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Homemade Banana Pudding

Homemade Banana Pudding is the perfect Southern dessert.

The combination of vanilla pudding, made from scratch, vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and meringue make up a delectable treat.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Picture of banana pudding

This old fashioned banana pudding is something you’ll want to make over and over again. 

With layers of Nilla Wafers, homemade creamy pudding, and meringue you just can’t go wrong.

And this recipe is a hit not only in the south but everywhere. We love this at family gatherings (the whole family loves this), church potlucks, holidays, or any time in between.

Overall this homemade banana pudding is one of my favorite desserts. It’s one of those Southern staples. Plus, it’s the Tennessee State dessert.

If you’re short on time, you can make banana pudding with instant pudding mix, but the homemade version wins out every time.

And, if this is your first time making the banana pudding, you are going to fall in love with it. It’s so easy to make, and even more wonderful to eat.

In fact, you can make the homemade pudding the day before, keep it in the refrigerator, and use it the next day when you’re ready to put the dessert together.

Generally speaking, the dessert makes an entire 13″ x 9″ pan so there is plenty to go around.

Ingredients For The Best Banana Pudding Recipe

  • Bananas

Pudding

  • White granulated sugar
  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
  • Vanilla extract

Crust

  • Nilla wafers

Meringue

  • Egg whites
  • White granulated sugar

Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions at the bottom of the post in the recipe card

Step-By-Step Instructions For Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

Picture of flour in a saucepan.

First, you’re going to start off by adding sugar to a medium saucepan on top of the stove.

Picture of flour and sugar in a saucepan

Secondly, add the flour and salt to the saucepan.

Picture of eggs and flour in a saucepan

Thirdly, add one whole egg to the saucepan. You’ll be adding just the yolks in a minute.

Picture of milk in a saucepan.

Milk is the next ingredient to add.

Picture of yolks and milk in a saucepan.

Now, add the four egg yolks. (Save the whites for your meringue).

Mix everything together well and cook over the stovetop on medium-low. Stir frequently to keep the lumps out.

I use a whisk to mix the ingredients because it tends to help get all of the lumps out. 

Usually, it will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken. It will thicken more as it cools.

Once the pudding cooks, add the vanilla extract and stir.

Picture of cookies and bananas in a casserole dish

While your pudding is cooking, spray the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish. Then, line the bottom and edge of dish with delicious crunchy vanilla wafers.

The layers of Nilla Wafers will soften after you add the pudding mix and they taste amazing.

You can use either Nilla Wafers or generic brands. I’ve used both and they both taste great.

And, if you really love them, you can add a few additional Nilla Wafers to the dish.

Slice two bananas and place them on top of the vanilla wafers. Set the dish aside until the pudding is done.

There’s nothing better than fresh banana slices. Mmm. We go through bananas around here like they are going out of style.

Picture of banana pudding in a casserole dish.

Once the banana pudding is finished cooking, pour half of it over the bananas and vanilla wafers.

Slice the other two bananas and spread the slices out on top of the pudding. Then add the remainder of the pudding on top.

Tip: Pour slowly or you will send vanilla wafers hither and yon.

They will spread out and you will have to find them in the pudding and push them back to where they belong.

I am speaking from experience. I have done this more than once with several different recipes.

Picture of meringue on top of banana pudding

After you get done pouring the pudding into the casserole dish whip up the meringue and spread it on top of the pudding.

You can use Cool Whip to top the banana pudding, but there’s nothing better than homemade meringue.

How to make meringue:

  • Add the egg whites to a medium-sized bowl.
  • Whip the egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the sugar and mix until well blended.
  • Spread over the banana pudding.

Additionally, some people use cream of tartar for making egg whites. It will make the meringue a bit fluffier, so you can add a small amount to the meringue if you’d like.

If you do want to add some cream of tartar, use about 1/8 teaspoon per egg white.

If you’re using your stand mixer, you can use the whisk attachment for the meringue.

Meringue tips:

  • When you add the egg whites to the bowl, make sure the bowl is dry and that you don’t have a drop of water or any other liquid in there. Anything other than the egg whites will keep the meringue from fluffing up.
  • Make sure you don’t get any yolk in the egg whites. Even a drop of yolk will keep your whites from fluffing up.
Picture of banana pudding

Bake the Nilla Wafer banana pudding recipe for about 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is browned on top.

