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Homemade Banana Pudding Cups

Banana pudding is a Southern classic, but everyone can enjoy these rich, creamy, silky banana pudding cups made from scratch. We’re using fresh ingredients with lots of variations to suit your tastes.

There are plenty of banana pudding recipes out there. I think you will be happy you chose this one. See why.

4 banana pudding cups with baby flowers in front of cups

I have been making banana cream pies for a long time. It’s one of my husband’s all time favorite desserts. And now Jenna’s son’s too.

This year, I decided to try the same recipe in cups for their birthdays (one day apart). Big success. Single servings are pretty and so easy to serve. 

Banana pudding has an interesting history (see recipe FAQ). Around the 1950’s, it became a Southern staple, served often at church gatherings, holiday events and tail-gaiting parties. I can see why. Comfort food at its best. 

Bottom line: If you’re looking for old fashioned comfort food, a sweet treat or a delicious dessert with fresh bananas and homemade pudding that every banana lover will adore, look no further. A banana cream pie turned single.

Why make this banana pudding recipe

  1. Fresh ingredients: This is pretty classic banana pudding recipe (if there is such a thing anymore). These days, you will find many versions with boxed pudding mixes, sweetened condensed milk and cool whip. No judgement. But this one’s better 🙂
  2. Well tested: I’ve been using the same banana cream pie recipe for years that I found on food.com. So it’s well tested and tweaked to reduce the calories and fat – and still maintain maximum deliciousness.
  3. No double boiler: Most recipes call for a double boiler. Not ours.
  4. Kids love it: So do adults of course. If you love bananas and you like creamy puddings, this dessert is a sure winner.
  5. Great for potlucks: You can, of course, transport the pudding in a large serving bowl, but the individual banana pudding cups work really well too. Just buy plastic cups from the dollar store.
  6. Serving and topping options: We’ve included lots.

Ingredient Notes – Tailored to Your Taste

2 bananas, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, milk, butter, graham crumbs

As you can see, the ingredients are simple. Here are a few variations you can try.

Graham crumbs

There’s no need to buy a whole bag of pre-made graham cracker crumbs (which you’ll throw out next year). Here are some options:

  • Buy a few graham crackers at a bulk food store, blend with an immersion blender for food processor with a tiny bit of butter.
  • Buy a premade graham crust for $2-3 and use the crumbs from that.
  • Use any wafer or cookie – vanilla wafer cookies, shortbread, chocolate wafers – and crush with a rolling pin or in a food processor.

Milk

  • Go as rich or light as you like. The original recipe calls for whole milk. I use 2% milk to cut the calories and fat.
  • If I want to up the luxury factor, replace 1/4 cup/59 ml of the milk with half-and-half or heavy cream. I do this sometimes.
  • Use lactose free milk for a dairy-free version.

Pudding options

  • At it’s heart, this is a homemade vanilla pudding with bananas. The banana flavor shines through, but if someone is not keen on bananas, leave them out. That’s the beauty of individual servings. I do this for my son in law who is allergic to bananas.
  • Don’t like bananas? Change it up and make coconut pudding. Just add 1 cup/80 grams shredded coconut while heating the milk (and skip the bananas).

Tips

There are just two techniques you need for this recipe – both very easy. Plus one mess up tip and one storing tip.

  1. Scalding milk: For a smooth creamy pudding texture, add scalded milk to the flour-sugar mixture. You are heating the milk below the boiling point. Instructions for how to scald milk are in the recipe for stove top and microwave.
  2. Tempering eggs: You can’t add raw egg yolks to a hot mixture or they will begin to cook and curdle. So you have to temper the eggs. This simply means mixing some of the hot mixture with the eggs first, then adding it back to the hot mixture.
  3. If you burn the bottom of the pan: It happens 😬. You turn your attention away and boom. You feel a coating on the bottom. When you stir it, you will get little brown bits floating in the pudding. All is not lost. Try not to scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring. Then strain the pudding through a fine mesh sieve. Saved.
  4. Storing in fridge: Cover the pudding with plastic wrap directly touching the top of the pudding. This will prevent a skin from forming on the pudding. Not a taste issue, just looks.

