Banana Cream Pudding

for pie, parfaits, pavlova and even (yummm) plain

Hey, Pie People! The base recipe for Banana Cream Pudding works in so many ways, just by making easy adjustments to sweetness and thickening. For example, a traditional Banana Cream Pie needs less sugar but more cornstarch but Banana Cream Parfaits and pudding served "plain" all by itself need more sugar but less cornstarch. See? Easy changes!

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

One Recipe, Several Variations. Homemade Banana Cream Pudding, Made from Scratch. Real Food, Fast & Family-Tested. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Naturally Gluten Free.

Did You Hear?

It's been a pudding factory around here, getting the recipe exactly right.

Okay, okay, I exaggerate even if I've made more Banana Cream Pudding in the last month than in my whole life.

It all started with a plaintive plea for Banana Cream Pie, that's the "favorite man pie" in my circle. Just mention Banana Cream Pie and suddenly the men-folk here get dreamy far-away looks and then hopeful grins, whether nine or almost-ninety or any age in between.

How would a life-long pie baker resist?

Pie one, pie two: neither one was exactly perfect. So I focused on just the pudding until I got it right, one half-batch after another.

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

One Recipe, Simple Variations.

Along the way, I learned so much about Banana Cream Pie, especially the pudding part! It turns out, I'm pretty picky ...

  • Texture For pie, the pudding should be firm but not stiff or gummy. But for parfaits and plain pudding, the pudding should be soft and spoonable.
  • Sweetness When the pudding is used for pie or parfaits with the Stabilized Whipped Cream Topping, the pudding itself needs way less sugar but when it's plain, extra sugar is lovely.
  • Richness Even though lots of restaurants use heavy cream for their banana cream pie concoctions, to my taste, cream makes a pudding that's just too-too rich. I went back and forth, then settled on whole milk even though 2% milk is "almost" as good. I also love the depth added by a small measure of evaporated milk but again, it's not mandatory.

What About Stabilized Whipped Cream?

I also compared different ways to stabilize the whipped cream.

  • Nobody wants watery whipped cream! After awhile, that's what happens to cream whipped only with a touch of sugar.
  • Nobody wants whipped cream that evaporates! Who knew? That's what happens when you apply an aerosol whipped topping ahead of time. I was so embarrassed to serve this to friends, once!

There are quite a few ways to stabilize whipped cream so that it will hold up for a few hours. I looked at these.

  • Gelatin To stabilize whipped cream so that it will last without breaking down, plain gelatin like Knox packets works great but, really, who keeps gelatin on hand? I don't know about you but I regularly have trouble with Jello, let alone gummy plain gelatin.
  • Cream Cheese So I fixed on cream cheese to stabilize the whipped cream. This means it will "hold up" for a few hours and even longer. That said, even though it will hold up, it won't look or taste quite as fresh so I recommend applying the Stabilized Whipped Cream no more than about four hours ahead of time.
Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

More Explorations

I also played around with some fun variations of Banana Cream Pudding. Some worked, some didn't.

  • Coconut Milk = Wonderful Use a can of full-fat coconut milk, then supplement with regular milk. This pudding is excellent, just skip the vanilla, bourbon or brandy because they somehow cancel themselves out. Banana Cream Pudding made with coconut is especially rich and thick, really good.
  • "Light" Banana Cream Pudding = Good for Every Day Use 2 percent milk instead of whole milk. Drop the sugar down to 8 tablespoons. Use a half tablespoon of butter. My book club liked this lots and I keep thinking it would be great swirled with Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding! Because of the calorie differences, this will be my "every day" Banana Cream Pudding.
  • "Intense" Banana Flavor = Real Bananas Work Best For really intense banana flavor, drop the sugar down to 4 tablespoons but add two very ripe bananas, even two "black bananas". The downside with adding real banana is that the strands of banana are visible, just like in banana bread. You can make them mostly disappear by putting the whole mixture through a food processor and adding a few drops of yellow food coloring. I loved this version but my taste testers, even one who liked it at first, found it "too rich".
    I also tried a small bottle of "banana emulsion" from HomeGoods that supposedly adds intense banana flavor. It doesn't.
    My favorite way to add real banana flavor was the simplest: just stir diced bananas into the pudding itself. After about four hours, the bananas do start to turn slightly brown but it's not unsightly or anything.
  • Jello Banana Pudding = Super-Super Sweet But Familiar Yeah, I really did cook a box of Jello Banana Pudding, just to see! It was "really banana-y" at least in that artificial banana tasting way. It was also very, very VERY sweet. But still? I think lots of people will love the familiarity of this old boxed favorite.

