Homemade Southern Banana Pudding made from scratch uses simple ingredients to create a rich, creamy custard-like pudding layered with sweet, ripe bananas & addictive vanilla wafer cookies. It’s an easy, classic dessert perfect for holidays, potlucks and cookouts!
In the South, Banana Pudding is more of a revered tradition than just a pretty way to end a meal, though it definitely is that too. Every family has its own way of fixing it. From pudding ingredients to toasted fluffy meringue toppings, this layered dessert has more identities than… well, let’s just say everyone likes it the way they like it.
The Engineer grew up eating a different version than the one I make. But y’all, he is nothing less than a zealous convert now. Because this recipe? It’s just that good and then some. The easy cooked pudding is so luscious and smooth, and the layers are absolutely stuffed with cookies and bananas. There’s no need for a fancy topping. Just throw on more cookies. It’s what we all want anyway!
Ingredients to Make Banana Pudding from Scratch
Homemade Banana Pudding is so easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients. The results just can’t be compared to any other method.
- ripe bananas
- vanilla wafer cookies
- whole milk
I love to layer up my banana puddings in a trifle dish, but they are also easily made up and served in 9×13 casserole dishes for potlucks or large gatherings. Glass bowls are also a good go-to, or layer them small scale as single servings in jars or pretty glasses.
How To Make Homemade Banana Pudding
The Pudding. This easy pudding only takes 5-8 minutes on the stovetop and really is the most wonderfully smooth and creamy pudding you’ll ever eat.
Warm milk in a large sauce pan. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch and add beaten eggs. Stir about a tablespoon of the warm milk into the egg mixture to “temper” it. (This brings the eggs to a warmer temperature & keeps them from cooking when added to the pan of warm milk.)
Add the egg mixture to the sauce pan of warmed milk. Throw in a dash of salt and a splash of vanilla. Whisk for about 5 minutes until thick. Remove from heat and let cool a little. That’s it!
Layers. I know it’s called Banana Pudding, but, let’s face it, it’s all about the pudding and the cookies.
Start by covering the bottom of your dish with 2 layers of cookies and one layer around the sides. This cookie layer is heavier than the others because this is the “crust” of your dessert.
Top with a single layer of sliced bananas and enough pudding to cover the cookies on the sides. Repeat layers of cookies, including a layer around the sides each time, bananas and pudding. Finish with more cookies.
Banana Pudding can even be assembled when the pudding is still a little warm (NOT hot). Layering the warm pudding with the bananas really allows those flavors to marry and develop a wonderful vanilla/banana richness!
Can You Maked Banana Pudding Ahead of Time?
You sure can. Banana Pudding is one of those desserts that actually gets better as it sits. So just assemble your banana pudding as usual, making sure there are no bananas exposed, cover tightly and refrigerate. The cookies will get soft, so serve with extra fresh cookies, or even add some crushed cookies to the top for a little crunch.
Becuase the cookies do get soft and the bananas turn brown, I don’t recommend making it any sooner than 1 day before you plan to serve it.
Other Layered Desserts You’ll Love
- Coconut Pineapple Trifle
- Mason Jar Blueberry Lemon Lushes
- Layered Strawberry Jello Salad
- Red Velvet Trifle
- Buster Bar Ice Cream Dessert
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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Southern Banana Pudding from Scratch
- 2 C sugar
- 6 Tbsp cornstarch
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 4 C whole milk
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4-5 medium ripe bananas
- 2 boxes vanilla wafer cookies
- Warm milk in a large sauce pan. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch using a fork. Add beaten eggs. Stir 1-2 tablespoons of the warm milk into egg mixture to "temper" it.
- Whisk the tempered egg mixture to the sauce pan of warmed milk. Add a dash of salt and vanilla. Whisk for about 5-8 minutes until thick and continues to bubble even while being stirred. Remove from heat and let cool a little. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Start assembling the banana pudding by covering the bottom of your dish with 2 layers of cookies and one layer around the sides. This cookie layer is heavier than the others because this is the "crust" of the dessert.
- Top with 1-2 layers of sliced bananas and enough pudding to cover the cookies on the sides. Repeat layers of cookies, including a layer around the sides, bananas and pudding until all ingredients are used. Finish with more cookies.
- Serve immediately while warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Very good! I made 2 tin pans of it, and my family tore it up!! LOL
Hi, Eula! Wooohooo! That is what I love to hear! I am so glad your family liked it!
This looks just like the kind my momma used to make. I have a question though. I’m lactose intolerant. Could I use whole Lactaid milk instead of regular milk?
I have read that one can use Lactaid for making pudding, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say with 100% confidence. If you do happen to try it out, let me know!
You can use Lactaid milk, I use it in my pies! Has to be whole Lactaid.
When is sugar/cornstarch supposed to be added?
Hi, Nicole! Please see step 1 & 2 of the recipe card. It is mixed with sugar and eggs, tempered, then added to the warm milk. Enjoy!
Great recipe! Reminds me of childhood!!
Hi, Cindi! Thank you! Yes, it does me too. One of my all time favorite desserts!