Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

PinSaveJUMP to RECIPE

This post may contain affiliate links.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe

I recently had a craving for banana pudding. I don’t know why banana pudding of all things popped into my head, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

So I had to make it. Plus, I love Nilla wafers and they’re layered in the pudding and sprinkled on top. Over time, they soften from the pudding but still retain some crunchiness, I’m in heaven.

This no-bake banana pudding recipe reminds me of the banana pudding my grandma used to make. It’s sweet, creamy, and thick with abundant vanilla.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

The pudding itself has no bananas in it, but they’re layered in the pan with Nilla wafers, making the pudding quite universal for non-banana desserts.

If you’ve never had pudding from scratch, it’s nothing like pudding mix from a box. I love the results of pudding mix in cookies or banana bread, but for eating as-is, scratch pudding is the promised land.

The homemade banana pudding is sweet, luscious, and smooth with big nostalgic appeal. The texture from the wafers and the bananas, both suspended in thick and creamy, is pure good old-fashioned comfort food in a bowl.

If you’ve never made Nilla Wafer banana pudding from scratch, you’re going to love it.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Ingredients 

To make this banana pudding from scratch, you’ll need: 

  • Granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt 
  • 2% milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Ripe bananas

Can I Use Another Type of Milk?

I have only made this recipe with 2% milk. The pudding was wonderfully creamy and thick with 2% and I think whole milk, half-and-half, or cream would make it too thick. I’m not sure how using a non-dairy milk would work. 

Is There a Nilla Wafer Substitute I Can Use? 

If you don’t have Nilla Wafters in your area, try graham crackers.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

How to Make Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Making homemade banana pudding is like making gravy. It’s easy, but you’ll become best friends with your whisk for about a half hour. 

Get everything you need out and ready before starting because you’ll be busy whisking. Mise en place.

Make the vanilla pudding: In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, optional pinch of salt, and pour 2 cups of 2% milk over it. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil gently, whisking frequently.

If you don’t whisk frequently, tan pudding skin will form on the bottom of the pan. When it breaks up, you’ll have tan chunks floating through your creamy mixture. No thanks.

Keep the heat at medium because cranking it up will likely cause the mixture to scorch, so just take your time. 

It took a good 15 minutes of the pot appearing to do absolutely nothing for my pudding to finally begin to barely boil because I was compulsively whisking. I was staring into the proverbial pot that never boils, whisking it.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

After the mixture boils, whisk continually for the next 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding has thickened. Take it off the heat and add vanilla.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3 eggs and add about 1/4 cup of the hot pudding mixture to the eggs, whisking the whole time. This is called tempering eggs and if you don’t do it, you’ll literally scramble them.

Slowly pour the contents of the measuring cup into the sauce pan, whisking the entire time. Return the pan to the heat for about 2 to 4 minutes, whisking the whole time. This cooks the eggs.

Assemble the pudding: In the meantime, layer Nilla wafers, topped with bananas, in an 8×8-inch or similar sized pan. Mine was 10×7 inches.

Pour half the pudding over the wafers and bananas. Add another layer of wafers, bananas, and top with the remaining pudding.

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

Can I Double This Recipe? 

I imagine so, but I’ve only made it as written so any modifications you make will be trial and error. If doubling this banana pudding recipe from scratch, assemble it in a 9×13-inch baking dish. 

Can I Prep This in Advance? 

I don’t see why not! Like I said, this old-fashioned banana pudding will last up to 4 days in the fridge, so you’re fine to make it the night before you plan on serving it. 

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

How to Keep Bananas From Turning Brown in Banana Pudding? 

Once sliced, it’s normal for bananas to turn slightly brown in the Nilla Wafer banana pudding. They’re still completely safe to eat, but I know they don’t look as appealing. 

Using ripe, but not brown, bananas helps prevent them from turning brown once sliced.

Also, if you choose to top your homemade banana pudding with whipped cream that helps too. It seals in the bananas and prevents them from being exposed to the air (which is what turns them brown). 

Can I Add Whipped Cream on Top?

Of course! Serve this homemade banana pudding like you grew up eating it. You can use your favorite whipped cream recipe, or you can use the whipped cream I made for this cake

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

How Long Will Homemade Banana Pudding Last? 

Once assembled, this easy banana pudding from scratch will last up to 4 days in the fridge if stored in an air-tight container. The bananas won’t brown since they’re not directly exposed to the air, but the Nilla Wafers will soften over time. 

