Sneak Peek: Learn how to make a Microwave Banana Pudding from scratch that tastes better than instant pudding and is almost as fast. No scorching, double boiler, or standing over a hot stove is necessary.
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Do you ever feel like your microwave should be more than a leftover warmer? I used to teach microwave classes in the ’80s and I am in love with it. One of my favorite things is the way it makes a great dessert like this classic banana pudding. It will taste fabulously sweet and creamy without you breaking a sweat–literally!
The day I discovered I could make tasty vanilla pudding in my microwave changed my attitude about making banana pudding. I quit making instant pudding mix and threw away Mom’s old-fashioned pudding custard recipe made on the stove.
A blender or food processor is a quick way to mix up this scratch pudding recipe. Then pour it into a large microwave-proof dish or batter bowl. A good whisk and a powerful arm will suffice if you don’t have either appliance.
Cook your pudding in the microwave. Layer with vanilla wafers and bananas. Top with fresh whipped cream.
Why you’ll love this simple banana pudding recipe:
1. No worries about lumps.
Mix all of the vanilla pudding ingredients in a flash with a blender or food processor. The custard mixture will go into the microwave silky smooth. The cooked pudding should come out smooth, assuming you don’t forget to whisk it occasionally. Tempering the egg yolks is unnecessary.
2. This recipe is so uncomplicated that you can memorize it.
This is a huge plus in my book, especially when I don’t feel like cooking.
3. Clean-up is easy.
You no longer need to worry about scorching and then having to scrub the pan. The blender and pyrex bowl you use in the microwave will clean up easily. I throw mine in the dishwasher.
4. Using a microwave reduces cooking time.
My microwave is SLOW but requires only 7 minutes or less to thicken the pudding. Less time will be required if your oven is relatively new and more powerful. If your oven is old or small, it may take longer. Pay attention the first time or two that you make the pudding to determine the proper cooking time. Write the time down and you won’t have to think about it again.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- SUGAR: Use white granulated sugar. I have not tested this recipe for any substitutions of this ingredient.
- EGG YOLKS: I designed all of my recipes for large eggs. (50 grams per whole egg.) If you’re wondering what to do with the egg whites, this Birthday Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache recipe is my favorite.
- FLOUR: The recipe is formulated for plain flour, aka all-purpose flour. Use bleached or unbleached—it doesn’t matter.
- MILK: Any dairy milk, from fat-free to whole milk, will work. Of course, the higher the fat content, the richer the final product. I’m guessing non-dairy milk, such as almond or cashew, would work, but I haven’t tested it.
- SALT: You need a lot, but a bit enhances the sweetness. I use sea salt, but table salt or Kosher salt is also good.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: This flavoring adds so much character to the banana pudding. Try not to leave it out. If you have it, vanilla bean paste with the obvious black specks will take this recipe up a notch.
- BUTTER: Butter smooths out the texture, firms the pudding as it chills, and adds flavor. Substitute margarine if you prefer. FYI: You don’t need to use melted butter since the butter will melt quickly when added to the hot pudding.
- BANANAS: The bananas you choose for this recipe should not be overly ripe bananas, nor should they be under-ripe. Use the “Goldilocks Rule.” Look for “just right” in the store, or buy under-ripe bananas and wait until they are perfect.
- VANILLA WAFERS: We prefer “Nilla” wafers. Be sure they are fresher than fresh. I always have a few leftover cookies for the grandkids.
Looking for a substitute for vanilla wafers? According to Happy Muncher.com, “The best substitute for vanilla wafers, or Nilla Wafers, is graham crackers. Graham crackers have a similar crunch to vanilla wafers, but with a little bit of sweetness on the tongue.”
- WHIPPING CREAM: Use heavy or whipping cream. Substitutes include non-dairy whipped topping or canned whipped cream. Some people prefer meringue on top of their banana pudding. We never do it that way.
Store-bought vanilla wafers are my go-to cookie for this dessert. But sometimes, I like to make my shortbread crumbles for a dessert that tastes like banana cream pie in a bowl. Oh, my! It’s wicked good!!
How to make banana pudding in a microwave:
Assembling the layers:
4. Cover with half of the pudding.
5. Layer the rest of the banana slices over the pudding.
6. Add one final layer of vanilla wafers.
7. Finish with the other half of the pudding.
Can I make banana pudding ahead of time?
Eat this pudding the same day you make it. Making it the night before is the next best option. However, it needs at least 2-3 hours to chill, so you must make it beforehand. Once served, the remaining bananas will turn brown and soften when exposed to oxygen.
Can I make this pudding on top of the stove?
Yes. The recipe will be the same, but the method is more complicated and time-consuming. You would be better off finding a stove-top recipe like this one copied from the back of the box of Nilla wafers.
What can I use if I don’t have a blender or food processor to mix the pudding ingredients?
Whisk the ingredients together as well as you can. Cook this mixture in the microwave as instructed. Whisk every 45 seconds once the mixture begins to thicken. If you have any lumps, pour the pudding through a strainer immediately.
On the bright side, lumps get lost in the banana pudding because of the other textures involved. Don’t sweat it.
Parting thoughts: If you are as excited as I am about using your microwave to make pastry cream, I have more ideas for you. Try my extremely popular Mini Fruit Tarts filled with vanilla pastry cream made in a microwave. Other possibilities include this unique Zebra Cream Pie and my Speedy Chocolate Cream Pie. Both include pie filling or pastry cream with microwave instructions.
Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Microwave Banana Pudding Recipe
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar – 132 gr
- 3 egg yolks – from large eggs
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour – 23 gr
- 2 cups milk – (skim, 1%, 2% or whole)454 gr
- ¼ teaspoon table or sea salt – 2 gr
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract – use vanilla bean paste if feeling extravagant
- 2 tablespoons butter – 28 gr
- 4 medium or 3 large bananas
- 1 11-oz box vanilla wafers
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream – 240 gr
- ¼ cup powdered sugar – 57 gr
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add ⅔ C sugar, 3 egg yolks, 3 T flour, 2 C milk, and ¼ t salt to a blender or food processor bowl. Pulse 5 times until mixed well. Pour into a 2-quart batter bowl.
- Microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes. Stop and whisk well. Microwave for 2-3 more minutes, stopping to whisk when pudding starts to rise in a bowl or at least once every minute. (Note: Microwaves vary in power. My microwave is older and slower. Check your pudding after 3 minutes. Yours could be done in as little as 5 minutes.)
- When the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon (see picture), remove from the microwave. Whisk the pudding until smooth.
- Add 2 T butter and 1½ vanilla to the pudding. Whisk well.
- Cover the bottom of a 1½ quart casserole dish with a thin layer of pudding.
- Add a layer of vanilla wafers followed by a layer of sliced bananas.
- Add half of the remaining pudding, followed by another layer of vanilla wafers and bananas.
- End with a layer of pudding.
- Cover with plastic wrap placed in a way that it touches the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
Whipped Cream Topping
- Pour whipping cream into a small ball. Use a small mixer to whip cream. When whipping cream starts to get thick, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Continue beating until the cream will hold a fairly stiff peak. Don’t beat too long or the whipping cream will turn into butter.
- Spread over the chilled banana pudding and serve immediately.