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 89 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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316 Comments Leave a comment or review

  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!

    1. 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!

      1. Use whole milk or at least 1% or 2% milk.  If you use skim milk it won’t thicken as well.   

    2. 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!

      1. This suggestion was very helpful! I started out medium low and wasn’t getting thick. Up the heat on my gas stove to 5 until thick and then lowered.

  5. 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. ): 

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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. 

    1. 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!

      1. I added , slowly, another Tbsp of flour and mine thickened right up. Can’t wait to taste it! 
        Thanks for sharing 

  8. 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. 

  9. 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 .

  10. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  11. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

  12. 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. 

  13. 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’….

  14. 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.

    1. 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!

  15. 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 !

  16. 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?

  17. 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 🤗

    1. 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

  18. 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?

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

  19. 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.. 

    1. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools and when refrigerated, but you’ll want to make sure that the pudding is thickened as you are cooking on the stovetop.

  20. 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.

  21. 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. 

  22. 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!

  23. 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! 

  24. 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!

  25. I am so excited to have found this recipe. This brings back such great memories of my childhood when my mom would make one of my favorite desserts BANANA PUDDING! I could never make it nor could anyone that I knew. I have not made this as of yet but I have my list of Ingredients and can’t wait to get started. This recipe will surely go in my little pink recipe box for sure. I will let you know the end results soon.

    Thanks so very much 🙂

  26. I want to make a larger pudding (big family) can I double this recipe? Seems like that would be too much sugar if doubled. Thanks

  27. I’ve never made banana pudding before because I’m not a huge fan, but my son coming home for his first Christmas break from college requested because a famous southern meat and three here has his favorite. I chose your recipe because it seemed to most resemble his fave. It was a HUGE hit!! Thank you so much!!

  28. It came out too runny and I made this for New Years. I was in charge of desserts I felt like a failure. Please fix the instructions so that we make sure the custard is pudding consistency before the next steps. 

    It tastes good though. 

    1. Hi Leah,
      I’m sorry your pudding didn’t turn out for your party. I’ve not had an issue with it being runny. I am glad you enjoyed the taste though!
      As stated in the recipe instructions (step 3) those ingredients should be cooked until thickened. The custard should be thick before you take it off the heat. I’m not sure if this also applies, but also make sure to use whole milk as in the recipe. Since cooktop temps are different, heat may need to be turned up a bit more or you may have to cook longer to achieve the thickened consistency as mentioned in the recipe instructions. I hope this helps. Thanks!

  29. I like the basic recipe except not enough banana flavor in the pudding. So I use 3 1/2 cups milk and take 1 cup milk and steep 1 whole 🍌 in that milk. Take the banana out and follow the rest of the recipe, using the steeped milk until pudding almost thick. Take the steeped banana and two ladies of pudding mix (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) and puree in blender. Mix into pudding mix about 1 min before done. It maintains color of pudding and adds banana flavor. Be careful not to cook banana mix too long…it will gray your pudding.

  30. Thank you. This recipe took this old boy back to my home of 60 years ago. My mother made this treat and she learned how to make it from her mother. I can almost hear the Bob White wuaiil and the phip-poor-will’s calling. Thanks again.

    1. I heard those Bob Whites in my head as I read your comment Larry! I am so glad you enjoyed the Banana Pudding! It’s been a favorite in my family for so many, many years! Thanks Larry! Happy to have you here! 🙂

  31. Dear Robyn, you saved my behind a few times. After a move when my beloved recipes were misplaced, I was distraught! I found you, and you seem to have very similar influence in your cooking from growing up.
    I fault nothing in this recipe, except it is a tad sweeter than I remember mine being. I made it Christmas and relatives loved it, but a few asked if I had a new recipe. When I asked, is this one better? They were honest and said it’s very sweet. But they still gobbled it up.
    My question is I know changing anything can change the way a pudding sets up; how much can I reduce the sugar and it still be nice and pudding-like, not runny?
    Thanks, with all my heart, (and tummy)!

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