Can You Freeze Banana Pudding? 

The homemade vanilla pudding itself can be frozen and thawed no problem, but once you’ve assembled the entire dessert I don’t recommend freezing it. The Nilla Wafers will become soggy and the banana slices will likely become grainy once frozen. 

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch old-fashioned banana pudding recipe is made with homemade vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

Tips for Making Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Bananas: I used ripe bananas, but not over-ripe. Save those really freckled and speckled ones for banana bread. They will just disintegrate and biting into slightly firm banana slices is the goal.

Nilla Wafers: I used Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers for two reasons. First, the obvious to save calories and fat when possible so you can eat more dessert. Secondly, the Reduced Fat variety are firmer, crunchier, and don’t turn to mush as easily, an advantage here. 

Topping: If desired, you can top this homemade banana pudding with whipped cream as well as crushed Nilla Wafers. Make it however you grew up eating it! 

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding Recipe — This 100% scratch homemade banana pudding recipe is made with vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s EASY to assemble and SO GOOD!!

What Readers Are Saying

This old-fashioned banana pudding recipe has been one of the most popular spring and summer desserts on my site for the past few years. Here are a few 5-star reviews readers have left on this recipe:

Homemade banana pudding is one of my favorite desserts. My grandma has always made it for me. I recently relocated and had a craving for it. Just like the rest of her wonderful desserts she didn’t have a recipe! So, when I came across this recipe I was thrilled because it consisted of all the ingredients my grandma uses. I made it and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! It lasted one day at our house. Five stars all the way!” — Yvette

This is definitely how my grandma used to make it way back in the early 70s!” — Cyndi

Made it, was amazing! Thank you” — Mariya

This was a delicious dessert. My husband loved this. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! This was the first I’ve made from your website and I’m sure there will be many more that I will make. :)” — Amy

Pin This Recipe

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan

Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Tips for Making Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding I used ripe bananas, but not over-ripe. Save those really freckled and speckled ones for banana bread. They will just disintegrate and biting into slightly firm banana slices is the goal. I used Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers for two reasons. First, the obvious to save calories and fat when possible so you can eat more dessert. Secondly, the Reduced Fat variety are firmer, crunchier, and don't turn to mush as easily, an advantage here.  If desired, you can top this homemade banana pudding with whipped cream as well as crushed Nilla Wafers. Make it however you grew up eating it! 
Tips for Making Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

I used ripe bananas, but not over-ripe. Save those really freckled and speckled ones for banana bread. They will just disintegrate and biting into slightly firm banana slices is the goal.

I used Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers for two reasons. First, the obvious to save calories and fat when possible so you can eat more dessert. Secondly, the Reduced Fat variety are firmer, crunchier, and don't turn to mush as easily, an advantage here. 

If desired, you can top this homemade banana pudding with whipped cream as well as crushed Nilla Wafers. Make it however you grew up eating it! 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • about 50 Nilla Wafers, divided (I prefer the Reduced Fat version; substitute with graham crackers if necessary)
  • 3 to 4 large/XL ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (use ripe bananas not over-ripe, they’re too mushy)
  • about 3/4 cup coarsely chopped Nilla Wafers, for sprinkling (about 20-25 wafers)

Instructions

    1. Get everything you need out and ready before beginning because you’ll be busy whisking and read the recipe over, at least twice, in full.
    2. In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, flour, optional pinch of salt, and pour the milk over it.
    3. Heat this together over medium heat until it begins to boil gently, whisking quite frequently so that pudding skin doesn’t form on the bottom of the pan. Keeping the heat at medium is advised because higher heat will likely cause the milky mixture to scorch. It took a good 15 minutes of the pot appearing to do absolutely nothing for my pudding to finally begin to barely boil because I was compulsively whisking.
    4. After you see the mixture boil, whisk continually for the next 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding has thickened. A transition comes when the pudding gets thicker by the stroke. Use your judgment and when you think the pudding has thickened up sufficiently, take it off the heat.
    5. Whisk in the vanilla; set aside.
    6. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3 eggs (using the same whisk is fine).
    7. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot pudding mixture to the eggs, whisking the whole time to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble.
    8. Slowly pour the contents of the measuring cup into the sauce pan, whisking the entire time so you don’t scramble the eggs.
    9. Return the pan to the stove, and cook over medium heat for about 2 to 4 minutes, whisking the whole time. This cooks the eggs. You’ll know when the pudding is done and you can take it off the heat. It will be thick, creamy, and will look like pudding. It thickens up as it cools so don’t over-cook it or it can get a little too firm. Take it off the heat; set aside, whisking every few minutes so skin doesn’t form.
    10. In an 8×8, 10×7, or similar sized pan (9×9 is too big) make one even flat layer of Nilla wafers, covering the entire base of the pan (about 24 wafers).
    11. Top with banana slices in an even flat layer, covering the wafers.
    12. Whisk pudding and pour half over the bananas, smoothing lightly with a spatula.
    13. Repeat the layers, making one flat layer of wafers, another layer of bananas, and top with remaining pudding, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
    14. Cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate the pudding for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
    15. Before serving, evenly sprinkle the chopped wafers over the pudding.

