The BEST Homemade Banana Pudding

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This Homemade Banana Pudding recipe makes the creamiest and most flavorful banana pudding ever! Layered with bananas and sweet vanilla wafer cookies, this Southern dessert recipe is hands down the best banana pudding.

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An Amazing Homemade Banana Pudding

The hubs and I are HUGE fans of banana pudding. Like, huge. In fact, we love any and all things banana – just refer to all the awesome banana recipes on my site – banana cream cheesecake, banana pudding cheesecake, banana oatmeal cookies, overnight banana French toast casserole – the list goes on. If you can put bananas in it – we love it.

And there’s nothing better than a delicious homemade pudding. I feel like that’s how banana pudding is supposed to be. Southern, homemade, amazing.

But while I’ve tasted lots of great banana pudding in my day (and some not so great), I’ve never had a go-to recipe myself. So, I set out to make one.

Homemade Banana Pudding or Banana Pudding Mix?

There seem to be a couple different camps when it comes to banana pudding – homemade banana pudding and then banana pudding made with pudding mix. There’s some variation in there, but overall, they split into those two.

A lot of homemade banana pudding recipes are pretty much homemade banana pudding – just straight up – layered with vanilla wafers and bananas.

When it comes to the pudding mix versions, they are often mixed with either sweetened condensed milk or cream cheese, or both. They also typically have some whipped cream stirred in there.

I tried it with various mixes of all of the above. The straight up homemade way, the pudding mix with sweetened condensed milk and a version that also included cream cheese.

If I’m being completely honest, we preferred the pudding mix over the straight up homemade pudding version. The plain homemade pudding just didn’t have the flavor we’ve come to know as that classic banana pudding (from the sweetened condense milk) and the texture wasn’t as creamy.

However, I know homemade is often much better than what you get from a box, so I tried again to make something even better. This time with a mix of the two camps. I made homemade pudding and then add the sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream to it, like you might do with the pudding mix.

Homemade Banana Pudding in a GlassA Pan of Homemade Banana Pudding

What Makes this the Best Banana Pudding Recipe?

The result? PURE PERFECTION! Swapping out the pudding mix for homemade pudding gave it even more flavor! Seriously so perfect. This is seriously the best homemade banana pudding! You don’t have to worry about the box mix, but you get all the greatness of the sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream. It’s creamy, flavorful and amazing. It’s truly the southern-style banana pudding you dream of. I will never make another version.

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge! The pudding will firm up as it refrigerates overnight, and the banana flavor will intensify. This is definitely a dessert you’ll want to make ahead of time, which is a bonus. Amazing.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably already have ready to go! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Milk: You can’t make pudding without milk. I recommend using 2% to get the best texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: The vanilla flavor of the pudding not only goes great with the bananas, but it also compliments the vanilla wafers in the dessert.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Like many classic Southern desserts, this dish uses sweetened condensed milk.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Wafers: Every good banana pudding recipe uses these sweet wafer cookies. Classic.
  • Bananas
Homemade Banana Pudding in a Pan

How to Make Banana Pudding From Scratch

  1. Whisk the Eggs: In a small bowl, whisk 3 eggs together, then set the bowl aside.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients & Milk: In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Then, whisk in your milk.
  3. Cook the Mixture: Cook the milk and dry ingredient mixture over medium heat and stir until it begins to thicken and it just starts to bubble. Do not turn up the heat to make it cook quicker. Stop whisking every once in a while so you can tell when the mixture starts to bubble.
  4. Reduce Heat: Once it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Temper the Eggs: Slowly pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly so that the eggs don’t scramble.
  6. Return to Pan: Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and whisk constantly. Bring back to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, then reduce heat to low.
  7. Cook & Add Vanilla: Cook while stirring for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract. Keep in mind that the pudding thickens as it cools, so you don’t need it to be super thick before you remove it from the heat.
  8. Let it Cool: Allow the pudding to cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add Condensed Milk: Add the sweetened condensed milk to the pudding and allow it to continue to cool. The pudding will naturally thin out a little after you add the milk, it’s ok.
  10. Make Whipped Cream: When the pudding cools to about room temperature, make the whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  11. Combine Pudding & Whipped Cream: Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding in two parts.
  12. Assemble the Dessert: In an ungreased 9×13 baking dish, add a layer of vanilla wafers (about 45-50), then the banana slices and then the pudding.
  13. Set in the Refrigerator: Cover and refrigerate your pudding overnight. Just before serving, crush the remaining vanilla wafers and sprinkle over top. Serve and enjoy!

