How to Make the Creamiest Banana Pudding Without Condensed Milk

As you gaze longingly at recipe photos of classic Southern banana pudding, you may lament the use of sweetened condensed milk as an ingredient you don’t have on hand or prefer to avoid. Don’t dismay – you can craft an equally decadent banana pudding using basic ingredients already in your pantry. By harnessing the natural sweetness of ripe bananas, a creamy custard base, and a touch of vanilla, you’ll make a banana pudding so velvety smooth and flavorful, no one will miss the condensed milk. In just a few simple steps, you can whip up a batch of the creamiest banana pudding you’ve ever tasted using everyday staples. Read on for how to make the most luscious banana pudding – no condensed milk required.

Banana Pudding Without Condensed Milk? Yes, It’s Possible!

Making delicious banana pudding without sweetened condensed milk is absolutely possible. All it takes is a few simple substitutions and tricks to achieve a creamy custard base.

Use Evaporated Milk Instead

Evaporated milk, unlike condensed milk, has had only 60% of its water removed, so it’s less sweet but still rich and creamy. For every 14 ounce can of condensed milk called for in a recipe, use an equal amount of evaporated milk. The evaporated milk provides body and richness without an overpowering level of sweetness.

Add Cornstarch for Thickness

To get an ultra-creamy texture without condensed milk, add cornstarch. For every 14 ounce can of condensed milk, whisk 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/2 cup of evaporated milk until smooth. Then, whisk the mixture into the rest of the evaporated milk. The cornstarch helps thicken the custard to a pudding-like consistency.

Use Vanilla Extract for Flavor

Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract helps provide flavor to the custard base. The vanilla enhances the flavor of the bananas and adds a classic pudding taste.

Chill Before Serving

Chilling the pudding for at least 2 hours, or overnight, helps it set and thicken to the perfect consistency. The chilling time allows the cornstarch to fully hydrate and thicken the custard.

With these simple substitutions, you can make rich and creamy banana pudding without condensed milk. Your friends and family will never know the difference! Enjoy.

The Secret to Creamy Banana Pudding Without Condensed Milk

To achieve a creamy banana pudding without condensed milk, the secret lies in using a combination of ingredients

that provide richness and body. The Thickening Agents

Two key ingredients will provide thickness in the absence of condensed milk: cornstarch and egg yolks.

Cornstarch is a powder that acts as a thickening agent when heated in a liquid. For banana pudding, mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons of milk or half and half until smooth. Add the slurry to the rest of the milk in your recipe and heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency.

Egg yolks also provide structure, in addition to a rich, custardy flavor. Whisk 2-3 egg yolks and gradually add some of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Whisk the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Be very careful not to overcook the eggs.

A combination of cornstarch and egg yolks, in addition to milk or half and half, creates a rich base for banana pudding without condensed milk. The key is adding the thickening agents, heating and stirring gently and being careful not to overcook. With the custard base done, simply layer it with bananas and vanilla wafers and chill before serving. Your creamy banana pudding will be the star of the show.

Only 3 Ingredients Needed for Easy Banana Pudding

To make creamy banana pudding without condensed milk, you only need three basic ingredients: bananas, sugar, and milk or cream.


Three to four medium bananas should be enough for a typical batch of banana pudding. Allow the bananas to ripen until mostly yellow with a few small brown speckles. Overripe bananas will be too mushy, while underripe bananas won’t provide enough flavor. Peel and slice the bananas into 1/2-inch pieces.


Sugar is needed to properly sweeten the pudding and enhance the flavor of the bananas. Use 3/4 to 1 cup of granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pudding. You can also use vanilla-infused sugar, brown sugar, or banana sugar for extra flavor. Add the sugar to the milk or cream while heating and whisk frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Milk or Cream

For the creamiest banana pudding, use half and half or whipping cream. Whole milk will also work, but the result won’t be quite as creamy. Use 3 to 4 cups of the milk or cream. Heat the milk or cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from heat.

To assemble the pudding, layer the banana slices and pudding in a serving dish, finishing with a layer of pudding on top. Let chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend and pudding to set. Top with whipped cream or meringue if desired. Homemade vanilla wafers or graham crackers make a perfect crunchy accompaniment. Your cool and creamy Southern-style banana pudding is now ready to enjoy!

Step-by-Step Guide to Make Banana Pudding the Black Way

To make authentic Southern-style banana pudding without condensed milk, follow these steps:


You will need:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 (12 ounce) box vanilla wafers


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch until well combined. While whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from scrambling.
  3. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into a 2-quart serving dish. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. To assemble the pudding, start with a layer of custard on the bottom of the dish, then top with vanilla wafers in a single layer. Repeat with sliced bananas, custard, and wafers, ending with custard.
  6. Cover and chill for at least 2 more hours before serving. Garnish individual servings with whipped cream (optional), crushed vanilla wafers, and an extra banana slice.

