These banana pudding cheesecake squares are incredible! We’re making our banana cheesecake bars with real bananas and an easy stovetop custard to top our buttery vanilla wafer crust! And if you like these banana pudding squares, you’ll love my Banana Blondies with Brown Butter Frosting, my Banana Bread French Toast, or my Pineapple Banana Bread!
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What are banana pudding cheesecake squares?
Banana pudding is one of the most essential recipes in my family's holiday tradition. We are very particular about the ingredients and the process, using only Nilla wafers and pure vanilla extract, and always making the custard from scratch. And these banana cream cheesecake bars with Nilla wafers are full of those same tastes! The creamy banana cheesecake, Nilla wafer crumb crust, and easy stovetop custard give you the most deliciously decadent dessert, perfect for for holiday gatherings or any occasion!
Banana Cheesecake Bars with Real Bananas
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that we're making the banana cheesecake layer with real mashed overripe banana, so it'll be full of that delicious banana flavor with no need for packaged pudding mixes! And for even more banana goodness, you can top these squares with fresh banana slices just before serving!
Banana Pudding Squares Ingredients
- vanilla wafers - we always use Nilla wafers but your favorite vanilla wafers should be fine. You can also grab some mini vanilla wafers for the topping!
- butter - I use salted butter in both the vanilla wafer crust and the custard topping, but if you use unsalted butter, just add a couple pinches of salt to both the crust mixture and the custard.
- granulated sugar - you'll need sugar for the crust, the cheesecake layer, and the custard topping.
- bananas - you'll need overripe bananas for the cheesecake layer -- I usually use previously frozen bananas for this. And I also like to grab some bananas that are are just barely ripe to slice on top.
- cream cheese - your cream cheese should be room temperature so that your cheesecake layer can be smooth and creamy.
- heavy cream - your heavy cream should also be room temperature -- we'll mix this in to add to the creaminess of our cheesecake.
- eggs and egg yolks - your eggs should also be room temperature -- see below for a tip to get them to room temperature quickly!
- vanilla extract - for the best flavor, be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- cornstarch - we'll add cornstarch in both the cheesecake layer, to stabilize the filling, and to thicken our custard topping.
- evaporated milk - this is a key part of my family's banana pudding recipe! Evaporated milk makes the custard so flavorful and creamy!
You'll need a 9x9 baking pan to make your cheesecake squares, as well as a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip up your cheesecake filling. You'll also want a saucepan and whisk to cook up your custard, and a food processor will make it easier to crush your vanilla wafers!
How to Make Banana Pudding Cheesecake Squares
First you'll need to make your vanilla wafer crust!
- Crush your vanilla wafers and stir them together with your sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Make sure that the mixture is well saturated with the butter.
- Pour the mixture into your 9x9 baking pan and press down evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Pre-bake your crust and set aside to cool.
Then you're ready to make your banana cheesecake layer:
- Add your overripe bananas to a large bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until they're smooth.
- Add in your sugar, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, heavy cream, and cornstarch, mixing until smooth after each.
- Pour your cheesecake mixture over your cooled crust, smooth it, and bake!
- Let the cheesecake cool and then chill for at least 4 hours.
Finally it's time for my favorite part -- the custard!
- Heat your butter and evaporated milk in a saucepan until it's hot but not yet boiling -- look for tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan.
- Meanwhile, whisk together your egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl.
- Gradually pour in about half of the scalded mixture about ½ cup at a time, whisking constantly, to temper the egg yolks.
- Gradually pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and you've got your custard mixture!
- Now it's time to stir your custard. It usually takes 10-15 minutes, and you'll want to stir your custard the whole time so that it doesn't scorch. It might seem like it's taking a while, but it'll reach a point when it goes straight from thin and liquid to thick and custardy. Once it's thick enough to coat the back of your spoon, it's ready!
- Top your cheesecake bars with mini vanilla wafers and banana slices, and then pour on your warm custard! I like to add a few more vanilla wafer crumbs and serve right away while the custard is still a little warm.
Tips and F.A.Q.
They're SO good but if you want to make this recipe a little easier, there are a few shortcuts:
You can skip the custard layer and top these easy banana pudding cheesecake squares with whipped cream, store-bought caramel sauce or butterscotch sauce (see my butterscotch milkshake for an easy butterscotch sauce recipe)!
You can also make the cheesecake ahead of time and freeze it until you're ready to make the custard -- just store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.
To soften your blocks of cream cheese for the cheesecake layer, just remove them from the foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or until softened. Your cream cheese should be ready to add to your cheesecake mixture!
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. If you didn’t have a chance to leave your eggs out to get to room temperature, try this tip. Just submerge the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow them to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure a great result!
If you prepare your tempered egg yolks correctly and cook your custard slowly while stirring, you shouldn't end up with any lumps at all! But if you do, you can always run your finished custard through a fine-mesh sieve to get it smoother.
What kind of bananas do I need for this recipe?
You'll need overripe bananas for the cheesecake layer, but less ripe bananas (the kind you'd eat) for the slices on top.
You won't need it! The banana cheesecake layer gets its banana flavor from sweet overripe bananas, and the custard topping really can't be substituted! It's got such a decadent sweet vanilla flavor.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Cheesecake Recipes You'll Love
- Biscoff Cheesecake
- Confetti Cheesecake Bar Recipe
- No Bake Oreo Cheesecake
- Pineapple Bars with Cream Cheese and Coconut Drizzle
Equipment you may need
Vanilla Wafer Crust
Banana Cheesecake Filling
Vanilla Wafer Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to allow for easy removal.
- Crush vanilla wafers with a food processor, or place in a gallon freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Pour into a medium bowl.
- Add granulated sugar and stir to combine.
- Add melted butter and stir well until mixture is well saturated with butter.
- Pour into baking pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, purée overripe bananas with a hand mixer or immersion blender until smooth.
- Beat in granulated sugar and cream cheese, mixing well until smooth.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and heavy cream and beat until smooth after each addition.
- Add cornstarch and mix well. Pour into cooled vanilla wafer crust and smooth on top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until outside of pan is puffed but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly.
- Cool completely at room temperature, then cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Custard and Toppings
- Heat evaporated milk and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted and mixture reaches a simmer. There should be small bubbles near the outside of the pan, but don't let it boil. Turn off heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Add about half of scalded milk mixture very gradually, ½ cup at a time, pouring slowly and whisking the egg mixture constantly. This is to temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat and gradually pour the tempered egg-and-milk mixture back into the pan, whisking constantly.
- Cook custard mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, for 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Top cheesecake layer with fresh banana slices and mini vanilla wafers. Pour slightly cooled custard on top, and cut into squares. Alternatively, you can cut the cheesecake squares first and top each with custard individually.
- Sprinkle with more vanilla wafer crumbs, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve, keeping in mind these squares are best served the same day.
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