Step by step instructions 

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate pot, scald the milk on medium heat until tiny bubbles/foam form.

thickened mixture of milk sugar and flour in pot

Slowly add the hot milk to the flour-sugar mixture over medium heat and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Temper eggs and add them: Lightly beat egg yolks in a cup. Add some hot milk mixture to the eggs and stir well. Then add the milk-egg mixture back to the pot.

banana pudding in pot

Stir and cook another minute. Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla extract. Let pudding sit until lukewarm.

Prepare the individual serving cups by adding a tablespoon of crumbs to the bottom. Layer with a bit of pudding on top of crumbs, then banana slices. Repeat with two more layers.

4 banana pudding cups with baby flowers in front

Garnish with a few cookie crumbs and a banana slice (or see other serving suggestions below).

Shortcuts

  • Scalding milk in the microwave takes about half the time as on the stove top, but you will still need to be hands-on for stirring.
  • Skip the graham crumb ‘crust’ or just use crushed cookies sprinkled on top or bottom or both. Or one whole vanilla wafer on the bottom.

Make ahead

  • The banana pudding cups can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge or covered in plastic wrap.
  • Top with extra banana slices just before serving. The bananas in the pudding will start turning softer and slightly discolored after a day. So the maximum fridge time is 2 days. One is better.
  • The pudding can be frozen for a few months without the bananas.

Serving suggestions

As individual cup servings

  • Layer just with banana slices
  • Layer with bananas and mini vanilla wafers (these will turn into a cake texture)
  • Serve in small glasses, espresso cups, mini mason jars or plastic cups. Or use mini cups – like shooters.
  • Use a crumb bottom as per the recipe or leave it out.

Family style

  • Pour the pudding into a serving bowl and add your toppings. I would skip the crust for this option and concentrate on toppings.

Toppings

  • Extra graham crumbs or cookie crumbs
  • Fresh homemade whipped cream (yes, you can also use cool whip)
  • Drizzle of caramel sauce or chocolate sauce
  • Extra sliced bananas
  • Sprinkle of toasted shredded coconut.
  • Sprinkle with ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Recipe FAQ

What is the history of Southern banana pudding?

Here’s a great article by Serious eats on the history of banana pudding. In a nutshell: In the 1890’s, it was popular layered with sponge cake, then later on with lady fingers. At some point, many added a meringue topping. In the 1920’s, the pudding was married with vanilla wafers – still popular to this day. By the 1950’s, it became a southern icon.

Can I scald the milk in a microwave?

Yes you can. Use a microwave safe bowl and microwave on medium high for about 3-4 minutes, stirring 5-6 times in between to distribute heat evenly. When small bubble form at the sides, it’s done. 180F/82C.

Are there different ways to make banana pudding?

Yes – many! Some use sweetened condensed milk. Others cook it in a double boiler. Some layer with wafers. Others use a boxed pudding mix. Southerners often top it with meringue.

Can you freeze banana pudding?

You can’t freeze banana pudding mixed with bananas as the bananas will turn to mush. You CAN freeze the vanilla pudding in an airtight container or ziploc bag for several months, then once defrosted, add the bananas.

Love bananas?

Then you won’t want to miss one of these delicious banana recipes.

1 glass cup with pudding topped with graham crumbs and a banana slice

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks!

