This Southern Homemade Banana Pudding is the ultimate dessert recipe! Creamy homemade vanilla pudding made from scratch is layered with vanilla wafers, slices of banana, and topped with lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream. Serve in a large baking dish or individually for a fun southern dessert.

All about this Homemade Banana Pudding…

  • Creamy Homemade Pudding: Making our own pudding is actually a quick and fun process and cuts out all of the additives included in boxed pudding. If you are short on time you can absolutely use a boxed instant pudding, following the instructions for that and continuing with this recipe for additonal steps!
  • Serve Family Style or Individually: this pudding can be layered and served in a large baking dish or bowl, or it can be layered in small individual size containers if needed.

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients needed to make homemade banana pudding laid out on the counter.

Notes on some ingredients:

  • Vanilla Wafers: use any store bought brand or make your own! Here’s a fun recipe to try: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/vanilla-wafers-recipe
  • Bananas: for best results use yellow bananas with few brown spots. The bananas will break down further in the pudding and we don’t want to have mushy bananas.
  • Milk & Heavy Cream: both are used for making the pudding to ensure a nice thick pudding and heavy cream is needed for making the homemade whipped cream on top.

How to make (step-by-step):

How to make homemade banana pudding, showing eggs mixed with cornstarch and a pot filled with milk and sugar.
  1. Heat milk and cream: bring this mixture with sugar and salt to a simmer, where it starts to boil along the edge of the saucepan. Temper eggs: mix the egg yolks with cornstarch until smooth. Pour a small amount of the warm milk mixture in a slow and steady stream into the eggs while whisking. This helps bring the eggs temperature up without cooking them and causing lumps.
  2. Add eggs: add the egg mixture into the cream in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer while whisking. Let this cook until nice and thick, the cream should coat a spoon. Remove from heat: remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted and mixed in. Let this cool for several minutes before laying the pudding.
How to make homemade banana pudding showing making homemade whipped cream and layering pudding in a baking dish.
  1. Make the whipped cream: In a mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium high speed with a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Mix in a portion of this with the pudding, it gives it a light and airy texture. The rest is for the topping.
  2. Layer the pudding: working in either a 1.5-2 qt baking dish or smaller jars or cups layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and pudding. Top with the homemade whipped cream. Chill, let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.
Whipped cream spread over the top of banana pudding for chilling.

FAQS: Homemade Banana Pudding

Is banana pudding served warm or cold?

It can be served either way. This particular recipe is served cold, it’s chilled and served with whipped cream on top. Some recipes will use egg whites to make a meringue topping, and then will be baked and served warm.

How do you keep bananas from turning brown in pudding?

Ensure that all the bananas are covered with the pudding. This helps to prevent exposure to air and keeps the bananas from turning brown. Homemade banana pudding is best served within 48 hours of preparing to ensure a beautiful presentation.

What can I use instead of vanilla wafers in pudding?

You can substitute the vanilla wafers with any kind of vanilla gluten free/dairy free vanilla cookie of your choice. Some others options would include: shortbread, butter cookies, or even graham crackers.

Glass dish showing layers of homemade banana pudding

Expert Tips:

  • Cookie Size: Break the cookies to make them easier to eat with a spoon. 
  • Bananas: Slice the bananas thick so that they don’t break down in the pudding while it rests. Use yellow bananas with very few brown spots. Ensure the bananas are covered with the custard, this helps prevent browning by covering them and preventing air exposure.
  • Timing: Enjoy within 48 hours. 

More Southern Recipes to Enjoy:

Banana pudding in a baking dish being scooped up showing sliced bananas and nilla wafers with pudding and whipped cream.

Banana Pudding

5 from 2 votes
Creamy vanilla pudding made from scratch is layered with vanilla wafers, slices of banana, and topped with a whipped topping! An easy to make, Southern dessert recipe sure to please a crowd!

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces vanilla wafers
  • 3 bananas, sliced

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Add the egg yolks and cornstarch to a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  • In a medium size saucepan combine the milk, cream, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, just until the milk starts bubbling around the edge of the pot. 
  • Remove 1/2 cup of heated milk mixture and in a slow and steady stream, pour this into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Add the now warmed egg mixture into the saucepan with the heated cream.
  • Bring the cream and egg mixture back to a simmer while whisking. Continue cooking until this mixture is thickened and pulling away from the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat. 
  • Stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Stir into the pudding until completely melted and smooth.
  • If needed pour this mixture into a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps from cooking.
  • Let this pudding mixture sit and cool for about 5 minutes before adding to a medium size bowl. 
  • Cover the pudding mixture with plastic wrap pressed down directly on top of the pudding and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes before proceeding with the next step. 
  • In a medium size mixing bowl add the ingredients for the whipped cream. 
  • Mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until cream forms stiff peaks.
  • Spoon half of the whipped cream into the pudding and stir to combine.
  • In a 2 quart dish add a layer of Nilla wafers, top with a layer of sliced bananas, then half of the banana pudding mixture. Repeat this one more time. If you are using a glass dish you could line wafers and slices of banana along the side of the dish to make a pretty presentation.
  • Cover and let this chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
  • Top with the remaining whipped cream just before serving.

Notes

  • Vanilla Wafers: use any store bought brand or make your own! Here’s a fun recipe to try: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/vanilla-wafers-recipe
  • Bananas: for best results use yellow bananas with few brown spots. The bananas will break down further in the pudding and we don’t want to have mushy bananas.
  • Milk & Heavy Cream: both are used for making the pudding to ensure a nice thick pudding and heavy cream is needed for making the homemade whipped cream on top.
Storage & Freezing:
  • Store covered in the refrigerator. Best if enjoyed within 48 hours.
  • Freezing is not recommended.

Nutrition

Calories: 582kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 44g, Saturated Fat: 26g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 179mg, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 295mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 1664IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 118mg, Iron: 0.4mg
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Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co

Recipe first published June 1, 2020. Updated with new images July 29, 2022.