Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

This Southern banana pudding recipe makes a classic, Southern dessert. An heirloom family recipe, this homemade banana pudding is an essential part of so many holidays and celebrations!

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe - This Southern banana pudding recipe makes a classic, Southern dessert. An heirloom family recipe, this homemade banana pudding is an essential part of so many holidays and celebrations! //

This banana pudding recipe is about as much of a comfort food in the South as it is a dessert. One that everyone always looks forward to digging into to get the perfect ratio of vanilla wafers, pudding, and bananas.

Grandmother always made hers with a towering meringue on top of the pudding that was light as air and the perfect combination with the rich banana pudding. She would ask my sister and me to help make her banana pudding recipe for dessert so many times when we were young girls. It was a request I don’t remember ever tiring of hearing. She would ask one of us to carefully line the glass bowl with the vanilla wafers while the other sliced the bananas. We each had an important job and the banana pudding just wouldn’t work without both of us completing our tasks with care.

Or at least she always made us believe it wouldn’t.

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

While we were consumed with our duties, Grandmother was busily cooking the pudding on her stovetop. She loved to chat as she cooked, asking us about our day, telling us about when she would help her mother cook, or telling us about a bird she saw when she went to the garden earlier. Her voice was always as sweet and velvety as the pudding she was stirring.

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe from

Once we had our vanilla wafers and banana slices layered just as she instructed, she would ask us to step back as she poured the hot pudding over them. Within minutes following, she would have her egg whites beaten to a perfect salute and would be carefully spreading her meringue on top of the pudding. Into the oven it would go for my sister and me to run and stare through the glass door in the oven as the meringue on top of the banana pudding magically browned.

That night for supper, we were anxious for everyone to taste “our” banana pudding because we knew it tasted just as good as Grandmother’s.

And in the morning, we always knew she would have her banana bread waiting on us, too! 🙂

Here is her Southern Banana Pudding recipe. I know you’ll love it!

Yield: 8
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword banana pudding, banana pudding recipe, southern banana pudding

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

Total Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
This banana pudding recipe makes a classic, Southern dessert. An heirloom family recipe, this homemade banana pudding is an essential part of so many holidays and celebrations!
4.81 from 63 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs separated (you'll need whites later for meringue)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box vanilla wafers approximately 45 wafers
  • 5-6 bananas
  • 3 egg whites reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
  3. Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk in a large bowl or measuring cup. Pour the egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients in heavy saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are thickened and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. To layer your banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish, glass bowl, or another 3-quart container.
  5. Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
  6. Pour one-third of custard over wafers and bananas.
  7. Repeat layering process two more times until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used. Ending with a final layer of wafers for decorative purposes.

For the Meringue:

  1. Whip egg whites with an electric mixer set at high speed.
  2. Allow egg whites to foam, add cream of tartar and then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  3. Continue whipping until sugar is well-dissolved.
  4. Add vanilla once stiff peaks have formed and whip until well-combined.
  5. Spread meringue over banana pudding, making sure to spread to the edges of the dish.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly the meringue is lightly browned.
Nutrition Facts
Southern Banana Pudding Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 89mg 4%
Potassium 436mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 68g 23%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 57g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 5.9%
Vitamin C 7.8%
Calcium 11.8%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Robyn xo

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe - This banana pudding recipe makes a classic, Southern dessert. An heirloom family recipe, this homemade banana pudding is an essential part of so many holidays and celebrations! //

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2011.

228 comments on “Southern Banana Pudding Recipe”

  1. I used strawberries and blueberries in this recipe instead of bananas and it was delish!  Thank you for sharing!  The custard was fantastic!  

  2. This TN born girl moved to FL for 14 years and made this for friends from all over, many had not had banana pudding before. They loved it and thought it was the best thing they had ever eaten. Also made for friends that grew up in St Louis and Des Moines that had never had banana pudding before. So happy to be sharing a bit of the south. Time constrains for serving have me chilling my pudding before serving. This horrified my mom that I would do it, but have decided it helps the flavor to blend.

  3. My step mom made this when I was a kid and I was always intimidated by the recipe. Today I decided to try it and the results are amazing. So easy to make and so delicious! My kids have never had it this way before but I’m sure they’ll love it too.

  4. I cannot figure out what I did wrong, but my custard would not thicken, and I ended up throwing it all out. Any advice? I am a recipe follower, so I can’t imagine what happened. It made me so sad. I was extremely excited to make this for my upstate NY husband! I will try it again, with advice!

    • Hi Sherri,
      I’m sorry it didn’t thicken earlier – it should thicken on the stove while you are cooking it. Maybe it needed a bit longer? I’m not sure what could have happened but I hope this helps! Thanks!

