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
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 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
- White granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
- Vanilla extract
- Nilla wafers
- 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
First, you’re going to start off by adding sugar to a medium saucepan on top of the stove.
Secondly, add the flour and salt to the saucepan.
Thirdly, add one whole egg to the saucepan. You’ll be adding just the yolks in a minute.
Milk is the next ingredient to add.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Where Did Banana Pudding Originate?
There’s not a clear-cut place that banana pudding originated. It started out being very popular in the south, and now all over the country.
In 1888, Good Housekeeping published the first official recipe for banana pudding.
Can Banana Pudding Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze banana pudding. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight and freezer-safe container.
Other Delicious Banana Desserts:
- French toast casserole is one amazingly delicious breakfast you will want to make again and again.
- Chocolate brownies from scratch will become one of your favorite recipes.
- Chocolate poke cake is easy to make and seriously good eating.
Homemade Banana Pudding
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.
- 4 Bananas
- 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
- 45-50 vanilla wafers
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 cup sugar
Heat oven to 400-degrees. Grease 13" x 9" casserole dish.
- Combine sugar, flour, salt, one whole egg, and milk in a saucepan. Mix together well.
- Add the four egg yolks and mix well.
- Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. The sauce takes about 10-15 minutes to thicken.
- Once the sauce is done cooking, add the vanilla and stir.
- Line bottom and side of the casserole dish with vanilla wafers.
- Slice two bananas over the vanilla wafers, just before the pudding is done, so they do not brown.
- Pour half of the pudding over the wafers and bananas.
- Slice two more bananas over the pudding.
- Pour the remainder of the pudding over the bananas.
- In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add the sugar and mix until blended.
- Spread on top of pudding mixture and bake for 8-10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.
- Let cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
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.
Find more recipes at Julia’s Simply Southern
Friday 3rd of March 2023
Can I make this the day before an event and it still be good?
Saturday 4th of March 2023
You can, but the meringue will not be as fluffy, and will deflate some.
Monday 23rd of January 2023
Thank you for the recipe! Just finished making it, but with homemade vanilla wafers. Excited to feed it to my kids.
Tuesday 24th of January 2023
Oh great! Glad to hear that and I hope they love it!
Sunday 15th of January 2023
I remember my mom making a homemade banana pudding with meringue. Since she passed I have been going through her recipes and making her favorites. The only one I haven't found yet is her banana pudding. My dad said it was because it was in her memory. Noone makes it homemade like this anymore. So when I found yours my dad and I made it today! It was great and really brought back a wonderful memory for us! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Monday 16th of January 2023
This just makes me so happy. I am so glad that it brought back memories for you and your dad. And, how sweet you made it together. Thank you so much for sharing this with me! You made my day.
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.
Saturday 23rd of July 2022
I'm so glad to hear it came out awesome! And, I especially love to hear it brought back memories. Thanks for sharing!
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!
Sunday 17th of April 2022
I love to hear that! It's such a wonderful recipe!