This easy, old-fashioned Banana Pudding is made from scratch with layers of homemade vanilla pudding, Nilla wafers, sliced bananas, and whipped cream.  

Homemade banana pudding falls in line with other classic American Dessert recipes I’ve been making lately,  including Strawberry Rhubarb CrispBetter than Sex Cake, Muddy Buddies, and Scotcheroos.

A goblet dessert dish with homemade banana pudding in it.

Banana pudding has roots in the South, but has become a traditional American dessert loved all over the United States.  There are variations in the way it’s served and prepared and I’ve listed some adaptations in the post below, including a more traditional Southern Banana Pudding.

What You’ll Need:

  • From the fridge: milk, heavy cream, eggs, butter, whipped cream.
  • From the pantry: sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, salt
  • Bananas: use ripe, but not overly ripe bananas
  • Nilla wafers: 1 box

No One Likes BROWN Bananas:

There’s nothing less appetizing than brown or dark bananas in your banana pudding.  There’s a couple ways to help prevent bananas from browning:

  • Don’t use over ripe bananas. You want your bananas ripe, but not browning too much (like you’d look for in banana bread).  Choose bananas that are slightly ripe; yellow with little brown specks.
  • Lemon juice. The best way to avoid brown bananas is to toss them in a a little bit of lemon juice before laying them on top of the Nilla wafers.
  • Make it fresh. While you can make banana pudding ahead of time, the easiest way to avoid brown bananas is to make it fresh, about 4-8 hours before serving.

Serving Banana Pudding:

Hot or cold? There is debate over whether banana pudding should be served warm or cold.  I’ve always eaten and enjoyed it cold, however, true southern banana pudding is served warm, with meringue on top!

Whipped cream or meringue? This recipe calls for whipped cream, but southern banana pudding is often served with meringue on top.

How to Make Homemade Banana Pudding

1. Make homemade pudding.

  • Simmer. Add milk and cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Whisk together: eggs, sugar, and cornstarch in a separate bowl.
  • Temper the eggs.  Spoon a little of the hot milk over the egg mixtures and whisk well. Repeat with another few spoonful of the hot milk, to temper the eggs (bring their temperature up without “scrambling” them).
  • Combine and thicken.  Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium low heat (don’t let it boil) for 5-8 minutes until thickened and coats the back of a spoon..  Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla extract and salt.
  • Refrigerate. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top (to prevent a skim from forming on it). Refrigerate for an hour or more, until chilled. Stir well once chilled.

A saucepan with vanilla pudding coating the back of a spoon, then the pudding inside a fine mesh strainer.

2. Assemble.  Use a 9 inch square pan, a large bowl, trifle dish or individual dishes. Line the bottom of the pan with vanilla wafers. Top with sliced bananas, then ½ of the pudding mixture. Repeat with another layer, and end with a final layer of wafers (whole or crushed into pieces).

Two process photos for layering vanilla pudding, Nilla wafers and sliced bananas in a dish to make banana pudding.

3. Refrigerate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the assembled dessert in the fridge for 4-8 hours. Top with fresh whipped cream before serving, if desired.

4. Top with whipped cream and serve.  Store banana pudding, covered, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Possible Recipe Variations:

  • Top with Meringue.
  • No bake banana pudding: this recipe is technically no bake, however it does require a stove to cook the pudding.  You can substitute instant vanilla pudding instead.
  • Banana pudding cake: bake a yellow cake and let it cool completely. Cover the top of the cake with homemade pudding and refrigerate.  Top with sliced bananas, Nilla wafers, and whipped cream.
  • Banana pudding pie: Blind bake a homemade pie crust and allow it to cool. Layer sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, and vanilla wafers in the pie dish.  Then repeat with another layer of sliced bananas, pudding, and wafers.  Top with whipped cream or meringue. Or, make banana cream pie with a Nilla wafer pie crust.

Banana pudding dessert in a dish with a big spoonful removed.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Banana pudding can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To freeze: For best results, freeze only the pudding and assemble the banana pudding once it’s thawed.  Allow the homemade pudding to cool completely and store in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and assemble pudding with Nilla wafers, bananas, and whipped cream.

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST for more great recipes!

Recipe

A goblet dessert dish with homemade banana pudding in it.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Refrigerate 4 hrs
Total 4 hrs 30 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg , at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks , at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons butter , chopped
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 box Nilla wafers
  • 4 large bananas , sliced (use ripe, but not overly ripe bananas)
  • Fresh whipped cream , for topping (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add milk and cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch until well blended.
  • Spoon a little of the hot milk over the egg mixtures and whisk well. Repeat with another few spoonfuls of the hot milk, to temper the eggs (bring their temperature up without “scrambling” them).
  • Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium low heat (don’t let it boil) for 5-8 minutes until thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla extract and salt.
  • Pour the pudding through a sieve or fine mesh strainer into a container, to remove any lumps and make it silky smooth.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top (to prevent a skin from forming on it). Refrigerate for an hour or more, until chilled. Stir well once chilled.
  • To assemble the banana pudding, use a 9 inch square pan, a large bowl, trifle dish or individual dishes.
  • Line the bottom of the pan with vanilla wafers. Top with sliced bananas, then ½ of the pudding mixture. Repeat with another layer, and end with a final layer of wafers (whole or crushed into pieces).
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the assembled dessert in the fridge for 4-8 hours.
  • Top with fresh whipped cream before serving, if desired.

Video

Notes

Make ahead Instructions: Banana pudding can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Freezing Instructions: For best results, freeze only the pudding and assemble the banana pudding once it's thawed.  Allow the homemade pudding to cool completely and store in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and assemble pudding with Nilla wafers, bananas, and whipped cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 218mgPotassium: 327mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 582IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 1mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Related Posts

Share Recipe

Categories

About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Decided to try this as it reminded me of something similar I used to have as a kid. It was even better than I remembered! A perfect, easy summertime treat. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy and delish. I actually added banana extract and vanilla…. flavor was a Winner! Love it.

  3. This is vanilla pudding with bananas. No banana flavor at all in the pudding. I’ll have to keep looking for a real banana pudding.

    1. You may want to mash some bananas in a separate bowl until purée then add to the chilled pudding. That will give your pudding more of a banana pudding taste…

  4. 4 stars
    Thank you for sharing this. Although the pudding itself was not banana flavored, the vanilla pudding with bananas can pass for banana pudding for me this time. It was very delicious despite.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this for my dads birthday. He loves banana pudding, so I knew I had to get it right. It was so delicious! The pudding took a little longer to thicken, but that’s honestly the only thing I could even come close to critiquing. My sons friend was really excited about it too. To have a teenager show excitement about something other than usual teen things, that’s a bonus.