    • This happened to me to. Up the heat to high to get started and then lower. It allows it to thicken. You want to it to reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) and lower it. It helps to switch between medium high and low to finish it off. Hope this helps!

  5. Love this recipe!

  6. I will have to make this a day in advance. If I refrigerate it will it ruin the meringue?

  7. Hi Thanks for the  recipe however after mixing all of the ingredients I could not get the pudding to thicken. I am not sure what I did wrong? /: waisted all of my ingredients after pouring them on the cookies and bananas only to finding them all floating to the top. ): 

    • I’m sorry your pudding didn’t thicken, Kristy. It sounds like it did not cook long enough on the stove as it should thicken during this step, because it will not get any thicker after being removed from the stove. The oven is just to brown the meringue topping. I hope this helps. Thanks!

    • I am about to try this now. It sounds the same as my mom’s recipe. I have made hers before and had to use cornstarch to thicken it. Someone said it could be the humidity ?? I do know that everyone else is correct in saying that it needs to cook longer on stove top.

  8. Loved this recipe.  Do I have to refrigerate it?  The kids love it warm.

  9. This recipe was super easy to follow and was really good! It does help to turn the custard up to a higher heat and stir it constantly. I had mine on low-medium for almost twenty minutes and nothing happened. Custard is thick so it takes longer to heat. Stir constantly on higher heat because you don’t want the milk to scald. Then lower the heat.
    My only suggestion is it was SOOO sweet. Way too sweet. I put in only 1 cup of sugar and it was still way too much. I could probably have done just a half cup and been fine. But will definitely keep! Thanks for this!

  10. I tried this twice and couldn’t get it to thicken either time. I tried a different saucepan, getting all ingredients to room temperature, heating it more, heating it less, heating it slower, stirring less, stirring more… I can never get anything to thicken, it seems like. Maybe it’s my flour? Eggs too old? I have no idea. I’m very sad. 

    • I’m sorry it didn’t thicken for you, Bridgette. It should thicken when cooking it while stirring constantly over low to medium heat. I hope this helps and you give it another try. It does help to use fresh flour that’s not too old. Thanks!

  11. For those who had trouble getting the custard to thicken, it can take 15-20 minutes to tighten up and you need to stir almost constantly or the flour will settle. If it does that the custard will not thicken. I also use about 3 tablespoons of flour. 

  12. I made this it turned out great the only problem I had was the topping and that’s because I did not buy the cream of tater but I used lemon juice instead, Next time I’ll get all what I need and it should be perfect .

  13. First time using this recipe and im not disappointed at all. Custard was perfect and so was the meringue. Remember folks, fast food aint good and good food aint fast! Take your time! I made this while dinner was in the other oven. It was ready to go shortly after dinner!

    • I appreciate your input Travis! It does take a little while to cook the pudding to get it the right thickness – but isn’t it so worth it?! I’m so happy you enjoyed the pudding! It’s been a favorite in my family for so many, many years! 🙂

  14. Not enough pudding!!!!!

  15. About the wafers – was i to put 13 on the bottom of a 13by9 ..then 13 in the middle and 13 on top because if i was supposed to do this it wouldnt cover the bottom just wondering since it says about 45 wafers total….i didnt want to make it turnnout dry …or should i just have used the whole box of wafers…still waiting for it to come out of the oven making it for my dad for his birthday….thank you for any advice

    • Becky 13 by 9 is the measurement of the pan. It has nothing to do with counting how many wafers your use. You simply use enough wafers to create a layer of the cookies between layers of the banana and pudding. So starting at the bottom of the pan you’d have layer of cookie, layer of banana, layer of custard, then repeat that–cookie, banana, custard. The top layer, before adding the meringue, should be the wafers. Hope in the end your dad enjoy his birthday and that your pudding added to the joy of the day.

    • I had to go out and buy another box of wafers. there wasnt enough custard so i had to make another pot. I used a 13×9 pan.

  16. Is the vanilla and the sugar in the ingredients list supposed to be there twice?? HELP!!!

    • Hi Emily –
      The second listing for vanilla and sugar amounts are for the meringue topping. The amounts for these listed first are for the custard part of pudding. The recipe instructions will detail when to use those ingredients for that part of the pudding recipe. Enjoy! Thanks!

  17. Ive tried many different recipes but this is the one closest to my German grandmother’s banana pudding. The third Sunday of each month she would cook fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, fried okra, corn and her delicious banana pudding for her family. There were 19 of us that met there on those wonderful Sundays and we would eat, talk, joke and laugh to our hearts content. It evokes so many wonderful memories for me. Thank you very much for posting this delicious recipe. 

