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Banana Pudding Recipe – How to Make it in 14 Simple Steps

A close look at a batch of banana pudding in a casserole dish.

The classic, old-fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe features a meringue topping. This was likely because the custard uses three egg yolks, and smart, frugal cooks did not want to waste the egg whites. Therefore, they would whip the egg whites into a fluffy meringue topping and bake it in the oven.

We chose not to top our Banana Pudding with meringue. While many people love meringue, there are those who really do not care for it at all. They may scrape the meringue off to the side of their dessert plates and eat around it. 

Banana Pudding Recipe

April Freeman
Distinctively Southern, Banana Pudding is one dish that you will find at every church potluck or barbeque dinner. This dairy-based dessert features layer after layer of cooked vanilla custard, bananas, and vanilla wafers. This dessert sits in the refrigerator for several hours, and the vanilla wafers become soft and gooey.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings


  • Small Microwave-Safe Bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Electric Mixer
  • Large Saucepan
  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Wire whisk
  • Deep Casserole Dish


Ingredients for Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • tbsp Water
  • 1 teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin
  • cups Cold Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Ingredients for Cooked Custard

  • 4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • cups Sugar
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 pcs Large Egg Yolks
  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 box Vanilla Wafers
  • 6 pcs Bananas


  • To start with, you will create the stabilized whipped cream for the banana pudding. Put the water in a small microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder on the top of the water. Stir it a bit, letting it sit. If after a few minutes there are still granules in the gelatin, microwave the bowl for about 5 seconds, just enough to warm the water and help the gelatin to dissolve. Stir this mixture and then let it cool. It should be a jelly-like mixture.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream on medium speed together with the powdered sugar and the vanilla.
    The powdered sugar and whipping cream are mixed.
  • Whip this mixture on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly drizzle the gelatin into the bowl, allowing it to fully combine with the whipping cream.
  • Increase the speed to high and beat it until stiff peaks form. This shouldn’t take very long. You should be careful not to overbeat the mixture, or you may make butter in the mixing bowl. Set the whipping cream in the refrigerator while you create the rest of the banana pudding.
  • Now you can move on to making the custard for the banana pudding. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • In a medium-sized bowl or measuring cup, beat the eggs and then add the milk, stirring them to combine. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and whisk these ingredients together.
  • Cook this mixture over medium heat, stirring almost constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth.
  • Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the vanilla and the sour cream.
  • Place a layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan or a deep casserole dish.
    The deep casserole dish is fitted with wafers at the bottom.
  • Slice two or three of the bananas and put them in a layer on top of the vanilla wafers.
    A layer of banana slices are placed on top of the wafers.
  • Pour a third of the custard mixture over the bananas in a single layer.
    This is a close look at the saucepan cooking the custard and the casserole of wafers and banana slices.
  • Top this layer with another layer of vanilla wafers and bananas, along with half of the remaining custard mixture. Add another layer of vanilla wafers and bananas, topped by the final bit of custard. Add a single layer of vanilla wafers on top of the custard but no bananas.
  • Spread your reserved whipping cream over the top of the wafers in an even layer. You can decorate the top with extra vanilla wafers and crushed wafer crumbs for decoration.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
    This is a batch of Banana Pudding with wafer borders.


Whipped cream is a much more universally loved topping for this dessert. However, if you want to store whipped cream, it generally deflates into a runny puddle. That’s why we chose to create stabilized whipped cream to top our dessert.
Stabilized whipped cream uses gelatin to keep the whipped cream light and fluffy while the dessert sits in the refrigerator for several hours to soften the vanilla wafer cookies.
Banana Pudding as a dessert was invented in the late 1800s, as cooks experimented with the newly-imported tropical fruit, the banana. Often these desserts resembled the old-fashioned English trifle, using cake to create layers with fruit and cooked custard. In the early 1900s, the Nabisco company created the vanilla wafer cookie.
Savvy cooks began using the vanilla wafer in their Banana Pudding recipes to replace the cake that had previously been used. A few decades later, the Nabisco company printed the recipe for a Banana Pudding on the side of their boxes of vanilla wafers and this recipe became even more popular.
Though in modern times, this recipe is touted as a distinctively Southern recipe, oddly, it was created all over the nation from the beginning of the 1900s. Nobody quite knows when it became a “Southern” recipe, but the trend of labeling it as such started in the 1950s. Additionally, no one knows why this recipe is labeled as a Southern one either.
Keyword Banana Pudding, Dessert, Recipe

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