Fresh slices of bananas perfectly complement a sweet, creamy vanilla filling that is accented by Nilla Wafers to make an excellent Banana Pudding For A Crowd recipe.
Big Batch of Banana Pudding
Featuring a fresh and slightly fruity flavor the creamy pudding filling is what makes this simple dessert so irresistible. Instant vanilla pudding, cream cheese, sweetened condense milk and Cool Whip make an incredible creamy layer that is enhanced by bananas and vanilla wafer cookies.
With a filling that’s so similar to our Oreo Dirt Pudding For A Crowd this big batch of banana pudding recipe is equally as popular. When making a big batch a no-bake banana pudding recipe is key to successfully feeding a crowd of 40 to 50 people.
We love adding a layer of crushed Nilla wafers on top so a hint of the cookie flavor blends into every bite. The vanilla wafer cookie crumbs add a special finishing touch of extra flavor and also lightly coat the bananas to help slow down browning just a bit.
If you want a big batch of a warm dessert check out our Cherry Cobbler For A Crowd.
Why This Recipe Works:
- While smaller batches are popular to serve in multiple layers, making this big batch in a large aluminum foil pan with a thick layer of pudding and Cool Whip filling is equally delicious.
- Perfect for graduation parties, family reunions, church potlucks and other big get togethers this no-bake dessert is a popular comfort food.
- A mild and enjoyable blend of flavors make this Banana Pudding so memorable.
- Makes a large aluminum foil pan or two 9 x 13″ pans to feed 40 – 50 people.
- Bananas – Choose bright yellow bananas without very much if any green and without many if any brown spots. As one of the star flavors choosing the correct ripeness is key. The banana flavor is very mild immediately after assembling, but will slowly penetrate the pudding mixture over time. That’s why we like the dessert best 2 to 4 hours after assembly.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding – Our family all loves the flavor of instant vanilla pudding in this dessert, but we think you can use 1 large box of banana creme and 3 large boxes of vanilla if you want to gently increase the banana flavor.
- Vanilla Wafer Cookies – Nilla wafers are the most popular name brand option, but they have been very difficult to find in our area and the generic brands have not been in stock either. Locating this cookie was the most challenging part of the recipe for me, so purchase ahead of time if possible to avoid out of stock issues. Another option is to substitute for Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies or Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, but these will be more expensive and have a sweeter, richer flavor.
- Cream Cheese – Adds a special richness to the filling.
- Sweetened Condenses Milk – The secret ingredients that means you can’t eat just one serving of this banana pudding.
- Cool Whip – I often use the generic brand of whipped topping to save money, this ingredient lightens the filling and makes it creamier.
- Milk – The dairy ingredients make the filling rich and unique.
Can This Recipe Be Made Ahead of Time?
Mix up the filling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead of time.
The final layer of crushed vanilla wafer cookies can also be crushed and stored in an air tight container or bag a couple days ahead.
This banana pudding for a crowd will taste best when the layers are assemble and chilled about two to four hours before serving.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Choosing just ripe bananas is key to making this recipe. Allowing just ripe bananas to sit in the vanilla pudding for a couple hours creates a wonderful and mild banana flavor. Over ripe bananas will brown very quickly and give a stronger flavor.
- Pudding will taste best when assembled and chilled for 2 – 4 hours before serving. This allows the Nilla wafers to begin to soften without getting mushy and the bananas will still taste fresh.
- If making ahead is necessary, make the filling 1 to 2 days ahead and make the layers an hour or two before serving.
- Instant pudding must be used, cook and serve will not work in this recipe.
- Ensure there is space in the refrigerator for the pans to set level. Avoid stacking for best results.
- Always carry the pan with your hands underneath and know that it will be heavy, so you might want a large pan to help provide support if you have to carry very far.
- Garnish with pieces of fresh mint if desired, but I usually just love the light yellow colors.
How To Make Banana Pudding For A Crowd
Layer one 11 ounce box of Nilla wafers in the bottom of a very large aluminum foil pan or in the bottom of two 9 x 13” pans.
It doesn’t matter if the cookies are up or down as long as the layer is as flat as possible.
Using a food processor or rolling pin and a plastic bag crush about 40 Nilla wafers or half of a box to make about 1 cup of cookie crumbs.
In a very large commercial sized mixing bowl beat the softened cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Using my cordless mixer makes this step so much easier.
If a 16 – 20 quart commercial sized bowl is not available divide recipe in half and make two batches in a large mixing bowl.
Just make sure there is enough extra space in the bowl to fold in all of the Cool Whip at the end.
Add milk and instant pudding to the cream cheese mixture. Use that hand held mixer again to make a smooth creamy mixture.
Start mixing slowly to avoid splashing and increase speed and intensity as the pudding starts to set up.
Then clean off the mixer and set aside.
Using a spatula to clean the bowl and get every bit of goodness, add a bowl of whipped topping at a time. Gently fold in with a long handled wooden spoon.
I like using a spoon with a very long handle to get more leverage as the mixture gets pretty heavy.
Keep stirring gently until any streaks of color are gone. Once the mixture is smooth, creamy and evenly colored I like to set it in the refrigerator while I clean up and slice bananas.
Slice bananas into 1/8” to 1/4” slices and layer HALF of them evenly on top of the Nilla wafers.
Gently spoon the creamy mixture over top of the bottom layers taking care not to move the bananas and cookies too much as you spread everything out.
Then add remaining banana slices, another layer of Nilla wafers and about a cup of crushed wafers.
Cover with foil to avoid touching the pudding dessert and refrigerate until serving.
More Easy Dessert Recipes:
There’s so many variations of Southern Banana Pudding, this is the one that we’ve found is easiest to make in a big batch for 40 or more people.
With a similar creamy filling this Cream Puff Cake is super popular all year around.
The easiest dessert salad to make big batches of is our Marshmallow Fruit Salad.
Our Old-Fashioned Grape Salad is another great sweet side dish that’s great for a crowd.
Banana Pudding For A Crowd
- 27 ounces Nilla wafers 2 1/2 boxes
- 15 medium bananas
- 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 7 cups milk
- 20.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding 4 large boxes
- 24 ounces whipped topping 3 small containers
- In a commercial sized 16 – 20 quart mixing bowl beat cream cheese and condensed milk until mixed well.
- Add milk and pudding and stir together.
- Add whipped topping and gently fold in by hand with a long handled wooden spoon.
- Using a large aluminum foil pan (or 2 – 9 x 13" pans) layer one box of Nilla wafers in the bottom of the pan(s).
- Slice half of bananas and spread in an even layer across the wafers.
- Then use a large spoon to add scoops of the creamy pudding mixture and spread over the pan. Spread out as evenly as possible without pressing down and moving the bananas and wafers.
- Slice remaining bananas and arrange evenly on top of the pudding.
- Add another box of Nilla wafers in a layer with the flat side down over top of the bananas.
- Take the remaining 40 Nilla wafers (about 1/2 a box) and crush to make about 1 cup of cookie crumbs and spread over top. Cover with foil and chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
- 7 cups of milk is nearly a 1/2 gallon
- can substitute 1 of the 4 large boxes of instant vanilla pudding for banana creme to enhance the banana flavors if desired
- Pudding will taste best when assembled and chilled 2 – 4 hours before serving. This allows the Nilla wafers to begin to soften without getting mushy and the bananas will still taste fresh.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.