Southern Style Banana Pudding

“When my dad used to make this… he’d be in the kitchen for at least half a day.  Making sure everyone knows what he’s doing.  Every move was slow.  Deliberate.  And calculated… He’d make me think I’ve done something good… and for it… I’m being rewarded…”

My husband would often this whenever I make this pudding.

This banana pudding is one of the few desserts that my father-in-law used to make.  In fact…it is the only dessert that I’ve seen him made…

I always have liked it when he made it.  It was so good, there were times when I wish I could eat half the pudding…

My version of this banana pudding is loaded with plenty of bananas and Nilla Wafers.  It is  banana pudding after all, right?  At least this is how I  make it at my home.  Th0ugh I can’t speak for everyone…

We went to a Superbowl Party few weeks ago.  And one of the desserts was Banana Pudding, which was catered by a local barbecue place.  The custard was tasty.  Though I kept looking to see what happened to the bananas and Nilla Wafers…?  They skimped on both of these ingredients.  Not unusual for a restaurant – skimping on ingredients to fatten up their bottom line.

Banana pudding is one of the simplest and easiest dessert to make.  If I don’t count the time it takes to chill the banana pudding before serving, it is fast to make.  It takes about 30 minutes to assemble.

I always use perfectly ripe bananas.  The ones with no brown spots.  But perfectly ripe to eat.

Here’s what you need:

Perfectly ripe bananas.

Large eggs.

But we’re only going to need the egg yolks.

Unless you’re feeling energetic and have some time to spare.  And own an electric mixer.  And want to top the pudding with meringue.

All purpose flour, granulated or fine sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Coconut milk. And water to make 3 cups.

Of course, you can use whole milk, evaporated milk, or soymilk.

Pure Vanilla Extract.

Nabisco Nilla Wafers.  My husband loves his banana pudding with these wafers.  He did not care much for the lady fingers as much as I did…


Or lady finger cookies.

I have recently used lady fingers for my banana pudding… And I must say it was great! I loved the texture.  Though I learned to increase the sugar next time…

What to do:

Peel the bananas.

And then sliced them into rounds.

Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the sliced bananas.  To keep them from browning.

Carefully crack the eggs, one at at time, and separate the egg yolks and whites.

Beat the egg yolks.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a large pot.

Slowly pour coconut milk over the flour, while whisking it.

Turn the stove to medium heat.

Keep whisking until flour and sugar is completely dissolved.

And the mixture thickens smooth  custard.  But NOT boiling.

Technically… this is not custard yet.  Because we haven’t added the egg yolks… But you know what I mean…

The texture should resembles condensed milk.

Scope a small amount of the custard into the beaten eggyolks.

Whisk to combine the egg yolks and custard.

Slowly pour the beaten egg yolks into the custard…

Keep whisking until custard comes to a boil.  And then immediately reduce the heat to low.

Continue whisking for another minute.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Add one teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract.

Whisk to combine.

Add about 1/3 of the custard into a deep dish.  A square or triangle dish is fine.

Spread the custard to cover the bottom of the dish.

Line a layer of Nabisco Nilla Wafers over the custard.

And top that layer with sliced bananas.

Spread half of the remaining custard over the banana layer.

And cover custard layer with another layer of Nabisco Nilla Wafers.

And top it with the last layer of sliced bananas.

And finally cover the last banana layer with the remaining custard.

You can stop at this point.  If you don’t have the time to make the meringue.  Or simply don’t want to be bothered with the meringue.

At this point… you can now refrigerate this Southern Style Banana Pudding.  And chill it for at least three hours before serving.

And if… you decide to top the banana pudding with a meringue…

Here’s what you need:

I have always made meringues using an electric mixer.  Because I don’t think my arms are strong enough to withstand the continuous whisking of the egg whites until it forms into a meringue.

So therefore, I would highly recommend using an electric mixer.  Unless you’ve got a volunteer to do the whisking…

Otherwise, I will forgo the meringue and just enjoy the banana pudding without it.

But… If you don’t mind this extra step…

Then, I say… go for it!

You’re going to need the egg whites

Granulated sugar.  Extra fine sugar is best.

Cream of tartar.  This will help stabilize the meringue.

Pure Vanilla Extract.

What to do:

I apologize for not having a step by step photo on how to make the meringue…  So I hope the few photos I have here and and the instruction will suffice…

First.  Be sure the mixing bowl is free of oil and lint.

So what I do is right before making the meringue… I wash the mixing bowl with hot and soapy water.  Rinse it with hot water and shake off excess water.

Then proceed with making the meringue.

The meringue should be slightly firm and glossy.

Spread the meringue over the banana pudding (last layer of custard).  And use the back of a spoon to make a design.

You then bake the meringue topped banana pudding in a preheated oven at 375 °F for 8 – 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool over a cooling rack for at least an hour before chilling in the refrigerator.

