Southern Banana Pudding

Nothing is quite like homemade, from scratch, banana pudding. 

Southern Banana Pudding 

Sure, you can make a passable banana pudding with instant pudding mix, but if you really want to taste something special make your custard from scratch.  Once you do you will never use a box of pudding again.  Besides, taking about ten minutes to cook the custard and four hours to chill, it is so easy.

Southern Banana Pudding 

Many traditional recipes for banana pudding use flour as a thickener, but mine uses cornstarch.  I prefer the silky texture it gives the custard once chilled.  Flour, at least in my experience, can make the finished dish a little grainy.  I also use vanilla beans in my recipe because as the custard cooks the beans infuse the pudding with their rich, aromatic flavor.  If you do not have vanilla beans just stir in two teaspoons of vanilla extract when you add the butter.   

Southern Banana Pudding     Serves 6

2 cups milk, 2% or higher
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 large bananas, sliced into 1/8″ slices
50 vanilla wafers
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Southern Banana Pudding 

In a medium sauce pan whisk together the milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean paste (if using), salt, egg, and egg yolk.  Once well combined place the pan over medium heat and cool until thick and bubbling. 

Southern Banana PuddingSouthern Banana Pudding  

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter (and vanilla extract if you are using) and whisk until completely melted.  Pour the custard through a strainer into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool slightly. 

 Southern Banana Pudding  Southern Banana Pudding

In the prepared casserole place a layer of the sliced bananas then top that with a layer of the vanilla wafer cookies.  Pour over 1/3 of the custard and spread to the edges.  Repeat this process twice more then top the last layer of custard with a layer of vanilla wafers.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least four hours.

Southern Banana Pudding 

Whip the heavy cream with the vanilla and the powdered sugar until it reaches soft peaks.  Spread the whipped cream over the chilled pudding.  Top with crushed vanilla wafer cookies.

Southern Banana Pudding 


 Southern Banana Pudding

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • Yes! Everything about this is amazing. I love homemade banana pudding, especially when it doesn’t come from a packet.

    The specks of vanilla bean make the last photo so appetizing. As in, I want this NOW!

  • Wish I had some vanilla wafers in my pantry…I’d make this right now. Looks great!

  • I am a tried and true Southerner and you definately got this one right. 🙂
    The only way to make true Banana Pudding. Awesome!

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  • I bet you that is just heavenly!

  • nothing like homemade pudding to satisfy a meal or “snack time” I agree it just isn’t the same if you use the ready mix kind.

  • I’m picking up some vanilla bean and/or paste this weekend, this will have to go on my list of things to make. I might not want to share it with the rest of the family though. 😀

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  • OMG! I’ve made homemade banana pudding before, but this one looks much much better. I’m bookmarking this recipe. YUM! I love the last photo; you can see the vanilla seeds.

  • Wow. This pudding looks darn tasty! I’ve never seen a recipe for this before and am truly in love!

  • Your dessert looks creamy and delicious! My favorite pudding recipe uses flour. I’ll have to try corn starch and see if I like it better.

  • I just made banana pudding from scratch for the first time last weekend! Yours looks WONDERFUL.

  • My Mom and I used to make this a lot when I was a kid, but I haven’t seen it in years. It still looks fantastic.

  • wow I love banana and pudding sure this dish will be amazing

  • This looks and sounds amazing! I just cannot resist desserts with bananas!

  • Cam

    I love banana pudding. My mother is from Georgia and she used regularly make this for us. This is something I need to make more often, but I have to say that it is not that ‘evil’! I mean, I can think of much more devilish dessert (I’m smiling)… Cam

  • Looks perfect. It does always seem worth the effort to use real ingredients rather than boxes with emulsifiers, stabilizers and other mystery ingredients. Looks yummy!

  • lk

    I lurve me some banana pudding! such an underrated dessert. That last photo is amazing! I want to open my mouth and let it go right in. 🙂

  • I agree with Lauren – banana pudding is so underrated. Can you package some up and send it to Toronto?

  • This looks great. I am really funny about banana flavored desserts… If they’re made with fresh bananas, I’m game, but any banana flavoring, and I’m not a fan. So, I typically don’t like banana pudding (because it’s usually a gross box mix). I think I would like this a lot, though.

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  • Mind if I submit this post for one of our Nommy Awards? http://bit.ly/4sdePC Grats, very impressive post!

  • LazySumo – That would be lovely!

  • What a wonderful recipe, sounds creamy and delish thanks!

  • Looks so yummy. I bet I can eat the whole batch by myself in one sitting. In fact, I believe that has happened once.

