Vanilla chocolate swirl banana pudding

This vanilla chocolate swirl banana pudding is an homage to Sweet Nina’s in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. It contains a thick and rich vanilla pudding and is adorned with chocolate chip cookies and a homemade chocolate syrup!

banana pudding

Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I traveled to the Philadelphia area to attend my nephew’s birthday party. Sadly, we hit a ton of traffic and missed most of the party. However, we still had a good time and enjoyed spending time with our extended family while we were there.

The following morning, we planned to have a late lunch in Chinatown. My skating friend A was going to meet us there, and we purposely arrived early so that we could walk around the Reading Terminal Market and warm up our appetites. My husband stopped at Sweet Nina’s so that he could try their banana pudding (I honestly didn’t even know he was a fan of it!). Consider our lives changed. This smooth and creamy dessert was light, fluffy, and full of sweetness from the ripe bananas, Nilla wafers, and the chocolate syrup.

banana pudding

Naturally, I was asked to recreate this once we returned home.

I found a promising recipe that comes from the author’s grandma. I mean, grandmas usually have the best recipes, right? And I set out to make a homemade chocolate sauce to drizzle into my pudding. Instead of the traditional Nilla wafers, I happened to have a bag of thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies in the pantry that were waiting to be used. I broke those cookies up into smaller pieces and added them to my pudding.

banana pudding

This was a fun and tasty pudding. I wanted more vanilla flavor in the pudding itself but liked the addition of the chocolate syrup. My cookies were a little too thin and crispy because they got soggy overnight, so I would recommend using the traditional Nilla wafers or a thicker chocolate chip cookie if you’d rather go that route.

I may tinker with this and try different types of pudding (chocolate or butterscotch perhaps?) and try different cookie add-ins the next time we make this. Can’t wait to go back to the Reading Terminal Market to see what it inspires next!

Husband’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5

Vanilla chocolate swirl banana pudding

Inspired by Sweet Nina's from Philly's Reading Terminal Market, this banana pudding is full of cookies and a homemade chocolate syrup swirl
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pudding
Servings: 8
Author: Eva Bakes



  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) all-purpose flour and by "heaping," that means closer to 2-3 Tablespoons
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups milk of choice I used 1%
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • vanilla wafers I used a store-bought package of thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies
  • 3 ripe bananas sliced

Chocolate syrup

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Make the pudding

  • In a large saucepan, mix together the flour and the sugar. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Turn the stove on medium heat and slowly stream in the milk. Be sure that you continuously mix. The mixture will eventually thicken.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat (turn off the heat) and stir in the butter and the vanilla.
  • Set aside until ready to assemble.

Make the chocolate sauce (can make this ahead of time)

  • In a small saucepan, mix together the cocoa powder and the sugar with a spatula. Add the salt and the water and turn the stove to medium heat.
  • Keep stirring and allow the mixture to come to a boil
  • Turn the heat down so the mixture is at a simmer. Allow to continue simmering for about 30-60 seconds.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  • Allow the sauce to cool slightly before transferring to a heatproof container. At this point, you can use the sauce or refrigerate it before assembling the pudding.

Assemble the pudding

  • Pour about a third of the pudding into a glass baking dish. Add one of the sliced bananas into the pudding and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Break up some of the cookies and add them on top.
  • Repeat for two additional layers. Decorate the top of the pudding with additional chocolate sauce, cookies, or even caramel sauce if desired.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let the pudding cool completely overnight before serving.


Leftover banana pudding should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will last several days.
Sources: Banana pudding from A Cowboy's Wife; chocolate syrup from Barefeet in the Kitchen

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