Gluten Free Caramelized Banana Pudding

This caramelized banana pudding is the real deal, and it is also dairy free and paleo-friendly. It is reminiscent of the classic bright yellow banana pudding, nilla wafers, and cool whip that I seem to remember eating for snacks in daycare. BUT, instead of artificial banana coloring, the flavor is taken to the next level with caramelized bananas, maple syrup, coconut cream, and yes, homemade gluten free nilla wafers. I am so excited to share this caramelized banana pudding with you all!

Gluten Free Banana Pudding

Wow, it has been a week! In fact, I hardly know what to say about it. 2017 just keeps on surprising me! I love routine and plans, and I hate taking risks or when something unexpected ruins my plans. But, this week I’m turning over a new leaf (we’ll see how long it lasts). I’ve decided to leave one of my jobs, and not look for a new one for a few months. I know I want to work on making this blog something great, and I really want to work with people one-on-one to help them heal their guts and food intolerances. So, I’ll be putting in a lot more time and effort in over here, and I absolutely cannot wait! Normally I don’t take leaps like this, but I feel comforted because I truly have this deep-seated belief that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Here is to holding on to that feeling for the bumpy road ahead!

Back to this banana pudding – first, the nilla wafers I made are gluten free, not grain free or paleo. Sadly, I don’t tolerate any of the grain free flours well, and I’m not a talented grain free baker, but I have a few options for you here or here if you need to be grain free! If not, my nilla wafer recipe (adapted from Serious Eats) is refined-sugar-free and fits the bill for low oxalate and low FODMAP diets. The dough for them is pretty sticky, and requires a pastry bag – though I just put all of the dough into a Ziplock bag and cut the corner off to allow me to pipe the quarter-sized cookies instead. If the bottom of the cookies browns before they are done – you can flip them over to cook for another few minutes.

Gluten Free Banana Pudding

One other note – the way to get the best results for this caramelized banana pudding is to make a parfait. You want to give the nilla wafers a chance to get slightly softened, and this way you get some banana, wafer, pudding, and coconut cream in every bite! I like to layer pudding, thinly sliced bananas, nilla wafers, and then coconut cream. Repeat until you get to the top of your mason jar! Also, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the cookies or coconut cream, this pudding is perfectly delicious on its own!

Gluten Free Caramelized Banana Pudding


For the Pudding

  • 2 Small Ripe Bananas (Can substitute 1 large)
  • 1 Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1.5 tsp Gelatin
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt

For the Nilla Wafers

  • 8 Tbs Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Bean Powder, or seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 1/3 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I use Cup4Cup)
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

  • Solids from the top of one can of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

For Topping (Optional)

  • 1 Banana, thinly sliced


For the Banana Pudding

  1. Slice 2 bananas, then heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add bananas to pan then cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until caramelized. 

  2. Once bananas are caramelized, add maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt and cook until mixture begins to bubble. 

  3. Heat coconut milk over medium heat until simmering. Whisk in gelatin until well combined. If you have an immersion blender, go ahead and add the bananas into the coconut milk at this point and blend with the immersion blender. If using a regular blender, let the coconut milk/gelatin mixture cool for 5-10 minutes then blend in blender with bananas. 

  4. Pour pudding into a large container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving. 

For the Nilla Wafers

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix softened butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and beans, and egg white together with an electric mixer in a medium sized bowl until well-combined.

  3. Add the baking powder to the mixture and add in flour slowly, constantly beating with electric mixer until all flour is folded in. Dough will be sticky and somewhat fluffy.

  4. Put the dough into a pastry piping bag, or into a Ziplock bag, and make a tiny cut on the end of the bag. 

  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and squeeze the dough out of the bag to make quarter-sized cookies, leaving some room between each one. You will need to make two batches. 

  6. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes, until browned. If the cookies cook too quickly on the bottom but aren't done yet, flip them over and bake an additional 5 minutes. 

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. Remove the solids from the top of a can of coconut milk and place in a medium-sized bowl along with vanilla extract and maple syrup, whip with electric mixer.

For Assembly

  1. To assemble the pudding layer the banana pudding, then thinly sliced banana, then vanilla wafers, and top with coconut whipped cream. Continue layering until your dish is full. 

Recipe Notes

If you use less ripe bananas (green-tipped or no brown spots) you may need to thin the mixture more with about 1/4 cup almond milk or light coconut milk, and add extra sweetener to taste. 

For the Vanilla Wafers, I used Cup4Cup, make sure you are using a gluten free flour blend like this, Better Batter, or Bob's Red Mill 1:1 flour, rather than just rice flour etc. 

For Paleo Nilla Wafer Options, see here and here.

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