There's nothing like this delicious dessert experience - My Grandma's Baked Southern Banana Pudding. This classic Southern recipe features layers of silky homemade vanilla pudding, sliced fresh bananas, and crispy vanilla wafers, all topped off with a generous serving of homemade whipped cream or meringue--if that's your thing. The combination of flavors and textures creates a truly irresistible dessert that's perfect for any occasion. Whether you're hosting a dinner party or simply looking for a comforting treat, this Southern banana pudding recipe is sure to impress. Plus, it's always best after the first day once chilled completely in the fridge. Banana-free, No-Bake, + Vegan options.
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When it comes to My Grandma's Baked Southern Banana Pudding, I get excited every time because of it's luscious, rich, and creamy texture that I remember so vividly growing up when she used to make it during our Saturday movie nights. It was "our thing" and something so easy that literally took her minutes to whip together---one layer of cookie, bananas, and whipped cream at a time. This recipe is truly a Southern staple and one of the things I miss after moving from Florida.
Now that I live in New York, I enjoy Magnolia Bakery's version of banana pudding which is similar to my Classic Southern Banana Pudding recipe which I recommend and is entirely no bake. Need some food inspiration? Look no further than our lineup of 21 Soul-Satisfying Southern Comfort Food Recipes.
Of course, you can keep things traditional by using meringue instead of whipped cream and you'll only need a few things to achieve this: 4 egg whites, ¼ cup of cane sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar. Simply remove the egg whites (still chilled) and add it to an electric stand-mixer bowl. Whip the egg whites until smooth and glossy and then slowly add the sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) to the mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. Then continue recipe for assembly.
Basically, banana pudding is an old-fashioned Southern dessert that comes layered like a trifle. The layering includes: vanilla custard, vanilla cookies, and slices of bananas---sometimes topped with meringue or whipped cream.
This recipe is very authentic to the traditional Southern recipe of banana pudding and you can feel free to make substitutions as listed in the ingredients list based on your preference.
Here’s what you need to throw together this easy delicious Baked Southern Banana Pudding dessert:
OK, so maybe you didn't know that there are two types of banana pudding recipes. A true classic Southern traditional banana pudding is baked with a beautiful meringue and everything is married together well! And then there's a no-bake EASY version (as I've mentioned earlier in the post), which uses vanilla pudding mix and is closest to Magnolia Bakery.
For the baked version of banana pudding, you'll make your homemade pudding per usual, layer everything, and then whip together an easy meringue using egg whites which will be fluffy and cloudy and is used as the "topping" of your banana pudding.
Then you bake everything for a few minutes until the meringue is browned and remove it, let it cool, and then serve. If using whipped cream, you'll just bake until the tops (cookies and all) are golden brown and the pudding is bubbling.
I recommend making the banana pudding in a baking dish or foil pan (traditionally done in the South) which are both oven-safe.
Once your homemade vanilla pudding is made and warm, you’re ready to assemble. Here’s how to do it:
Once baked, for garnish on top, add more cookies and the whipped cream (if not using meringue). Serve warm. For leftovers, chill the fully assembled dessert after it cools completely at room temperature and refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 2 to 3 days. For the best flavor and texture, it's best when eaten the next day!
If you're thinking about keeping things from scratch instead of using Cool Whip for this banana pudding, no problem! Whipping together homemade whipped cream is super easy and only requires a mixer to achieve the perfect peeks! Here's what you'll need:
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream, using the whisk attachment for 4-5 minutes, until fluffy peaks begin to form. NOTE: When it begins to thicken after the first 2-3 minutes, gradually add in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Once fully fluffy, remove from mixer bowl and continue recipe.
First, you'll start by making your homemade vanilla pudding over the stovetop and letting the butter melt completely, before adding in the milk and remaining ingredients, whisking and slowly cooking until smooth and thickened.
Then it's on to assembling your banana pudding: starting with a layer of vanilla wafer cookies, followed by banana slices, and the warm vanilla pudding. Finally, you can add crushed cookies and a few more banana slices at the very top, if desired.
Then bake everything for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the pudding begins to bubble. Serve after 5-10 minutes of the banana pudding cooling.
Have you ever had bananas that weren't fully ripe, but you were dying to make a banana pudding? Well, I totally understand. I've definitely been there. Luckily, I've come across a few hacks to help you ripen your bananas if you're in a pinch and here's what you can do:
If you're looking to ripe your bananas more quickly for making this banana pudding then you can do one of the following:
OK, so if you aren't into Nilla wafers, don't currently have them on hand, or just want to switch things up-----don't worry! They can easily be substituted with Chessman cookies or Graham crackers, if preferred. In addition, you can use: shortbread cookies, animal crackers, or ladyfingers. If you'd like to switch things up a bit, I totally recommend Biscoff cookies like within my Best Biscoff Banana Pudding with Caramel recipe.
One of the biggest challenges for some people is the idea that the bananas will turn brown in their banana pudding after awhile, which is often the natural process of bananas once removed from their skin and sliced. However, there is a trick that you can do to slow this process down completely----which is adding a bit of lemon juice to your banana slices prior to adding them to your banana pudding. This helps to keep the bananas fresh for at least 3-4 days. Wallah!
Yes! If you prefer to make individual servings of dessert, you can layer the cookies, banana slices, and warm vanilla pudding in small cocottes or ramekins (which are oven-safe) for a cute and portable dessert. Because who doesn't love an easy dessert on the go?
Absolutely! You can totally omit the bananas if you aren't a banana fan and add extra cookies, if you want more of a "bite". It's really SO good, either way!
Of course! To make this banana pudding vegan, simply ensure that you use plant-based milk, vegan butter, and 1 Tablespoon of flour with the cornstarch to replace the egg yolks for your vanilla pudding. Also, use organic vanilla wafer cookies and top everything with coconut whipped cream for a nice finish. Wallah!
Yes indeed! You can definitely make this no bake by using a vanilla pudding mix instead of making your own pudding and then going right to assembly and chilling everything.
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with My Grandma's Baked Southern Banana Pudding. Everything from my fave baking sheet, parchment paper, food processor, high-powered blender, skillets, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
If you love My Grandma's Baked Southern Banana Pudding, try these classic Southern recipes next!
Store leftover banana pudding in the fridge (tightly sealed) after cooling completely for 2 to 3 days. The cookies will continue to get soggy, so the texture of the entire dish will change the longer it's left in the fridge past those amount of days.
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