Vanilla Pudding with Banana & Vanilla Wafers

This recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown’s Refrigerated Banana Pudding recipe. This version reduces unnecessary fat and sugar.

This photo shows the pudding before it is fully assembled.


For the Custard

  • 3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large yolk (I skip this)
  • 2 cups whole milk (I use whatever milk I have)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 45 vanilla wafers (I like Trader Joe’s Organic Vanilla Wafers)
  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 4 ounces banana liqueur (I skip this)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I skip this)

For the Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1- 2 tablespoons powdered or fine grained sugar


  1. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan – before turning on the burner – whisk together the milk, sugar, and cornstarch.
  3. Turn on the heat to medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 172 to 180 degrees F, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble around the edges. Do not boil.
  4. Meanwhile, when the pudding gets hot – while waiting for the mixture to almost come to a boil – temper the eggs by adding about 2 tablespoons of the hot mixture into the bowl with the eggs.
  5. Add the tempered eggs into the hot saucepan, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir gently until the custard thickens, another two or three minutes – do not boil.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Taste the pudding to make sure it’s sweet enough (I reduced the sugar from the original recipe). If you’d like it sweeter, add the sugar now while the pudding is still hot. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  8. Pour pudding through a fine mesh sieve (to catch any egg solids) into a bowl and cover (to prevent skin from forming) until cool enough to refrigerate. Stir occasionally while it cools. Sometimes I’ll stir in a splash of cold milk or cream to jumpstart the cooling process.
  9. When the pudding is no longer hot, move to refrigerator to finish cooling, approximately 2-3 hours.

To assemble

  1. If needed, whisk the pudding to get it all nice and creamy again. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit of milk or cream.
  2. Spread a small amount of the pudding in the bottom of a 1.5 quart glass mixing bowl.
  3. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers – followed by a layer of banana slices – followed with 1/3 of the pudding; Repeat and end with a layer of pudding.
  4. Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat with whisk attachment just until soft peaks form.
  5. Spoon the whipped cream over the pudding and spread to cover completely.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Another one I’d like to try: Southern Banana Pudding from Add a Pinch


  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I would use no more than 3/4 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs separated (you’ll need whites later for meringue)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box vanilla wafers approximately 45 wafers
  • 5-6 bananas
  • 3 egg whites reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325º F.
  • Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
  • Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk in a large bowl or measuring cup. Pour the egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients in heavy saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are thickened and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • To layer your banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 2 quart oven-safe glass bowl or baking dish.
  • Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
  • Pour one-third of custard over wafers and bananas.
  • Repeat layering process two more times until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used, ending with a final layer of wafers. 

For the Meringue:

  • Whip egg whites with an electric mixer set at high speed.
  • Allow egg whites to foam, add cream of tartar and then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  • Continue whipping until sugar is well-dissolved.
  • Add vanilla once stiff peaks have formed and whip until well-combined.
  • Spread meringue over banana pudding, making sure to spread to the edges of the dish.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

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