Mama’s Southern Banana Pudding

By September 29, 2022 No Comments

Southern Banana is the ultimate comfort food and most definitely the queen of Southern desserts. A rich homemade vanilla custard is layered with delicious vanilla wafer cookies and topped with a billowing pillar of baked meringue. 

A lot of Southern recipes are very dear to my heart but this is the most dearest. We Southerners like to share stories about the food we eat. Food often brings back memories of happy times and sometimes sad times as well. 

This recipe brings back happy times. My mother taught me how to make banana pudding when I was eight years old. I remember when I finally got it down pat, mama let me make it for a special occasion. My grandparents were coming to dinner and homemade banana pudding was my granddaddy’s favorite dessert!!

I had the honor of making it and needless to say, I was thrilled to death! My banana pudding turned out beautiful! The meringue was tall and fluffy with lots of toasted meringue peaks all over! 

 I will NEVER forget how my granddaddy’s big blue eyes lit up when I placed the big bowl of homemade pudding in front of him!

That was the very moment that I fell in love with Southern cooking. 

Made-from-scratch-banana pudding is made with simple ingredients but it tastes absolutely heavenly. My grandmother would often say, “ There isn’t a thing in the world  that a homemade banana pudding won’t cure.” I totally agree with her!

This queen of Southern desserts will grace the table at funerals, church suppers, and potlucks, and you’ll be sure to find it on menus of Southern diners.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to make a real authentic Southern made-from-scratch banana pudding just like my mama taught me how. Are you ready?


Ingredients that you will need: (Be sure to see the full complete printable recipe below)

  • White granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt 
  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Butter
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Bananas 
  • Vanilla wafers. (Mama and I prefer the Nilla brand)
  • Cream of tartar
  • You’ll also need a 1 ½ quart glass bowl (Mama says that you just gotta make it in a glass bowl so it shows all the pretty layers)
  • A double boiler or use a makeshift one like I do. 


Mama’s tips on how to make the perfect Southern Banana pudding.

  • Your bananas need to be fully ripe but not over-ripe. Green bananas will not have any taste and over-ripe bananas (like you make with banana bread) will be too dark and mushy. Choosing the perfect ripeness is crucial to having perfect banana pudding.

  • Cook your custard over boiling water so it doesn’t scorch. There is nothing worse than a scorch-burnt tasting banana pudding.
  • Use Nilla brand vanilla wafers. One time I used an off brand and it just wasn’t near as good as the Nilla. I’m giving you my honest opinion as I always do. 
  • Room temperature eggs especially the eggs whites for the meringue. 
  • Use whole milk. The full fat content of whole milk will make the custard rich and creamy and so delicious! So we won’t be using 1%, 2% or skim milk in our made from scratch pudding. There is no such thing as a low calorie Southern banana pudding, that’s my opinion. 
  • Use pure vanilla extract rather than the imitation vanilla. Pure vanilla makes all the difference in the world. 
  • Don’t sip on making the meringue. Real Southern Banana Pudding is topped with a billowing pillar of baked meringue. (I usually go ahead and double the meringue recipe!) A cool whipped topping is not the same.
  • Mama wanted me to be sure to remind me to tell you to be very careful when separating your egg yolks and egg whites. If there is the least amount of yellow egg yolk in the egg whites, your meringue will be as “flat as flitter.” That’s an old Southern term or in other words your meringue will not whip up. Mama also strongly suggests that you double the meringue recipe especially if you are taking it to a family reunion or potluck. Meringue wilts after a little while and the extra meringue on top helps to keep it looking pretty longer. Just remember not to put the extra egg yolks in the custard. You can either discard them or make an omelette with them. 
  • Lastly, but a very important tip from Mama. Be sure to assemble or layer the bananas and cookies while the custard is still warm. The warm custard makes the cookies soft and the whole pudding extra yummy!😋

