of about 8 ounces. Hope you enjoy!
What a simple but elegant dessert! I made this for my mother who is gluten free and lactose problematic. I used gluten free pecan shortbread cookies and almond milk. It was fabulous. Rave reviews not only from mom, but also from my husband who typically does not like puddings. Thanks for sharing your expertise Jen!
Hi! Is it possible to replace the rum with cognac?
Sure Lora, that will work. Enjoy!
Can lactose free milk be substituted for whole milk?
Sure J, that should work. Enjoy!
Can the pudding be frozen after its made?
Hi Samantha, I wouldn’t recommend freezing the pudding here– sorry!
Yum, love it!!
Hi Jen, this recipe is fantastic! the pudding was delicious.. I used chocolate brownie cookies and it turned out really well! Gave it banoffee pie flavour and I also drizzled a little bit of salted caramel sauce on top! It was a hit! I cant wait to make this again!
It says 6 servings but I was wondering what size the parfait cups are or how many oz in total?
Hi Crystal, I’m guessing the glasses hold 13-14 ounces. Hope that helps!
Easy to make and delicious
Do you always make individual servings of these? Wonder how this will work in a trifle bowl. Will the texture be compromised?
Hi Susan, A trifle bowl would work great; texture will be the same 🙂
My new go to dessert recipe! Went really well with my bro’s smoked ribs! Southern dinner completed with these yummy pudding cups. I ended up doing parfaits in drinking glasses since I only have a pair of parfait glasses. My husband said it was restaurant quality! Do you have a good recipe for shortbread? Would like the whole thing homemade. I’ve seen recipe before – butter, sugar and flour but which ratio works best? And am guessing it needs to be baked thick like Walkers. I topped it with whipped cream. I’m putting shaved dark choc next time!
I made the banana pudding parfaits and love it! The dark rum really offset the flavors. It was a little too rich for a couple of my guest that evening so I would put it in smaller parfait glasses next time. Great flavor and love the texture with the Walker shortbread cookies.
I’ve never had banana pudding before so I was super excited to try this recipe. It turned out great except I didn’t use the walker shortbread cookies; instead I used almond windmill cookies from trader joes. I realized after that I probably should have used the walkers since they’re thicker and would have kept the crunch; the trader joes cookies got soggy fairly quickly. I also left out the rum since my taste testers included children. Can’t wait to make it again!
I have seen so many recipes for banana pudding and this is by far the best-looking! I will let you know when I test it out… and how my southern friends react to eating the best banana pudding they’ve ever had… made by a YANKEE, haha!
These look delicious and I love that I can make them ahead of time. We’re having some friends over for dinner on Saturday and I’m planning to make them. How do you think it would turn out if I used Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum instead of the dark rum?
Hi Robin, It would be just fine to use spiced rum. Hope you enjoy!
This was so good and easy to make! Thanks for all the great recipes.
You’re welcome, Dawn!
Can rum flavoring be used as a substitute
Hi Brenda, I wouldn’t bother; you can leave out the rum and it will still be wonderful.
Glad to see this…I was worried about the Rum since I am making it for my 2yr old daughter.
got to try this, being southern and all, you know banana pudding is at the top of the list for me. thanks for such wonderful and tasteful eats. have a great day. One thing, I don’t use alcohol in any form, so would it make too big of a taste different if the rum wasn’t added?
Hi Betty, It is totally fine to leave it out; it just adds a little flavor boost. Hope you enjoy it!
Would be great even without the bananas. Love the addition of the dark rum. You use that in an apple cake of yours and it really adds depth.
I love this idea; I just bought some quick- sale ripe
bananas just for baking or to use in a recipe. This is
perfect. Thanks for sharing!
Do you think this would work with almond or soy milk? I would love to make it pareve for the holidays to come!
Hi Monica, I think you could definitely use a pudding made with soy or almond milk for banana pudding. However, I’d search for a well-reviewed vegan vanilla pudding and use that, rather than substitute the milk in this recipe. You’d also have to omit the whipped cream, which would change the lightness of the pudding, but I’m sure it would still be good.
Wow! It looks like you’re having all the fun at your house! Delish!
Banana pudding is my FAVORITE dessert! I also believe homemade is the only way to go! I love the shortbread idea. I’m making these this weekend!