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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 dessert worthy of holidays. It’s super easy to make and only requires a few pantry ingredients.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Picture of banana pudding

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:
25 minutes + 30 minutes
Additional Time (Refrigerator):
1 hour
Total Time:
2 hours
Servings:
12 servings
Preparation Level:
Beginner +

What We Love About This Recipe

  • Banana pudding is incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to set up.
  • You can make the pudding up to a week ahead and then add the meringue and bake it the day you are ready.
  • The recipe can be frozen, but it’s definitely better fresh.
  • It’s versatile. You can use graham crackers or lady fingers instead of Nilla Wafers. Make it with strawberries or peaches instead of bananas. Use skim milk if you want less fat, or add almond milk for a different flavor.
  • It makes enough for a crowd.

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 homemade 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 a Southern staple and 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.

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. Once the pudding cooks, add the vanilla extract and stir. Usually, it will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken. It will thicken more as it cools. I use a whisk to mix the ingredients because it tends to help get all of the lumps out. 

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 an airtight container in the refrigerator. 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.

Can Banana Pudding Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze banana pudding. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight and freezer-safe container.

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.

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?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Find more recipes at Julia’s Simply Southern

Jane Hardin

Sunday 11th of February 2024

This recipe is great! Loved the banana pudding ❤️

Julie Pollitt

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Thanks, Jane!

Shaquana

Sunday 28th of January 2024

Hello and good morning, and thanks for the recipe, I tried the homemade version I followed and used every ingredient except the cream of tartar. Everything came out great and pretty except my pudding came out runny even after cooling over night its still really runny, PLEASE HELP ME PLEASE TELL ME WHAT I DID WRONG, I REFUSE TO GIVE UP..... PLEASE AND THANK YOU.. HELP

Julie Pollitt

Sunday 28th of January 2024

Hi Shaquana, I am sorry that happened. I am thinking that maybe you didn't cook it long enough. Was the pudding thick when you finished cooking it? It should be good and thick when it is done cooking. Let me know and I can try to help!

Danny Bizzell

Saturday 13th of January 2024

Good Morning Ms. Julie, I'm getting ready to make this Good ole Fashion Southern Banana Pudding for our Bass Fishing Banquet we're having tonight! It's been years since I've made it, but believe this is the exact recipe my Mom & Grandmother used. I have a question. Can this recipe be doubled to make a larger sized pan or would it be better to keep it as is & make 2 separate Puddings? There's gonna be Approx (40) people tonight! Also Approximately how many servings is there with the 13"×9" size pudding? I'll give an follow-up update of the outcome later after the Banquet Dinner!

Thanks in advance, Danny Bizzell

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 13th of January 2024

Hi Danny,

I hope I am not too late in answering this question. I would do two recipes in two separate pans to make sure they turn out good. I love that it's your mom and grandmother's recipe. Have a great time tonight at your banquet and hope you all love it! There's about 12 servings in each recipe. But, they aren't huge servings. Can't wait to hear your update!

M Rahall

Sunday 31st of December 2023

Just made it for NYE dinner, (as in a few minutes ago, so I haven't tried it properly yet), but I'm pretty sure the last time this ol Kentucky gal had this treat, was about 50 years ago...I was a little girl and my Mom was the chef of course. When I taste tested the pudding, I think I got a little light headed, from the sugar endorphins swirling around with taste triggering memories. The meringue came out beautiful, it looks perfect, and I can not wait to dive in later tonight. Thanks for such a straight forward, simple recipe!

Julie Pollitt

Monday 1st of January 2024

Awww...I love to hear that!

Lucille Cheely

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Why do you not print amounts in the banana pudding recipe?

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 21st of December 2023

Hi Lucille,

If you click on the "Jump To Recipe" button at the top it will take you right to the printable recipe and it has the amounts and measurements. Hope that helps!

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