This dairy-free banana pudding features bananas IN the pudding itself for a luscious and boldly-flavored dessert. Layer with wafers and banana slices or enjoy as-is!
It’s been three plus years of living in the South and I’m still getting the hang of common ‘Southern’ foods. Okra was a new one, and so were fried pickles, pimento cheese, all things BBQ, hot chicken…especially hot chicken. The one food where mild can actually mean face-meltingly hot. Spiciness is always subjective, but oof — this one is off the charts.
Southern-style desserts are a different story because I’ve certainly eaten sweet treats like red velvet cake and pecan pie way before living down here. However it took moving here to finally experience banana pudding. Better late than never I guess!
Now this is silly, but up until then I thought the pudding itself would be banana-flavored, not just vanilla pudding layered with bananas and cookies/wafers. I mean it’s called ‘banana pudding’ for a reason, right? 😕 First world dessert problems.
That revelation didn’t stop me from working on this dairy-free banana pudding, where the pudding itself is flavored with REAL bananas (no artificial flavoring!). It’s a lusciously thick and creamy dessert layered with cookies and banana slices that truly is bursting with banana flavor.
I based the method of this dairy-free banana pudding off of my dairy-free lemon pudding, which I *highly* recommend to all the citrus lovers out there. For this one though, I used one can of (full-fat) coconut milk and one cup of almond milk. Much of the thickness comes from the addition of cornstarch, so you can use lite coconut milk if that’s what you prefer. I use the lite variety when making the lemon pudding I link to above and it works beautifully.
As for assembly, I’m partial to making one large bowl where you can scoop out servings. I started by lining the bottom of the dish with vanilla wafers, and then propping up vanilla wafers along the perimeter.
Next up is another layer of banana pudding, and then a layer of banana slices. More pudding follows with more vanilla wafers, and then a final layer of banana pudding with banana slices and crushed wafers to top. Easy as that! The vanilla wafers soften once assembled and are an extra satisfying part of this dessert.
Since I had pudding leftover after making the bowl above (the dish I used has about a four-cup capacity), I used the extra to make an individual banana pudding parfait with layers of pudding, fresh banana slices, and crushed vanilla wafers. I’m thinking making all individually-sized portions would be a fun dessert for a party! Either way this dessert will bring the bold banana flavor with a touch of sweetness. Just depends on whether you’d like to share with others or enjoy your own personal serving. 😉
- While the banana pudding itself is dairy-free, if being completely dairy-free is a concern you’ll want to make sure the vanilla wafers you use are dairy-free as well.
- Because bananas tends to discolor after they’re peeled, I added a quick squeeze of lemon juice to the mashed banana to help prevent browning.
- I’ve made the pudding the day before I assembled it with the wafers without issue (chilling in the fridge with the plastic wrap pressed against the surface for the meantime), but I wouldn’t make this pudding days in advance. It’ll still taste great however the color will become more grayish than yellow as time goes on.
Dairy-Free Banana Pudding
For the banana pudding:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 2/3 cup coconut milk (one can)
- 1 cup almond milk, vanilla or plain
- 2 large ripe bananas *about 8.5 oz total)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 20-30 vanilla wafers, approximate
- 1 banana, sliced
- Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in coconut and almond milks and stir together. Set saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
- Add bananas to a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir in. Pour into the saucepan and stir.
- Whisk together egg yolks in a bowl and slowly pour into the saucepan, whisking continuously.
- Continue to stir frequently as the pudding mixture heats for 10-15 minutes, or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla extract and coconut oil. Once all combined evenly, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding (this prevents a film from forming) and let sit at room temperature to cool for about 30 minutes. Then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely.
- To assemble, line bottom and sides of serving dish with vanilla wafers. Add a layer of pudding, and then top with a layer of banana slices.
- Add another layer of pudding over the banana slices, and then add another layer of vanilla wafers. Line up vanilla wafers along the sides again at this point.
- Top with another layer of pudding, and then decorate with banana slices and crushed vanilla wafers.
P.S. Click here for more dairy-free recipes, from hot chocolate to soups to ice cream!