Banana Pudding 101

Fran Miller


If you grew up in the South, even South of the North Pole, you probably know all about Banana Pudding. One of the earliest cooking jobs for younger kids is to line a big glass casserole with vanilla wafer cookies. The next-older kids get to slice bananas, often with a dull knife, while a grown-up makes the homemade vanilla pudding to pour over the cookies & bananas.

I've noticed that Northern Banana Pudding is more about the pudding while Southern Banana Pudding is more about the cookies & bananas. Find the ratio you love best!

Here's a basic tutorial for this classic dessert. =^..^=


★★★★★ 2 votes

4-6, depending on serving size
10 Min
No-Cook or Other


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vanilla wafer cookies (see directions)


1 box
(3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
2 c


1/3 c
white sugar
2 Tbsp
1/4 tsp
salt, optional
2 c
large egg
1 Tbsp
butter or margarine
1 tsp
vanilla extract


1 to 3
bananas, sliced


egg whites
1/4 c
white sugar


1 can(s)
whipped cream

How to Make Banana Pudding 101


  • 1Once you decide to make Banana Pudding, you have more decisions to make. Do you want one big pudding or individual desserts? Instant pudding or homemade? Meringue or whipped cream on top? Try different combinations at different times until you find the one your family loves best.

    NOTE: The prep time listed above is for using instant pudding. If you plan on making homemade pudding & meringue, add another 45 minutes or so for prepping, cooking, and baking.
  • 2Line a glass dish or individual ramekins with vanilla wafer cookies. In the North, this would take about 1/2 a box (or 6 per ramekin) while in the South, you'd use the whole box.

    For TRUE Southern Banana Pudding, layer the vanilla wafers & banana slices in the glass dish, then cover with HOT homemade vanilla cornstarch pudding. Top with meringue.
  • 3IF USING INSTANT PUDDING: Make the pudding by whisking together the pudding mix & milk until it starts to thicken (about 2 minutes). Pour a little over the cookies...
  • 4...add banana slices...
  • 5...then add more pudding. You can also layer more cookies or banana slices.
  • 6Chill until ready to serve, then add whipped cream, if desired.
  • 7TO MAKE HOMEMADE PUDDING: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Measure the milk & add the egg. Stir together until mixed, then add to the dry ingredients and whisk together well. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding thickens and starts to bubble. Add the butter & stir well. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

    In the South, the hot pudding is poured over the layered cookies & bananas. It soaks in while you make the meringue.

    Others prefer to cool the pudding before pouring part of it over the cookies, adding banana slices, pouring more pudding (and MAYBE adding more cookies), and continue layering 'til your heart's content. Chill until ready to serve OR top with meringue next.
  • 8For meringue, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a clean glass bowl, beat the egg whites with the mixer until soft peaks form (the ones that fold over). Continue beating, adding the sugar by the tablespoon until all the sugar is used and the meringue stands up in stiff peaks.

    Top the pudding with the meringue, spreading gently over the top and sealing around the edges. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely (or chill) before serving.

    **This photo shows Banana Pudding made with a double batch of homemade pudding, topped with meringue.
  • 9NOTE: My mother also used COOKED vanilla pudding (from a box) at times, which also tasted good. Sometimes she topped it with meringue and sometimes she made homemade whipped cream, or (if you can remember this) Dream Whip. Great childhood memories came out of Mom's kitchen. =^..^=

Printable Recipe Card

About Banana Pudding 101

Course/Dish: Fruit Desserts, Puddings
Main Ingredient: Sugar
Regional Style: Southern
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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