This super easy no-bake caramel banana dessert will become a quick family favourite. Graham cracker crust, bananas, pecans and caramel between layers of vanilla cream. So good and simple. Plan! This dessert, though easy, requires some chill time.
You might also like this banana caramel cheesecake recipe. It is one of our favourite cheesecakes. Certainly more effort than this no-bake banana dessert, but worth the effort if you love bananas and cheesecakes.
If you asked me what my favourite flavour was I would never say banana. But clearly, I have a love for bananas, muffins, cakes, puddings, even, cheesecake! But I would have to say, this caramel banana dessert may be the winner of all banana desserts. And it's so easy. No bake. The hardest part is planning ahead as this dessert needs some time to chill between the layers.
How to make No Bake Caramel Banana Dessert
Start with a basic no-bake graham cracker crust. Cover the crust with caramel sauce and some toasted pecans. I used a store-bought caramel sauce. Use your favourite brand, or feel free to make your own from scratch. For me, this dessert is all about easy, so I just used a jar of caramel, the kind we keep around for topping ice creams works well.
Let this chill for about 30 minutes.
Once they have been chilled cover the caramel and pecans with sliced bananas. The bananas should over-lap. I used 2 large bananas. Use perfectly ripe bananas. Anything that you will want for eating fresh. Not overly ripe.
Drizzle the bananas with a little more caramel if you want. The more caramel the better I say.
Make the vanilla pudding layer. Mix a package with instant vanilla pudding with 1 cup of milk (the box will call for 2 cups). Mix until smooth and creamy and thickened. This will take a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile whip 2 cups of whipping cream, 35% MF cream, until stiff peaks form.
Fold half of the whipped cream into the vanilla pudding mixture. Gently fold until the streaks are mostly gone.
Spread the pudding and whipped cream mixture over the bananas and set the dessert in the refrigerator for about 3 hours to chill. You can make this the day before if you want to at this point.
With the remaining whipped cream, whip in 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Once completely incorporated, it will not take long. The icing sugar helps stabilize the whipped cream. Over the whipped cream and refrigerate for finishing the dessert after it chills.
To finish the dessert and after the vanilla pudding mixture has chilled for a least 3 hours, spread the reserved whipped cream on top of the pudding.
Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the whipped cream. I like to take a spoon and swirl the cream into the whipped cream slightly. It looks pretty. Sprinkle with more toasted pecans and a bit more caramel sauce. That's it!
Instant vanilla pudding - yep. Just a box of this.
Caramel sauce - use your favourite brand or make your own.
Whipped cream - 35% M.F. cream or higher.
Graham cracker crust - graham cracker crumbs, butter and a little bit of sugar.
Bananas - just ripe, ready to eat.
Pecans - chopped and toasted.
This is a slumpy dessert. Some may call it a "fluff" or a "lush" with all the layers including pudding and whipped cream. It's a little reminiscent of a trifle, but not quite that spoonable. I like to cut the dessert into squares just to get it started, but accept the fact that the squares will be a bit messy. Edges will be soft and maybe a bit crumbly. No one will notice they will be too busy loving the creamy deliciousness.
Notes about this recipe
This is a simple no-bake dessert but it takes a few hours to make because it needs to chill.
Make the crust and cover with caramel sauce. Then let this chill. While it is chilling you can whip the whipped cream and make the pudding filling.
The whipped cream is used both in the pudding filling and as a topping. Once whipped into stiff peaks - divide the whipped cream into two equal portions. One portion will go into the pudding. For the other portion, sweeten this slightly with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Whip the sugar into the whipped cream. Just a few seconds with the mixer. Then stash this into the refrigerator until you are ready to finish the dessert.
You will need to toast the pecans.
To toast the pecans, place the pecans directly into a dry skillet over low heat. Stir occasionally and toast until fragrant. It will take 3-5 minutes to toast the pecans depending on how hot your pan is. Once they smell toasty it is time to remove them from the heat. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
No-Bake Caramel Banana Dessert
- 9x9 glass baking dish or casserole
- 1-½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 6 tbsps butter melted
- 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup milk (unfortunately, plant-based milks do not work here! Use 1% of 2% milk. )
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tbps icing sugar
- 2 bananas large, just ripe, not overly ripened
- ¾ cup caramel sauce your favourite brand. I used Smuckers
- ½ cup pecans chopped and toasted
- ¼ cup caramel sauce for layers and topping
- ¼ cup pecans for topping
- Make the cookie crust. In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x9 glass baking dish.1-½ cups graham cracker crumbs, 2 tbsps sugar, 6 tbsps butter
- Cover the graham cracker crust with ¾ cup of caramel sauce and ½ cup of pecans. Chill for 30 minutes.¾ cup caramel sauce, ½ cup pecans
- While the crust is chilling: Whip the cream with a stand mixer or using a hand-held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside half of this cream for the filling. To the remaining half of the whipped cream, add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and whip again to incorporate this will only take a few seconds. Once fully mixed, transfer to a small bowl and cover. Chill this half of whipped cream to finish the dessert later.2 cups whipping cream, 2 tbps icing sugar
- In a large bowl combine the instant pudding mix with 1 cup of milk. Whisk together until smooth, creamy and thickened. This will take about 2 minutes. Gently fold the unsweetened half of the whipped cream into this pudding mixture until just combined and no longer streaky.1 pkg instant vanilla pudding, 1 cup milk
- Assemble the dessert. On top of the caramel and pecans, layer sliced bananas. Completely cover the caramel and pecan layer with the banana slices. Bananas will overlap. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of caramel sauce over the bananas. Cover the banana layer with the pudding mixture. Cover and chill at this stage for at least 3 hours. (You can chill the dessert overnight if needed).2 bananas
- To finish the dessert spread remaining sweetened whipped cream over the top of the pudding. Drizzle some caramel sauce over the whipped cream. I like to use a teaspoon and gently push and swirl some of the caramel into the whipped cream. Sprinkle the top with pecans and more caramel if desired. The dessert is ready to be served or could be chilled for anothe several hours.¼ cup caramel sauce, ¼ cup pecans