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This Southern Banana Pudding is an heirloom family recipe and classic Southern dessert. Airy meringue atop creamy pudding is a delicious favorite and makes the best banana pudding!
This banana pudding recipe is about as much of a comfort food in the South as it is a dessert. It’s ready in 30 minutes and always a favorite dessert. One that everyone always looks forward to digging into to get the perfect ratio of vanilla wafers, pudding, bananas and meringue. It’s rich and delicious and hard to beat when thinking of iconic southern desserts!
Southern Banana Pudding Recipe
Grandmother always made banana pudding with a towering meringue on top that was light as air and the perfect combination with the rich pudding. She would ask my sister and me to help make her recipe for dessert so many times when we were young girls.
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 stories about cooking with her mother, or recalling a certain species of bird she saw when she went to the garden earlier in the day. Her voice was always as sweet and velvety as the pudding she was making.
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 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! 🙂
Before we dig into making her iconic recipe, let’s cover a few basics.
What is Banana Pudding?
Banana pudding is a sweet Southern dessert made with layers of vanilla custard, cookies, and slices of fresh bananas. The dish is then topped with whipped cream or, as in my Grandmother’s traditional Southern Banana Pudding recipe, meringue.
How to Make the Best Banana Pudding Recipe
This dessert is ready in 30 minutes and is always a crowd-pleaser!
To make this dessert, you’ll need these ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- vanilla extract
- vanilla wafers
- egg whites (reserved from eggs above)
- cream of tartar
To prepare this banana pudding, start by preheating the oven to 325º F.
Next you’ll make the custard.
- Combine your flour, sugar, and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Lightly beat your egg yolks and whisk to combine with milk in a large bowl or even use a large liquid measuring cup, such as a 4-cup.
- Whisk your egg yolk mixture into your dry ingredients in the saucepan set over medium to low heat. Stir constantly until the custard is thickened, remove from the heat and stir in your vanilla extract.
Assemble Banana Pudding
- Arrange vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 2-quart dish, such as an oven-safe glass bowl or dish.
- Slice bananas and place on top of the vanilla wafer layer.
- Pour ⅓ of the pudding over the wafers and bananas.
- Repeat layering process, ending with a layer of wafers.
- Use very clean beaters and bowl that have been refrigerated for a few moments. Then, whip the egg whites with your electric mixer at very high speed.
- Once the egg whites begin to foam, add the cream of tartar and then gradually add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to whip the egg whites until all of the sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks have formed, then incorporate the vanilla extract.
- Spread the meringue over the top of the pudding, taking care to completely spread to the inner edge of the dish to completely cover the pudding.
- Bake for 25 minutes until the meringue has lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve.
Source: How to Make Meringue
How Long Will Banana Pudding Keep?
Store your banana pudding wrapped with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Here is her Southern Banana Pudding recipe. I know you’ll love it!
Southern Banana Pudding 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
- Preheat oven to 325º F.
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
- 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.
- To layer your banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 2 quart oven-safe glass bowl or baking dish.
- Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
- Pour one-third of custard over wafers and bananas.
- Repeat layering process two more times until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used, ending with a final layer of wafers.
For the Meringue:
- Whip egg whites with an electric mixer set at high speed.
- Allow egg whites to foam, add cream of tartar and then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time.
- Continue whipping until sugar is well-dissolved.
- Add vanilla once stiff peaks have formed and whip until well-combined.
- Spread meringue over banana pudding, making sure to spread to the edges of the dish.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2011.