Black Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

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Homemade banana pudding is southern comfort food at its finest! We call it soul food.

Growing up in the South, I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in this sweet treat all my life.  

 

Is banana pudding a Black thing?

Netflix’s original series, High On The Hog, exposed many so-called American fruits and vegetables that are actually African motherland derivatives. This is because African foods were brought over to North America during the horrific slave trade. 

Bananas are another of those fruits with an African heritage traced back as far as about 650 AD. Two African banana varieties crossbred to yield the seedless banana we know and enjoy today.

My great-grandmother was an esteemed caterer from African descendants. She taught my dad how to make banana pudding with a top meringue layer (a fluffy topping made of egg white). It became the signature dessert he’d make for us on special occasions. 

My mom’s Southern North Carolina banana pudding recipe is similar to my dad’s but omits the meringue. And we love her recipe just the same!

The southern banana pudding soul food tradition has carried on into my home with The Mister as the one who usually makes banana pudding at our house.

It’s our go-to dish for traditional African-American cookouts and celebrations. So I’m excited to share with you my family’s soul food banana pudding recipe!

 

Black Southern Banana Pudding

 

Banana pudding the Southern Black way is the best way!

Bananas are a staple in the South. Southern banana pudding is a delicious dessert that can be whipped up in minutes. It’s perfect for any occasion! 

The best part about Southern banana pudding is that it can be prepared in the morning for a same-day treat!

Whether you like your banana pudding with or without the cookie crust, this soul food version has all the best flavors and texture combinations that will make it a family favorite.

You’ll never be able to look at other banana pudding the same way once you’ve tried this soul food delicious delight – Southern banana pudding prepared the Black way!

 

What is Black Southern banana pudding?

Banana pudding is a signature southern soul food dessert served on a bed of Nilla Wafer cookies and layered with round slices of bananas in between yummy whipped topping, pudding, and cream cheese. 

It’s pure bliss – also known as soul food!

Banana pudding has a Southern identity that stretches back more than half a century. This dish became quintessentially Southern, probably due to the source of where it was primarily being prepared, providing the South with a more extraordinary claim to the dish!

Black southern banana pudding is an elevated version of the Americanized English trifle. This layered homemade custard dish was reimagined to perfection by African-American cooks in the South. 

 

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James Hemings, an enslaved African-American chef in Virginia, created baked mac and cheese and used whole milk as the recipe’s vital ingredient.

Similarly, the African-American recipe for banana pudding incorporates whole milk to give the pudding a rich, smooth, and silky consistency. 

 

Black Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

 

What makes this the best banana pudding recipe?

Soul food banana pudding also includes another unassuming secret ingredient – cream cheese.

Enjoyed by generations from North to South and East to West. Southern banana pudding (the Black way) is a delightful dessert with a rich, creamy texture and banana flavor profile that’ll make your mouth water!

The preparation of this dish may seem complicated at first glance because of its layers. But, it’s pretty simple to prepare once you know what ingredients are needed.

Before I dive into the instructions and details for preparing this tantalizing treat, let’s first look into the ingredients for soul food banana pudding.

 

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Ingredients for Southern banana pudding the Black way

  • Cream cheese – is the secret ingredient for soul food banana pudding. It enhances the pudding’s flavor and thickens the consistency to keep it from getting watery and the bananas spoiling.
  • Whole milk – is another key ingredient to a pudding. Whole milk adds rich milky flavor and smooth texture to your dessert.
  • Whipped cream – To add extra creaminess, add whipped cream! Banana pudding tastes more decadent and more luxurious when topped with heavy cream.
  • Nilla Wafers – The dessert base is made from the brand of cookies called Nilla Wafer. 
  • Bananas – You will need ripe (but not overripe) bananas sliced into round discs to prepare this recipe.
  • Vanilla pudding – You could make homemade pudding. But Black foodies over the years have found that soul food banana pudding is still just as tasty and easily accessible for anyone to quickly prepare with instant pudding.

 

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How to make banana pudding the Black way

This banana pudding recipe is quick and easy, so even if you’re running short on time, this dessert will be ready in no time! 

The instructions are simple so that anyone can whip up this sweet treat.

