Easy Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

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Homemade banana pudding is classic Southern comfort food at its finest. Yet, very easy to make. 

Easy Banana Pudding Recipe

How to make simple banana pudding

My great-grandmother was an esteemed caterer.

She taught my dad how to make homemade easy banana pudding from scratch by layering banana slices, vanilla pudding, cookies, and whipped cream. 

Next, she added a top layer of meringue (a fluffy topping made of egg white). 

What is the difference between this pudding and a cooked banana pudding?

What is the difference between this pudding and a cooked banana pudding?

An old-fashioned banana pudding recipe like my grandma’s included a top layer of meringue, which required the finished layered dessert to be placed in the oven broiler to cook the egg white meringue.

This no-bake recipe is topped with a cream cheese and whipped topping mixture, then garnished with crumbled cookies.

What are the components of real banana pudding?

An authentic Southern banana pudding recipe will include layers of bananas, pudding, Nilla cookies, and whipped cream – with or without a meringue topping.

What are the ingredients to make banana pudding?

So how do you make easy banana pudding from scratch? And what are the ingredients to make banana pudding?

Check out the easy banana pudding recipe ingredients and step-by-step instructions below!

Kitchen equipment

 

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Ingredients for an easy Southern banana pudding recipe

  • 3 ripe fresh bananas, sliced into banana rounds
  • 8 oz. of whipped cream (1 container)
  • 8 oz. whipped cream cheese (1 container of Cool Whip)
  • 11 oz. box of Nilla Wafers cookies (and ¼ cup of crumbled cookies)
  • 4.6 oz. instant or cook & serve vanilla pudding mix
How to make simple banana pudding

Instructions for an easy banana pudding recipe

  1. Make the pudding according to the pudding mixture box instructions and set it aside in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix the whipped topping and cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan or dish with Nilla Wafers cookies.
  4. Add a layer of banana slices over the Nilla Wafers.
  5. Using a small spatula, spread the vanilla pudding evenly over the bananas.
  6. Add a layer of the whipped topping and cream cheese mixture over the pudding layer.
  7. Repeat the above steps for a second layer of cookies, bananas, pudding, and whipped topping.
  8. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of crumbled cookies over the top layer of whipped cream.
  9. Allow the banana pudding to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  10. Banana pudding is easiest to slice after being refrigerated.
  11. Then serve this easy banana pudding recipe and enjoy!

Wanna try this same Southern banana pudding recipe with chocolate pudding?

Check out the recipe below!

Black Folks Chocolate Southern Banana Pudding
Black Folks Chocolate Southern Banana Pudding Recipe
This chocolate banana pudding recipe is as quick and easy as the original soul food banana pudding recipe.
You simply add an additional layer of chocolate pudding and crunchy buttery Nilla Wafers for pure chocolate bliss!
Check out this recipe!

Pro tips: 

  • This recipe can be made according to the instructions and then transferred to individual baking cups, ramekins, or mason jars. 
  • Slice pieces carefully to preserve the banana pudding layers when transferring.
  • Want to make just half of this recipe, or need to make more or less banana pudding? You can use the dynamic recipe card below to adjust the serving size for your desired proportionate ingredients!
  • How is pudding made from scratch? You’ll need an electric mixer and more ingredients like condensed milk, eggs, sugar, flour, butter, and vanilla extract. 
  • Pro tip: To make Southern banana pudding with pudding from scratch – check out this recipe HERE!

What is the best way to serve banana pudding?

Serve banana pudding as best you can in slices. 

This recipe makes approximately 12 proportionate slices of banana pudding. 

What is the best way to serve banana pudding?

Banana pudding is best eaten as a dessert after enjoying other soul food main dishes and side dish recipe favorites, including Southern sweet tea, Southern fried chicken, soul food collard greens, and Southern mac and cheese.

Easy banana pudding recipe FAQs

How long does banana pudding last in the fridge?

Banana pudding should be refrigerated to preserve the perishable bananas in the recipe. The pudding is also a milk mixture that requires refrigeration.

This Southern dessert can last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

How do you keep bananas from turning brown in classic Southern banana pudding?

Asked another way, why do your bananas turn black in the banana pudding?

Bananas are one of the main ingredients in banana pudding, but why do they turn black? 

The cause is oxidation. When bananas are exposed to oxygen, it causes them to turn brown or black.

Bananas oxidize faster than other fruits and vegetables. The starch is converted into sugar, which speeds up this process even more.

What can you put in bananas to keep them from turning brown in banana pudding?

Lemon juice. But I’d be hesitant to add it to banana slices for banana pudding. (Read on.)

