Entirely Homemade Banana Pudding

Recipe by Sarah Jampel

Banana pudding recipes are made up of three basic elements: pudding, cookies, and bananas. While the bananas are non-negotiable, the other two elements can be improved upon. So instead of pudding from a mix and storebought cookies, this banana pudding recipe calls for from-scratch vanilla pudding enriched with sweetened condensed milk and snappy homemade cookies. These elements are delicious on their own, but when they’re layered together and chilled, the flavors and textures marry into a downright irresistible dessert. The extra effort is worth it. 

20 mins
14 hrs
one 8" pan (9 to 12 servings)
Entirely Homemade Banana Pudding  - select to zoom
Entirely Homemade Banana Pudding  - select to zoom
Entirely Homemade Banana Pudding  - select to zoom
Entirely Homemade Banana Pudding  - select to zoom


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  1. To make the homemade vanilla pudding: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until well-combined. Place the egg yolks in another small bowl and set both bowls aside near the stove. 

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream. Warm the mixture over medium heat. When the milk is about to steam, whisk the yolks into the cornstarch mixture until well combined. Slowly dribble some of the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking all the while, until the yolk mixture feels warm to the touch. Slowly return the yolk mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk, constantly whisking. Continue to cook, still whisking, until the custard thickens and bubbles in the center of the pot.  

  3. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste or Pure Vanilla Plus. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment against the surface of the pudding (this prevents a skin from forming) and let it cool to room temperature. Transfer the pudding to the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 6 hours. 

  4. To assemble the banana pudding: In an 8" square pan or another shallow 2-quart container, spread about 1/3 of the pudding (roughly 1 generous cup or about 325g). Cover with a single layer of cookies (about 1 heaping cup or 16 cookies), followed by a layer of banana slices. Repeat once more, then finish with the remaining pudding.  

  5. Using a stand mixer, a large bowl and a whisk, or a mason jar, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla to firm peaks. Spread the whipped cream over top of the assembled pudding. Cover the banana pudding tightly and refrigerate preferably overnight, or for at least 12 hours for homemade cookies or 6 hours for storebought cookies; this ensures the cookies have time to soften. (Alternatively, top with whipped cream just before serving.) 

  6. Before serving, crush a handful of vanilla cookies and sprinkle them over the top of the whipped cream.  

  7. Storage information: Store leftover banana pudding, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  

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