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4 banana pudding cups with baby flowers in front of cups
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Homemade Banana Pudding Cups

Banana pudding is a Southern US icon, but everyone can enjoy these rich, creamy, silky banana pudding cups made from scratch. We're using fresh ingredients with lots of variations to suit your tastes. Delicious!
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time15 mins
cooling12 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • 6-8 small glass, espresso or plastic cups to hold about 1/2 cup/118 ml

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup graham or cookie crumbs, Note 1 (plus 2 tsps butter)

Homemade vanilla pudding

  • 3 cups milk, Note 2
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, rounded (a bit more) (or up to 3/4 cup/150 g if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks in a cup, lightly beaten with fork have this ready
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • SCALD MILK: Pour milk into a medium sauce pan. Heat to medium heat until tiny bubbles/foam appear on side of pot and milk starts steaming. The temperature on an instant read thermometer should be about 180F/82C when done (which is before the boiling point). Note 3 for microwave directions.
  • COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS: In another saucepan, mix together 1/2 cup sugar (or more for sweeter), 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • MAKE PUDDING: Slowly add scalded milk to dry ingredients in pot. Heat on medium until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. This will take about 6 minutes. Cover pot and cook 2 more minutes.
  • TEMPER AND ADD EGG YOLKS: Scoop about 1/2 cup/118 ml of hot pudding mixture into cup with beaten egg yolks and stir to combine well. Then add egg mixture to pudding. Cook for 1 minute.
  • FINISH PUDDING: Remove pudding from heat. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until smooth. Let it sit until lukewarm.
  • ASSEMBLE PUDDING CUPS: Put about 1 tablespoon graham crumbs on bottom of each cup, pressing down with your fingers or back of a measuring spoon. Add a small amount of pudding. Place 2-3 banana slices on top. Repeat with pudding-bananas-pudding-bananas -pudding. Add toppings as desired e.g. sprinkle graham crumbs and a slice of banana. Note 4 for serving options.

Notes

  1. Graham crumb options: if you don’t want to buy a whole bag of pre-made graham cracker crumbs, here are some options:
    • Buy 5-6 graham crackers at a bulk food store, blend with an immersion blender for food processor with 2 teaspoons of soft or melted butter.
    • Buy a $2-3 premade packaged graham crust and use the crumbs from that.
    • Use any wafer or cookie – vanilla wafer cookies, shortbread, chocolate wafers – and crush with a rolling pin or in a food processor. You’ll need about 10 wafers and 2 teaspoons soft or melted butter. Skip the butter if you like.
  2. Milk options:
    • For richer pudding use whole milk. Or replace 1/4 cup/59 ml of the 2% milk with half-and-half or heavy cream.
    • Use lactose free milk for a dairy-free version.
  3. Scalding milk in microwave (shortcut): Place milk in a microwave-safe bowl (glass or pyrex). Microwave on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes total, stirring in between every in 30-40 seconds to distribute the heat evenly. 
  4. Serving options
    • Layer just with banana slices
    • Layer with bananas and mini vanilla wafers (these will turn into a cake texture)
    • Serve in small glasses, espresso cups, mini mason jars or plastic cups. Or use mini cups – like shooters.
    • Use a crumb bottom as per the recipe or leave it out.
  5. Topping options
    • Layer just with banana slices
    • Layer with bananas and mini vanilla wafers (these will turn into a cake texture)
    • Serve in small glasses, espresso cups, mini mason jars or plastic cups. Or use mini cups – like shooters.
    • Use a crumb bottom as per the recipe or leave it out.
  6. Variations:
    • If you don’t like bananas, try coconut pudding. Stir in 1 cup/80 grams shredded coconut while heating the milk (and skip the bananas).
    • Skip the graham ‘crust’ and just make banana pudding. 
  7. Make ahead
    • The banana pudding cups can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge or covered in plastic wrap. Place wrap directly on top of pudding to avoid a skin forming. 
    • Top with extra banana slices just before serving. The bananas in the pudding will start turning softer and slightly discolored after a day. So the maximum fridge time is 2 days. One is better.
    • The pudding can be frozen for a few months without the bananas.
     
Nutrition information is estimated using 2% milk and graham crumbs for 6 cups. Values will be lower if you make 7-8 smaller cups.  

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 1mg
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