This vegan banana pudding is made with freshly sliced bananas, homemade vegan vanilla pudding, and crispy vanilla wafers! You'll love the dairy-free and egg-free version of this classic Southern treat.
To be quite honest, I don't like bananas. I never really have; there's just something about that texture and flavor just doesn't sit with me.
But banana pudding? That's a whole different subject and one that I will happily discuss and eat. (Banana muffins are cool, too.)
If this is your first time trying banana pudding, you're in for a treat. Banana pudding isn't just what you might expect it to be; yes, it's bananas and pudding.
But it's also softened vanilla wafers and whipped topping, all together in one delicious scoop!
This southern style banana pudding takes under 30 minutes to make using simple, inexpensive ingredients like bananas and soy milk. It's sweet-yet-refreshing and perfect for a summer get together or potluck dessert.
But first, a little bit of history
Banana pudding, best known as a southern dessert, has been around since the 19th century. The version of vanilla wafer banana pudding didn't come about until the 1920s, when Nabisco started marketing their 'nilla wafers.
Previously, sponge cake or lady finger cookies were main ingredients in banana pudding. With vanilla wafers, a new way to make banana pudding was found.
The most important takeaway about banana pudding is that everyone has their own "right" way to make it. Whipped topping or meringue? Chilled or baked? Vanilla wafers or ladyfingers? I can promise you that all versions are delicious and each has its own story.
Did you know that Georgia has a banana pudding festival? (I'll admit that I didn't until writing this blog post). Another interesting tidbit about banana pudding is that one of the earliest documented recipes with vanilla wafers was published in my hometown of Bloomington, Illinois. How's that for comfort food?
If you're also a lover of Southern food history, check out this article on how banana pudding became a southern icon.
How to make vegan banana pudding
There are four main parts to banana pudding. This vegan version goes for the method that this Georgia knows and loves: bananas, vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers, and whipped cream.
1. Vanilla wafers. These crispy cookies turn nice and soft after sitting with the vanilla pudding for a few hours. You can use my homemade vegan vanilla wafers recipe or find a dairy-free/egg-free version at the store.
Truthfully, I made my own vanilla wafers because I was having trouble finding a vegan version at the store. Natural food stores (such as Whole Foods or a co-op) are more likely to have them. I have heard that inexpensive store-brand cookies will often be naturally vegan; when in doubt, check the nutrition label.
2. Vanilla Pudding. We'll be making homemade vanilla pudding for this recipe. It's really simple to make on the stove using soy milk, coconut milk, sweetener, and a bit of corn starch for thickening.
3. Whipped cream. I use store-bought almond whipped cream for this recipe to cut down on prep time. Most major grocery stores should carry a dairy-free whipped cream. Do note that the banana pudding will look best if the whipped cream is added just before serving.
4. Bananas. The star of the show! Use ripe bananas for a naturally sweeter pudding. We'll use 5 bananas in this recipe.
Are you ready to try one of the south's favorite desserts? Serve chilled with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Looking for more southern-inspired vegan recipes?
- Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cashew Mushroom Gravy
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Easy BBQ Tofu Sandwich
- Cozy Peach Cobbler
- Vegan Hummingbird Cake
- Vegan Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
Southern Style Vegan Banana Pudding
- 1 recipe vegan vanilla pudding see below
- 5 ripe bananas sliced into coins
- 2 dozen vegan vanilla wafers
- 1 container non-dairy whipped cream
- ground cinnamon for topping
Vegan Vanilla Pudding
- 1 and ½ cups soy milk
- 1 cup unsweetened full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup white sugar vegan
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Vegan Vanilla Pudding
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together corn starch and white sugar. Add ¼ cup of the soy milk. Whisk into a thick paste.
- Turn the stove to medium heat. Slowly whisk in the remaining soy milk and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, keeping the pudding at a simmer. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Cool in the fridge before using.
- In a large casserole dish, such as 8x8 or 9x12, evenly layer half of the vanilla wafers. Cover with half of the vanilla pudding. Layer half of the sliced bananas on top of the pudding. Repeat this once more, until all of the vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding are used.
- Just before serving, top with non-dairy whipped cream, using as much as desired. Lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Enjoy cold. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, though it looks best served the same day.