By following these procedures thoroughly and precisely, you will produce an authentic homemade banana pudding with a rich custard base, layers of fresh bananas and vanilla wafers, and no need for condensed milk. Your patience will be well rewarded with a classic Southern dessert. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Homemade Banana Pudding Texture

To achieve an ultra-creamy banana pudding without condensed milk, follow these tips:

Use Starch

Cornstarch or flour are essential thickeners that help provide body and structure. Make a slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold milk. Add the slurry to the custard base while stirring constantly. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. The custard will continue to thicken as it cools. For an even thicker pudding, use 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Temper the Eggs

Tempering the egg yolks is vital to avoiding curdled custard. Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the egg yolks. Then slowly add the egg yolk mixture back into the pot with the rest of the warm milk, whisking constantly. This gradually introduces the eggs to the heat and prevents them from scrambling.

Simmer Slowly

Cook the custard over medium or medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Be very careful not to let it come to a boil. Simmer just until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat immediately. Overcooking the custard can cause it to curdle.

Chill Thoroughly

Allow the custard to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, before layering it with bananas and vanilla wafers. This allows it to thicken to a decadent, spoonable consistency.

Use a Double Boiler (Optional)

For extra insurance against curdling, a double boiler can be used. This gently heats the custard using steam from simmering water. The custard is less likely to overheat this way. If you do not have a double boiler, you can create one using a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

Following these useful tips and techniques will help you achieve an ultra-rich and creamy homemade banana pudding without the need for condensed milk. Your patience in chilling the custard and not rushing the cooking process will be rewarded with a cool, thick and decadent dessert.

Flavor Variations to Jazz Up Your Banana Pudding

To jazz up your homemade banana pudding and take it to the next level, consider incorporating additional flavors and mix-ins. The creamy vanilla custard and bananas provide a perfect blank canvas for creative customization.


For a chocolatey twist, add 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to the finished pudding base. Gently fold the chocolate into the pudding to distribute evenly. The chocolate will melt into the hot pudding, creating a chocolate swirl effect. Alternatively, shave chocolate curls or chunks over the top of each layer for a crunchy chocolate topping.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a classic complement to bananas. Swirl 3-4 tablespoons of smooth or crunchy peanut butter into the pudding base. The peanut butter will melt into ribbons and threads throughout the pudding. You can also top each pudding layer with a few spoonfuls of peanut butter in addition to the bananas for extra peanut butter flavor in every bite.

Bourbon or Rum

For an adults-only banana pudding, add 2-3 tablespoons of bourbon or dark rum to the pudding base. The alcohol will cook off, leaving behind its distinctive flavor compounds. You can also make a boozy whipped cream topping by adding a splash of bourbon or rum to the whipping cream before whipping.


Brewed coffee is another flavor that pairs wonderfully with bananas and custard. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee to the pudding base in place of the same amount of milk. The coffee will add a mocha undertone without overpowering the other flavors. Top the pudding with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Warm spices complement the flavors of banana pudding. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon to the pudding base. You can also add a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon to the whipped cream topping for an extra burst of spice with each bite.

With a bit of creativity, you can transform a classic Southern banana pudding into an elegant and memorable dessert. Experiment by mixing and matching different flavor additions or create your own custom blend. The possibilities for jazzing up your banana pudding are endless!

Storing and Serving Your Condensed Milk-Free Banana Pudding

Storing Your Banana Pudding

Once your pudding has set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, you can store any leftovers. Properly stored, your banana pudding can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Place the leftover pudding in an airtight container, such as a lidded plastic or glass storage container. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding before sealing the container to prevent a skin from forming. Alternatively, you can cover the pudding with more whipped topping to create an airtight seal.

For best quality, eat the pudding within 3 to 4 days. As it sits, the pudding may become slightly firmer but will still be creamy and delicious. The bananas may darken in color due to oxidation, but the pudding is still safe to eat.

Serving Your Banana Pudding

Your homemade banana pudding can be served in many ways. For a classic presentation, dish the pudding into glass bowls or cups and top each portion generously with whipped topping and an extra banana slice. You can also get creative with your garnishes, adding crushed nuts like pecans or walnuts, or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.

For a crowd, dish the pudding into a large glass trifle dish or clear glass bowl. Create layers of pudding, whipped topping, and banana slices for a stunning presentation. Top the entire dessert generously with whipped topping and garnish as desired. Your guests are sure to be impressed with this showstopper dessert!