Tips for Perfect Banana Pudding

  • Don’t Rush the Thickening Process: You’ll notice the milk & dry ingredient mixture begin to thicken as you’re whisking. Don’t turn up the heat to cook it quicker – you want it to come to temperature slowly and not overcook. Once it begins to thicken, stop whisking for a few seconds here and there to pause and see if it’s bubbling. Because the mixture is thick, you’ll need to stop your whisk for a few seconds to notice the bubbling.
  • Add Milk Mixture to Eggs Slowly & Whisk: If you pour the milk mixture into the eggs too quickly, the heat may cause the eggs to scramble. Make sure you take your time and whisk constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.
  • Let the Pudding Cool: Before you add your whipped cream to the pudding, make sure it’s cooled to room temperature so your whipped cream doesn’t melt. This way, you’ll get your pudding to the perfect consistency.
  • Refrigerate Overnight: This dessert will be so much better after you let it set in the refrigerator. It really takes on the banana flavor! Once it’s set, the pudding will have the most amazing banana flavor!

Homemade Banana Pudding in a Dish

Homemade Banana Pudding Topped with Crushed Vanilla Wafers

How do You Serve Banana Pudding?

Crush some more vanilla wafers on top of the pudding before serving. This gives you a little bit of crunch to go with the soft wafers that have been refrigerated with the pudding. You can serve this dessert in a trifle dish or scoop your servings into a bowl or onto a plate – whichever you prefer!

How to Store Banana Pudding

Store your pudding in the fridge, covered. It will last for 2-3 days and should be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before serving. I don’t recommend freezing this dessert.

Does Banana Pudding Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, this dessert should be refrigerated before you serve it. It will taste so much better if you chill it overnight! The banana flavor will set into the pudding, and the consistency will be just right.

How Long Will Homemade Banana Pudding Last?

Your banana pudding should last for up to three days if you leave it covered in the refrigerator. On the third day, the bananas might not look their best, but don’t let them fool you! Your dessert will still taste delicious.

Homemade Banana Pudding

This Homemade Banana Pudding recipe makes the creamiest and most flavorful banana pudding ever! Layered with bananas and sweet vanilla wafer cookies, this Southern dessert recipe is hands down the best banana pudding I’ve had.

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Southern

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (33g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 6 tbsp (44g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz vanilla wafers (about 60 cookies), divided
  • 4 large bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together, set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the milk. 
  3. Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s beginning to thicken and it just begins to bubble. 
  4. Once it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Slowly pour a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly so that the eggs don’t scramble.
  6. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and whisk constantly. Bring back to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, then reduce heat to low.
  7. Cook while stirring for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract. Keep in mind that the pudding thickens as it cools, so you don’t need it to be super thick before you remove it from the heat.
  8. Allow pudding to cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  9. Add the sweetened condensed milk to the pudding and allow it to continue to cool. The pudding will naturally thin out a little after you add the milk, it’s ok. 
  10. When the pudding cools to about room temperature, make the whipped cream. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and remaining teaspoons of vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. 
  11. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding in two part.
  12. In an ungreased 9×13 baking dish, add a layer of vanilla wafers (about 45-50), then the banana slices and then the pudding.
  13. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, crush the remaining vanilla wafers and sprinkle over top.

Notes

You’ll notice the milk mixture begin to thicken as you’re whisking. Don’t turn up the heat to cook it quicker – you want it to come to temperature slowly and not overcook. Once it begins to thicken, stop whisking for a few seconds here and there to pause and see if it’s bubbling. Because the mixture is thick, you’ll need to stop your whisk for a few seconds to notice the bubbling. 

This can also be made in 9-inch square pan! You can either cut the recipe in half or do two of each layer.

If you really want to use a pudding mix, you can replace the homemade pudding with a 5 ounce box of instant vanilla pudding.

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