Banana pudding is a favorite Southern dessert that reminds many of us of childhood. It’s a twist on a trifle, made with layers of vanilla pudding, vanilla wafer cookies and freshly sliced bananas. You can make all the components from scratch, but you can also assemble it with completely store-bought ingredients, which makes for a very quick and easy after dinner treat. This Banana Pudding Bread Pudding is a spin on this traditional dessert. The recipe is for a bread pudding that is made with real vanilla pudding and fresh bananas, capturing the flavors of banana pudding in an even more comforting format.
To make this bread pudding recipe, you’re going to need some vanilla pudding. Most bread puddings use a custard made with milk and eggs and this recipe is no exception, but it also includes actual vanilla pudding I recommend using instant vanilla pudding, so you can mix it up a few minutes before you assemble the rest of the ingredient. I used Jell-O Simply Good Vanilla Pudding, an instant pudding made with real vanilla bean. If you want to make vanilla pudding from scratch, however, make sure that you prepare the pudding a day ahead.
The pudding is combined with milk, sugar and eggs, then cubes of bread are added to soak up all that flavor. The bread pudding base is divided into two portions so that a layer of banana slices can be added between them in the pan. While the sliced bananas in a traditional banana pudding are not cooked, I felt it was important to bring some banana into the pudding to really capture the flavor of the original dessert. The pudding is then baked until it is set, then chilled. Before serving, a layer of fresh banana slices and whipped cream is added.
This is a delicious dessert and any banana fan is going to love it. It’s a little bit heartier than traditional banana pudding, making it a great choice for cool evenings when you are really in the mood for a comforting dessert. You can actually serve it warm, but I prefer to prepare it ahead of time and serve it chilled, as banana pudding is typically served chilled. Plus, it’s easier to cut the dessert into neat slices for serving after it has been refrigerated.
Banana Pudding Bread Pudding
8 cups cubed white bread (approx 3/4 loaf)
3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding, prepared according to package directions
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 ripe bananas
whipped cream, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Divide bread cubes into two large bowls.
In another large bowl, make instant pudding according to package directions (recipe should yield approx 2 1/2 cups pudding).
To the prepared instant pudding, add in milk, vanilla, eggs and sugar, then whisk until very smooth. Divide the mixture evenly into the bowls containing the bread cubes. Use a spatula to fold bread cubes into pudding to ensure that all pieces are evenly coated. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Pour one bowl of soaked bread cubes into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Slice 2 bananas into 1/8-1/4-inch slices and layer banana slices on top of pudding layer. Spoon the soaked bread cubes from the second bowl over the sliced bananas, covering them as completely and evenly as possible.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until pudding is set and bubbling slightly around the edges. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until read to serve.
To serve, slice remaining 2 bananas into 1/8-1/4-inch slices and layer banana slices on top of chilled bread pudding. Top each serving with whipped cream.