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!

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe - An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue. //

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

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 pudding. She would ask my sister and me to help make her 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 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.

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 - An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue. //

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.

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe - An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue. //

How to Make the Best Banana Pudding Recipe

Ready in 30 minutes, you will definitely love this classic, heirloom recipe!

  • Preheat the oven to 325º F.

How to Make the Custard for the Pudding:

  • 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.

How to 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 1/3 of the pudding over the wafers and bananas.
  • Repeat layering process, ending with a layer of wafers.
Southern Banana Pudding Recipe - An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue. //

How to Make the Meringue Topping:

  • 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 - An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue. //

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe – An heirloom family recipe for banana pudding that is a classic, Southern dessert. Creamy, traditional banana pudding topped with airy meringue.
4.8 from 90 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 8
Course Dessert
Calories: 343kcal
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 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.


Nutrition Information

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 295IU | Vitamin C: 6.4mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

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.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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321 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I had so much fun making this and it was so rich and delicious that on the 5th of July the banana pudding was made and today it’s gone thank you so much.

  2. I tried this recipe today, I loved this recipe all but the sugar amount, but it’s problems was I think was my dish only held two bananas, so I must apologize. My meringue didn’t rise well so I had to do them agai using 2 egg whites with ust sugar, & etc After the whites were peaked. Turned out perfect. Thank You for this delicious receipe.

  3. Oh no! That sounds really awful! I’ve not had that happen when I’ve made this recipe, which is very, very often. I hate that that happened to you!

  4. I am making this today for tonight. How do I store and is it ok to serve when it’s not hot out of the oven? Thanks! It smells so good!

    1. This is a very good recipe. I made the recipe and it is delicious. I used four large bananas which was perfect. I have a recipe I have used for years, but I wanted to try someone else’s recipe. It is perfect and would not change a thing.

  5. Made this today and it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for helping me remember my childhood. I only suggest going a little easy on the sugar for the pudding. It’s a little to sweet.

  6. Well I’ll be making this for Sunday for my New Years meal. Excited to see how it turns out. I’ll be using date sugar though and aquafaba for the meringue. I’m vegan so we’ll see if I can convert this dessert correctly 🙂

    1. Hi I am happy you plan to try this for your New Years dessert.
      You mention you are vegan, so I want to make sure you know there are eggs and milk in the homemade pudding, as well as egg whites in the meringue. I’ve never made this into a vegan recipe so I’m not able to advise how it turns out. I’d love to hear how it tastes after making it vegan.
      Thanks so much! xo

  7. I had this at a friend’s house and it was out of this world! But when I tried it, it was a disaster.
    Can this recipe be made ahead? I tried making it earlier in the day on Thanksgiving (including baking the meringue), but the meringue then sort of melted in the frig. I assume I did something wrong… But before I try again I would appreciate any tips. Thanks!

    1. Hi Leslie,
      While I absolutely adore this banana pudding the next day, I think it is best for serving right after you make it. Meringues do not hold up well when made-ahead and are best served after making. Also, you’ll find that the bananas may begin to brown if not served right after baking.

  8. I made this banana pudding and it was very good I dont know why that other person’s banana ‘s tasted sour in their pudding , the banana’s in my pudding came out very sweet tasteing , the banana pudding itself was a little rich but it was still yummy I topped it with instant vanilla pudding , me and my roomate could not stop eating it , I made a big bowl of it and the whole thing was gone by the next day we had it for breakfast lunch and for dessert after dinner , thats how good it was , !!

  9. I was wondering if you could mash the bananas up and place them inside the pudding? Instead of slicing them up on top of the pudding.

    1. Hi Donna,
      I’ve not made it this way so I can’t say how it turns out, but I’m sure you could probably try mashing the banana into the cooked custard/pudding. Thanks so much!

  10. Robyn, bless you. This is a treat my grandma used to make for me. You bring sweet memories back to me today. I’m pinning this and will share with my family soon. Thanks so much for a classic recipe

    1. Thank you so much, Susan! Grandmother’s had the best food, didn’t they?! I’m touched that this brought memories back for you and I appreciate you sharing that with me! Bless you, Susan. xo

    1. You can totally leave it off. Not everyone likes meringue. Some might top the pudding with a non-dairy whipped topping and some might really do the dessert up right and do a real whipped cream topping. I have also eaten banana pudding with no topping.. Recipe looks like classic banana pudding!

    2. You can leave off the meringue if you wish. It will still be delicious with the homemade pudding and you can top with whipped topping if you don’t like meringue. Hope you enjoy it! My family has been enjoying this recipe for many, many years. Thanks so much!

