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The Best Banana Pudding

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This recipe is the best banana pudding you will ever have! Homemade vanilla pudding, layered with Nilla wafers, fresh bananas, and topped with toasted meringue. This dessert is a southern classic and the perfect end of the dinner sweet treat.

The Best Banana Pudding in a glass.

Do you absolutely love old-fashioned southern desserts?

If you just screamed, “OMG YES!” then I have just the recipe for you!

This banana pudding is the absolute best!

Put together with homemade vanilla pudding, freshly sliced bananas, Nilla wafers, and topped with toasted homemade meringue.

It’s an elegant twist to a classic dish that was a part of every single summer potluck my family put together.

Trust me, if you’re a big fan of bananas you’ll love this recipe!

Ingredients to make The Best Banana Pudding.

Ingredients for banana pudding

  • Homemade vanilla pudding – Most banana pudding is made with a boxed pudding mix which is a great time saver but for THE BEST banana pudding, I made the pudding from scratch!
  • Meringue – I saved the egg whites and opted to turn them into a meringue for the topping to mix things up. If you’re not a fan of meringue you can use fresh whipped cream or cool whip in its place.
  • Fresh bananas – Banana pudding isn’t banana pudding with fresh bananas. I like to use just turned yellow bananas as they are firm but sweet and hold up nicely.
  • Nilla wafersNilla wafers are the brand name for vanilla wafer cookies. They are found in the cookie aisle and sold in a box.
A hand picking up a single serve glass of The Best Banana Pudding.

Using boxed pudding instead

If you’re short on time you can 100% use boxed pudding.

I would substitute with vanilla instant pudding but instant banana pudding would work well too.

Difference between cold and hot banana pudding

Warm or cooked banana pudding is another southern specialty!

The big difference is that one is baked and then served warm and the other version is served cold.

Traditionally the cooked version is served with a meringue top but I went ahead and made my banana pudding extra special by adding the meringue to the cold version.

The Best Banana Pudding served with extra Nilla wafers.

Making banana pudding in advance

Banana pudding is one of the best recipes to make in advance!

I like to make it in the morning or the night before serving.

Typically if I know the meringue will be sitting in the fridge overnight I will make the meringue, set it aside, and then top and brown right before serving.

Topping banana pudding

In this recipe, I used the leftover egg white to make a meringue which I toasted.

It’s sort of a mashup of cold and hot banana pudding.

If you’re not a fan of meringue or simply don’t feel like making it, you can instead use Cool Whip. That holds up well t being refrigerated.

The Best Banana Pudding served with a spoon.

More easy dessert recipes

The Best Banana Pudding

The Best Banana Pudding

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This recipe is the best banana pudding you will ever have! Homemade vanilla pudding, layered with Nilla wafers, fresh bananas, and topped with toasted meringue. This dessert is a southern classic and the perfect end of the dinner sweet treat.

Ingredients

For pudding

  • 1-1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks, save the whites for the meringue below
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For meringue

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly

  • 2 cups Nilla Wafers
  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced

Instructions

For the pudding 

  1. Add the milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch to a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. 
  2. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and cover the pudding with plastic wrap.
  4. Transfer it to the fridge until chilled, about 1 hour. 

For the meringue 

  1. Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. 
  2. Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl and whisk constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and mix just until combined.
  5. Set aside until ready to use. 

For assembly

  1. Cover the bottom of your serving dish with Nilla Wafers. You can either do one big serving dish or individual cups.  
  2. Cover with a layer of pudding followed by a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat until all components are completely used, making sure the last layer is pudding. 
  3. Spread or pipe the meringue evenly over the custard layer.
  4. Toast the top of the meringue with a kitchen torch until golden brown, about 10 seconds. 
  5. Serve immediately or store the pudding in the fridge until ready to enjoy, up to 4 hours in advance. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 100gFiber: 3gSugar: 72gProtein: 13g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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The Best Banana Pudding pin for Pinterest.

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