Notes

Pudding will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The banana slices don’t turn brown, although the wafers do continue soften as time passes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 175mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 6g

More Banana Dessert Recipes: 

ALL OF MY BANANA RECIPES! 

Easy Banana Cream Pudding Pie with Cream Cheese Crust – The no-bake filling tastes like a fluffy slice of heaven and the crust is no-roll!! An easy, goofproof pie that anyone can make in minutes!!

Easy Banana Cream Pudding Pie with Cream Cheese Crust - The no-bake filling tastes like a fluffy slice of heaven and the crust is no-roll!! An easy, goofproof pie that anyone can make in minutes!!

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze — Fudgy is the only word that describes these bars! They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness.

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — These cookies are soft, moist, and oh-so chewy. They taste like banana bread and chocolate chip cookies rolled into one dessert! 

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake — This upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It’s so easy to make, and the caramelized banana flavor is impossible to resist! 

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake 

Banana Bread Pudding – Bread pudding meets banana bread in this EASY recipe that everyone will LOVE!! Firmer exterior with a custardy interior and an amazing vanilla sauce that is to-die-for!

Banana Bread Pudding

Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake – Yes, 6 bananas in 1 cake means it’s super SOFT, moist, and has robust banana flavor with chocolate chips in EVERY bite!

Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – A FAST and EASY dessert that is on the HEALTHIER side with only 1/4 cup butter and no oil!! Bold banana flavor, chewiness from the oats, and plenty of chocolate in every bite!!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Banana Cream Pie Bars – Faster and easier than making a banana cream pie and taste AMAZING!! A crunchy crust, tender banana slices, luscious banana pudding, and creamy whipped topping make these layered pie bars WINNERS!

Banana Cream Pie Bars

Originally published March 2014 and republished with new commentary and photo collage September 2019.

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

Get the latest recipes via email!

Leave a Comment

Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Homemade banana pudding is one of my favorite desserts.  My grandma has always made it for me. I recently relocated and had a craving for it. Just like the rest of her wonderful desserts she didn’t have a recipe! So, when I came across this recipe I was thrilled because it consisted of all the ingredients my grandma uses.  I made it and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!  It lasted one day at our house.  Five stars all the way!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was absolutely delicious and only lasted a day in your house! My grandma was a wonderful cook and unfortunately never wrote anything down so I can completely relate.

  2. This is definitely how my grandma used to make it way back in the early 70s! I tripled the pudding recipe because I’m allergic to bananas. My kids got the banana pudding and I I took another bag of wafers and just made myself banana-less pudding. It really was delicious to me, especially while still warm.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and great to hear your grandma used to make it like this way back when! Great thinking to do a double batch and portion off your part banana-less and then add bananas for the kids.

  3. I want to use this recipe to make banana pudding shot glasses for a reception. After chilling in the fridge over night, can it be sat out on the table for a couple of hours?

    1. I think for a few hours it will be fine. I would just make sure it’s extra chilled and as long as the room is not overly warm or it’s not outside outdoors, I think you should be fine.

  4. If you overcook it, use an immersion blender to smooth it out. Similar to 1/2 of my mother’s recipe I have made for years. Use half the flour, sugar, and vanilla for 4 cups whole milk.

  5. Tried this tonight . But looked at a few different recipes before using yours. Mostly, everyone has similar ingredients. I used 2% milk for my mixture …. I tempered my eggs with a little hot mixture ( I used whole egg) and slowly added to the milk mixture. Problem is, my pudding got completed gritty.. the texture was awful and I threw it away. So upset of course. did I over cook it ? Should it not have been so thick before adding egg? I thought it should have been nice and thick before egg and then even thicker after. So many questions and so afraid to do it again as waste the ingredients! Any feedback would be so appreciated.