Banana Pudding using Lady Finger Cookies.

Without the meringue.

Banana Pudding with Nabisco Nilla Wafers.

Without the meringue.


Southern Style Banana Pudding

½ cup + 2 TBSPs. granulated sugar

½ cup flour

2 TBSPs. cornstarch

¼ tsp. kosher salt

5 large egg yolks, beaten

1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk + water to  make 3 cups

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 package (12 ounces) Nabisco Nilla Wafers

5 – 6 large ripe bananas (ripe but no brown spots) – peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Using a 3 quart sauce pan, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.

Turn on the stove to medium heat.

Gradually whisk in coconut milk.  Keep whisking until mixture is lightly thickened.  But not boiling.

Add ½ cup of milk mixture to egg yolks.  Whisk to combine.

Slowly pour beaten egg yolks over the milk mixture, while whisking constantly.

Keep wisking custard until it comes to a full boil.  And then immediately reduce heat to low.  Keep whisking for another minute.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Add vanilla extract and whisk to combine.

Spread about 1/3 of the custard on the bottom of an 8” x 8“baking dish.

Layer Nilla Wafers over the custard.

And then, layer banana slices over layer of Nilla Wafers.

Spread another ½ of the remaining pudding over the banana layers.

Repeat the same process – by layering the Nilla Wafers and banana slices.

You should end up with a layer of custard as the last and top layer.

How to Prepare the meringue:

4 large egg whites

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ cup + 2 TBSPs. Granulated sugar

Wash the mixer bowl with hot soapy water.  Rinse thoroughly and shake water off the bowl.

Place bowl in the electric mixer and attach the wire whisk.

Add egg whites and beat on high speed until foamy.

Add cream of tartar and vanilla extract.  Continue beating on high speed until soft peaks form – about 2 minutes.

Gradually add the sugar, while the mixer is running on medium speed.  Beat on high speed again until peaks are firm and glossy, but not too dry. (This will take about 1 minute.)

Spoon the meringue over the layers of the banana pudding, slightly pressing the meringue to make sure it is touching the pudding and sides of the baking dish.

Use the back of the spoon to create an attractive design on the meringue.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 °F for 8 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove pudding from the oven and cool completely.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

NOTE on Substitutions:

For my friends in the Philippines who may want to try this recipe… you may have to make do with what is available at your grocery store.  Especially when it comes to the cookies or wafers…

As for the milk… use 3 cups of Carnation Evaporated Milk.

As for the bananas… use very ripe, eating bananas.  I don’t think the “saba” will be good for this.

As for the tools… if you don’t have a whisk, you can use a cooking spoon.   And it might take longer to mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt and milk until they are well combined and free of lumps.  Good luck!

Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:

If using Lady Finger Cookies… increase the sugar to ¾ cup.  I found that the Lady Finger Cookies are less sweet than the Nabisco Nilla Wafers.  Thus, the sugar increase.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Tess Harris

5 thoughts on “Southern Style Banana Pudding

  1. I know how this is Willie’s favorite recipe for you to make him. I’ve not made pudding in such a long time. Maybe when the kids are all together, I’ll give this a try. I like the finished picture of the lady fingers better. Looks much softer and spongier, as this would be the one I try. I love fried eggs. I’d use those extra egg whites to make one big fried egg…….yummy! 🙂 Your right Tess, does seem like an easy dessert to make, and a great way to boost your potassium. Thanks Tess. 🙂

    • Thanks Tess!

      Yeah… I’ve posted a much longer story about this banana pudding on Y360 before. I decided to shortened it here…

      Me too. I LOVED the texture of the lady fingers. And you’re right with the lady fingers, this pudding is much softer and spongier.

      I like your idea about frying all the egg whites. And eat it with rice… 🙂

      Yeah. Plenty of potassium. We need it… 🙂

      You’re welcome, Tess.

  2. I’m liking this recipe alot even though there seems to be some assembling required…but I guess it’s all worth it for the end result. I think I would skip the meringue part but it does look nice. I have never had Southern Style Banana Pudding before but I can see this becoming one of my favorites. Glad you gave substitutes cause its really hard to find coconut milk here ~ not cause they don’t sell it but it flies off the shelves fast.

    Definitely giving this one a try :). I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    Huggggerooos……thnx Tess 🙂

    • Thanks Mario! and you’re welcome.

      Glad to hear you’re liking this recipe. If you like bananas, then this recipe is for you. 🙂 The custard alone is really good. I can’t help but eat spoonfuls of it while assembling the whole thing… 🙂

      Yeah. Lately, I’ve been lazy and I’ve been skipping the meringue too. 🙂

      I’m surprise to hear how coconut milk flies off the shelf in your city… Wow. What are they doing…?

      Anyway. I hope this banana pudding turns out good for you. Good luck!


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