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Enjoy a classic banana split dessert in these individual Banana Split Dessert Cups! Layers of pudding, graham cracker crumbs, banana slices, pineapple, and whipped cream inside a cup and topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, chopped peanuts, and a maraschino cherry.
Individual Banana Split Dessert Recipe
These individual cups of banana split dessert are the best summer treat to make! Kids love to make the layers and then top their dessert cup with anything they want from the toppings.
Layers of graham cracker crumbs, instant pudding, sliced bananas, and crushed pineapple. Top it off with whipped cream, chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, and a maraschino cherry for the cutest and easiest dessert.
Everything you love about a classic banana split but in an easy hand-held form dessert that can either be made ahead of time or have everyone layer and create their own.
Why We Love It!
- Customize : Let everyone top their banana split dessert cup however they like. I like to lay out bowl of different toppings. Here are some ideas – chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, chopped nuts, sprinkles, more banana slices, maraschino cherries, whipped cream spray can, chopped strawberries and/or chopped pineapple pieces.
- Make It Ahead or Everyone Create Their Own : You can either prepare these dessert cups ahead of time with the layers of graham cracker crumbs, pudding, and fruit and then let everyone garnish their dessert cup how they want. Or try laying out an assembly line of all the different layers and toppings and then everyone can create their own banana split dessert cup creation however they want.
- Walking Dessert : Handheld deserts, or also called ‘walking desserts’ are so fun to make. For other options be sure and try my Walking Dirt Cups or Walking Strawberry Cheesecake deserts.
- Instant Pudding Mix – There are lots of options here! I like using banana cream instant pudding for this dessert. Vanilla pudding or cheesecake pudding are other great options too.
- Half and Half Milk – This is the best milk to use because it has a higher fat content which will help the pudding thicken nicely so it holds up to the layers. You can use any milk (even 1% or fat-free) but it won’t be as thick, but it will still work.
- Graham Crackers – These are whole graham cracker sheets that have been crushed into pieces. You can make them as small or as large of pieces as you want. You could also use already crushed graham cracker crumbs (which you can buy at the store).
- Bananas – Slice the banana into thin slices.
- Crushed Pineapple – A small can of crushed pineapple that has been well drained.
- Whipped Cream – Use Cool Whip or a spray can of whipped cream. The Cool Whip will hold up better and not melt like the spray whipped cream will. If you’re serving them right away then the spray whipped cream will be just fine.
- Toppings – Chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, chopped strawberries, sliced banana, sprinkles, chopped nuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries are just some ideas.
- Clear 9 oz Plastic Cups – I use the Chinet brand of 9 ounce clear plastic cups for this recipe. You can use smaller cups or larger cups, but you will end up with more dessert cups or less (depending on what size cup you are using).
How To Make Layered Banana Split Dessert Cups
- Prep : Slice the bananas thin and drain the crushed pineapple in a colander. No need to save the juices. Use a spoon and press on the crushed pineapple to ensure that it’s drained well. Place the graham cracker sheets into a ziplock bag and use a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to crush them.
- Make Pudding : Add the instant pudding mix and half and half milk into a mixing bowl. Stir with a wire whisk for 1-2 minute or until creamy and combined and it starts to thicken. Set the bowl aside to thicken more while you prepare the rest.
- Layer The Dessert Cups : Put 3 tablespoons crushed graham crackers into the bottom of each cup. Top with 1/4 cup pudding, 2 layers of sliced bananas, and then 2 tablespoons of the crushed pineapple. Add another 2 tablespoons of pudding and then finish it off with whipped cream.
- Toppings : Garnish the dessert cup with whatever toppings you want.
What Milk Should I Use For Instant Pudding?
The recipe calls for half and half milk because it has a good fat content which will help the pudding set and thicken nicely. However, any milk can be used to make instant jello. It just depends on your preference, how thick you want, how much of a rich & smooth texture you want. I prefer half and half which is why this recipe calls for it. You could use whole milk, 2%, or even 1% milk.
Whipped Cream Topping Substitutions
There are several different ways to get the whipped cream for these desert cups. The easiest way is to get a tub of Cool Whip and use that, or a spray can of whipped cream. The aerosol whipped cream will melt pretty quickly so it might not be the best option for the layers, but it is a good option for the topping if wanted. Or make it homemade by beating 1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1/4 powdered sugar with a mixer on low speed (increase speed as needed) until stiff peaks form.
How To Store Leftovers
These banana split deserts cups actually store pretty well as leftovers in the fridge. Because the bananas are covered by the other layers they don’t get as browned. There will be some slightly discoloration to them but that is pretty normal with any banana dessert.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Place the dessert cups into a 9×13 cake pan and cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil. Or a covered cake carrier makes a great storage option also for the fridge.
What Size of Plastic Cups Are Best?
I used the 10-ounce plastic cups from the Chinet brand. You can use any sized cup you want, like 9-ounce or 6-ounce, but just know that you will have to use less for each layer than what is listed in the recipe below. If the cups are smaller you will also get more dessert cups per recipe.
Substitution & Variation Ideas
- Pineapple Layer : Use chopped strawberries instead of crushed pineapple if wanted. You could also use fresh chopped pineapple in place of the canned crushed pineapple.
- Toppings : Top these banana split dessert cups with anything you like. I like to let everyone make their own, with the toppings, so I put all the toppings options in bowls and everyone can create their own topped dessert cup.
- Instant Pudding : I like using the banana cream instant pudding mix but you can also use vanilla or cheesecake. It just really depends on what you prefer. If you want a chocolate version then try using chocolate instant pudding.
Banana Split Dessert Cups
- 1 box (3.4 oz) instant pudding mix (banana cream, vanilla, or cheesecake)
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 bananas
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple (drained well)
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 8 ounces Cool Whip or Whipped Cream (*see notes)
Toppings & Garnishes
- chocolate syrup and/or strawberry syrup
- chopped peanuts or nuts
- maraschino cherries
- chopped strawberries
- additional sliced bananas
- Make The Pudding : Add the instant pudding mix (dry, unprepared) and half and half milk into a mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk for 1-2 minutes or until it's smooth and creamy, and it starts to thicken. Set the bowl aside to thicken more as you prepare the rest.1 box (3.4 oz) instant pudding mix, 2 cups half and half
- Prep : Slice the bananas into thin slices. Drain the crushed pineapple in a colander, no need to save the juice, and use a spoon to press on the crushed pineapple to make sure that all the moisture is drained.2 bananas, 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple
- Layer Banana Split Dessert Cups : – Firmly press 3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each cup. – Top each crust with 1/4 cup pudding. – Add 2 layers of thinly sliced banana on top of the pudding. – Add a spoonful of crushed pineapple over the bananas. – Add another layer of 2 tablespoons pudding mixture.– The final layer is a layer of Cool Whip or whipped cream. – Garnish with toppings of choice! We like sprinkles, chocolate syrup, chopped strawberries, and chopped peanuts or nuts.1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 8 ounces Cool Whip or Whipped Cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and/or strawberry syrup, chopped peanuts or nuts, maraschino cherries, chopped strawberries, additional sliced bananas
- For best results serve right away! You can either layer and prepare the dessert cups beforehand OR lay out all the toppings and layer ingredients and everyone can make their own.