  18. Can you make this a day ahead?

  19. So glad to see you are your recipe.I get so tired of seeing recipes that use instant pudding..! It is NOT the same as this great made from scratch custard! Yummy like my Mothers’….

  20. My grandmother and mother would make boiled custard and give to those who needed some southern love in a glass! The custard makes this authentic southern banana pudding!
    So easy and so delicious! I will make this often.

    • Hi Sally!
      This is just how my grandmother and mama made it – so delicious!!!
      And it is so easy to do and always such a hit! I hope you enjoy it – it’s the perfect dessert anytime!
      I love that you called custard “southern love in a glass”, Sally! Thanks!

  21. I made this today, Nov. 10, 2018 .. Easy pessie and so very good. Will keep this one on hand and do it again….thank you !

  22. I wanted to make my grandma’s banana pudding for Thanksgiving, but I never wrote down the recipe and of course my memory is failing me. I think this recipe is super close if not the same. Thank you!

    If I want to make the dish the night before serving it, I prefer to do the meringue the day of serving. Can I put the egg whites in the refrigerator and use them the next day or should I use freshly separated egg whites?

  23. I love this recipe, found it a few years back and everyone I make it for absolutely loves it. Actually made my mother in law jealous 😁 she says “ a man shouldn’t be able to make banana pudding this good “ and my barber gives me a free cut when I bring him some and he says “ best banana pudding he has ever had , but he won’t tell his mom that “ thank you for sharing This recipe and i have mad respect for your mom and grandmother. May you keep blessing people’s desert plates forever 🤗

  24. Can I make this 2 days ahead without losing the quality/appearance?

    • I’d suggest if you want it to look the very best, I’d wait until the day of serving to make the meringue topping and bake. You can made the pudding part and refrigerate, but add the meringue the day you serve. Enjoy! xo

  25. 2 questions.
    #3 in the directions says add vanilla. Is that the one teaspoon of vanilla abstract?

    And #4 on making the maringue says add vanilla. Is that one more teaspoon of vanilla abstract there as well?

    • Hi Catia,
      Yes, #3 is referring to vanilla extract. You’ll use another teaspoon of vanilla extract to answer #4 as well. xo

  26. This is a great recipe. My mama used to.make this. It is wonderful. Nothing like homemade food!

  27. WOW, reading all the comments and questions clearly tells me that more young people are interested in learning how to Cook. I love it 🥰.  Happy thanksgiving all.. 

  28. So the desired consistency needs to be achieved while cooking?

  29. How delicious!! For those who this may help, the thickening you get when cooking on the stove isn’t going to be like pudding consistency. That happens as it cools. So the consistency you’re looking for is like a thick, smooth but still runny consistency. You MUST use whole milk. Use bananas that are very RIPE (somewhat brown on the outside and soft but not almost going bad)-I bought 12 bananas which was more than I needed but i didn’t want to not have enough-they’re cheap.

    You should have everything at room temperature and measured out and handy. You have to use a good whisk and stir constantly; and as other’s have said you can raise and lower the flame so it doesn’t just steadily boil. It should bubble but not boil heavily. I also wanted a rather high meringue so I doubled the meringue recipe. For the meringue you have to be patient. Use an electric hand mixer and put it on high (don’t stop and go). Have all your ingredients laid out so you can add as directed, when directed and read the recipe beforehand (many times if possible) so you have it in your head what you will be doing. Patience is key when you are making anything from scratch. I also made the banana bread mentioned since I had so many leftover bananas.

  30. Hello! While delicious, mine was very runny! I am not sure what I did wrong here. Will make again, but may need to make some adjustments. 

  31. Very Good!! I used this recipe for Thanksgiving 2018 and it was a hit. This will go in my recipe box for sure.

  32. Tried this recipe for Thanksgiving everyone loved it , I was told I would have to make it more often.

  33. My husband dearly loves Banana Pudding, but I’ve never been successful with it. Today I used this recipe and it was great. I did have to cook the pudding a good bit longer than anticipated, and had to use above-medium heat – it took quite a while to thicken up. It was certainly well worth it.

    Will definitely make this again, and again…and again. Thanks!

  34. Just made this pudding! I’m waiting for it to cool, haven’t tried it yet. It made the whole house smell like vanilla!!! When cooking the custard, I put it on HIGH heat until it reached 100 degrees celcius, then let it cool. It thickened nicely. I put it in the oven for just 12 minutes since I have a gas oven, it came out beautifully golden brown. Also, it’s awesome to have some southern flavours being out here in northern Canada. Thanks so much Robyn! 

  35. Excellent recipe! I love the feeling of making something from scratch! The thickening tips of putting the heat to med/high at first then low really helped! Thanks for all the input of the fans of the recipe! I’ve made this twice now and everyone is amazed at the dessert!

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