There’s nothing better than golden meringue. Yum, this is such a great recipe!

You can allow the pudding to cool to room temperature, or you can be like me and eat some warm. I can’t help myself. The banana pudding recipe is so delicious while it’s warm.

I will eat it cold, too. Just give me a plate of homemade banana pudding recipe and I will eat every bite.

Having said that, if you refrigerate the pudding before you eat it, it will set up a little bit more firm.

Picture of banana pudding

Can banana pudding be made a day ahead?

Yes, but only the pudding. If you make the entire dessert, the meringue will wilt a little and the vanilla wafers will soak up the pudding and be soggy.

So, just make the pudding the day before and put the rest of the dessert together the next day and you’ll save some time.

Picture of banana pudding on a plate

How long is homemade pudding good for?

Homemade pudding will last in the fridge for almost a week.

How ripe should bananas be for banana pudding?

You need ripe bananas for this particular dessert. The peel should be yellow with some brown specks.

How Do I Store The Southern Banana Pudding?

You can store the banana pudding in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

If you don’t have a container to store it in, you can cover it with plastic wrap, but be careful because when you take it off it can peel off the meringue.

So, you’ll have to create a little space between the meringue and the plastic wrap.

Picture of bananas and banana pudding

Other Delicious Banana Desserts:

Sweet Treats

Picture of banana pudding on a plate.

Homemade Banana Pudding

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Homemade Banana Pudding is the perfect classic southern dessert. The combination of vanilla pudding, made from scratch, vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and meringue make up a delectable treat. 

Ingredients

  • 4 Bananas

Pudding

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust

  • 45-50 vanilla wafers

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Grease 13" x 9" casserole dish.

Pudding

  1. Combine sugar, flour, salt, one whole egg, and milk in a saucepan. Mix together well.
  2. Add the four egg yolks and mix well.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. The sauce takes about 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  4. Once the sauce is done cooking, add the vanilla and stir.

The Crust

  1. Line bottom and side of the casserole dish with vanilla wafers.
  2. Slice two bananas over the vanilla wafers, just before the pudding is done, so they do not brown.
  3. Pour half of the pudding over the wafers and bananas.
  4. Slice two more bananas over the pudding.
  5. Pour the remainder of the pudding over the bananas.

Meringue

  1. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add the sugar and mix until blended.
  3. Spread on top of pudding mixture and bake for 8-10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.
  4. Let cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Notes

You can eat the banana pudding right out of the oven, but it will not be as thick. It will thicken in the refrigerator. Just be careful because it will be hot.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 145mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 6g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Find more recipes at Julia’s Simply Southern

Daryl B

Friday 22nd of July 2022

I made this banana pudding tonight and it came out awesome. I’ve never made a banana pudding in my life and have craved my grandma’s every since she passed away. Thanks for the easy directions to follow.

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Hi Daryl,

I'm so glad to hear it came out awesome! And, I especially love to hear it brought back memories. Thanks for sharing!

Nia

Sunday 17th of April 2022

I have been making this banana pudding for 45 years. It’s my mothers recipe and she grew up in the foothills of Tennessee. I have yet to serve it to one person that didn’t love it! Something so simple and so delicious!

Julie Pollitt

Sunday 17th of April 2022

I love to hear that! It's such a wonderful recipe!

Linda Carmack

Friday 17th of December 2021

how do i keep the bananas from turning dark in pudding

Julie Pollitt

Friday 17th of December 2021

Hi Linda,

You should fix the dessert right before serving. But, if that's not possible, you can spritz them with a tiny bit of lemon juice before adding to the pudding. But, not too much or it will change the flavor. Hope that helps!

Ally

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Do you need all purpose flour or self rising?

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 25th of November 2021

Hi Ally, it's all-purpose flour.

Mary Ann Wood

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Drop the banana slices into a bowl of maybe 1/2 cup or so of Sprite, stir so that each is coated, and they will not turn brown. Drain well before using the slices.

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 16th of October 2021

Great advice! Thanks so much!

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