So without any further due, let’s prepare this delicious soul food sampler! 

 

How to make banana pudding the Black way

 

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe fresh bananas, sliced into 1″ discs
  • 8 oz. of whipped cream (1 container)
  • 8 oz. whipped cream cheese (1 container)
  • 11 oz. box of Nilla Wafer cookies (and ¼ cup of crumbled cookies)
  • 4.6 oz. box of cook & serve vanilla pudding mix

 

Kitchen equipment

  • 9×13 or similar size baking dish (preferably with a lid)

 

Easy banana pudding recipe instructions

  1. Make the instant pudding according to the pudding mixture instructions and set it aside in the refrigerator.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the whipped topping and cream cheese and set aside.
  3. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with Nilla Wafer 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 layer of pudding.
  7. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of crumbled cookies all over the top layer of whipped cream.
  8. Allow the banana pudding to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

 

What is Black southern banana pudding?

 

 

Shop my kitchenware!

Amazon stainless steel mixing bowl  |  Amazon 9×13 baking dish with lid  | Royal Check similar trivet  |   Pyrex glass ramekin dessert bowl   |  MacKenzie-Childs similar tea towel  |  Courtly Check similar napkin holder |  Kate Aspen heart-shaped measuring spoons  |

 

How do you serve banana pudding?

Serve banana pudding in slices. This recipe makes approximately 12 proportionate slices of banana pudding. It’s best eaten as a dessert with other soul foods like BBQ chicken and baked mac and cheese.

Pro tips: 

  • 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 the dynamic recipe card below to adjust the serving size for the proportionate amount of ingredients you’ll need!

 

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Do you eat banana pudding hot or cold?

I personally enjoy banana pudding warm or at room temperature, so I take a slice right away after it’s made! (Black folks call that greedy!)

But I believe the proper way is to have a little patience and slice into this decadent dessert after a few hours of refrigeration.

 

Does banana pudding have to be refrigerated?

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

 

Black Southern Banana Pudding The Soul Food 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? 

What do you think happens when your bananas turn black? The answer is oxidation. Oxidation occurs when bananas are exposed to oxygen, and it causes them to turn brown or black.

When bananas are exposed to air, they oxidize faster than other fruits and vegetables. The starch is converted into sugar which speeds up this process even more!

The natural sugar in the bananas reacts with the oxygen in the air to create an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). This enzyme is what causes your bananas to turn brown or black as time goes on.

We all know that bananas will eventually go bad due to this natural process. Still, there are a few things you can do to prevent your bananas from turning dark so fast in your banana pudding.

 

How do you keep the banana pudding from turning brown or black?

To prevent bananas from browning, slice them up just before adding to the pudding. Slice all of your bananas first and smother completely with pudding so that no air will get through. This creates a barrier between the bananas and the air, slows down oxidation, and prevents your bananas from turning into mushy black. 

Then, try to serve pudding ASAP!

 

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How long does banana pudding last?

Banana pudding can be kept for three days in the refrigerator if packed tightly with plastic wrap or a lidded container. 

In general, banana pudding doesn’t last much longer than a couple of days. However, it will be edible for three days, but the bananas will be darker in color.

 

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

If you want to keep your banana pudding fresh a little longer, try tossing sliced bananas in lemon juice before adding them to the pudding layers.

As a result, the browning process will be slowed down. This will change the flavor slightly but won’t affect your banana pudding taste too much.

 

How ripe should the bananas be for banana pudding?

 

How ripe should the bananas be for banana pudding?

This recipe uses sweet ripe bananas. It would be best if you looked for a firm banana with bright yellow skin and brown spots.

 

Homemade banana pudding or banana pudding mix?

If you’re in a hurry, using an instant pudding mix is probably the easiest way to make banana pudding. 

For a yummy homemade banana pudding recipe from scratch, check out this post HERE.

 

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Old fashioned pudding mix

Vanilla Pudding Directions For Banana Pudding

 

How do you keep the banana pudding from getting watery?

Make the pudding using a thickener and keep it cool. 

This soul food 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.

 

Can banana pudding be made a day ahead?