About This Recipe for Banana Cream Pudding

This Banana Cream Pudding is a "custard" pudding, that means its ingredients include eggs and milk and these are cooked on the stove until thick.

The same Pudding is used to make a Banana Cream Pie, a parfait, a pavlova or served plain, with just small adjustments to the amount of sugar (for less-more sweetness) and cornstarch (for less-more thickening).

The Pudding's essential ingredients are the egg yolks (for richness and thickening), the sugar (for sweetness and structure), the cornstarch (for thickening) and the milk (for volume). The remaining ingredients add flavor to the pudding.

Ingredients = egg yolks + sugar + cornstarch + milk + evaporated milk (optional) + butter + vanilla, bourbon or another flavoring

Extra ingredients for Banana Cream Pie = a prepared graham cracker crust + fresh bananas + nutmeg

Extra ingredients for Banana Cream Parfaits = graham cracker crumbs + nutmeg

Extra ingredients for Banana Cream Pavlova = prepared meringue shells + fresh bananas + blueberries

It takes about 20 minutes to cook the Pudding itself, longer to assemble a pie, pudding cups, etc.

The Pudding is thick and creamy in appearance, soft and rich in taste. If the egg yolks are extra yellow, the pudding will turn out a pretty yellow color as well.

This recipe yields 3-1/4 cups cooked pudding.

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

A Large Pan & a Large Whisk A smaller pan and smaller whisk may be used with good results so if that's what you have, not to worry. That said, over time, I've come to turn to a large stainless steel Dutch oven and a large, metal whisk to make pudding on the stove. The large pan has a greater surface area, letting the pudding cook more evenly. The big whisk breaks up the eggs so well, then reaches into the corners so well while the custard cooks.

Mix the Eggs, Sugar & Cornstarch Really Well This is the first technique used to prevent small lumps. Start with the sugar, salt and cornstarch, every single clump of cornstarch must be broken up. If the cornstarch is super-lumpy, you might even want to press it through a fine-mesh strainer.

Stir-Stir-Stir And don't walk away! A custard pudding is a tad finicky but luckily, the solution is an easy one. Just stay at the stove and stir continuously, no interruptions. This is the second technique to prevent lumps from forming.

What to Make with Banana Cream Pudding: Pie, Parfaits, Pudding Cups, Pavlova & Even Plain (Yummm ...)

Any one would be perfect for Pi Day that's coming up fast on March 14th – or delighting those you love, any day of the year.

Still, I promise, no judgment if anyone's tempted to just spoon warm pudding right from the pot.

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

GILDING THE LILY Many years ago, I put down a layer of thick caramel on the graham cracker crust before adding the pudding and bananas. But nowadays, I just drizzle a little soft caramel drizzled on top of the pie. You use less and taste more. Win-win!

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

NOT INTO CRUSTS? TRY A PARFAIT [pronounced par-fay] No problem. Just layer a few graham cracker crumbs with the pudding, chopped banana and whipped cream. It's like banana cream pie in a cup, without the fuss of a crust. So simple, definitely a treat.

Irish coffee mugs make for great parfaits, especially with long iced tea spoons to scoop out the very last bits of pudding.

