This old-fashioned homemade chocolate pudding recipe is a delicious version of banana pudding, a Southern favorite. You still get to enjoy the sweet vanilla wafer layers and the toasted fluffy meringue on top, but it includes a rich chocolate custard pudding instead.
Devotees of our beloved banana pudding were likely raised having this homemade chocolate pudding version as well. Although the bananas are absent, the homemade chocolate custard, layered with vanilla wafers, and topped with a fluffy meringue is an old-fashioned Southern dessert we all love and adore just as much as its cousin. This recipe was included in my third cookbook, Sweetness: Southern Recipes to Celebrate The Warmth, The Love, and The Blessings Of A Full Life.
The simple list of ingredients is also very similar to what you’d find in banana pudding, including milk, eggs, flour, and sugar (no around here). The only major difference is we don’t have fresh-cut banana slices, but we do have the best homemade chocolate pudding ever made from scratch (a very worthy trade in my opinion). Plus, this is a homemade chocolate pudding recipe without cornstarch, which I know will definitely pique some people’s interest.
If you’re in a pudding mood, I completely understand! Here are some more of my favorite Southern pudding recipes: banana pudding with meringue, frozen banana pudding cups, Southern-style rice pudding, pineapple vanilla pudding, and old-fashioned bread pudding.
- Vanilla wafers
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract
Begin by separating your eggs, yolks from whites.
Be careful not to let any yolk get into the whites because if you decide you want a meringue on this, they won’t beat up as you’d like if they have any yolk in them. No pressure or anything. I mean, it’s not like your life would be a failure, just your meringue. Let’s keep it in perspective here...
Place your sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan.
You’re not going to use all of the sugar here, some is reserved for the meringue. Make sure you follow the recipe card at the bottom.
I stir my dry ingredients up a bit to combine them some.
Add milk and egg yolks to and stir some more.
Place this chocolate pudding mix over medium heat and stir constantly until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Now y’all, when I say you need to stir constantly, I’m not kidding. The pudding can easily scorch but if you stir you’ll be fine.
Folks used to always use double broilers for this but as long as you have a nice thick saucepan, this works perfectly. I haven’t used a double boiler since my college culinary classes and even then we only used it once and then we learned how to live happily without it.
Here is our thickened pudding mixture. As soon as it thickens, stir in the vanilla flavoring and remove it from the heat.
Layer your vanilla wafers in an oven-safe bowl or dish. I tend to use a bowl but I’ve seen lots of people use a 9×13 baking dish.
This isn’t a salvation issue folks, just go with whatever cranks your tractor and encourage your neighbor to do the same. I do about one layer of the wafers, one of pudding, one of the wafers, one of pudding. But you can get fancy and add more layers if you like. Apparently, I was having a fancy day when this picture was taken. It happens.
How to Make the Pudding’s Meringue Topping
If you want to top it with meringue, put your egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and beat ’em until they get foamy. Then add your sugar and beat again until stiff peaks form.
Top with meringue and place this in a 325 oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown on top.
I love a meringue on top of pudding or pies but my mother hates it. She calls it calf slobber. It’s all good though. We honor each other’s weirdness.
Oh, hey, enjoy your pudding!
When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, homemade pudding leftovers will last for up to 3 days. Serve cold or quickly reheat in the microwave.
- If you opt not to have a homemade pudding with meringue, serve your pudding on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream instead. Here’s our post if you want to go that extra step!
- Serve your pudding warm or cold, whatever suits you!
Can I make my chocolate pudding ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this chocolate pudding recipe in advance, as it lasts up to 3 days in the fridge. However, I would assemble the pudding and wafer layers first and then make the meringue topping before serving, to ensure it’s fluffy and warm.
Here are more of my favorite chocolate desserts:
- 1 box vanilla wafers 11 ounces
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups milk (I like to use whole milk but you can use your favorite)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Place 1/2 of the vanilla wafers in a large oven-safe bowl or casserole dish.1 box vanilla wafers
- Separate eggs, yolk from white, and place in separate bowls, being careful not to get any yolk into the whites.3 large eggs
- In a medium-sized saucepot, combine 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, and cocoa powder. Stir to combine. Add egg yolks and milk to chocolate pudding ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (very important), with a wire whisk to prevent scorching, until thickened. This will take 10-15 minutes. Stir in vanilla.3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups milk
- Once the pudding is done, pour half over the wafers. Top with remaining wafers and remaining pudding mixture.
If you want to top with meringue
- Preheat oven to 325. In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.3 large eggs, 3/4 cup sugar
- Spread meringue on top of the pudding and spread so it touches the edges of the dish on all sides. Bake until meringue is golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.
- I like this homemade pudding served warm. It will keep for up to three days if stored in the fridge.