Southern Banana Pudding

Southern Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers and Meringue Topping in a White Casserole Dish on a tablecloth with crystal candle holder.

Southern banana pudding topped with melt in your mouth meringue is so rich, creamy and delicious. This classic recipe is homemade goodness and comfort in a dish. It’s so easy, quick and inexpensive to prepare you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it more often. Treat yourself today!

How to Make

For the best banana pudding you’ve ever made, you will need a box of vanilla wafers, less than a cup of sugar, 1/3 cup flour, dash of salt, 3 eggs, 2 cups of milk, a half teaspoon of vanilla, 5 ripe bananas. The ingredients for the pudding are stirred together in the top of a double boiler for about 10 minutes and then layered in a casserole dish with vanilla wafers and bananas. See the full recipe below.

The meringue topping is easy to whip up using 3 egg whites and a hand or stand mixer. Bake the banana pudding with meringue in a 350° oven for about 15 or 20 minutes and it’s ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions

This easy homemade dessert is quick to prepare and the ingredients are not expensive. It is great at home when you need something special for that family dinner and it travels well.

Holiday Gatherings

  • Holiday Dinners – Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – Make ahead and enjoy the day!
  • Memorial Day and 4th of July – BBQs and Banana Pudding are a perfect match!

Family and Friends

  • Family Get Togethers – Perfect for grilling out occasions or sit-down gatherings around the table.
  • Father’s Day – Perfect for whatever goes on the grill.
  • Birthday Parties
  • Camping – Make ahead or prepare in your RV.
  • Neighborhood Social or Dinner Clubs – Everyone will be glad you are coming with this treat.
  • BBQs
  • Picnics
  • Potlucks
  • Church Dinners
  • Office Parties
  • Bridal Showers and Teas

Caring Meals

  • Care Meals for a Sick Friend – Sure to help cheer them up and get well soon!
  • Sympathy Meals for a Grieving Family or Friend – Comfort food to to show you care.

Pro Tips

  • Wait until pudding is cooked before slicing bananas. Do not use green or unripe bananas. Medium size works best for flavor and texture.
  • Use a plastic knife (disposable works well) or ceramic knife to slice bananas. The metal contact with a conventional knife causes a reaction that can make bananas turn dark quicker.
  • Cover bananas with pudding and topping to seal air out. This helps keep bananas from turning dark.
  • If you are lucky enough to have leftovers the flavors get richer the next day. Perfect for a lunch dessert!

Substitutions

  • Skim or fat-free milk can be used in place of whole milk. Texture will not be quite as rich.
  • Use whipped topping or no topping in place of meringue.
  • Use graham crackers as a substitute for vanilla wafers. Not the same taste as traditional, but delicious!

FAQs

Can I make homemade banana pudding ahead of time?

Yes. Prepare as directed. Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can serve it cold or reheat in the microwave until warm. Top with extra vanilla wafers.

Can I use any brand of vanilla wafers?

Yes. The traditional banana pudding is made with Nilla brand; however any store brand or generic will work fine. Sometimes the store brands are smaller diameter cookies so you may need a few more to go around the edge. I like to place them around the dish to measure before I assemble. (Just to be sure I don’t snack on too many and run short!)

What type of milk can you use in the pudding?

I like the full flavor and texture of whole milk. However, you can use skim or low-fat and it works just fine.

What size eggs do I use?

I use medium eggs. However, it will not hurt to use small or large. Just add an extra egg if you use small. For large no adjustments needed. It won’t affect the texture of the meringue no matter what size eggs you use.

Can I use whip cream topping instead of meringue?

Yes. Bake the pudding in the oven for 20 minutes and cool before topping with whip cream if you are putting it on the whole dish. You could serve pudding warm individually and add whip cream to each serving. Whip cream like Cool Whip works great, or be fancy with the whip cream in a can.

How do I keep bananas from turning dark in the pudding?

Air is the enemy for bananas to turn dark. Also, exposure to metals (like your knife to cut them) can accelerate the darkening process.

The best tips to minimize the bananas from turning dark are:

– Don’t slice bananas until you are ready to use them.
– Use ripe (not over-ripe) bananas.
– Slice bananas with a plastic knife.
– Keep plastic wrap or banana peel over bananas until they are used.
– Store banana pudding in an airtight container.

