Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana Pudding is one of the quintessential desserts in the Southeast.  It’s a requirement for potluck suppers, and summer holiday meals.  If you’ve never tried it, it should go on your dessert bucket list.  Unlike trifles, banana pudding is at home hot or cold, and ranks in the top comfort foods for most Southerners.  It all makes perfect sense when you dip into your first bowlful…creamy custard, layered heavily with sliced chunks of banana, and pudding-soft Nilla wafers, topped off with whipped cream or meringue.When I was a kid, we made up a couple boxes of instant pudding, and that’s a fast way to get where you’re going.  But I’ve come to a point in life where if I’m gonna eat something naughty, I am willing to spend a few more minutes in the kitchen to make it really worth eating.

So, lets take a tour of real, homemade, southern style banana pudding.

You’ll need about 5 cups of custard or pudding.  I am using my homemade custard recipe, found here.

To really send it over the top, and infuse the whole custard with banana flavor, put 3 almost ripe bananas into a 325 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Don’t use fully ripe bananas, as they will get too watery in the oven and thin out your pudding.

After roasting, they will not look very appealing…the peels will be blackened, but inside they look normal, and the sugars will have developed so you’ll get WONDERFUL banana flavor.  After these cool for a few minutes, you can blend the bananas, and the juice of half a lemon into your finished custard (I used my stick blender).


Now, all you need is a few other ingredients:

Bananas, whipping cream, Nilla wavers, vanilla, and powdered sugar. 

Peel and slice your bananas. 

The kids really enjoy helping with this part.  I love this little plastic banana slicing gadget.  We like peanut butter and banana sandwiches as well, so it gets used pretty frequently, even though it’s a uni-tasker.

Once you have your ingredients together, it’s just a matter of layering.

Bananas, cookies, custard.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, and top with cookies. 
Spread a nice layer of homemade whipped cream on top, and top with crushed cookie crumbs.
Here is how I do the whipped cream:
Pour vanilla into the cream, add powdered sugar, and blend with a stick blender (or mixer) until peaks form.

This year, I got a wild hair and added a 1/4 t.of fresh grated nutmeg to the whipped cream.  OH MY LANDS…it was divine.  I’ll be adding that secret ingredient from now on!

I refrigerate the finished banana pudding unless I make it just before an event.  It’s yummy hot or cold, but the whipped cream holds up better if you pre-chill the
custard before assembly.  I’ve also seen cooks who use the extra egg
whites and whip up a meringue for the top…it can even be browned
slightly and served warm like that.

I have a vintage glass casserole, whose lid also fits my green bowl.  I don’t know why, but things like that make me ridiculously happy.

If you’ve never tried *real* banana pudding, you really, really should give this recipe a try.
Here is printable.

Banana Pudding Recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Custard Ingredients:
  • 3 barely ripe bananas (no spots)
  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 1⅓ c. sugar
  • ⅓ c. cornstarch
  • 1 T vanilla
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ c. butter
  • juice of ½ lemon
Banana Pudding Ingredients:
  • 5 cups banana custard (above)
  • 6 large bananas
  • 1 box of Nilla wafers
  • 2 c. Heavy Cream
  • ⅓ c. powdered sugar
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • ¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg
Banana Custard Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Put the three bananas on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes, while you’re making the custard.
  3. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes after baking.
  4. While the bananas are roasting, whisk together milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, eggs and egg yolks in a large saucepan.
  5. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until custard is thick and bubbly.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Cut butter into chunks and stir into hot custard.
  8. Add roasted bananas to the pot and puree with a stick blender, or use a food processor to puree until smooth.
  9. Strain through a sieve to remove lumps, if desired.
Banana Pudding Assembly Instructions:
  1. Slice bananas, about ⅓ of an inch thick.
  2. In your serving bowl, place a single layer of sliced bananas.
  3. Top with a layer of Nilla wafers.
  4. Spread with ⅓ of your pudding mix (a little over a cup and a half).
  5. Repeat three more times.
  6. Top the final layer of pudding with one layer of cookies.
  7. Whip heavy cream, vanilla, nutmeg, and powdered sugar with a stick blender or mixer until stiff peaks form.
  8. Top Pudding with whipped topping, and crushed cookies as a garnish.
I made a little star pattern by pushing my spatula straight down and pulling it back up. Serve warm or cold. (Warm pudding is better topped with meringue, but I like it cold with whipped cream.)These are my most awesomely naughty recipes!


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  1. Ellen says

    My grandmother, who was from Louisiana, taught me to make banana pudding. She would take a large box of vanilla pudding, mix it up and let it set about 5 minutes to thicken, then fold in a container of cool whip. She then layered the vanilla wafers, bananas and pudding. I make it that way and then put vanilla wafer crumbs on top to make it pretty!.

    • says

      Yes! That’s how I grew up making it, and it’s FAST and tasty. But I am a sucker for homemade custard, and try to steer clear of cool whip now altogether. :)