Banana Pudding

Banana pudding is comfort-food dessert of bananas, custard, and cookies, especially popular in the South.

Where It’s From

Its exact origin is uncertain, but it likely descends from English trifle, which also layers custard, fruit, and whipped cream, plus sponge cake, or in this case, Vanilla wafers.

What are the Ingredients of Banana Pudding?

Of course, bananas are essential, as is custard. What custard is best for banana pudding? The best versions use freshly made custard — banana flavored or vanilla. It is more common to use a boxed banana pudding mix. Nearly all cooks rely on Nabisco Nilla Wafers. More ambitious chefs make their own vanilla cookies, as long was true at Nashville’s esteemed Loveless Cafe.  In some puddings the cook simply layers cookies atop the custard. This makes them retain their crispness. More typically, the cook mixes wafers into the pudding. This way, parts stay crisp, but some pieces soften into veins of sweet grain. Whipped cream or Cool Whip serves as a leavener, although some cooks leave this note out altogether.

Maximum Comfort

This pudding usually comes cool or cold. But its comfort-food character is emphasized when it is served at room temperature or tepid.

Common in meat & 3 cafes and in cafeteria lines, banana pudding earns highest accolades as dessert after a spicy meal, such as BBQ or Nashville hot chicken.


Fact: When Elvis secluded himself at Graceland in search of serenity, banana pudding was a favorite indulgence. He referred to in baby talk as “‘naner pudding.”


Restaurants With This Dish

Bear’s Den


Just Julie’s
Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe


Big Mama’s Soul Food


Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant


Whole okra pods fried with a delicate crust
Fat Man’s Cafe



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