CHEESECAKE. As a dessert lover, cheesecake and banana pudding are both very important to me. When deciding how to go about developing a banana pudding cheesecake, I was kinda stumped. I had to make it PERFECT.
I knew I wanted to make a no-bake cheesecake because one allure of banana pudding is how easily it comes together: no oven, no fancy ingredients, definitely no water bath. So you start with a ready-made graham cracker crust (you’re welcome). Next you make the filling: Cream cheese, sugar, and heavy cream, plus vanilla pudding.
To mimic the layered effect of traditional banana pudding, I added only half the mixture to the crust, then topped with a layer of sliced bananas and Nilla Wafers before adding the rest of the mixture. While the cheesecake firms in the fridge or freezer, the Nilla Wafers soften in the best way.
- 2 blocks (16 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 3.4-oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 3/4 c. whole milk
- 1 prepared graham cracker crust
- 3 bananas, sliced, plus more slices for garnish
- 30 Nilla Wafers, plus more for garnish
- Whipped cream or Cool Whip, for serving
- Make cheesecake filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese until fluffy and no clumps remain.
- Add sugar and beat until combined. Add heavy cream and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Let pudding stand for 3 minutes in the fridge until thickened. Fold into cheesecake mixture until combined.
- Pour half the filling into graham cracker crust. Add a single layer of sliced bananas and Nilla Wafers (23 total), then pour over remaining half of mixture. Smooth top and garnish with crushed Nillas.
- Refrigerate until cheesecake is firm, at least 6 hours and up to overnight. (If the cheesecake stills feels too soft to slice, transfer to the freeze for up to 1 hour.)
- Before serving, top with dollops of whipped cream or Cool Whip around the border of the cheesecake. Top each dollop with a banana slice and Nilla wafer, then garnish the whole cheesecake with more Nilla Wafers.