All the flavors you love in banana pudding come together in this Banana Pudding Poke Cake.  Trust me on this, this banana poke cake tastes every bit as good as it looks — it’s hard to go wrong with a Nilla wafer banana pudding cake!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake on white plate

Why We Love Banana Pudding Poke Cake

I have a confession to make, I love anything with bananas in it!  Banana pudding is no exception, and let me tell you, Banana Pudding Poke Cake…….WOW!

This is a convenience kind of dessert (aren’t most poke cakes?).  Jazz up a box cake mix with some bananas, instant pudding, and frozen whipped topping (COOL-Whip), and BAM! Awesome cake!

But if you are against semi-homemade desserts,  you could certainly use your favorite yellow cake recipe, banana pudding recipe, and make homemade whipped cream.  I can only imagine how incredible THAT Banana Pudding Poke Cake would be!! 

fork going into a piece of Banana Pudding Poke Cake

What Is a Poke Cake

If you’ve never heard of a poke cake, you don’t know what you are missing! They have been around since the 1970’s thanks to the clever idea of Jell-O brand for an easy hip colorful dessert using a cake mix, Jell-O and Cool Whip.

A poke cake is simply a freshly baked cake (from scratch or a box mix)  poked full of holes (hence the name) something sweet, creamy, or syrupy is poured over the cake to fill up the holes and infuse flavor and color to the cake.

Orange Dreamsicle Jello Cake was my go-to dessert when we were first married. 😉

Traditionally, poke cakes are topped with whipped topping instead of cake frosting, so they’re usually refrigerated until serving. Making them the perfect warm-weather dessert.
Perfect for the busy housewife, poke cakes became a potluck and pool party staple.

This no-fuss kind of dessert is baked, prepared, and served directly from a 9×13 pan!

Today’s poke cakes have moved beyond the simple white and Jell-O gelatin. Red velvet, chocolate, banana, and lemon cakes are being poked and filled with everything from sweetened condensed milk, pudding, or mousse to pastry cream, pureed fruit, and other delectable toppings.  The flavor possibilities are endless.

Literally, the easiest way to take an ordinary cake to a whole other level.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake on a plate with a fork

How to make Banana Pudding Poke Cake

When you are baking this cake, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake is best made ahead of time, but leave the toppings until you’re ready to serve, so the bananas look nice and the vanilla wafers are crunchy.

I bake the cake, then let it cool for about 5 minutes, while I mix up the instant pudding; poke the cake, spread the pudding over the top, cover, and refrigerate at least an two hours ( or overnight is even better).

When I’m ready to serve, I top each piece with banana slices, whipped topping, and 1-2 crushed vanilla wafers – grab a fork and dig in!

If you’re serving a crowd and anticipate most or all of the cake will be eaten, go ahead and top the whole cake – but just know, if you have leftovers, the bananas will get brown and the cookies will get soggy.

Featured Product 9×13 Non-Stick Cake Pan

This baking pan can be used to bake brownies, bar cookies, casseroles, and more. Add the plastic cover, then bring them to a picnic, party, or family gathering!

Recipe FAQs

How Many Holes Should You Make In A Poke Cake

Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a large wide straw poke the cake with large, deep holes, 1-inch apart and about three-quarters of the way down through the cake. 

Note, holes too close together could make your cake too moist, and too far apart and there may not be enough filling throughout the cake.

Can you use cook-and-serve pudding for banana cream poke cake?

The simple answer is no. Cook-and-serve pudding is thick and can not be poured into the holes of a poke cake. More milk is added to instant pudding mix which allows a pourable consistency for a moist and absolutely delicious cake.

Does banana pudding poke cake need to be refrigerated?

yes! For best results, pudding poke cake should be served chilled and refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the instant pudding to set up. Leftovers also need to be refrigerated.

close up of a piece of Banana Pudding Poke Cake

We love poke cake. It really is an easy and delicious dessert that can be as extravagant or simple as you want. Either way, they are a perfect dessert to bring to a party!

They can be made a day in advance and can serve a crowd—– if you’re willing to share 😉  I’m always expected to bring desserts to any party I attend. Poke cakes go a long way with my family and friends.

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More Poke Cakes To Make


slice of banana pudding poke cake with a fork piercing the cake

Leave a comment below telling me about your favorite poke cake!

Everything to love about banana pudding comes together in this easy, crowd-pleasing Banana Pudding Poke Cake recipe at

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 38 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

Everything to love about banana pudding comes together in this easy, crowd-pleasing Banana Pudding Poke Cake


  • 1 prepared yellow cake (box mix + water, oil, and eggs called for on box)
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)
  • 2 (4-serving size) boxes banana instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 (8 oz) container Cool-Whip whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 bananas, sliced (greener bananas will look nicer)
  • 1 cup vanilla wafers, crushed


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13x9-inch pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, whole eggs and mashed bananas with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl as needed.
  3. Bake 38 to 42 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes.
  4. While cake is cooling, whisk cold milk and pudding mix together in a medium bowl until pudding is soft and thickened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Using the handle of a clean wooden spoon, poke holes in cake, almost to bottom of pan, about every 1/2 inch.
  6. Pour pudding over cake immediately; spread evenly, working back and forth to fill holes. (Some filling will remain on top of cake.) Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  7. Keep cold until serving.  Then, top with sliced bananas, whipped topping and crushed vanilla wafers.


To Avoid The Bananas From Turning Brown:

If you are not serving the whole cake right away, instead of adding a layer of banana slices to the entire cake you could simply add 1-2 fresh banana slices to each piece of cake when serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

Did you make this recipe?

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Banana Pudding Poke Cake photo collage