banana pudding recipe

Earlier this month, I was in Morehead City for a Rosemond family reunion, my dad’s side of the family. This year, in place of homemade ice cream, we all sat around the big family table filled to the brim with all the fixins: barbecue pulled pork, coleslaw, potato salad, hush puppies, and banana pudding (made by yours truly). In addition to a dry sense of humor, the Rosemonds possess a deep love for banana pudding, and I have so many memories of sitting in that house on Calico Creek during the long, hot nights of July, savoring a bowl (or two) of my grandmother’s specialty. Alongside other family favorites like mountain pie and pound cake, banana pudding is a dessert that will always remind me of home. And I’m certainly not the only Southerner to feel that way.

Banana pudding is the quintessentially Southern summer dessert. I can’t actually think of a community function where it’s not an acceptable (Read: celebrated) addition to the potluck table. Picnics, fund-raisers, reunions, showers, birthday parties — you name it, somebody’s showing up with a casserole dish piled high with homemade vanilla pudding, ripe bananas, vanilla wafers, and whipped cream. Credit the dessert’s versatility to it being easy, delicious, and immensely comforting. It tastes like summer, family memories, and parties so good you have to unbutton your pants. Banana pudding is everything you could possibly ask for in a dessert.

Banana Pudding

6 bananas
3 dozen vanilla wafers


2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring milk to a near boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in sugar and cornstarch, and whisk continuously until thickened. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Let chill.

Slice bananas into ¼-inch slices. Layer one third of the cookies on the bottom of a wide serving dish. Top with one third of the banana slices. Pour pudding evenly on top of the first layer. Add second and third layers in the same order.

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff. Spoon over top layer of bananas and chill 45 minutes to an hour. Serve chilled.

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Rosemond-Hoerr is a food blogger and photographer who draws on her grandmother’s traditional Southern cooking for inspiration.