Last updated on January 15th, 2023
Honk if you love Classic Banana Pudding! This timeless treasure features cookies, bananas, and vanilla custard, all of which are lovingly layered beneath a mountain of meringue. I make the dessert from scratch, just as my mother did in the 1960s. Here’s the video how-to along with a handy printable recipe:
Watch the video above to see all the fine points for making Classic Banana Pudding from scratch. (Okay, the cookies are store-bought.) Then scroll down for a few culinary notes and the printable recipe. Hungry for more? Get my email updates.
Notes for Making Classic Banana Pudding
For the best results, make the custard in a double boiler. If you don’t have a proper double boiler, just do what I did, and place a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl fits snuggly over the pan, and that its bottom does not touch the water below.
Patience, please. Stir the custard mixture slowly and constantly. After 10-12 minutes, the mixture will turn silky smooth and thick. The custard will continue to thicken as it cools.
The cookie component. Although my mother routinely used Nabisco “‘Nilla Wafers” in her banana pudding, I like to use buttery Pepperidge Farm “Chessmen” cookies in mine. Other store-bought or homemade biscuits will work as well. Feel free to experiment!
Other desserts you might enjoy:
Classic Banana Pudding
For the custard
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (45g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups (500ml) whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the meringue topping:
- 3 egg whites from large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
For assembling the dessert:
- 1 box 'Nilla wafers or 2 (7.25-ounce) packages Chessmen cookies
- 5 bananas, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick crosswise slices
Making the custard:
- Center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 350°F. In a double boiler (or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg yolks and half of the milk, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the remaining milk.
- Stir the mixture slowly and constantly until it turns silky smooth and thick -- 10-12 minutes (be patient here). Off heat, stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside while you make the meringue topping.
Making the meringue topping:
- Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the whisk attachment (or, use a large bowl and electric hand-held beaters). When the whites turn foamy, add the cream of tartar. While eating at high speed, slowly add the 1/4 cup sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Assembling the dessert:
- Put a single layer of cookies in a baking dish that holds approximately 11 cups (2.7 liters). Add 1/2 of the banana slices, and top with 1/2 of the custard. Then add another layer of cookies, followed by the remaining bananas and custard. Top with the meringue, spreading it all the way to edge of the baking dish.
Baking and serving the dessert:
- Bake in the preheated 350°F oven until the meringue browns lightly -- 10-15 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or cold from the fridge.