A homemade banana pudding without condensed milk is a Southern treat that can be enjoyed year-round. By following a few simple steps, you can make a creamy banana pudding from scratch using basic ingredients you likely have on hand. Your patience will be rewarded with a cool, rich and comforting dessert that tastes just like childhood. Enjoy!

FAQs About Making Banana Pudding Without Condensed Milk

Once you’ve gathered the ingredients to make homemade banana pudding without condensed milk, you may have a few questions about the recipe and process. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help ensure your pudding turns out creamy and delicious:

What can I use as a substitute for condensed milk?

Condensed milk provides creaminess and sweetness to traditional banana pudding recipes. As an alternative, you can use:

  • Evaporated milk – Has a similar consistency to condensed milk but less sugar. Use the same amount as the condensed milk called for in the recipe.
  • Coconut milk – For a dairy-free option, use an equal amount of full-fat coconut milk. It will add creaminess with a subtle coconut flavor.
  • Half and half or whole milk – Use 1 1/2 times the amount of half and half or 2 times the amount of whole milk. Add sugar to taste, usually 3 to 6 tablespoons per cup of milk.

Do I need to use vanilla wafers or can I use something else?

Vanilla wafers or Nilla wafers are traditional, but you can use:

  • Graham crackers – For a lighter option, crush graham crackers and layer with bananas and pudding.
  • Pound cake – Cut pound cake into cubes and use in place of vanilla wafers.
  • Chocolate cookies – For a chocolatey twist, use crushed Oreos, chocolate graham crackers or other chocolate cookies.

Can I make banana pudding ahead of time?

Yes, banana pudding can be made up to 2 days ahead. Simply prepare as directed, then cover and refrigerate. The wafers may get soggy if assembled in the dish ahead of time, so I recommend:

  • Make the pudding and bananas layers in the dish as usual, but don’t add the final layer of wafers until ready to serve.
  • Make the pudding and slice the bananas, then assemble everything in the dish right before serving.
  • Keep pudding in a separate container and the banana slices and wafers on a plate. Assemble in your serving dish within 2 hours of serving.

Enjoy your creamy banana pudding! Let me know if you have any other questions.

More Delicious Condensed Milk-Free Desserts to Try

Once you’ve mastered the art of creamy banana pudding without condensed milk, you’ll want to try your hand at other delicious condensed milk-free desserts. Here are a few options to get you started:

Coconut Cream Pie

For a lighter take on the classic coconut cream pie, make a custard with coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Pour into a pie crust and top with whipped coconut cream, toasted coconut, and a drizzle of chocolate. The creamy custard and airy whipped topping provide richness without condensed milk.

Chocolate Pots de Crème

These decadent chocolate custards are made from cream, egg yolks, sugar, and chocolate – no condensed milk needed. Simply melt chocolate into hot cream, then temper egg yolks into the mixture. Strain and chill before serving. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for an elegant finish.

Crème Brûlée

The crisp caramelized sugar topping and silky vanilla custard of crème brûlée make it a special treat. To make it without condensed milk, heat cream, sugar, and vanilla, then temper egg yolks into the mixture. Strain, chill, and torch the sugar topping for a classic creamy dessert.

Rice Pudding

For a comforting rice pudding, simmer rice, milk, sugar, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Once thickened, stir in whipped egg whites or whipped cream to provide richness without condensed milk. You can also add raisins, chopped nuts, or fresh fruit like berries for extra flavor.

Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is always a crowd pleaser. To make ice cream without condensed milk, use a custard base of cream, milk, egg yolks, and sugar. Flavor the custard with vanilla extract, chocolate, fruit puree, or mix-ins like candy pieces or nut butter swirls before churning. The egg yolks provide richness so no condensed milk is needed.

With these delicious options, you’ll never miss the condensed milk. Experiment by mixing and matching different flavors, toppings, and mix-ins to create your own signature creamy treats. Your friends and family will be begging you for the recipes.

Conclusion: Easy banana pudding recipe

You now have all the necessary tools and tips to make a creamy banana pudding without condensed milk. With quality ingredients like ripe bananas, sugar, eggs, and a custard base, you can create a dessert that rivals any classic banana pudding. Let the pudding chill for at least 2 hours before serving for the perfect consistency. Top it off with Nilla wafers, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Your friends and family will be delighted with this homemade treat and impressed by your baking skills. So gather your ingredients, fire up your stove, and get ready to make the creamiest banana pudding you’ve ever tasted – no condensed milk required.

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