All the flavors of a banana split without the worry of melted ice cream, and no baking is required!
Nothing compares to a traditional banana split, but not every event or occasion is ice cream friendly. This dessert tastes just like a banana split, but it can sit on your serving table without melting. It is prepared in a baking dish, has a graham cracker crust, and includes decadent layers of pineapple, banana, strawberries, and chocolate. Yes, there is Cool Whip and a cherry on top!
The History of Banana Splits
It’s always fun to hear how some of our favorite foods and desserts were invented. While some were intentional recipes perfected by chefs, others were whipped up on a whimsy—like the banana split.
The precise history is debated, but the banana split was believed to be invented in 1904 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Pharmacy owner David Strickler split a banana in half and paired it with one scoop each of vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and chocolate ice cream. Then he topped it like a Sunday with whipped cream and flavored toppings. Strickler even commissioned the banana boat design to serve banana splits in.
However, some claim that the banana split was invented in Boston, Massachusetts or Wilmington, Ohio. Wilmington even hosts an annual Banana Split Festival!
Wherever it was created, it remains sweet and flavorful.
Ingredients and Shopping List
- Graham cracker crumbs—4 cups of crumbs for the crust.
- Unsalted butter—unsalted butter is almost always used for desserts. You’ll need 1 cup.
- Cream cheese—2 soften 8-ounce packages.
- Sugar—you’ll need 1 cup of standard white sugar.
- Cool Whip—2 thawed 8-ounce containers.
- Crushed pineapple—a 20-ounce can with the juice drained.
- Bananas—3 to 4 ripe bananas, just 3 if they are large.
- Maraschino cherries—for the cherries on top!
- Non-stick baking spray—to ensure the graham cracker doesn’t stick.
- Medium mixing bowl
- Hand or countertop mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Small saucepan
- Small bowl
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- Non-stick baking spray
Don’t Have Non-Stick Baking Spray?
Not to worry cousin! If you don’t have baking spray, you can grease your pan with a thin layer of butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. Just add it to a paper towel and spread it on. These “grease” options don’t typically work for baked desserts, but this is a no-bake dessert so it’s ok. Butter and coconut oil are preferred as olive oil has a richer flavor profile. All 3 preferred over Crisco for this recipe.
Only Have Whole Graham Crackers?
As always, use what you have—but crumbs are faster and easier. If you have at least 4 full sleeves of graham crackers, you can crumb them yourself. Each sleeve produces about 1 cup of crumbs, but you might need a bit more.
- Blender—break your graham crackers into rectangular pieces, and add half a sleeve at a time to your blender. Pulse until crumbed, then pour the crumbs into a bowl or 4-cup measuring cup. Repeat until you have 4 full cups.
- Food processor—break your graham crackers into rectangular pieces and add half a sleeve at a time to your food processor. Process until you have crumbs. Depending on the size of your food processor you may need to crumb in batches.
- Rolling pin or measuring cup—place a sleeve at a time into a zip-top freezer bag. Press the air out of the bag, then roll over the graham crackers with a rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, crush and crumb them with a back side of a measuring cup. Empty the bag and repeat until you have 4 cups of crumbs.
What if I Can’t Find Fresh Strawberries?
We’ve all been there, the grocery store is out of strawberries, or the ones they have don’t look so good. No worries—you can use frozen strawberries instead! Be sure to press out as much of the liquid as possible so that they don’t weigh down the layers beneath them.
- Let the strawberries fully defrost in a colander, not in the bag and not in water.
- Once defrosted, gently press out the liquid.
- Dice into small pieces and use as directed.
How to Make This Dessert Your Own?
Don’t see the banana split toppings or customizations you prefer? Not to worry, as you can easily make this no bake recipe your own.
- Add berries—you can add strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or canned, pitted, and drained sweet cherries.
- Toppings— you could also use caramel drizzle, more nuts, crushed Oreo cookies, coconut, a bit of marshmallow cream, or whatever you prefer on your banana split.
How Long is This Banana Split Dessert Good For?
This recipe is good for up to 3 days. Keep it refrigerated until you are ready to eat it, preferably with a baking dish that has a lid. Since it calls for Cool Whip as a topping, you can top it before you serve it—but your baking dish lid may squish the Cool Whip.
Looking For Other No Bake Desserts?
There are a variety of reasons to choose no bake options. Many no-bake desserts take less time to prepare, you don’t have to tie up your oven, and you don’t have to turn on your oven when it’s hot!
- No Bake Pina Colada Cheesecake
- No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- No Bake Butterfinger Pie
- No Bake Oreo Cheesecake
- No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Lasagna
No Bake Banana Split Lasagna Dessert
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter – melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese – softened
- ¼ cup butter – softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 medium bananas – sliced
- 20 oz crushed pineapple – drained
- 16 oz cool whip
- 10 oz jar of maraschino cherries
- ⅓ cup crushed walnuts
- ½ cup hot fudge sauce
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.. Mix until all well combined, and the graham crackers resemble wet sand.
- Pour the graham cracker mixture into your baking dish, and firmly pack down. Set to the side.
- Next, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, ¼ cup butter, and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Scoop the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust, and spread evenly across the top.
- Next, spread the sliced bananas on top, pressing lightly into the cream cheese mixture.
- Spread the crushed pineapple on top of the bananas, following with the cool whip. Now, decorate the top of your dessert with the crushed walnuts, cherries and hot fudge.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
- Serve & Enjoy!
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