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Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy)

This Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy) will be gobbled up in minutes! This super easy Southern Banana Pudding is ready in just minutes and uses all of the ingredients that you love and is seriously the best banana pudding recipe you’ll ever put in your mouth!!

Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy) in trifle bowl.

Classic Southern Banana Pudding

This classic southern dessert is an easy recipe that made history by being my mother in laws delicious dessert, not the famous magnolia bakery banana pudding recipe like you might have heard about.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a homemade banana pudding recipe instead that’s pined for by the whole family? 

Southern Banana pudding recipe is a homemade pudding that is NOT a bake dessert and made with some room temperature ingredients but after the final layer of pudding, the whole thing goes in the refrigerator for the best cold pudding recipe you ever tasted!

I’m not joking when I say they’ll be busting the doors down for more of their favorite dessert!


  • Ready and edible in less than 30 minutes
  • Easy to make!
  • Vanilla wafer cookies, fresh banana slices, creamy pudding, vanilla extract, whole milk, and whipped cream in layers of vanilla wafers…… YUM! 
  • No fussy ingredients or special equipment that’s the way mama’s banana pudding is done!

Here’s How It’s Done!

Ingredients for Southern Banana Pudding being whisked.
STEP 1. Mix the wet ingredients.
Bananas on cutting board.
STEP 2. Slice Bananas.
Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy) layered.
STEP 3. Layer into bowl.
Cool whip being spread on the top of a delicious southern banana pudding.
STEP 4. Top with Whipped Topping.

Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Long Does It Take to Make This Banana Pudding

  • This southern banana pudding recipe will take you 10 minutes to make. Then for best results put it in the fridge to sit.
  • You won’t be sorry if you allow a a little bit of extra time in the fridge for the magic to happen, but 20 minutes is enough. 
  • However, if you need to get a big ol bowl right now, that is fine too, the banana flavor just won’t be as strong.

What is the Difference Between a “No Bake” Banana Pudding and a Baked Banana Pudding

  • A “no bake” pudding is a classic dessert recipe that uses instant vanilla pudding mix and a milk mixture to make this famous banana pudding. This Banana Pudding is simply made by mixing the ingredients, assembling and then chilling the final product.
  • A baked pudding is one where the pudding is made from scratch (usually with ingredients like cream cheese, heavy cream, fresh bananas and egg yolks) and must be baked (cooked) for it to gel and become a pudding. It often involves egg whites whipped into stiff peaks on top of the pudding. The flavors of the baked and “no bake” puddings are similar but the texture is very different. A baked pudding is often called a “hard pudding”.

Can Banana Pudding Be Frozen

This recipe for Banana Pudding will separate if you freeze it. That said, I doubt that you will have any left over to freeze anyway. If you have more than you can eat, share it with a friend. That is how we change the world afterall!

Can Banana Pudding Be Made Ahead

Absolutely! Yes, you can make this pudding up to 24 hours before you plan to use it. In fact, making it ahead helps the bananas to flavor the pudding and gives the cookies time to soften.  YUM!

Does Banana Pudding Have to be Refrigerated

This banana pudding has sour cream in it, so I wouldn’t allow it to sit out for more than 2 hours. Besides, this pudding is BEST when it is COLD! Place in an airtight container.

Southern Banana Pudding in a cup.

How Can I Keep the Bananas From Turning Brown

  • Bananas, once cut, are going to turn brown. That’s just a fact. However, you CAN slow this down as follows: 
  • Once all of your bananas are sliced and ready for the pudding, put them in a bowl, sprinkle with a mixture of 1 Tbs lemon juice mixed with 3 Tbs water. Sprinkle over the top and use a spoon to gently toss the bananas around. 
  • This is the only thing I know of that will slow the browning down. 

How Long Will Banana Pudding Keep

  • This Southern Banana Pudding recipe is good for 5 days if kept refrigerated.
  • Don’t let the banana pudding sit out for more than 2 hours.