How to make Banana Pudding 

    1. Mix sugar and flour together in a heavy deep saucepan. Slowly pour whole milk into the saucepan. Whisk milk with sugar and flour until smooth.
    2.  Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Beat egg yolks and add them to the milk mixture. Add butter.
    3. Cook over water or use a double boiler. Cook until thick but still pourable. When the pudding coats the back of a spoon, you know that it’s ready!
    4. Add the vanilla extract.
    5. Line the bottom of a glass bowl or dish with a layer of vanilla wafers. Slice a layer of bananas over the wafers. Spoon enough pudding over bananas to cover well. Repeat this process until you have three layers. Pour the remaining pudding over the top. Note: Be sure not to slice the bananas ahead of time. They will turn black if you slice them ahead. I slice them one banana at a time and only after my pudding is done and I’m ready to layer and pour the pudding over them and the cookie layers.
    6. Cover with plastic wrap while you make the meringue. 
    7. To make the meringue: Place egg whites (Room temperature egg whites whip up the best.) in a mixing. Beat until egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. 
    8. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.

Add vanilla extract. Remove plastic wrap from pudding and spread meringue over pudding.

Be sure to cover the entire surface and seal the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. 

Garnish with extra cookies. Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers. Yum!! So delicious! I know that you are going to LOVE it!!

I hope this recipe brings you as much joy as it has to me and my family and be sure to share this recipe with others. 

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments about the recipe. I would love to hear from you. And if you make it, use #deliciouslysouthern. Also, please follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest



P.S. Be sure to check out my cookbook Deliciously Southern! It makes a great gift to yourself or to someone else.



Mama’s Southern Banana Pudding

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total Time: -28612871.633333 minute
  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings


Southern Banana is the ultimate comfort food and most definitely the queen of Southern desserts. A rich homemade vanilla custard is layered with delicious vanilla wafer cookies and topped with a billowing pillar of baked meringue.


For the banana pudding custard

  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (You’ll use the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 3 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, soften (I use salted butter)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 4 to 5 medium (fully ripe but not too ripe) bananas 
  • 1 (12- ounce) box vanilla wafers. (Save 4 or 5 for garnishing the top of the meringue if desired)

For the meringue topping (I usually go ahead and double the meringue recipe. Note: doubling the meringue is Totally optional.) But be sure to only put three eggs yolks in the custard. You can use the extra three egg yolks in an omelette or something else if you don’t want to throw them away.)

  • 3 egg whites (From the separated egg yolks)
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. To make the custard: In the top of a double boiler, combine ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons of sugar, ⅓ cup of flour, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix well. 
  2. In a small separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add milk and butter. Then, add the wet egg/ milk mixture to the dry ingredients in the double boiler. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Cook uncovered over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened about 15 minutes. Reduce heat and cool stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. 
  5. Line the bottom of a 1 ½ quart baking (I use a glass baking dish so the layers show!) with a layer of vanilla wafers. Top with a layer of sliced bananas over the wafers. Next, pour about ⅓ cup of the custard over the bananas. Continue this process of layering wafers, bananas and custard to make 3 layers each ending with the custard. (I also like to line the sides of the glass dish with wafers too. It makes it look so pretty!) Note: Be sure to start the layering process while the custard is still warm. The warm custard softens the cookies and makes the banana pudding even more yummy!
  6. Cover the custard pudding bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while you make the meringue.
  7. To make the meringue: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs whites and cream of tartar, while gradually adding the 6 tablespoons of sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Add vanilla extract. Spoon meringue over the pudding, spreading to cover the entire surface and sealing the edges. 
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Top with the remaining 4 or 5 vanilla wafers if desired. You can also crush the remaining wafers and sprinkle on top of the meringue. Serve warm. Refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy!


Do ahead tip: You can make the banana pudding up the night before. Remember it’s best to layer the pudding when the custard is warm. My suggestion: if you want to make it the night before serving, go ahead and layer the pudding with wafers and bananas and cover it with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated. Store your egg whites in the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature and make the meringue right before serving.



Hi, my name is Aletia. I am a true blue Southern girl, cookbook author, entrepreneur, self-taught food photographer and lover of chocolate.