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

NO TALL PARFAIT CUPS? Small canning jars are wonderful for portioning out small "meals" for the fridge but also for small, portable desserts like Banana Cream Pudding. Just toss some diced banana into the Banana Cream Pudding, top with some whipped cream and – but then you know this part, right? – DEVOUR.

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.

USE UP THOSE EGG WHITES WITH PAVLOVA! The pudding itself uses a pile of egg yolks so use the leftover egg whites to make the meringue cups called "pavlova". (Sorry, my own recipe isn't quite ready for sharing but I think you'll find it easy to find one that suits you online.) Add some diced banana, Banana Cream Pudding and a little fruit like blueberries or mango. Instant dessert!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this simple but flexible recipe for Banana Cream Pudding hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Banana Cream Pudding ♥, one recipe for pie, pudding, parfaits and pavlova.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 3-1/4 cups Banana Cream Pudding, easily halved and even "thirded"
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 12 tablespoons sugar (use 8 tablespoons for parfaits & pie)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (use 4 tablespoons for pie)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (or more whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons flavoring such as vanilla, bourbon (my favorite!) or sherry
    STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM for PIE & PARFAITS, OTHERWISE OPTIONAL (enough for a 9-inch pie, make about half for parfaits)
  • 1 teaspoon cream cheese, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring such as bourbon, brandy or vanilla

PUDDING In a heavy saucepan, off heat collect the sugar, corn starch and table salt and blend well, pressing any clumps of cornstarch against the side of the pan with the pan of a spoon to break up. Add the egg yolks and use a whisk to blend well, until there's no sign of yolky bits. Finally, whisk in the milks, a quarter cup at a time at first.

Turn the heat to medium high and cook, stirring every minute until mixture begins to heat up. (If you're an ADD cook like me, just stay with the pot, whisking every so often, so you don't get distracted and forget the pot.)

At the first sign of the mixture beginning to thicken, lower the heat to low and whisk continuously, scraping the sides to avoid scorching the pudding, and let cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter and flavoring. Let the temperature drop for about fifteen minutes, stirring every five minutes until pudding is warm (not hot, not cold). Use warm pudding for Banana Cream Parfaits or Banana Cream Pie. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve. Perfectionists, you may want to cover the surface with wax paper, this prevents the pudding from forming a "skin" which can mess with the serving texture.

STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM Whisk cream cheese with about 1 tablespoon cream until the cream cheese has been completely mixed in. Add remaining cream and whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whip until firm peaks form. Mix in the flavoring.

ALANNA's TIPS For a lighter pudding that's perfectly good for every day, use 2% milk instead of whole milk. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup Pudding: 240 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 210mg Cholesterol; 426mg Sodium; 31g Carb; 0g Fiber; 27g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 11 & Freestyle 10 & myWW green 11 & blue 10 & purple 10 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = scant quarter cup (3g protein).

  • Banana Cream Pudding
  • Diced banana
  • Ground nutmeg

Stir together Banana Cream Pudding and diced banana and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. For the best appearance, consume the pudding within about 4 hours.

  • Banana Cream Pudding
  • Diced banana
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • (Repeat the First Three Layers)
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream
  • Ground nutmeg

Pour warm (not hot, not cold) Banana Cream Pudding and the Stabilized Whipped Cream into separate ziplock bags, seal and snip a corner on each for squeezing. In a tall clear glass, build these layers: Banana Cream Pudding, diced banana, graham cracker crumbs, repeat these three. Top with Stabilized Whipped Cream, sprinkle with nutmeg. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to about four hours.

  • Baked pie crust (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 1/3 Banana Cream Pudding
  • Two ripe bananas, sliced
  • Remaining Banana Cream Pudding
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Caramel sauce, optional

Spread about 1/3 of the warm (not hot, not cold) Banana Cream Pudding onto the crust, then add a layer of banana slices. Top with the remaining Pudding. Let cool. Spread Stabilized Whipped Cream on top, sprinkle with nutmeg. Refrigerate for about four hours until completely chilled before slicing. After slicing, drizzle with caramel sauce, oh-so-decadent!