What Can I Add to My Banana Pudding to Make it Different

There are so many ways you can add to this banana pudding! Try some of these variations the second or third time you make this pudding!

  • Chocolate sauce
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Chocolate shavings on the top
  • A layer of cookies like Kingsmen cookies instead of Nilla Wafers
  • Sliced Strawberries mixed in or on top
  • Graham Crackers instead of Nilla Wafers
  • Serve this wonderful recipe with a side of banana bread for fun!
Can I keep the cookies from becoming soft?

If you make and eat the pudding right away, the cookies will be crunchy but otherwise, they will soften from the wetter ingredients.

Can I Use a different flavor of pudding?

Yes, the various flavors of vanilla will work (plain, french, etc.) as will the banana flavored kind but I’ve had people mention that the banana flavored type gives a distinctly fake flavor.

 Things You Might Need For Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy)

Here’s the triffle bowl or trifle dish like I use in case you need one (I am an Amazon affiliate and this is an affiliate link). You can click the trifle bowl to go through to Amazon to compare prices. 

Tips and Tricks 

The Pudding:

  • Use instant vanilla pudding. It is easy to confuse the pudding mixture you must cook with the instant pudding, the boxes are nearly identical.
  • Use the size boxes indicated in the recipe only. There are larger boxes, you want three of the small boxes.

Cool Whip:

  • C Whip can come in slightly different sizes. Just use a full container in the regular size it comes in if that is all you have.
  • You can not mess up this recipe with a little too much or a little less whip.
  • It is important to buy the regular original kind or the extra creamy but do not use the lite or low cal or no dairy or whatever other variations there are.

The Sour Cream:

  • Check the ounces on your sour cream, sour cream comes in all sorts of sizes.
  • You want 8 ounces of the regular sour cream.
  • DO NOT get the lite or low fat or whatever other varieties it comes in. Just go with the regular full on sour cream for this recipe.


  • Please use yellow ripe bananas and not the old bananas with spots certainly not the green bananas.
  • A good firm yellow banana will stay looking nice for all of today and if there is any left after today, people will be so in love with it that they won’t care that the bananas turned brown.

Process Information:

  • I’m just going to be honest with you here, it is a pain to mix in the cool whip. Keep mixing, you will eventually win.
  • Just in case you need it: What Does Divided Mean in a Recipe?
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap once finished so that it stays fresh.
  • This requires a very large bowl to mix it up in.

Watch Me Make This Banana Pudding


Please leave a 5 STAR COMMENT🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 below, ok? AND PLEASE join my newsletter and get the HOT COOKING TIP of the week each week! 

A photo of Mawmaws Banana Pudding up close in the trifle bowl

Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy)

READY in LESS THAN 30 MINUTES, this southern banana pudding recipe with fresh cool delicious creamy layers of bananas, vanilla wafers, whipped cream and TO DIE FOR PUDDING will be gone in minutes at any family or church gathering! 
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Southern Banana Pudding
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 200kcal


  • 3 small boxes of vanilla instant pudding 3.4 oz box
  • 6 Cups milk ice cold whole milk is best
  • 8 ounces Sour Cream regular sour cream
  • 12 oz. cool whip divided regular original cool whip
  • 5 bananas Cut into disks. Yellow, no spots, medium sized
  • 1 box vanilla wafers


  • Mix all three boxes of the vanilla instant pudding with the ice cold milk in a very large kitchen bowl.  Works best if you use a whisk. 
  • Add the sour cream and half of the cool whip (just eye ball it) and mix well till blended. This will require quite a bit of effort.  Start with a spatula and then switch to a whisk for best effect.  The cool whip will want to float and blop around.  Just keep going, it will eventually mix in. 
  • Use 1/3 each of the pudding, vanilla wafers and bananas and layer in that order.  Repeat this way until bowl is filled. After all layers are completed, top with the remaining half of the cool whip and sprinkle the crumbs from the bottom of the box onto the top of the pudding.


