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Banana Pudding Parfaits

4.5 stars based on 12 votes

Banana Pudding is an old-fashioned Southern dessert traditionally made with layers of Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding and sliced bananas. Depending on who’s making it, it’s either topped with baked meringue, sweetened whipped cream or cookies. I’ve tried every variation and many different recipes, and this version beats them all. It’s a little more gourmet than most, and bucks tradition a bit, but still tastes wonderfully nostalgic and delicious.


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 so good. However, if you want to stick with tradition and use Nilla Wafers, that’s okay — just keep in mind that they will soften and take on a cake-like texture unless you assemble the parfaits at the last minute.


As for the pudding, homemade is the way to go. It’s easy to make and, of course, so much better than the instant variety. I make mine with a splash of dark rum, which accents the flavor of the bananas, and then lighten it with sweetened whipped cream.


Begin by separating the eggs for the pudding. You won’t use the whites, so save them for an egg white omelet, Forgotten Kisses, or Fudgy Double Chocolate Meringues. Then combine the yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt in a saucepan.


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.


Off the heat, whisk in the butter, vanilla and rum.


Transfer the pudding to a bowl.


Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours until cold. (Placing the saran 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.


Gently fold it into the pudding and refrigerate until ready to assemble the parfaits.


To begin, 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 a few hours, or until ready to serve.


These parfaits are the perfect dessert for a summer barbecue because they are completely make-ahead — all you have to do when your guests arrive is pull them out of the fridge. Enjoy!

*These parfaits are best when made 3-4 hours ahead of time. 

Banana Pudding Parfaits

Servings: 6
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 4 Hours


For the Pudding

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

For the Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons Confectioners' sugar

For Assembling

  • 3-4 large bananas, very ripe but not mushy, sliced
  • 1-1/2 boxes Walkers Pure Butter shortbread cookies, or similar, broken into 1/4-inch pieces


  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks. Whisk in the milk and bring to simmer, stirring frequently, over medium heat (it will take 5-8 minutes). When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1-2 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 saran 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 until ready to serve.
  4. *Do not slice the bananas until you are ready to assemble the parfaits. Parfaits are best when made 3-4 hours ahead of time.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 647
  • Fat: 30 g
  • Saturated fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 85 g
  • Sugar: 54 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 308 mg
  • Cholesterol: 198 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 4 stars

    Does not need the rum.

    - Deborah on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 3 stars

    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.

    - EC on August 12, 2017 Reply
  • Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your recipes,and looking forward to getting lots more. Thank you Patricia Martin

    - Patricia Martin on July 28, 2017 Reply
    • So glad you’re enjoying them Patricia– thanks for letting me know!

      - Jenn on July 28, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Heidi on July 6, 2017 Reply
  • What could I use instead of rum in the banana parfait. Diane

    - Diane Wheeler on May 21, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Diane, you could leave the rum out (it’ll still be delicious) or replace it with cognac or apple cider.

      - Jenn on May 22, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    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.

    - Cathy on May 19, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Sashine on May 18, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Sashine, it would be the equivalent of about 8 ounces. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Kathy M. on March 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi! Is it possible to replace the rum with cognac?

    - Lora on December 31, 2016 Reply
    • Sure Lora, that will work. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 1, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Can lactose free milk be substituted for whole milk?

    - J on June 1, 2016 Reply
    • Sure J, that should work. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 1, 2016 Reply
  • Hello,

    Can the pudding be frozen after its made?

    - Samantha on March 12, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Samantha, I wouldn’t recommend freezing the pudding here– sorry!

      - Jenn on March 14, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yum, love it!!

    - Linda VanPelt on September 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Ashlesha on July 17, 2015 Reply
    • Sounds delicious!

      - Jenn on July 17, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    It says 6 servings but I was wondering what size the parfait cups are or how many oz in total?

    - crystal on April 3, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Crystal, I’m guessing the glasses hold 13-14 ounces. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on April 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Easy to make and delicious

    - Jessica Herring on March 25, 2015 Reply
  • Do you always make individual servings of these? Wonder how this will work in a trifle bowl. Will the texture be compromised?

    - susan on May 17, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Susan, A trifle bowl would work great; texture will be the same 🙂

      - Jenn on May 17, 2014 Reply
      • 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!

        - susan on May 26, 2014 Reply
  • 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.

    - Dawn B on November 5, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Renee on October 29, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - The Food Hound on September 13, 2013 Reply
  • HI Jen,

    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?

    - Robin on July 11, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Robin, It would be just fine to use spiced rum. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on July 11, 2013 Reply
  • This was so good and easy to make! Thanks for all the great recipes.

    - Dawn on July 11, 2013 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Dawn!

      - Jenn on July 11, 2013 Reply
  • Can rum flavoring be used as a substitute

    - Brenda on June 27, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Brenda, I wouldn’t bother; you can leave out the rum and it will still be wonderful.

      - Jenn on June 27, 2013 Reply
      • Glad to see this…I was worried about the Rum since I am making it for my 2yr old daughter.

        - Ashley V. on June 12, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn:

    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?

    - betty J. on June 27, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Betty, It is totally fine to leave it out; it just adds a little flavor boost. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Karen on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Angela on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • Do you think this would work with almond or soy milk? I would love to make it pareve for the holidays to come!

    - Monica on June 27, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on June 28, 2013 Reply
  • Wow! It looks like you’re having all the fun at your house! Delish!

    - MickMil on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Amy Simonson on June 27, 2013 Reply

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