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These Banana Pudding Cookies are ultra soft and studded with Nilla Wafer pieces and white chocolate chips in a banana flavored cookie dough! They are like eating banana pudding in cookie form and everybody raves about them!
I’m not actually a fan of bananas themselves, but banana-flavored desserts are a totally different thing and I love them! Some of our most popular banana recipes are my Best Easy Banana Bread Recipe (seriously, this one gets visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and has dozens of five star ratings), Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie, and Banana Bars with Penuche Frosting.
Pudding mix in cookies? You betcha.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these cookies have an actual package of powdered banana pudding in the mix. Remember when “pudding in the mix” was a thing for boxed cake mixes? Not only does it add legitimate banana pudding flavor, but it also makes these cookies extra soft, even days later.
I contemplated adding dried banana chips, but ultimately decided against it with these because I don’t always love their texture and flavor. Instead, I mixed in white chocolate chips, which sort of replicate that creaminess that I love about homemade banana pudding, along with chunks of broken up Nilla Wafers to really sell that banana pudding in cookie form idea. And it totally works!
I brought these to cookie and movie night with the cousins, not totally sure how well they would be received, and everybody went crazy for them. It’s such a fun, different cookie with a flavor profile that you don’t always see. And they are nice and thick, but still soft without being dry or crumbly.
- All-purpose flour: Regular all-purpose flour makes up the bulk of these cookies.
- Sugar: A mix of granulated sugar and brown sugar to add dimension and the right amount of sweetness.
- Butter: I always use salted butter in my baking. You can even skip softening the butter if you cream the butter with the sugars for 3-4 minutes.
- Banana pudding mix: The banana flavor comes from 1 package of instant powdered banana cream jello pudding mix.
- Eggs: For binding, added richness, and flavor.
- Baking soda: This ingredient provides just the right amount of lift and spread.
- Salt: Keeps the cookies from being bland.
- Vanilla extract: A little vanilla extract harmonizes flavors in baking rather than taking center stage. It adds depth and complexity.
- Nilla Wafers: I like to break these up by hand so they don’t get too small. But they do soften in the cookies, just like they do in actual banana pudding.
- White chocolate chips: I suppose you could do milk chocolate chips if you like chocolate and bananas, but I love the creaminess of the white chocolate and think it goes really well with the other flavors.
Let’s make cookies!
- Cream butter and sugar: Start out by beating the butter and both types of sugars for 3-4 minutes until they are creamy and light. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets evenly incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients: Mix in the flour, instant banana cream pudding powder, baking soda, and salt just until combined. A common mistake people make when making cookies is to overmix their cookie dough at this point. Just let the mixer go until no streaks of flour remain, then stop and stir in the mix-ins by hand.
- Stir in mix-ins: Add the broken up Nilla Wafers and chocolate chips, then stir in by hand using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. There is no need to chill the dough, but you are welcome to if you feel like it.
- Scoop: Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out evenly sized mounds of cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I like to press a few pieces of the Nilla Wafers into the tops of each cookie at this point to indicate when people can expect on the inside of each cookie.
- Bake: Let the cookies bake until they are set around the edges and lose the glossy sheen on the top. You don’t want to overbake these cookies because they will continue to set up even after being removed from the oven thanks to the residual heat of the pan and the cookies themselves. I like to press a few additional white chocolate chips into the tops of each cookie while they are still warm.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Perfectly round cookies: One secret among food bloggers and gourmet cookie bakers is that you can shape your cookies to be perfectly round by using the back of a spoon to nudge the cookies into a more desirable shape as soon as they come out of the oven. It actually helps them maintain a slightly thicker center too and gives a uniformity to the cookies that makes them extra beautiful.
- To chill or not to chill?: I almost never chill my cookie dough unless we are talking about sugar cookies. But some people swear that it develops the flavor and helps the cookies not to spread as much. If you prefer to chill your dough, go right ahead. But I really don’t think it’s necessary.
- Parchment paper is your best friend: I love, love, love parchment paper and buy precut sheets in bulk so I always have them on hand. It makes baking so much more enjoyable because your cookies don’t stick to the pan and you have less clean-up afterwards.
- Decorating: If you want an even more impressive finish to your cookies, you could melt some white chocolate and drizzle it across the top of the cookies, then sprinkle some of it with crushed Nilla Wafer crumbs for an even more sophisticated look.
I have made banana cookies with real bananas before, but the bananas add a lot of moisture to them, which makes cookies much more cakey. I wanted chewy cookies that were not cakey, so using real bananas was out. If you want to increase the banana factor, try adding dried banana chips as an additional mix-in. You could even top each cookie with a banana chip as decoration to indicate what’s inside!
These cookies will stay fresh on the counter in an airtight container for about 4-5 days. But they freeze really well and can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds before enjoying!
Although using a different flavor of pudding will remove the banana element to these cookies, the recipe makes a great base for swapping in other flavors and creating fun and exciting new cookie experiments. I’m thinking cookies & cream pudding might be a great start with some Oreos and white chocolate chips mixed in!
More Cookie Recipes
- Berger Cookies
- Glazed Apple Pie Cookies
- Double Lemon Glazed Cookies
- Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mint Chip Sugar Cookies
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
- Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Oatmeal Carrot Cookies
Banana Pudding Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 box instant banana pudding mix 3.4-ounce
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup broken up Nilla Wafers
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips plus more for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or electric mixer until creamy and light, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat again, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined.
- Add Nilla Wafers and white chocolate chips. Stir in with a spatula or spoon.
- Use a small cookie scoop to scoop mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets lined, spacing the cookies a couple inches apart so they have room to spread. Press a couple of pieces into the top of each mound of dough.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until set around the edges but slightly underbaked in the middle. Immediately after removing from the oven, press a few additional white chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies. Let sit for 10 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Giant cookies: You can double the size of your cookies and make 10-12 large cookies instead. They will bake an extra minute or so longer and need longer to set up completely (at least an hour but preferably overnight), otherwise they will look gooey inside if you break one open right away.
- Storage: Keep leftover cooled cookies in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.