ALANNA's TIPS A graham cracker crust is the traditional crust for Banana Cream Pie and I'm happy to recommend My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust, it's a crisp and sturdy crust, not too sweet, not too buttery. That said, a homemade graham cracker crust can get a little soft here, I think it's because of the warm pudding. So. What to do? Plan to serve the pie quite promptly after the four-hour chill time. Or use another pre-baked crust, I'm a huge fan of the Crisco pie crust included with the recipe for Perfect All-Rhubarb Pie. You'll need to "blind bake" the crust before adding the pudding. Whatever crust you choose, make sure it's fully baked and cooled before adding the pudding.

  • Prepared meringue shells
  • Banana Cream Pudding stirred with chopped ripe banana
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream
  • Fresh blueberries or another fresh fruit, optional

Fill meringue cups with Banana Cream Pudding. Add a dollop of Stabilized Whipped Cream and sprinkle with fresh berries.

Calling My Fellow Pudding Lovers

~ pudding recipes ~
Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding ♥, just five ingredients so perfect for weeknights or late-night chocolate attacks.

Lemon Pudding Cake ♥, the old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemon cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom, now with raspberries or blueberries.

Brown Rice & Quinoa Rice Pudding ♥, a healthy way to make rice pudding, with quinoa and brown rice, cooked on the stove or baked in the oven.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ banana recipes ~
~ egg yolk recipes ~
~ egg white recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous3/10/2015

    Where are the bananas in the Banana Cream Pudding recipe?

  2. Ummm ... whoops! It’s just so obvious to me to toss in some diced banana, I forgot to mention it. Thanks for the careful reading!

  3. Anonymous3/10/2015

    My kids love banana pudding, I followed your recipe just now, it’s wonderful, so different from box pudding. I hope there’s some left by the time the kids get home from school.

  4. Anonymous3/10/2015

    PS I always mean to say and forget, your recipes really inspire me. I get dinner on the table but it’s usually a chore. But your recipes are so simple but so real. I never have to run to the grocery store for something weird. And they always make me feel like a superstar cook. THANK YOU.

  5. Anonymous ~ Your words mean the world, thank YOU.

    PS If experience is a guide, you’d best make another batch for the kiddos!

  6. Pamela3/16/2015

    Alanna -- you might want to try adding a small amount of instant pudding powder to the whipped cream to stabilize it... I keep a package of vanilla flavour on hand for just this purpose (though any will work)... it only takes about a teaspoon to stabilize about 250 mls of cream and it'll "hold" longer than anything else I've tried.

    And can I just say I ADORE your website and all the great recipes? :)

  7. Pamela ~ Why, blush, blush, you may say. : - ) And thank YOU, it means the world. And I love too your tip about the instant pudding powder, I’ll buy a box this week!

  8. Carole3/23/2015

    I hope these notes about the Banana Cream Pudding interest you:

    I decided to try this for my husband's birthday with coconut, his very favorite pie. Yours looked a little different from my other recipe and looked like it made more. He is diabetic and I have experimented with Splenda. Cooking with Splenda requires a little tweaking because it does NOT cook exactly like sugar!

    Your recipe noted less sugar if using the recipe for pie, for the reason that sugar makes liquid when cooked and less liquid makes a thicker filling that would slice nicely.

    BUT -- since Splenda makes no liquid or volume of its own, I used the full amount of Splenda (12T.)and then added about 1/2 cup of half and half to make up for the lost liquid.

    I also noticed more cornstarch for pie (4T.) and I used the full amount -- the results were great!

    In other recipes, such as cake, using Splenda cuts back on volume but I make up for it by adding nonfat dry milk to compensate with pretty good results.

    Just FYI -- always enjoy your columns!

  9. This is serious swoonworthy food.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna