This delicious Banana Pudding recipe features layers of homemade vanilla pudding, banana slices and vanilla wafers, and some whipped cream for the most classic Southern dessert ever!
This Southern dessert has the most amazing flavors, thanks to the perfect balance between vanilla pudding, layers of bananas, and light, crispy vanilla wafers. But don't let the multiple layers scare you off. This is a beginner-friendly recipe!
Everything in this recipe is made from scratch, including the vanilla wafers, giving you a banana pudding that's better than any vanilla pudding mix you'll ever find! Plus, you only need simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make it at home!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
This dessert is made from scratch, thanks to this recipe, but you'll still need only pantry-staple ingredients to make this super easy treat.
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
Bananas: Of course we'll, first of all, need some bananas! Pick ripe bananas instead of under-ripe, slightly green ones to get a beautiful, sweet flavor in your pudding.
Vanilla wafers: This recipe is incomplete without some vanilla wafer cookies! I have an incredibly easy recipe to make at home that also freezes well.
Milk: To make our vanilla pudding, we'll use whole milk for the perfect mild but bold flavor lacking in skimmed and low-fat milk.
Cornstarch: We'll be using some cornstarch in our pudding to thicken it to just the right consistency without needing to use too many eggs, which can take away from the flavor.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
Making Banana Pudding at home is easier than you think! Once you try this recipe, you'll never want to touch a pudding mix box again!
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to making this dessert.
Follow the vanilla wafers recipe to make a batch of these delicious crispy cookies. You can also make them in advance and freeze them for up to 2 months to use for this recipe whenever you want.
Slice some ripe bananas and set them aside. Whip some cream with confectioners' or regular sugar to top off the banana pudding with homemade whipped cream. Set this aside as well.
Make your vanilla pudding by taking a saucepan and mixing milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Let it simmer without boiling, and then beat eggs with cornstarch and whisk them into the milk mixture after tempering it to prevent curdling.
Cook on high heat till the mixture thickens and you begin to see a few bubbles. Keep stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Your vanilla pudding is now ready.
Assemble your banana pudding by layering vanilla pudding with vanilla wafers topped with a layer of banana slices. Keep repeating the layers till your pudding dish is completely layered.
💭 COOKING TIPS
- Make the vanilla wafers in advance and freeze them to have the cookies available whenever you're in the mood to make some banana pudding.
- Use a heavy bottom pan to make the pudding to prevent it from burning, and to allow the heat to distribute evenly.
- It's best to use the vanilla pudding when warm, then assemble the banana pudding.
- Make sure to let your pudding thicken to the right consistency since this is essential for the perfect texture and consistency of your final dessert.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS
This is an incredibly easy recipe featuring classic flavors, but if you want to customize it, here are a few ideas you can try:
Berries: You can skip the bananas for a different fruit-flavored pudding, or add other fruits, such as berries to the pudding for an incredibly delicious combination. Try bananas with some fresh strawberries for the perfect summer treat!
Nuts: Top your banana pudding with toasted, chopped nuts of your choice. Walnuts and almonds work well with the flavors in this dessert.
Whipped cream: Add some whipped cream or cool whip to the pudding before serving it.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Banana pudding is a classic Southern American dessert featuring homemade vanilla pudding with layers of bananas and vanilla wafers for the most delicious combination. It's also often topped with some whipped cream.
Yes, you absolutely can! Use whatever you have on hand you can even use individual dessert bowls, mason jars, or even a large trifle dish to serve this delicious dessert.
Yes, you absolutely can, but you'll have to add step to this recipe to prevent the bananas from browning.
Do this by dipping the banana slices in a mixture of one cup of water with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. You only have to dip them for 10-15 seconds and then pat them dry lightly with some paper towels before using them in the recipe.
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🌡️ STORING THE PUDDING
Fridge: Banana pudding is best served right away, but you can store it for up to 2 to 3 days if you follow the steps to prevent the bananas from browning.
Freezer: It's not recommended to freeze this dessert since the consistency of all the different components will alter, leaving you with soggy wafers and bananas. So, instead, freeze the wafers and make this recipe whenever you want to have it.
Southern Banana Pudding
FOR THE VANILLA PUDDING
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
FOR THE WHIPPING CREAM
- ½ cup Whipping cream
- 1 ½ tablespoon fine sugar
- 1 large Banana
- 15 or more Vanilla wafers
TO MAKE THE VANILLA PUDDING
- In a saucepan, mix the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Stir the mixture occasionally on medium heat until it simmers. Do not let it boil.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with cornstarch until smooth. Pour the simmered hot milk over the eggs while whisking. Keep whisking and adding the milk.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until it thickens. Continue stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the mixture thickens, and you can see a few bubbles appearing in the middle, this means that the cornstarch is fully cooked. Remove from heat.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the pudding and mix until the butter melts and you get a silky and glossy mixture.
- To be on the safe side and make sure that the pudding is silky smooth, run it through a strainer to get rid of any cooked bits of eggs.
TO MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM
- In a cold bowl, add the whipping cream and sugar.
- Beat the cream until you get a stiff peak, then use it in the recipe.
ASSEMBLING THE BANANA PUDDING
- When the pudding is warm, pour a little from the pudding to the bottom of the serving pan, and top it with a layer of vanilla wafers, then a layer of banana slices, and then a layer of the pudding as shown in the video. Repeat the layers.
- The last layer should be vanilla pudding. Crush some wafers on top and then top with whipped cream, then garnish with crushed pistachios.
- Cover the banana pudding with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
- Serve cold.