  • For best taste, use REAL sour cream, WHOLE milk, ORIGINAL cool whip and yellow ripe bananas with NO spots. 
  • Substitutions can be made for lite sour cream, other flavors of cool whip,etc. but the best banana pudding uses as noted above.
  • This makes a LARGE amount of banana pudding, which you will need once everyone tastes it, but you CAN half the recipe.  Use three bananas. 
  • Bananas will turn brown after a day. You can treat the banana slices with a mixture of 1 Tbs of lemon juice and 3 Tbs of water.  Sprinkle this over the top of the banana slices and it will help prevent browning. 
  • It is a REAL effort to mix the cool whip into the pudding, use a whisk, have patience and just keep stirring.  You WILL beat it eventually. 
  • Crunch up 2-3 vanilla wafers and reserve them to sprinkle on the top.  Makes a delightful crunch. 
  • People often ask about using the banana flavored pudding for this recipe.  I’ve tried this and feel that it gives the whole pudding an “off” flavor like fake bananas.  It really is best to use the plain vanilla instant pudding.
  • Its SUPER important to use the INSTANT pudding.  The instant pudding and the pudding that must be cooked are in almost identical packages. 


Nutrition Facts
Best Homemade Southern Banana Pudding Recipe (Easy)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 26mg9%
Sodium 92mg4%
Potassium 394mg11%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 395IU8%
Vitamin C 4.5mg5%
Calcium 192mg19%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

***This post has been rewritten and updated with new photos, video and information from it’s original posting which first appeared March 12, 2015. It was updated again October 8, 2020 and has been updated again as of today.***


As I sit here writing this, morning is just dawning. The sun hasn’t yet peeked up over the river to my east. 

There are cold rain drops falling reminding us that winter hasn’t yet finished gathering his coat and going out the door.

Genesis 1: 1-3

 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

Recipe Rating


Saturday 25th of May 2024

Love your recipes. Thank you

Wendi Spraker

Monday 10th of June 2024

Thank you Jackie!


Wednesday 9th of November 2022

This is the exact recipe I got from my own grandmother. Always a favorite at any family gathering! And now I continue the tradition even with my in-laws...they ask for it often! I was taught to whisk the sour cream into the milk before adding the pudding mix, then you can fold in the cool whip after the pudding has set a little bit. Nothing like a good southern Banana Pudding!! Yummm!!

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 10th of November 2022

This is the exact recipe that I got from my mother in law who we lovingly called "Mamaw", she said she has been making this for at least 50 years although she never admitted putting sour cream in it because she knew her family wouldn't eat it if they knew that. haha


Thursday 21st of April 2022

Wow the best banana pudding and even better with "nutter butter" cookies instead of vanilla wafers. The saltiness of the peanut butter took this up a notch! Everyone loved it!

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

Glad you enjoyed and made it your own!


Friday 8th of October 2021

I love this recipe! And so does anyone I make it for. I usually don't tell people there is sour cream in it until after they eat some and fall in love. The only thing I do different is I use cheesecake flavored pudding instead of vanilla. Sometimes I substitute one of them with banana cream pudding

Wendi Spraker

Monday 11th of October 2021

Cheri, Same as me! In fact, my husband had been eating this his entire life and when his mom gave me the recipe she said, "Don't tell him that there's sour cream in the recipe or he will never eat another bite". hahaha.

Elizabeth W Mulgrew

Sunday 18th of April 2021

This was yummy and great for a Potluck dessert! The older I get the more nostalgic I get for these old, simple, "retro" American 20th century recipes. The kind I was raised on. When I served this, no one complained that I didn't spend hours in the kitchen making it, they just scarfed it up! Thanks for sharing your mother-in-law's recipe!

Wendi Spraker

Monday 19th of April 2021

I'm so glad you loved it!


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