This guaranteed crowd-pleasing delicious classic Southern Banana Pudding is homemade from scratch and incredibly easy to prepare.
This traditional southern recipe has been around since the early 20th century and some would argue even bore then. Once Nabisco made vanilla wafers in 1898, it became even more popularized. In addition, once trade routes from Southern countries and the Caribbean became more solidified it also opened the doors for an incredible amount of access to fresh bananas.
Banana pudding is an easy inexpensive recipe consisting of few ingredients which really helped elevate its status as well. While this recipe seems more like a summer dessert, it can be made all year round.
Pudding vs Custard Filling
There is zero doubt that homemade food from scratch always tastes better, so a homemade custard is 100% the route to go. Often times you’ll see recipes that use packaged pudding but that is not the traditional way to make banana pudding.
The difference in flavor between homemade and packaged pudding is significant and you should only use the latter if you are only in a pinch.
Making banana pudding homemade doesn’t require all that many different ingredients, in fact, it’s only a few more than the store-bought vanilla pudding and tastes insanely more delicious. Here is what you’ll need:
- Eggs – I almost only use large organic eggs.
- Whole Milk – You can always use ½ and ½ or even 2% milk if you’d like.
- Flour – Use all-purpose flour to help thicken the custard.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar will help sweeten up the custard, whipped cream, and meringue.
- Vanilla – Vanilla extract will do but you can take this recipe to the next level using vanilla bean.
- Salt – just a pinch of sea salt to help balance all of the sweet flavors.
- Wafers – Simple vanilla biscuit wafers will do and if you want to enhance this recipe greatly then I suggest using ladyfingers or make them yourself.
- Bananas – If the bananas are big, I typically only need about 4 to make my recipe.
How to Make Banana Pudding from Scratch
Follow these simple procedures to make this amazing recipe:
Add milk, salt, flour, and egg yolks to a medium-size saucepot and cook while constantly stirring over low heat until it becomes very thick.
Remove the custard from the burner and stir in vanilla. Add to the refrigerator and cool completely.
In the meantime, make homemade whipped cream by whipping together heavy whipping cream and sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
Slowly add in the chilled custard to the whipped cream on low speed until mixed in.
Add 1/3 of the whipped cream custard to the bottom of a deep 13×9 casserole pan and evenly spread it around.
Next, layer on vanilla wafers, and then bananas followed up with another 1/3 of the whipped cream custard. Repeat one more time and set aside.
Make a meringue by whisking together in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed some egg whites and sugar until medium-stiff peaks have formed.
Spread the meringue over the top of the banana pudding and create some edges with the backside of a spoon.
Using a dessert torch brown up the top of the meringue. Serve.
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day ahead of time, just keep it covered and refrigerated before serving.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This will not freeze well as it will cause the custard to break when thawing.
If you don’t have a torch you can bake in the oven at 400° for 7-10 minutes or until the meringue is browned on top.
Just in case you are in a pinch you can substitute the homemade whipped cream with 1 tub of cool whip.
Be sure that the bananas are just ripe when making this recipe.
More Amazing Dessert Recipes
The Best Homemade Banana Pudding Recipe
- 6 eggs yolks, and whites separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 whipped cream recipe
- 1 box of vanilla wafers
- 4 peeled and thinly sliced large bananas
- Add 6 egg yolks, ¾ cup of sugar, flour, and salt to a medium-size saucepot and cook over low heat for about 12-15 minutes while constantly stirring until it becomes very thick.
- Remove the custard from the stove and stir in the vanilla. Cool completely in the refrigerator, which takes about 45 minutes.
- Once it’s cool slowly add the custard into a stand mixer with the whipped cream recipe and mix on low speed with the whisk attachment until completely combined.
- Evenly spread 1/3 of the whipped cream custard to the bottom of a deep 13x9 casserole pan and then layer on the wafers and bananas followed up by adding on another 1/3 of the whipped cream custard.
- Repeat the process 1 more time until all of the ingredients have been used. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment whisk the eggs on medium speed until soft peaks have formed, which takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn the speed up to high and slowly sprinkle in ¼ cup of sugar until mixed in. Continue to whisk until medium-stiff peaks have formed to make a meringue.
- Spread the meringue over the top of the banana pudding evenly and then using a torch brown the top of the meringue.
- Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day ahead of time, just keep it covered and refrigerated before serving.
- How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This will not freeze well as it will cause the custard to break when thawing.
- If you don’t have a torch you can bake in the oven at 400° for 7-10 minutes or until the meringue is browned on top.
- Just in case you are in a pinch you can substitute the homemade whipped cream with 1 tub of cool whip.
- Be sure that the bananas are just ripe when making this recipe.