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. // addapinch.com

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. // addapinch.com

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. // addapinch.com

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. // addapinch.com

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. // addapinch.com

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.
4.79 from 85 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

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

Enjoy!
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! // addapinch.com

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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299 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Hello Robyn,

    Please advise how to store leftovers to keep from bananas turning brown and how to keep the Meringue and pudding from running?

    1. Jay, place a generous amount of plastic wrap, such as Saran wrap, all around the whole thing, While I am waiting for my meringue to make, I mush down a piece over the custard and banana mix in the bowl. Remove it before you plop your meringue on top. The whole
      wrap-over should come when you are ready to refrigerate. Voila!

  2. I’ve made this before and it was incredible! My husband insisted this was his top choice for Father’s day dessert. If I needed to make it early to serve it 2 hours later..is this possible and if so how?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Madison,
      You can make it ahead. I would let it cool thoroughly, cover it with an airtight lid or wrap it well, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Hope your husband has a happy Father’s Day and enjoys his banana pudding! Thanks. xo

      1. Thank you so much for answering me back, your help, and your amazing recipe! Thank you and take care! 

    1. Hi Mallory,
      I like the bananas when they are still firm, just have ripened. You do not want the bananas to be really soft, so no brown spots. Hope this helps and you enjoy the banana pudding!

  3. I am crying happy tears reading your wonderful and loving story of your time cooking with your grandmother! My Grandmother Tyler always made banana pudding with cooked custard and meringue. Such happy memories! Going to the store right now to buy the ingredients to make this amazing recipe today!!

  4. Hi I have a few questions before I make this because it looks so good! I see that you do not have in your directions to temper the eggs. I want to follow your recipe but i’m nervous the eggs will scramble should I just follow what’s written or temper the eggs? Also does this pudding need to set? If so what temperature do you recommend they set at like at room temp or fridge?

    1. Sofia, if you follow the instructions in #3 in the recipe (mixing the beaten eggs yolks and milk thoroughly and then mixing with the dry ingredients and cooking over low to medium heat until thickened), you will not have a problem with the eggs. It might help you to watch the video to see how it is supposed to look while cooking. You can serve it warm right after you finish making it but you must refrigerate any leftovers. Cover it with an airtight lid or cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve again. It is delicious cold. Hope you enjoy!

      1. Thank you so much for the quick response. I did watch the video I’m just nervous is all, it’s my first attempt at a pudding like this. I will follow your directions and I hope it comes out just like you said. Thank you for all the help!

  5. Great recipe.
    FYI this custard is a classic french Creme Patissiere. The flour in the mixture prevents the eggs from scrambling. Just don’t bring it to a hard boil. Simmer until thickened.

  6. Wow! This banana pudding is a winner! Easy to make , regular ingredients that you have on hand. The custard is sweet, the meringue compliments it perfectly. My husband is so picky about food, and is not a big dessert guy. He raved about it and came back for seconds! I love this recipe and will use it often. Thanks!

  7. May I ask how this dessert tastes cold from the fridge, in comparison to warm? I feel like it’s something that should be served warm? Would love to make it for a family gathering at Easter, but it would have to be prepared prior and therefore, served from the fridge. Can’t wait to whip it up!
    Thank you in advance 🙂

    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. I would place plastic wrap just over the top of the pudding and press down so its tight against the top and then cover container tightly in plastic wrap before refrigerating. Then just add the meringue topping and bake before serving. Enjoy! xo

  8. I too often find myself in the middle of cooking and reach for milk only to find it left with very little in the carton. Can you substitute canned evaporated milk or powdered milk and have it still taste the same?

    1. Tiernie, you can use canned evaporated milk or powdered milk. Just follow directions on the package to make sure you reconstitute it to the same consistency of regular milk, if needed. There may be a slight difference in the taste but it should not be a problem.

  9. I just made this – I used 2 cups skim milk and 1 cup heavy cream (because that’s what I had). I added a TBS of butter with the vanilla. Also, I sliced the bananas and just stirred them into the warm pudding before pouring it all over the wafers. IT IS PERFECT! My 6 yr old licked the spatula and wants to eat it all now, while its warm. I will forgo the meringue, because I don’t like it, and top with whipped cream. THANK YOU for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Eilda, 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. Also, look at the video to see how thick the pudding should be. I hope this helps. Thanks!

  10. Excellent recipe! I had been trying to find a banana pudding recipe that didn’t ask for instant pudding and based on the reviews, I thought this one would be a winner and it was. I would say I cooked my custard on the stovetop a little too long as it got firm before I layered it with the bananas and wafers but it was still excellent and my husband went back for seconds. I didn’t have enough milk so I used about a cup of cream so that may have contributed to it being thicker. This is definitely a crowd pleaser. So delicious, thank you for this great recipe.

    1. Thanks, Bill. I’m so glad you liked the pudding. The cream could have made this thicken too much. It might help to watch my video that is shown in the recipe to see the consistency the custard should be.

    1. Mim, these are a vanilla wafer but I’m not sure what you have available in Australia that would be a substitute. Maybe someone else on here has found a substitute that works.

      1. Can I ask what a vanilla wafer tastes like? Is it similar to a shortbread cookie? Thank you anyway for your reply 🙂

        If anyone else has a suggestion, that would be most welcomed also 🙂

  11. Recipe is awesome! Very easy. Should the pudding cool before pouring over bananas. Im wondering if the hot pudding makes the bananas turn brown faster??

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