The pudding and meringue seal air away from the bananas, so be sure your topping covers the whole pudding to keep air out and bananas fresh!

What Dishes Go Well With Banana Pudding?

I think any dish (or none at all) goes well with this creamy dessert. However, some ideas for pairing include Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Tilapia, or Chicken Cheesesteak.

If you are taking the pudding to an outing other side dishes to consider are Corn Casserole, and Fresh Purple Hull or Field Peas prepared in your instant pot.

If you find that you have a leftover banana that needs a home, try our Banana Oatmeal for breakfast. It’s creamy texture flavored with a spoonful of maple syrup makes oatmeal extraordinarily special – and it’s so easy and quick to prepare!

Don’t forget the serving spoons for the best Southern Banana Pudding you have ever tasted!

Southern Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers and Meringue Topping in a White Casserole Dish on a tablecloth with crystal candle holder.
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Southern Banana Pudding

The Best Old Fashioned Southern Banana Pudding Recipe – Rich and creamy pudding, homemade from scratch, surrounded by Nilla Wafers and topped with Meringue. Served warm and ready in about 35 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Salt
Servings: 8
Calories: 698kcal
Cost: $10

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (use 1/2 and 1/4 cups separately)
  • cup all purpose flour
  • 3 whole eggs, separated (medium)
  • 2 cups milk (whole milk for a rich taste)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 box vanilla wafers (Nilla brand or store brand – 45 to 55 wafers)
  • 5 medium ripe bananas, sliced (yellow (not green))
  • tsp salt (dash of salt)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Bottom of boiler should have a couple of inches of cold water.
  • Blend in 3 egg yolks in top of double boiler.
  • Stir in milk in top of double boiler.
  • Turn stove on high to heat water to boiling (with top boiler containing mixture above sitting on top of bottom boiler.) Turn down slightly after it starts boiling. Cook uncovered in top boiler over boiling water in bottom boiler, stir constantly until thickened. Takes about 10 to 12 minutes. Will look like thick pudding texture.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla to mixture in top boiler.
  • Save about 15 wafers for garnishing around the rim for use after layering.
  • Spread small amount of cooked pudding mixture for a thin layer on the bottom of 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
  • Cover pudding with vanilla wafers.
  • Top with sliced bananas.
  • Pour 1/3 of cooked custard pudding over bananas and spread.
  • Continue to layer: vanilla wafers, bananas, and pudding for 2 more layers ending with custard pudding.
  • Beat 3 egg whites (be sure no yellow in egg whites) on high speed of mixer until soft peak forms. You can use a stand mixer and small bowl or hand held electric mixer with beaters. The beaten egg whites will gently hold their shape.
  • Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until mixture has stiff peaks (looks like meringue topping texture.)
  • Gently spoon (or use spatula) meringue on top of pudding in casserole dish. Cover entire surface to edge of dish and make peaks and waves with a small spatula.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Have potholders ready to remove dish quickly when it reaches that perfect golden color you want. I leave oven door open a little at the end of browning to keep a close eye on it. You can turn it around while browning if your oven doesn't seem to brown it all over evenly. Cool hot banana pudding slightly.
  • Serve warm.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers for a day or two. Make sure to cover well. If condensation forms immediately after refrigerating, use a paper towel to dry so it is not dripping water into the meringue. (Do not freeze.)

Notes

Calorie values are approximate and dependent upon ingredients used.
If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a small boiler placed inside a larger one.  Hold it up  with the handle in one hand while stirring with the other and don’t overfill the water in the bottom as it will slosh out easily.  You just need a couple of inches deep for the water to boil and provide enough heat to cook.
Using the double boiler method gives this pudding a rich and creamy texture.  Cooking directly on heat will scorch and have a rubbery texture.
Use bananas that are not green, but not overly brown either.  Too brown and they turn black in the pudding quicker.
This classic recipe is a hit no matter where it is served:  Classic Southern Comfort Food for the family dinner table, church social, potluck, tailgate, care meals, sympathy meals, and BBQ’s.  It is a dish everyone saves room for and there are rarely leftovers because it is SO DELICIOUS!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 698kcal

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