Homemade Chocolate Pudding, Southern-Style

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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.

Chocolate Nilla Wafer Pudding

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 instant pudding 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 cupsSouthern-style rice pudding, pineapple vanilla pudding, and old-fashioned bread pudding.

Ingredients for Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Recipe Ingredients

  • Vanilla wafers
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Vanilla extract

Separate eggs.

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..

Add dry ingredients to saucepan.

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.

Whisk dry ingredients to combine.

I stir my dry ingredients up a bit to combine them some. 

Add milk and yolks to dry ingredients.

Add milk and egg yolks to chocolate pudding ingredients and stir some more. 

Whisk chocolate pudding on stovetop.

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. 

Thickened chocolate pudding

Here is our thickened pudding mixture. As soon as it thickens, stir in the vanilla flavoring and remove it from the heat. 

Layered chocolate pudding.

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

Beat meringue until stiff peaks form.

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. 

Complete homemade chocolate pudding with toasted meringue on top.

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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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 homemade whipped cream post if you want to go that extra step!
  • Serve your pudding warm or cold, whatever suits you!

Recipe FAQs

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:

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Chocolate Snackin’ Cake

Triple Chocolate Brownie Pie

Fried Chocolate Pies

Chocolate Pound Cake with Fudge Glaze

Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

This old-fashioned homemade chocolate pudding includes vanilla wafers, toasted fluffy meringue on top, and a rich chocolate custard pudding.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, pudding, vanilla, wafer
Servings: 4
Calories: 259kcal


  • 1 box vanilla wafers 11 ounces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 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, 1/4 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.


Calories: 259kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!



See all of my quote pictures by clicking here. This post is featured on Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck.

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  1. I’m from middle Tennessee. My Dad also used the term ‘calf slobber’ but not for meringue. He used it for whipped cream which he liked. Since he grew up on a farm and milked cows, I assumed he had seen calves who had nursed and had some slobber from that coming out of their mouths. It seems more appropriate for a calf’s slobber to be from milk instead of eggs, but who knows how these old sayings evolve!
    I could not find this recipe in your Sweetness cookbook but there is a similar one for Pineapple Vanilla Wafer Pudding.
    This recipe for Chocolate Vanilla Wafer Pudding is on the front cover of the magazine put out by Taste of the South’s special collection issue featuring recipes just from you called Southern Plate Classics. It shows this chocolate pudding recipe in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish which I will use because I don’t have a truffle dish that is oven proof.

  2. This recipe is NOT in my copy of your book “Sweetness”! I’m SO glad I saw it because I also never liked the bananas in the pudding! AND I love chocolate so I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for ALL your wonderful recipes and stay healthy during these trying times!

  3. There’s a restaurant in my hometown that had this on the menu was I was young. I believe they still do. I always loved it.

    Could you use a sugar substitute in pudding? I don’t imagine you could for the meringue. It probably wouldn’t brown right because there would be no sugar to caramelize.

  4. I never saw ” calf slobber” in print before. That’s what my Daddy called foamy cake icing and meringue. He was a wonderfully loving and gentle man, the best father I have ever known any blessed daughter to have. Thank you for that little reminder.

  5. I am excited to try this recipe. I love chocolate and vanilla wafers. I am not good at taking me time. I used to stay up late to read and now I just fall asleep. I know you are supposed to rest on the Sabbath, but I try to catch up instead.

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