Chocolate Banana Pudding

Chocolate Banana Pudding

A Taste of Wild - Blue Ridge Mountains

Jon and Aubrey return back east to visit Jon's family in North Carolina, cooking up all of his favorite Southern-inspired meals from his time growing up in the South.

Chocolate Banana Pudding

The first time I told Jon I was going to make banana pudding, he grinned, chuckled and shook his head at me.

“What?! You don’t like banana pudding?”

He laughed and explained. 

“No, I love banana pudding but if you’re going to make it, you gotta say it right––it’s called ‘nanner puddin.’”

Gosh, the South has such a way with words.

Although you can find them in every grocery store across the United States, bananas were once an expensive and exotic delicacy. Most bananas originally came to the U.S. through shipping posts in the South—places like New Orleans became hot spots for major fruit companies. And once Americans got a taste for the deliciously sweet fruit, they couldn’t get enough of it. Soon, freighters bursting with bananas were clogging the Mississippi River, and massive networks of trains were transporting the yellow fruit all across the country. Due to the abundance of bananas coming through the South, people in this region started to get creative with how they ate them. They fried them, grilled them and doused them in sugar, often pairing them with cream, pastries and cookies. It was only a matter of time before banana pudding became a staple Southern dessert.

Effortlessly simple and delicious, classic banana pudding consists of three parts: vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and fluffy whipped cream. We’ve kept all three in our recipe, but added a little extra flair. First, instead of packaged pudding mix, we’ll walk you through making your own vanilla custard from scratch. The ingredients are minimal but the payoff is huge, as you’ll get to enjoy banana pudding in its purest, more decadent form. Next, the chocolate whipped cream is light enough to add a nice, savory depth to the whole dish without being overpowering. To top it all off (literally), we’ve added a bit of crunch with wafers and pecans, and amplified the sweet pudding with caramelized bananas. If you don’t have a kitchen blow torch, you can always pan fry the sugar-coated bananas in a super hot pan or place them under a broiler. This may technically be a dessert, but if you sneak some for breakfast, we won’t tell. 

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Yield: 6 servings

Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 5 minutes + 2 hours cooling to set

Vanilla custard ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Chocolate whipped cream ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons powdered sugar

Caramelized banana ingredients:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise

Toppings & layers ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, sliced into 9 pieces each (18 slices total)
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • 18 vanilla wafers

Cooking Tools

  • 2 medium/large mixing bowls
  • 2 pots
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sheet pan
  • Blow torch (or broiler)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife


  1. Start by making the vanilla custard. Mix the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar in a large pot until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a separate pot, heat the water and heavy cream over low heat. Once the liquid begins to steam (1-2 minutes), remove from heat and slowly pour it into the egg mixture while whisking everything together. Make sure to pour the hot cream very slowly to avoid scrambling the raw egg.
  3. Once everything is combined into one large pot, place it on the stove and simmer on medium-low heat, whisking constantly for about 3 minutes. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the vanilla and butter, then place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
  4. For the chocolate whipped cream, combine cocoa powder, cream and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk or beat until stiff peaks form in the batter, then set aside.
  5. Once the custard has cooled completely, get your serving dish and start layering the pudding. Keep in mind you will need two layers of custard, so only use half of the custard for the first layer.
  6. Place a layer of vanilla custard on the bottom, then an even layer of banana slices, followed by an even layer of vanilla wafers. Put another layer of vanilla custard on top of the wafers, and finish with the chocolate whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  7. Right before serving, garnish the very top of the pudding with some caramelized bananas. To make these, take two bananas and slice them in half lengthwise. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Take a kitchen blow torch and brown the bananas until they appear golden brown. (Or put them under the broiler to brown them instead.) Then lay the bananas on top of the pudding.
  8. When you serve the pudding, make sure to scoop a mix of all the layers into each portion. 

Jon and Aubrey made their latest trip in a Thor Motor Coach Class B.

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