  11. Love this old standby, nothing quite like digging out those vanilla wafers and a nice chunk of banana all gooey with pudding. Yummy. I am hoping that perhaps you might be able to help me out. Several years ago I came across a banana pudding recipe that called for sour cream in the pudding. It was an especially good banana pudding. Unfortunately I didn’t hang on to the recipe and can’t seem to find one on line. Have you ever run across such a recipe?

    1. I’ve not seen that one, Carla. This is the recipe my Grandmother and Mama always made, so of course it’s the one I love to make for my family. Thanks so much! xo

    2. Hey Carla. I saw a recipe on here called sour cream banana pudding. I love sour cream so I would probably really like this but don’t think it could surpass this recipe in taste as it uses box pudding which just can’t stand up to yummy home made. Home made hot banana pudding is the best!!

  12. This was a staple in our household as well! I was born and raised in Mississippi and my fondest memories was the warm pudding for the first bowl and after a slightly different taste after it has been refrigerated. Both so amazingly wonderful. Cold or warm this is the best! I always wanted to take a nap after a bowl…:-)

    1. You are so right, Fena! It’s equally delicious whether warm or cold – but each way has it’s own wonderful taste!
      So many fond memories around this delicious dessert for me too!
      Thanks for sharing, Fena! Glad to have you here!

  13. My grandmother, mother and now me have all used a very similar recipe. I am totally going to indulge after i finish my cleanse. There really isn’t anything better than some homemade banana pudding fresh out of the oven accompanied by a cold glass of milk. So delicious.

    1. Hi Jasmine,
      I totally agree with you about warm, freshly homemade Banana Pudding – it’s a comfort dessert if there ever was one! And with a cold glass of milk…purely blissful! 😉
      Thanks! xo

  14. My Southern Jewish grandmother from Mississippi made the PERFECT banana pudding as well as the crunchiest (and never greasy) fried chicken. In those days, no one worried about cholesterol…we would dine on these delights when she moved to where we live. It was pretty funny…Matzo ball soup, Southern Fried Chicken, Banana Pudding. What nice memories… I guess a box of Nilas is somehow going to make it on my grocery list soon.

    1. I bet she had mouthwatering meals!!! And her menu of Matzo ball soup, Southern Fried Chicken, and Banana Pudding sounds mighty delicious!!! xo

  15. I would love to make this for Easter this year…can it be made a day ahead of time? If so, should I wait to put the meringue on right before serving? Thank you!!

    1. I tested this recipe last weekend before using on Easter dinner guests, and it was fabulous! So, I came here looking for the same advice…I won’t have time to make it tomorrow morning, I think I’m going to make it tonight and top it tomorrow. Hoping the bananas don’t brown too much!

      1. I am going to do the same thing. FIngers crossed. I started placing my vanilla wafers in the bottom of the pan but it seems like there is only enough for two layers so I need to get back to the store 🙁 I used Kroger brand maybe they are as large of cookie or more in the brand name package.

  16. Howdy from Texas, Robyn. I’m going to make your recipe for Mothers Day. It is a request from my husband. ? I will have to use Graham crackers instead of wafers since I don’t have any on hand. I’ll let you know how it turns out. BTW my maiden name is Stone. ?Thank you for this recipe. It does bring back a lot of memories of my grandmother. Take care and God Bless You

  17. This is a very delicious recipe. The only problem is there is not enough pudding for a 13 x 9 inch dish. There is barely enough pudding for a 2 quart container, but it worked. If I were to make this recipe again, and I definitely will, I will double the pudding for a 13 x 9 inch dish and for a 2 quart container as well. If you use the 13 x 9 inch dish, you will need more than five bananas….more like 8 or 9 depending on how big they are and how big you slice them. You might need to double the meringue for a 13 x 9 inch dish, too. The meringue is absolutely delicious and the pudding is outstanding, but takes a long time to get thick, but it is worth the wait. Yum!!

  18. Hey!
    I came across your recipe and had to give it a whirl, since it is Fsthers Day !!
    Banana Pudding is a little favorite of my husbands. I usually use less sugar in my own recipe so I’m a little nervous. I think I’ll use less the next time.
    I put it in individual ramekins and it looks wonderful
    Hope he enjoys it.
    Thanks, Winnie

    1. I’m so glad you did, Nicole! It’s a family favorite my grandmother and Mama both made before me. It’s so good and just the perfect southern dessert! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks! xo

  19. this recipe is wonderful. Are you in cahoots with inkjet/computer paper company? I am pretty adept at printing. i copy and pasted JUST THE RECIPE so I could take it to the kitchen and not mess with my Ipad it STILL printed 20!!!!!!!!! pages! what a waste of paper. no longer will print anything. just use my ipad. sorry you were the so called “messenger”

    1. Oh No! That’s definitely frustrating!!! Did you click on the “print” button on the actual recipe? When you click on that button, it should display a page that only has the recipe and recipe image on the page. You then are able to just print that one page. It sounds like maybe you were on the post and then printed that instead (which would print gobs!). xo

  20. I agree this is delicious but not enough to fill a pan of the size it calls for. We used an 8×8 and it was fine. I was a bit baffled at that while cooking it! lol!