If you toss bananas in some lemon juice, will it help keep the bananas from going brown without compromising the recipe?

I can’t say for sure that the lemon juice will not lend its flavoring to the bananas. 

How do you keep bananas from turning brown in classic Southern banana pudding?

In that case, can old-fashioned banana pudding be made ahead of time?

Yes, so it’s best to prep all ingredients for this easy banana pudding recipe first or ahead of time. 

Then slice the bananas last when you’re ready to layer them in the recipe to avoid them turning brown.

Can you use banana pudding instead of vanilla?

Of course! But vanilla pudding is part of African American history when preparing banana pudding.

Can banana pudding be made with instant banana pudding?

Yes. But again, a Southern soul food banana pudding (the Black way) uses an instant vanilla pudding or made-from-scratch vanilla pudding.

How do you keep the banana pudding from getting watery?

How do you keep the banana pudding from getting watery?

First, make the pudding using a thickener, and then keep it cool. 

This African American banana pudding recipe incorporates cream cheese as a tasty thickener. 

Other old-fashioned banana pudding recipes include evaporated milk and sugar or sweetened condensed milk to thicken the pudding.

How long does it take banana pudding to get thick?

Instant pudding will thicken within about 5 minutes after being mixed. Then, according to the recipe instructions, you still refrigerate for a couple of hours after making the banana pudding.

However, cook-and-serve pudding requires the extra step of boiling the milk and pudding mix on the stovetop so it will thicken.

What kind of cookies can you use for banana pudding?

What kind of cookies can you use for banana pudding?

Only Nilla Wafers brand. They are the official cookie of African American Southern banana pudding!

There are no others. 

Part of the nostalgia for African American banana pudding and its history is Nilla Wafers cookies. 

Therefore, it’s not recommended to try substitutions for these integral cookies.

What other type of cookie can you use in no-bake banana pudding with vanilla wafers?

Can you substitute graham crackers for vanilla wafers in banana pudding?

Although this is an easy banana pudding recipe, no cookie substitutions exist to achieve the iconic Southern banana pudding taste.

Not even sponge cake, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and definitely not other brands of vanilla wafers, brown sugar cookies, or vanilla cookies.

What are the components of real banana pudding?

Did you enjoy this easy banana pudding recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!
Easy Banana Pudding Recipe

Easy Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana pudding is a classic Southern dessert recipe with decadent layerings of banana slices, vanilla pudding, cookies, and whipped cream – yum! This recipe will detail step-by-step how to make an easy Southern banana pudding.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 12
Calories: 301kcal

Equipment

  • 9-10" round glass baking dish (preferably with a lid)

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas ripe & sliced into banana rounds
  • 8 oz. whipped cream 1 container
  • 8 oz. cream cheese 1 container, whipped
  • 4.6 oz. vanilla pudding instant pudding or cook & serve pudding mix
  • 11 oz. Nilla Wafers 1 box and ¼ cup of crumbled Nilla Wafers cookies

Instructions

  • Make the pudding according to the pudding mixture box instructions and set it aside in the refrigerator.
    Make the instant pudding according to the pudding mixture instructions and set it aside in the refrigerator
  • Mix the whipped topping and cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
    Mix the whipped topping and cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  • Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan or dish with Nilla Wafers cookies.
    Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan or dish with Nilla Wafers cookies
  • Add a layer of banana slices over the Nilla Wafers.
  • Using a small spatula, spread the vanilla pudding evenly over the bananas.
    Using a small spatula, spread the vanilla pudding evenly over the bananas
  • Add a layer of the whipped topping and cream cheese mixture over the pudding layer.
    Add a layer of the whipped topping and cream cheese mixture over the layer of pudding
  • Repeat the above steps for a second layer of cookies, bananas, pudding, and whipped topping.
    Repeat the above steps for a second layer of cookies, bananas, pudding, and whipped topping.
  • Sprinkle the ¼ cup of crumbled cookies over the top layer of whipped cream.
    Sprinkle the crumbled cookies over the top layer of whipped cream
  • Allow the banana pudding to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Banana pudding is easiest to slice after being refrigerated.
  • Then serve this easy banana pudding recipe and enjoy!
    Banana pudding is easiest to slice after being refrigerated, then serve, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • This recipe can be made per the instructions and transferred to individual baking cups, ramekins, or mason jars.
Slice pieces carefully to preserve the banana pudding layers when transferring.
  • Want to make just half of this recipe, or need to make more or less banana pudding?
You can use this dynamic recipe card above to adjust the serving size for the proportionate amount of desired banana pudding!

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
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