Fresh Banana Pudding Recipe

Cooking pudding from scratch took researching a lot of pudding recipes, and quite a bit of trial and error.  By George, I think I've got it!

Pudding is one of those "simple dessert recipes" that takes knowing your heat source, your cooking pot, and knowing how the ingredients react to heat.  The whole process happens rather quickly, but it still takes patience and a watchful eye to make it come out right.


makes 4  (1/2-cup) servings

  • 2 very ripe, brown bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 small vanilla pod, split open OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, add banana slices, vanilla pod or extract, and whole milk.  Heat milk until you see steam or vapors rising up from the milk.  Do not stir.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Allow the mixture to steep for 45 minutes to 1-hour.

Strain milk into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Discard banana and vanilla pod.  If the milk doesn't quite measure 2 cups, add enough cream or whole milk to top it off.  Pour flavored milk back into the 2-quart pan.  Beat in 2 egg yolks.  Slowly heat it up over medium heat. Stir constantly until hot, but not simmering.  This takes up to 5 minutes.

Sift sugar, cornstarch and salt together.  Gradually whisk dry ingredients into milk mixture.  Keep stirring until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes maybe.  Check thickness using a wooden spoon.  Does the pudding adhere to the back of the spoon?  If no, keep stirring.  If yes, keep reading.  As soon as you see it thickening, remove it from the heat.  Once it starts to thicken, it gets thicker rather quickly.

Remove pan from heat.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until melted.

Pour pudding into a serving bowl or individual cups.  Cover with plastic wrap, allow the plastic to come in contact with the pudding.  This prevents a skin from forming on the top.  Chill in icebox for 1 1/2 to 2-hours.

If you're feeling impatient.  This fresh banana pudding tastes great warm, too.  Try it for yourself and see.

  • Pudding is all I ever need for a dessert. I like your twist with the banana, makes it possible not to add so much sugar, I see. Thanks. Your photos are very professional looking!

    • Thank you, Jane!
      Steeping the bananas and vanilla in the milk was a new one on me, too. We do it for homemade ice cream all the time. I just didn’t think to do it for pudding. I can’t wait to make a lemon pudding next.
      Adding the beaten eggs to the cold pan with the cooled milk eliminates the step of tempering the eggs into the hot milk. It’s like going in reverse, for the better. Then the rest is like making gravy; waiting for the milk to get warm enough to absorb the cornstarch and melt the sugar. Stir, stir, stir until it thickens.

      I made a second batch tonight; testing with a shorter steeping time 15 minutes and using vanilla paste. The flavors don’t come across as prominently as it did with an hour of steeping. I’m not so sure about the vanilla paste, either. It was better with the pod. I wish I had my favorite vanilla extract on hand, but I’m out right now.

      • I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately (just finished a batch of chocolate with crystallized ginger and nutmeg) and the process of making the custard had me wondering about making pudding too. Will have to give this recipe a try! Thanks, Jill!

        • Hi Jay!
          You’re definitely in the zone for making pudding. Let me know what you think of this recipe. We went through the first batch so fast, I had to make another batch before I went to bed.

  • That looks so good. Brings back memories as my mom used to make pudding from scratch when I was little. Must be meant to be as I just happen to have two very ripe bananas taunting me. Will also be good practice as I am famous for ruining things that require a certain degree of heat source. My last failure was a dismal panna cotta. Wish me luck 🙂

    • Bless your heart, Maven. If you can make gravy, you can make pudding.

  • oh my goodness…banan pudding has never looked more delicious! love the glass presentation

    • Thank you, Tamanna!

  • Oh, haha, banana PUDDING not like southern time-y “banana pudding.” Looks delish!

  • Kat

    Is there anything better than cooked bananas? I did double the recipe, and as I don’t have a sifter, I skipped that step – it came out fine. Also used vanilla extract (real NEVER imitation!)This is a definite keeper! I could probably eat this for breakfast even!

    • I’m with you, Kat. Always use fresh and as close to real ingredients as we can get.

      When I’m reading the list of ingredients on food packages, I want to see ingredients that I can buy on the other aisles or grow myself. If I can’t buy, grow or make it myself, then it has no business being in my body. For example: xanthum gum, monosodium glutamate, high-fructose corn syrup, Disodium guanylate, Maltol…

      You get the idea.

  • Melissa

    I was in the cooking mood tonight & I thought about this Fresh Banana Pudding recipe you mentioned months ago. I am so glad I made it!! It is the best banana pudding we have ever had!! I should have tripled the recipe. One batch is not enough….it is that good!!

    • I completely agree, Melissa, one batch is definitely not enough. I make about a quart of pudding each time, now. Next on my recipe list is to master chocolate pudding. I’m pretty picker about my chocolate and I want it to have just the right texture and darkness. When I get it worked out, I’ll share the recipe.

  • Michael in East York (Toronto)

    I used to be able to get a commercial-made but delicious and creamy banana pudding locally, much like this, made by Kosy Shack, but I haven’t been able to find it in months. Following a long, online search for a replacement, I was beginning to get the impression that I’d be “stuck” making a “southern-style” banana pudding, you know – the one with ‘Nilla wafer cookies and all. Rather NOT what I was looking or hoping for. You can thus imagine I was rather overjoyed to discover this recipe as my dear partner quite loved the Kosy Shack pudding and has really missed it. IMHO, this is even better, and besides, it’s truly a delight to make it myself anyway.

    Since we don’t buy whole milk (I don’t drink milk and my partner primarily uses it in his coffee or has the odd glass now and then) I simply used the 1% that I normally get and hoped for the best – the pudding still turned out great! Also, In the same way that I can never seem to resist (vigorously) stirring my steeping herbal teas, I have to admit that I just couldn’t resist stirring the bananas either, both while they were heating up in the milk and again while they were steeping in it. This didn’t seem to harm or impair the end result – I was glad for this because that stirring impulse was rather overpowering!!

    Rather than discarding the bananas after straining them out, I decided to keep them (in a zip-lock bag in the freezer) for making banana bread another day. This also turned out to be a good thing! I’ve wondered about making a meringue from the 2 leftover egg whites to use as a topping instead of a nice dollop of whipped cream…

    Much gratitude and sincerest thanks to you, Jill, for sharing this rather awesome recipe!

    • Hi Michael!
      Thank you for coming back and sharing with us. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed the Kosy Shack brand around these parts. I’m so glad to know this recipe turned out to be a winner for you and your partner. It can be such a challenge to please our partners with new recipes for old favorites. Herding cats is easier.

      Two years ago, we changed our way of eating to all plant-based meals. I need to get back in the kitchen with this old favorite and turn it into a plant-based delight.

  • Maria Paul

    just loved this recipe..but it looks more of juicy consistency..Plz visit this website

  • Mehr

    Omg! This turned out amazing! However I made this for my son who is allergic to all dairy so I substituted coconut cream in place of the milk and ghee instead of butter to finish it off! Thank you for this wonderful recipe ! We love it!!!