Recipes » Desserts » The Real Deal Banana Pudding

The Real Deal Banana Pudding

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5 from 6 votes
The original and best Banana Pudding recipe. Layers of luscious vanilla custard, crunchy vanilla wafers, and sliced bananas topped with a golden meringue.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
The original and best Banana Pudding recipe. Layers of luscious vanilla custard, crunchy vanilla wafers, and sliced bananas topped with a golden meringue. https://www.lanascooking.com/the-real-deal-banana-pudding/

The original and best Banana Pudding recipe. Layers of luscious vanilla custard, crunchy vanilla wafers, and sliced bananas topped with a golden meringue.

Banana pudding in a glass bowl on a kitchen towel with spoons in the foreground.

I was perusing food blogs today, as usual, and I came across one where someone who grew up in the Midwest was extolling the virtues of southern cuisine. Pimento cheese specifically. This blogger talked about how he grew up on a diet of pretty bland fare and only discovered the wonders and variety of southern cuisine after he had reached adulthood. 

This got me thinking that I really need to get back to what I know and do best. What I call Southern Farmhouse cooking.

Just What is Southern Cooking?

There are, of course, all kinds of different southern cuisines…creole, cajun, tex-mex. Then there’s the whole coastal thing from the Carolinas right on around through Key West and New Orleans and more. Southern cuisine is so varied and complex, it’s even thought of by Southerners in regions of its own.

Now, when I was growing up things were even more regionalized than they are today. People didn’t travel as widely nor did we get exotic ingredients on a regular basis in the grocery store.

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Additionally, people grew a large portion of their food. Our summers were as much a time for playing and enjoying being out of school as they were for “puttin’ up.” For those of you who have not yet reached a certain age, that means freezing and canning fresh produce to last through the year until the next gardening season.

One of the things that shows up at every church dinner-on-the-grounds (and if you don’t know what that is, you really aren’t from the South) and family reunion in the southern states is Banana Pudding.

I’m talking about the real deal. Not any instant jello pudding with bananas, either. A banana pudding with creamy vanilla custard, sliced bananas, vanilla wafers, and a meringue piled high on the top. And, would you believe, this from scratch version is almost as quick to make as the instant pudding kind.

Go ahead and make one for your family. Y’all are going to love it!


  • It’s creamy, dreamy and luscious
  • You can (and should) make it in advance
  • It’s transportable
  • Easy to find ingredients

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk (whole milk, please)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Ripe bananas (you want bananas that are ripe but still nice and firm, not too many brown spots)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make The Real Deal Banana Pudding

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the Custard

Step 1. Mix 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, and salt in the top pan of a double boiler. Into the sugar and flour, blend 3 egg yolks and the milk.

Step 2. Cook while stirring constantly over gently boiling water for about 6-8 minutes or until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Layer the Banana Pudding

Step 3. Spread a small amount of the custard (just a few tablespoons) on the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart casserole or other oven-safe dish. Make a layer of wafers and top the wafers with a layer of sliced bananas. Pour about 1/3 of the custard over the bananas.

Step 4. Make two more layers of wafers, bananas, and custard for a total of 3 layers, ending with the last of the custard.

Make the Meringue

Step 5. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the meringue is stiff but not dry.

Step 6. Spoon the meringue on top of the pudding, spreading evenly to cover the entire surface and sealing to the edges of the casserole dish.

Bake the Meringue

Step 7. Bake in the top half of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meringue is golden. Cool slightly or refrigerate until serving. Garnish servings with additional wafers and banana slices if desired.

Finished banana pudding in a bowl with a kitchen towel and spoons in the foreground.
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Recipe

The original and best Banana Pudding recipe. Layers of luscious vanilla custard, crunchy vanilla wafers, and sliced bananas topped with a golden meringue. https://www.lanascooking.com/the-real-deal-banana-pudding/

The Real Deal Banana Pudding

The original and best Banana Pudding recipe. Layers of luscious vanilla custard, crunchy vanilla wafers, and sliced bananas topped with a golden meringue.
5 from 6 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 375kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar divided
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash salt
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45 vanilla wafers divided
  • 5 ripe bananas sliced (about 3 1/2 cups), divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the Custard:

  • Mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top pan of a double boiler. Into the sugar and flour, blend 3 egg yolks and the milk.
  • Cook while stirring constantly over gently boiling water for about 6-8 minutes or until thickened.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Layer the Banana Pudding:

  • Spread a small amount of the custard on the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart casserole or other oven-safe dish. Make a layer of wafers and top the wafers with a layer of sliced bananas. Pour about 1/3 of the custard over the bananas.
  • Make two more layers of wafers, bananas and custard for a total of 3 layers, ending with custard.

Make the Meringue:

  • Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the meringue is stiff but not dry.
  • Spoon the meringue on top of the pudding, spreading evenly to cover the entire surface and sealing to the edges of the casserole dish.

Bake the Custard:

  • Bake in the top half of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meringue is golden.
  • Cool slightly or refrigerate until serving.
  • Garnish servings with additional wafers and banana slices if desired.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is the only way to make banana pudding, and this old woman has been using the Nabisco recipe for well over 60 years. What amazes me is that today’s cooking sets do not include double boilers and I use mine a lot for reheating things like chicken and dumplings. Therefore, my standard wedding gift has become a double boiler with the banana pudding recipe inside.

    1. Oh, what a great idea! I use my double boiler frequently as well. The best way to cook those things that would tend to stick to the bottom of the pan over direct heat.

  2. I make this when I am nostalgic (or when there’s a gathering of older folks, or kids, or teens, or young adults…..). The only person that I know that does not like banana pudding is Pete, because he doesn’t like bananas. But he’s pretty spectacular in every other way, so I think we can overlook his unfortunate position related to bananas. Go figure.

    I add 2 tablespoons of butter at the end of the pudding stage, after it has thickened and is off the heat. Give that a try the next time you make this, and tell me if you like that little addition.

    Thanks for reminding me of how much I really like our memories.

    Miss P

  3. Hi Lana,
    I really like your recipe for banana pudding. I’ve made it a lot, got a request this week for two. I always double the recipe.

  4. This is REAL BANANA PUDDING! I am so tired of people mixing a cold pudding and pouring it over wafers and bananas. The wafers stay hard and its just not good.

    THANKS

    1. You’re right, Gloria! It’s nothing like the real thing. Nice warm custard and a golden meringue … can’t beat that!

  5. So often in using meringue on pies, etc., I end up with a watery mess on top resulting in a failed effort. An aunt of mine used the cornstarch recipe, which I have somewhere in my files, and always seemed successful. What is your secret, Lana?

    1. No secret, Stella. I just beat the whites until stiff and plop them on top. I’ve never used starch or cream of tartar in mine at all and they always turn out great.

  6. Thank you for the Delish Recipes, k have searched the supermarket for these Nilla Biscuits to no avail here in Oz, what other biscuits would/could you reccommend for this Banana Pudding, it looks awesome and so much want to try it

    1. Hi Beverly, I’m surprised you can’t find the cookies since I thought Nabisco was distributed globally. The “nilla wafers” are a vanilla flavored crisp cookie. Anything similar should work well. I’ve seen banana pudding made with the Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies as well. Perhaps you’d have better luck finding those. I would also think that the British digestive biscuits might work in this recipe. I’m not positive about that, but it would seem like a possible alternative.