We Made a Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 and It’s Still Amazing Today

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Frozen Pudding Dessert is a five-ingredient treat that's easy to make and can be changed up to include your favorite flavors.

While flipping through favorite vintage cookbooks, one in particular caught my eye: the Jell-O Pudding Ideabook published in 1968. Small cooking booklets like this were popular through the ’50s and ’60s as home cooks looked for ways to make creative meals and desserts from convenience foods like Jell-O gelatin and instant pudding. The Ideabook is full of recipes that turn Jell-O pudding mixes into everything from cookies to pies, and under the “Frozen Fancies” section, a recipe for a frozen pudding dessert that I was just dying to try.

Layered Pudding Freeze is a creamy, frosty, no-bake dessert that’s easy to pull together using just a few ingredients like instant pudding, Cool Whip and fruit. Since it needs time in the freezer before serving, the recipe is a great make-ahead dessert.

Find out which state eats the most Jell-O—and other Jell-O facts!

How to Make a Layered Pudding Freeze from 1968

This dessert makes about 8 servings. Plan ahead for the dessert to firm up in the freezer for eight hours or overnight.

Ingredients

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 ingredientsNancy Mock for Taste of Home

  • 1 box (3.4 ounces) Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 8-ounce container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3-4 cups frozen mixed berries (or other frozen fruits)
  • Optional topping: whipped cream

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Make the pudding

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 step one: make the puddingNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Pour the instant pudding mix and the cold milk into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together for 2 minutes.

Step 2: Add the Cool Whip

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 Step 2: Add the Cool WhipNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until the two are completely combined. Cover the bowl and chill the mixture in the freezer for one hour.

Step 3: Prepare the pan and bananas

Smoothly line the bottom and sides of the loaf pan with plastic wrap. The smoother it is, the fewer creases will be in the dessert after freezing.

Peel the bananas, then mash them in a small bowl. (Here are our tips to make bananas last longer.)

Step 4: Make the pudding layers and freeze

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 Step 4: Make the pudding layers and freezeNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Spoon half of the pudding mixture in an even layer in the lined loaf pan. Mix the mashed bananas into the remaining pudding mixture in the bowl, then spoon this into the loaf pan over the first layer. Smooth the top.

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 Step 4: Make the pudding layers and freezeNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap, pressing it to the surface of the pudding. Put the pan in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight, until it’s very firm.

Step 5: Unmold and serve the dessert

Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 Step 5: Unmold the dessertNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Take the frozen mixed berries from the freezer and pour them into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the fruit in 20-second bursts, stirring each time, until they’re mostly thawed and juicy.

Take the loaf pan out of the freezer and let it set out for 15 minutes. Peel the plastic from the top, then unmold the dessert onto a serving platter. Spoon the fruit decoratively over the top of the frozen dessert. Use a sharp knife to slice and serve the dessert with fruit, and whipped cream if using. Store any leftover frozen pudding dessert well-wrapped in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Tips To Make This Frozen Pudding Dessert

slice of Jello Frozen Pudding Dessert from 1968 with berries on a black plateNancy Mock for Taste of Home

I made this dessert pretty close to the original 1968 version with just a couple of tweaks. Instant Jell-O pudding comes together in only two minutes, and saves time over “cook and serve” pudding mixes. I also used Cool Whip instead of the Dream Whip called for in the original recipe. Though the shelf-stable, boxed whipped cream mix is still available in stores today, I found Dream Whip to be very artificial-tasting and not as creamy as Cool Whip.

The beauty of this simple frozen pudding treat is that you can change it up with different flavors. Other frozen fruits can be stirred into the pudding layers: strawberries or cherries with the mashed banana would be delicious, or choose a tropical frozen blend for the topping with fruit like strawberries, mango, papaya and coconut. Chocolate or white chocolate pudding would be an intriguing variation on this Layered Pudding Freeze!

Need more vintage desserts in your life? These Jell-O dessert salads are just the ticket.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.