It is OK to prepare banana pudding in advance of the day you serve it. But only if you do things like this:

  • Toss the bananas in lemon juice before adding them to the vanilla pudding (to avoid oxidation that results in darkening of bananas).
  • Wrap banana pudding with plastic wrap before storing it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Or use a container with a fitted lid.
  • I wouldn’t recommend making banana pudding more than a day ahead. It’ll be difficult to hold off the darkening of the bananas and them becoming watery after a day.
  • Lastly, use the right wafer cookies. More specifically, use Nilla Wafer brand cookies. 

 

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What can you substitute for Nilla Wafers in banana pudding?

Nothing. When making the Black Southern banana pudding recipe, it’s not recommended to try substitutions for Nilla Waders.

There are simply no substitutions. Not even vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and definitely not other brands of vanilla wafers or vanilla cookies.

Ask any Black mama, auntie or grandma, and they’ll tell you that Nilla Wafer is the official cookie of soul food banana pudding!

Butter cookies, shortbread, sponge cake, and graham crackers are excellent substitutes for other pudding recipes like a fruit crumble, a trifle, or even an icebox cake. 

 

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But it’s best not to try substitutes of cookies when making Southern banana pudding the Black way.

Something about that little Nilla Wafer makes a distinctive difference!

 

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Southern Banana Pudding The Sou Food Way

 

Why are Nilla Wafers so good?

The texture of the cookie is uniquely crispy and aerated. 

Bonappetit describes it best. “As the cookies nestle into a bed of whipped cream or pudding, a Nilla Wafer cookie hydrates to create dissolve-in-your-mouth crumbs. Not wet mush like other brands.”  

This makes Nillas the perfect pairing for banana pudding!

Make your banana pudding the authentic Southern soul food Black way. It’s the best way, guaranteed to be quickly devoured!

 

You may also like this recipe for banana bread.

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This post was first published on ShaundaNecole.com on May 6, 2020.

 

Like this post? Pin the below picture to your “Soul Food Recipes” Pinterest Board!

Soul Food Southern Banana Pudding The Black Way

 

Black Southern Banana Pudding

Black Southern Banana Pudding

How to make banana pudding the Black way
You'll never be able to look at other banana pudding the same way once you've tried this soul food delicious delight - Southern banana pudding prepared the Black way!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: banana pudding recipe, banana pudding the Black way, banana recipes, best banana pudding recipe, Black people food, easy banana pudding, homemade banana pudding, Instant Pot recipe, soul food, soul food banana pudding, southern banana pudding, Southern banana pudding recipe, vegetarian
Servings: 12
Calories: 301kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • 9x13 baking dish

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas ripe & sliced into 1″ discs
  • 8 oz. whipped cream 1 container
  • 8 oz. cream cheese 1 container, whipped
  • 4.6 oz. vanilla pudding 1 box of cook & serve
  • 11 oz. Nilla Wafer and ¼ cup of crumbled cookies

Instructions

  • Make the instant pudding according to the pudding mixture instructions and set it aside in the refrigerator.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix the whipped topping and cream cheese and set aside.
  • Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with Nilla Wafer cookies.
  • Add a layer of banana slices over the Nilla Wafers.
  • 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 layer of pudding.
  • Sprinkle the ¼ cup of crumbled cookies all over the top layer of whipped cream.
  • Allow the banana pudding to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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.
Black Southern Banana Pudding
  • 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 ingredients you’ll need!
Black Southern Banana Pudding Recipe
Soul Food Banana Pudding Recipe The Black Way

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
Nutrition Facts
Black Southern Banana Pudding
Amount per Serving
Calories
301
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Cholesterol
 
35
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
236
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
183
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
39
g
13
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
23
g
26
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
Vitamin A
 
402
IU
8
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
40
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Cyrene Peñas
    July 21, 2021 / 1:02 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! Who’s excited for Banana Pudding? 🙋🏽‍♀️🙋🏽‍♀️

  2. Cyrene
    September 10, 2021 / 9:33 am

    5 stars
    Reading this again today makes me hungry! LOL. I’m always hungry

    • September 13, 2021 / 8:22 pm

      LOL! I feel the same when I’m writing it!

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