15-minute banana pudding / Food Loves Writing

I tried your recipe to meet a craving. It was a weeknight. We’d just had homemade potato rosemary pizza and salad, and we were cleaning up. While Tim was moving dishes from the sink to the dishwasher and I was putting ingredients away in cabinets, I tried to sound casual in announcing, “I think I’m going to make banana pudding.”

“You’re what?” came his response. I’d been cooking—well, cooking and working—all day, hence all the dishes for us to still be taking care of while we talked. Repairmen had spent most of the morning with us while we’d sat in the living room on our laptops and been getting up regularly to check on the cinnamon swirl bread I was testing. They were there replacing our furnace, which went out a few weeks ago. It’s November in Nashville, which isn’t terribly cold, but our house is old and drafty, so most of the time we move from room to room with our space heater. Don’t feel bad for us; our landlord bought a new furnace. Also, the chilly air gives me a good excuse to start baking something almost as soon as I get up. So after the cinnamon swirl bread, I experimented with a new sourdough bread recipe. Then, a pizza crust, which is what led to dinner and to the meal we’d eaten just before I was standing in the kitchen with Tim talking about what to make next.

“I know, but it sounds so good, and I saw a recipe I want to try,” I said to him.

15-minute banana pudding / Food Loves Writing

The recipe I saw was your recipe obviously, the one you’d posted as a founding member of RecipeZaar (now Food.com) in 2002 and called “Old Fashioned Banana Pudding.” I was in college in 2002. I didn’t know about RecipeZaar. I ate in a dining hall surrounded by pine trees and people with Upper Peninsula accents and thought I was going to be an English teacher when I grew up. I did not cook. Since the day you posted that recipe, on June 30, when I was home for the summer after my sophomore year, it’s received 67 reviews, with an average of four-and-a-half stars. Commenters have called it “the best banana pudding I have ever tasted” and “out of this world” and “GOLD!”

15-minute banana pudding / Food Loves Writing

I didn’t know any of those things when I started making it the other night. I only knew that it was a from-scratch version of one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, the thing my mom and I used to make on the stovetop, but from a box because it seemed faster and simpler back then. I expected your recipe to give me pudding, and I expected it to meet my craving, but what I didn’t expect was this: It actually was the best banana pudding I have ever tasted and it actually was out of this world and, seriously, ratherbeswimmin’, it is GOLD!

I changed some things because, turns out, the last 11 years have not only moved me out of the pine trees and into the kitchen, but also towards certain kinds of ingredients, the kind of ingredients which were and are the ones I tend to have on hand. I don’t know if those substitutions are why your one-hour recipe ended up taking me only 15 minutes instead, but that’s what it took. I told Tim I was making pudding at 7:42PM, and then I brought two mason jars to the table at right around 8, and that means the magic mixture we ate was as easy as those Cook N’ Serve puddings I liked so much as a kid. The vanilla base was thick enough to coat a spoon and to jiggle when I pushed it, and together with the bananas it had us both saying, over and over again, “This is so good.”

15-minute banana pudding / Food Loves Writing

I made it again two days later. I decided I like you very much when I did. Do you still make this pudding, 11 years after you first posted it? I ask because I hope I’m still making it 11 years from now.

Thanks for spreading your pudding to my kitchen. In the future, I’d like to spread on many more things I eat.


Shanna Mallon

P.S. I see you live in Arkansas. 11 years ago, I would have said that sounded about as far away as Mexico. Now, I’m your neighbor to the east. What will the next 11 years bring!

Oh and P.S. the second, to everyone reading this: We have a new recipe box feature! Read about it here.

One more! P.P.S. “Written Together” is free to download now through Sunday. You don’t need a Kindle, just the Kindle app, which is free and works on computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. Get the book here

Dear ratherbeswimmin’ / 15-Minute Homemade Banana Pudding

By: FoodLovesWriting.com

Serving Size: two 16-ounce pudding parfaits or four 8-ounce pudd

Adapted from the brilliant lady who posted it here when I was not quite 20 years old.


  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 dash salt (optional)
  • 2.5 tablespoons organic corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 ½ cups milk (or, swap part of the milk out with cream or half and half)
  • ½ cup plain kefir
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 bananas, sliced


Place all the ingredients, coconut sugar through honey, in a stockpot and turn on the heat to medium-high. Whisk until all ingredients are combined, and keep whisking while mixture thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. It will look as thick as pudding when it’s ready. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. To serve, alternately place pudding and bananas (a few slices of banana, a few big dollops of pudding, a few slices of banana, a few big dollops of pudding) in glasses or dessert dishes. I love it warm, but you could also refrigerate the pudding parfaits and eat them after chilling.


Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Well Heeled Blog

    Shannon (although you’ll always be GG to me) – this looks delicious. My husbands loves pudding and I’m going to make this for him during Christmas. I bet he’d love it.

    I can’t wait to read your book!

  2. Well Heeled Blog

    Shanna – why did I call you Shannon? Sorry! I think my brain was still focused on the incredible banana pudding and it just mixed your first and last name together in one.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! You would not believe how often people call me Shannon. I mean, ALL the time. : ) And I get what you mean about the pudding. It’s a show-stopper. Hope you make it and love it, too!

  3. Jacqui

    I have never wanted banana pudding until I read this post.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Jacqui. It is SO GOOD SO GOOD. I hope I don’t oversell it but, wait, I don’t think I can oversell it… because it’s that hot and creamy and comforting! Please make it sometime and tell me if I’m nuts.

  4. felicia | Dish by Dish

    I second Jacqui. I’ve never even so much as heard of banana pudding until this morning on Pinterest where I saw a beautiful picture of it, but ignored it. Then when I go to your blog to have my lunch break read, I see the same picture staring back at me! Is the universe sending me a banana pudding sign??

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Get out! If there was something I could be the one to introduce you to, I’m glad it was banana pudding, haha. And if you ask me, you’ve gotta’ take signs from the universe pretty seriously… : )

  5. Skye

    Oh my goodness – this looks like proper, eat in front of the telly while wearing a pair of cashmere socks pudding. Bliss. Perfect for these dark, cold autumn evenings. Will definitely be making it this weekend.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I couldn’t have said it better, Skye. YES.

  6. molly yeh

    sigh. i want to love bananas. i reeeeeeally do. and your photos, my gosh, they are beautiful! one day, i will wake up with the courage to try bananas. and then i will make this :-)

    have a wonderful weekend, shanna!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      still cracking up about this. you don’t like bananas! oh, well. you make pumpkin pies in latkes, so you are still cool.

  7. Amanda Paa

    This looks like just the simple dessert for my next dinner party. I’ve never used Kefir. I know it is a fermented yogurt type product – is it similar to buttermilk? Or would you use greek yogurt?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Amanda! Sorry for taking so many hours to respond. Yogurt is similar to kefir, yes, and swapping yogurt in would probably be okay, as would buttermilk. Another idea would be to just use milk or cream or half-and-half; this swaps might vary the cook time, but there’s a good chance any of them would work here. Enjoy!

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I love banana pudding and this recipe is FAB! Yum :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thanks, Katrina!

  9. Kathryn

    I’m afraid I’m one of those banana-haters but I figure the pudding part of this sounds like a great base for all sorts of things especially with the tang of the kefir in there. Beautiful pictures as well; they could almost convince me to like bananas!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      You’re kidding me! I had no idea so much banana dislike existed in the world! You are absolutely right, however, that this pudding is excellent even without the bananas. Creamy vanilla goodness.

  10. angela@spinachtiger

    Doug’s FAVORITE dessert is banana pudding, and I’m experimenting with new ways to make desserts. This looks like a pinner to me!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Get out! I probably wouldn’t have understood calling banana pudding your favorite dessert… until I tried this one. Now I’d say Doug’s on to something!

  11. Ana Fernandez

    Yumi! Love babana, love pudding, love homemade recipes. I think this is a win win

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, I hope you try it and like it, Ana! I’d love to hear what you think!

  12. Gabrielle

    Hi Shanna, I just saw this recipe on Pinterest and would love to try it. But I’m not sure what coconut sugar is? Can a different sugar be substituted? Brown sugar, palm sugar? I have palm sugar in block form, would that work? …love your post BTW, I enjoy your enthusiasm for what you do :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi Gabrielle, You could definitely use any of the sugars you mention here. Chopped palm sugar, unrefined cane sugar, traditional sugar, brown sugar… with this recipe, I think you couldn’t go wrong. : )

  13. Lauren

    This is so good! I didn’t use the Kefir because I didn’t have any. The pudding has a wonderful caramelized flavor with the coconut sugar.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yay! I love hearing that. Thanks, Lauren!

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