    1. did I over cook it = yes

      Should it not have been so thick before adding egg? = It’s hard to say but I think it was overcooked in general. This is from step 9 of my directions: “You’ll know when the pudding is done and you can take it off the heat. It will be thick, creamy, and will look like pudding. It thickens up as it cools so don’t over-cook it or it can get a little too firm. Take it off the heat; set aside, whisking every few minutes so skin doesn’t form.”

      I would suggest googling ‘why does pudding get gritty/grainy’ and doing some research on it. I haven’t had it personally happen so cannot give you concrete feedback other than I think it was overcooked.

      I would try it again…all in all, even if it’s a total loss, you are out 3 eggs, a bit of sugar, and 2 c of milk. Probably $2 or $3 dollars worth. It’s not like you just ruined lobster tails. Think of it as an experiment. If you don’t try it, it will irritate you more until you get to the bottom of it!

  6. Good morning! A few questions….

    -Thoughts on modifications for doubling the recipe? Pan sizes?
    -Thoughts on topping with homemade whipped cream (what is your go to recipe?)?
    -Thoughts on pan sizes if you didn’t double but wanted 2 separate containers?

    Thank you so much!! Have a great day!

    1. I’ve only made the recipe as I’ve written it so tinkering around with it and modifications will have to be trial and error. Good luck!

    2. Thank you for the comment. Do you have a homemade whipped cream recipe that I could serve on the side?

  7. I wanted to make banana pudding from scratch and this was so yummy. Thanks for a great recipe. I ate half of 8×8 dish all by myself. 

  8. This was a delicious dessert. My husband loved this. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! This was the first I’ve made from your website and I’m sure there will be many more that I will make. :)

    1. Thanks for trying this recipe! Of all recipes to make first, this wasn’t one I would expect (usually it’s cookies or bars) so if you can make this, 98% of everything else on my site is faster and easier! Glad you and your hubby loved this!

  9. Awwwww, this dessert really brings me wonderful memories of my childhood, Averie. We didn’t have them often but sometimes, for a treat, my mom would buy a box of Nilla wafers (usually when they were on sale) and my sisters and I would fight over every single precious cookie. Making pudding from scratch is definitely an arm work out but you’re right, the flavour and texture is worth it over the boxed mixes. I love banana desserts so this is right in my wheel house. Love this and your beautiful photos!

  10. That looks absolutely heavenly, never thought I’d like banana pudding until I tried the one at Magnolia Bakery in NYC and I realized its quite lovely when the custard is vanilla/plain but there are bananas layered in, just like yours :)

    1. Oh I would LOVE to try the Magnolia version! I have their cookbook (need to see if it’s in there – probably not) but the in-person version would be heavenly I presume!

  11. Oh yum! It’s been a while since I’ve had banana pudding but now you’ve got me craving it too :) this looks so delicious!

  12. Yum! Nothing beats an old fashioned banana pudding! And Millard wafers! Mmmmm. :) pinned!

  13. I never had banana pudding until a few years into my marriage. My southern raised wife was holding out on me. BIG time! By the looks of it I’m sure she would approve of this. Maybe I’ll surprise her one day.

  14. Pudding would never be my first pick for dessert but this looks amazing! Vanilla wafers are classic.

  15. This is just what I need at 11PM as I’m sure this will relieve ALL of my tax stresses! Plus, Nilla wafers are my guilty pleasure!

    1. Girl this stuff was SO GOOD! The pan weighed like…10 lbs. It’s ridic comfort food. So, so good! Would help your tax stress. So would a couple drinks :)

  16. My dinky little arm muscles would get tired whisking for that long — you must have been able to skip your run that day! ;) I’ve actually never had banana pudding, but with how much I love them (I eat one every day with breakfast!), that needs to change. It’s too funny how you mentioned scrambling the eggs if you don’t temper them… My mom accidentally did that making brownies for a bake sale as a 7-year-old, and she’s never made them from scratch since. It scarred her for life!

    1. I don’t skip workouts. Period. They are my sanity :) And I saw your McDonald’s copycat on the Ziplist newsletter – congrats!

      1. Aww Averie, you’re just the sweetest — thank you so much!! I thought my mom and I were the only ones to ever read those newsletters. I’m so touched that you noticed! :) And I completely agree, workouts keep me sane. Especially when I’m up to my elbows in brownie batter and cookie dough!