A true southern old-fashioned classic, this Southern Banana Pudding is loaded with fresh bananas and vanilla wafers and topped with rich, creamy, homemade custard and topped with fluffy, lightly toasted meringue.
Southern Banana Pudding
Most southerners will tell you that it's not really banana pudding if it isn't topped with meringue and served warm. Warm, creamy pudding and fluffy meringue is pretty much as comfort food as you can get.
This Southern Banana Pudding recipe features a homemade creamy custard (that is worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make it), fresh bananas, and topped with fluffy, slightly toasted meringue.
But even with everything being homemade from scratch, you'll still be able to dig in in just over a half hour!
Quick, comforting, and delicious makes this the ultimate dessert.
How Do You Keep Banana Pudding from Turning Brown?
It should be noted that while it may not look too pretty, if the bananas in your pudding turn brown, it's still okay to eat. Bananas turn brown after they're sliced as a reaction to the exposure to oxygen.
So the easiest and best way to prevent it is to slice your bananas just before adding and smother them completely with the custard so that no air will get through. This will act as a barrier between the bananas and the air, slowing down the reaction to exposure to air. Then serve it ASAP so they don't have as long to brown.
If you need to wait a little while before serving, you can toss your sliced bananas in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to slow down the browning. This will change the flavor, but not enough to be noticeable.
However, you shouldn't expect any of these methods to last longer than a day or so. Beyond that, it will still be edible (up to 3 days), but the bananas will likely be darker.
Whipped Cream or Meringue?
Banana Puddings with whipped cream on top have gotten more and more popular, but it's hard to beat the southern classic topped with fluffy meringue.
You may have noticed that homemade custard uses egg yolks only. As a way to reduce waste, this southern style banana pudding uses the remaining egg whites to create a fluffy meringue to go on top. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me.
Meringue-topped banana puddings are also generally eaten warm, as opposed to their chilled whipped cream counter-parts. Whichever way you eat it, it will be delicious. In fact, definitely try them both!
More Banana Recipes You'll Love
- No Bake Banana Pudding - This is the no-cook whipped cream topped version, if you want to try that next.
- Easy Banana Cream Pie - Super easy banana cream pie recipe that will have you eating this creamy pie in a half hour!
- Chocolate Banana Cake - moist chocolate and banana cake with the most decadent chocolate frosting you will ever have.
- Nutella Banana Muffins - Nutella goes so well with bananas and they both go even better together in these muffins.
- Banana Cream Cheesecake - Even better than banana cream pie is this banana cream cheesecake with its extra creamy layer of no bake cheesecake smothered in bananas, custard, and whipped cream.
Southern Banana Pudding
- 3 cups milk divided
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs yolks and whites separated
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
- 4 medium ripe bananas sliced
- 50 vanilla wafer cookies
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
- Add ½ cup milk and egg yolks, and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium eat, heat 2½ cups milk until steaming.
- Whisk about a cup of the steaming milk into the egg yolk mixture, adding only a couple tablespoons at a time, until the full cup is combined.
- Pour tempered yolk mixture into the skillet with the remaining hot milk, whisking to combine.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Assemble: Arrange the vanilla wafers in a layer in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the cookies. Pour the pudding on top of bananas and spread evenly, all the way to the edges, completely covering the bananas. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy.
- Add in sugar and beat until meringue makes stiff peaks and turns glossy. Beat in remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla.
- Spread meringue on top of banana pudding, making peaks with the back of a spoon. Bake for 12-15 minutes until peaks have slightly browned and meringue is set on top.
- Pudding gets thick suddenly, so watch it carefully.
- Stir pudding constantly while cooking to avoid lumps.
- Use a heavy bottom saucepan to prevent burning.
- For softer cookies, let layered banana pudding sit in the fridge overnight before applying and baking meringue.
- Meringue is easiest to make with when egg whites are at room temperature.
- Southern Banana Pudding is best served on the same day as the meringue is applied.
- Make Ahead Directions: Prepare pudding up to 3 days in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Assemble banana pudding and meringue the day that you're planning to serve.
- Storage: Store your banana pudding wrapped with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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