    Remember reading about this true blue American dessert when I was a kid browsing through American cookbooks my mom and I bought from Bangkok-based American missionaries’ estate sales. We thought this pudding was so weird (in a good way). No other puddings behave like it does … vanilla wafers and all that, you know? Besides, it’s probably the only fruit-based pudding I can think of wherein the featured fruit isn’t blended into the custard but remains a separate entity. So interesting, we thought.

    These days, I don’t analyze it anymore. I just eat it.

    Did I just write a post here?

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  • Sharmin

    do you place the pan on the hear while combining the ingredients? or do u combine all the ingredients and then put the pan on the heat?

  • Sharmin – I combine the ingredients then put it over the heat.

  • That looks delicious! My Dad always made something like this when I was younger and I make it now for my own family but it was always from a box pudding mix. The little extra effort to make it from scratch really looks worth it and not too difficult. Thanks!

  • Your banana pudding loooks yumie.. My question is what can I use instead of the heavy cream? Also does it have to be powered sugar or regular sugar? What is the taste difference? Please explain. Thanks Linda M

  • Kim

    I am going to have to do extra hours at the gym!!! I love it!!!
    The vanilla bean gives the pudding a lovely showcase.

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  • The best banana pudding and it was so easy!

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  • Kristi

    I noticed that there are 3 seperate times that you add vanilla, yet vanilla is only mentioned in the ingredients twice. Can you please let me know how much vanilla to add on each occasion? This sounds delicious and I have been looking for the PERFECT homemade banana pudding recipe to make for my kids, the way my Grandma did for me. Like many of the other folks who commented, I am NO fan of the boxed pudding mixes. Homemade always tastes better, no matter what, especially with puddings. I sincerely appreciate your help.

  • Kristi – The vanilla is added depending on the type you are using. It is pretty clear in the instructions that if you are using vanilla bean paste you add it with the milk, but if you use vanilla extract you add it after cooking. Sorry of those notes confused you.

  • Bobby

    Made it. Ate it. Loved it. A touch less sugar is preferred personally. But even so, the pudding was marvelous.

  • spyglassweb

    Made this tonight and it is the best!! Couldn’t imagine banana pudding being any better. I reduced the sugar to one half cup. Was the perfect sweetness. I like to taste the ingredients not just sugar.

  • spyglassweb

    Also to add to my review, I don’t strain the pudding. It turns out fine, and I see no reason to be that fussy.

  • I would sprinkle some grated chocolate on top.

  • Kim

    I happened across your site when I was looking for a photo of banana pudding. Imagine my delight to find not only a great photo but a sure-to-be-delicious, from-scratch recipe.

    With your permission, I’d love to use one of your banana pudding photos to illustrate a post on my blog, Stuff Southern People Like . I’d, of course, provide attribution and a link.


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  • Jennifer Douglass

    Sounds yummy!! Was wondering how many servings this yields.

  • Jennifer Douglass

    So sorry…just saw where you had posted that it serves 6

  • Melissa

    I made this this morning with my kids and we had some after lunch. It tastes amazing!! Thanks for sharing! This is definitely one recipe I’ll keep.

  • Suzette

    Love this recipe. Thanks for posting. I made this yesterday and the flavor was there and looked very pretty. However, I did something wrong and I’m hoping you could help me out. You or anyone with recommendations. My pudding was not as thick as yours looked. Could I have undercooked it? Is it possible I did not let it thicken enough while on the stove? I follow instrctions to a tee as I really dont cook for enjoyment. I really wanted this to be perfect because my husband enjoys this dessert. Its the only thing I think I may have messed up. Help?

  • Suzette – It sounds like the custard did not thicken enough while cooking. Next time try cooking it until it is quite thick, about 30 seconds once it starts to bubble. Make sure to whisk the whole time. Sorry you had trouble the first time! – Kelly

  • wendy

    I tried this banana pudding Sunday and I did like it but I think I like the flavor of my original better and so did my kids. One thing that I did like was that it got thicker than mine I guess do to the cornstarch however I was almost scared that the cookies wouldnt get soft because of how thick it was but they did after a few hours.i never tried homemade whipped cream on top of banana pudding but I really liked it so I think im gonna make it the way I always have but tweak it some so that it will get thicker and put whipped cream on top of it. But with all that said, I will eventually make your recipe again too. It was great.

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  • DEH

    approximately how long should it take to thicken? mine started bubbling but didn’t seem to thicken, and I followed the recipie exactly.

  • Kara

    Is there any way the speed up the setting time? Can this be baked?

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