Lazy Banana Pudding

banana pudding

Just because it’s hot and sticky outside, it doesn’t mean you can’t make dessert. Especially one that doesn’t require the oven or stove.

This dish is as much a function of the weather as it is the economy. Sure, stone fruits and berries are in season, but my local supermarket was selling cherries for $6.99 per quarter pound. So I’ve been buying bananas instead. When I found free organic vanilla wafers at a street fair, I immediately thought of banana pudding. Instead of making custard though, why not use yogurt?

The result was a little tangy, but it was entirely worth the two-minute effort. You really don’t need a recipe (Layer yogurt with cookies and sliced bananas. Refrigerate. Eat.), but here’s approximate amounts.

Effortless Banana Pudding

4 cups plain or vanilla yogurt (see note)
60 to 70 vanilla wafers
4 to 5 organic bananas, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie pan or a wide 1 1/2- to 2-quart dish with wafers.

Layer with half the yogurt and bananas. Put another layer of wafers on top, and repeat with the yogurt and bananas. Save a little yogurt and cover the top of the bananas completely, to prevent browning.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Note: Because the bananas and wafers are sweet, you don’t want the yogurt to be loaded with sugar. I prefer plain yogurt and flavor it to taste (1-2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract). Seek out a high-quality plain yogurt, or else it will be grainy and very sour. I don’t like Dannon, Axelrod, La Yogurt, Stonyfield (the low-fat variety), and Trader Joe’s. Wallaby and Brown Cow are more mild.

Although conventional bananas are safe to eat, they contain far more pesticides than American-grown fruit, and are possibly killing off songbirds.

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  1. beth said,

    Nice and easy, just how I like it!

    June 27, 2008 at 4:52 am

  2. Sophie said,

    Heh! You had me fooled. Upon looking at the picture, I thought I was going to get a very complicated recipe. This is a great idea, thanks for sharing :D.

    June 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm

  3. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Thanks! Ha ha, that old amorphous thing? I had second thoughts about posting the picture, but I only made one small serving.

    June 29, 2008 at 10:34 pm

  4. Nick said,

    I’ve always wanted to make banana pudding and I’m actually going to do so in a few days for our July 4th party. I’m gonna use a similar recipe, but one that uses sour cream, whipped topping, pudding mix and milk instead of the yogurt. But yogurt sounds a helluva lot easier…

    July 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm

  5. Vera said,

    Simple things are often the best.

    July 4, 2008 at 10:44 am

  6. Cakespy said,

    Nice “easy” recipe–I have to try this one because sometimes the condensed milk that is in many banana pudding recipes can be cloying. This looks like a nice balance of the natural sweetness with the sugar in the cookies!

    July 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm

  7. Absinthe said,

    Made this yesterday and have to say I actually like the taste better than the standard version. So easy and so delicious. My three little kids gave it an enthusiastic bowl-licking thumbs-up. Many thanks!

    July 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm

  8. Absinthe said,

    P.S.–Do you have or know where to find a good homemade vanilla wafer recipe? If so and you (or anyone else reading) has time to share I’d be grateful.

    July 9, 2008 at 5:15 pm

  9. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Absinthe, I’m glad the recipe turned out well. That’s a good idea about homemade vanilla wafers. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe. There’s so many chocolate wafer cookies out there. I wonder why vanilla isn’t as popular.

    July 9, 2008 at 10:19 pm

  10. sweepea said,


    i recently found an addictive, simple recipe for yogurt cream and berries:

    i think the premise could be adapted for a slighter sweeter, less tart version of this nana pudding.

    to do:

    sprinkle brown sugar over the top layer of yogurt/cream and let sit for a while in the fridge, until it’s gooey looking. you may then mix it together–but crunchy bits are tasty, too!

    i imagine any number of natural sweeteners would work well! but note, the original version is THE SMOOTHEST yogurt i’ve ever had, and i’m not big on the yogurt (i only eat FAGE!)

    your easy recipe is great inspiration for a southern favorite, i’m inspired, thanks!

    July 16, 2008 at 2:14 am