  21. This was absolutely delicious! I was able to sub gluten free wafers and gluten free flour to make this a delicious treat my husband could enjoy, while satisfying my southern father’s longing for an old time favorite dessert! I followed this recipe to a T and it worked perfectly in a 2.5qt bowl. The merigue was soooo good! Even got two thumbs up from my teenage nephew! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  22. I worked very hard to make this fantastic recipe,but unfortunately you did not specify which sugar amounts were for thee pudding and the mere. Not being that proficient with scratch ingredientS, I put the 1 1/2 sugar in the custard. Needless to say it ruined the whole dish.  PLEASE correct the recipe to note the merengue ingredients from the custard. 

    1. Hi Paula,
      I’m sorry the recipe did not seem clear. The 1 1/2 cups of sugar does go in the custard portion, then the 1/4 cup sugar listed with the meringue ingredients is added to the meringue. I hope this helps. Thanks!

  23. I don’t know what happened, but mine never thickened. Ever. I cooked it for over 30 minutes and thought, well maybe it’ll thicken while baking. Nope. Perfect meringue over a puddle of liquid.

    1. I’m sorry yours didn’t thicken Tara. I’ve never had that happen and can’t be sure what caused it. It should have thickened while you were cooking the custard portion on the stovetop. Thanks.

  24. Outstanding!!! The pudding was on the sweet side which I loved, and the consistency was perfect.  This will be my go to recipe for banana pudding.  It is the best I have ever eaten.  

  25. I think maybe your grandma and mine used the exact same recipe for banana pudding. I’ve never tasted a banana pudding as good as my grandma’s, and she passed away in 1974. I’m going to save your recipe and make it soon. But first, I have a question for you. If I omit the meringue, do I still need to bake it, and if so, at what temperature and for how long? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I’m trying to learn how to cook some things as a bachelor at an old age (66).

    1. Hi Glenn,
      Grandmother’s had the best recipes, didn’t they?! I do hope you give this recipe a try – it’s been a favorite in my family for generations, so it could be similar to what your grandmother made too!
      If you decide to leave the meringue off, you will not need to bake it in the oven. And it’s definitely not a dumb question – I think it’s wonderful that you are trying to cook new recipes!
      Glad to have you here – happy to answer anything I can! Thanks! 🙂

  26. I’m so excited to make this the upcoming weekend. My MIL made wonderful banana pudding, but I think she used cook and serve. I have a family reunion for my maternal side of my family on Saturday, so I HAVE to impress, lol. (Mom and grandmama are no longer with us.) With that said, I intend to double the recipe. I also plan to make it the night before, adding the meringue the next morning. I have to travel about 2 hours. Should I put the meringue on before traveling, or should I try to take the meringue with me and cook at the reunion? It would be much easier to cook it before reunion, but I will take suggestions. Does anyone else have suggestions (like, should I use less sugar, should I do 2 double batches?) Suggestions greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Glae,
      I usually make a single recipe at a time, so I would suggest maybe making two recipes. If you have a while to travel as you say, and you can do the meringue when you arrive before serving and cook it there, that should yield the best results. I hope you all enjoy it! This is the recipe that has been in my family for generations and we love it!
      Hint: Make sure you get the custard thickened as in the recipe instructions before removing from the stove – the oven is just for the browning the meringue.

  27. Simple to make but absolutely delicious! This will be going in my personal cookbook. I made this exactly as the recipe said. It was perfect and the meringue was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary. I’m so glad you loved our banana pudding recipe. I hope you have a great weekend! xo

  28. Lovely pudding. Tasted like home. Thank you for sharing this family prize.

    I used whole eggs and just beat them by hand a few minutes with the milk before adding. I also increased the vanilla – family preference.

    Thanks again –

  29. This is the third time I will be making this recipe. It is the absolute closest that I have been able to come to duplicating my great grandmother’s recipe who passed several years ago. I have made it for friends and family and have never received anything less than stellar compliments. Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Sugar needs to be cut at least 3/4 cup.  I cut the custard down to 1/2 cup sugar and used 1/4 cup sugar extra for the meringue and mine came out plenty sweet for the family’s taste buds.  When I saw the serving was 57grams of sugar, I was concerned.  My grandmother made it similar but I don’t recall her’s being that sweet.  Otherwise, great recipe. 

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