Banana Pudding Recipe (Magnolia!)

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This Banana Pudding Recipe is unbelievably easy to prepare! Layers of creamy pudding with sweet vanilla-flavored cookies and, of course, fresh bananas! This pudding recipe is (barely) adapted from the famous Magnolia Bakery recipe.

Image of the Banana Pudding in a cup

Banana Pudding Recipe

Magnolia Bakery is world-famous for their banana pudding — and not surprisingly so. If you’ve tried this banana pudding, you know why there is so much hype!

So, when they shared their recipe online, I couldn’t believe how truly easy it was. (Not to mention, the creamy custard layer is quite similar to the cream layers in this Strawberry Shortcake Trifle and Brownie Trifle, two favorites at my home.)

This Banana Pudding Recipe can be readily replicated at home! No baking required, no specialty ingredients, and minimal effort needed. While it may taste like it’s made from scratch, the bakery actually uses vanilla pudding mix — easy peasy!

Process shots-- images of the sweetened condensed milk, water, and pudding mix being added to a stand mixer

The full Banana Pudding Recipe is at the end of this post, but here is a quick overview:

How To Make Banana Pudding

  • Make the pudding. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk with cold water. And then, as mentioned, add in a pudding mix. This mixture chills until the pudding is set.
  • Whip the cream. This is where I change the recipe just a bit — adding a touch of vanilla and salt to enhance the flavors. Whipping the cream can be a chore with hand mixers, but it’s a breeze using a stand mixer!
  • Combine pudding and cream. Once the cream has thickened quite a bit, add in the pudding while still whisking. You’ll be left with a thick beautiful custard!
  • Layer. Once the custard is finished, it’s all about layering cookies with bananas and cream. Just like an icebox cake, the custard will nicely soften the cookies to a cake-like consistency while developing a lovely banana flavor from the fresh bananas.
  • Serve. Once this banana pudding recipe has chilled, it’s ready to be devoured! Serve, garnished with an extra cookie or a few cookie crumbs and a slice of fresh banana. If you’re feeling fancy, a sprig of fresh mint is another nice touch.

Process shots of banana bread pudding-- images of the cream layer being made

What is Magnolia Bakery banana pudding made of?

  • Regular, sweetened condensed milk (not low fat, not evaporated milk)
  • Regular instant pudding mix (not sugar-free, not low-fat). We’re looking to use instant pudding mix and not the cook-and-serve type. The other thing to keep an eye out for is the pudding box size. There are typically two sizes — a larger and a smaller one. We want to get the small 3.9-ounce (110g) box. When using the pudding mix, follow the specific recipe directions — don’t prepare it according to package instructions. Use Jell-o® brand for best flavor (not sponsored).
  • Vanilla wafers–the name-brand variety (Nilla® Wafers) is our favorite flavor-wise, but an off-brand cookie will work too.
  • Heavy whipping cream makes up a large portion of the pudding. Milk won’t work here — it won’t whip and thicken the way that cream does. The best-tasting heavy cream doesn’t have additives; if possible, find a brand that lists only one ingredient: cream.
  • Fresh bananas. Unlike when we make Banana Cream Pie or Banana Cupcakes where overripe bananas are ideal, we want barely ripe and firm fresh bananas for this recipe.

QUICK TIP

While not in the original banana pudding recipe Magnolia has shared, I like to add vanilla bean paste and salt, which enhances and intensifies all the flavors. Vanilla bean paste delivers a slightly stronger flavor and adds gorgeous vanilla bean specks throughout this Banana Pudding.

Process shots- images of the bananas and vanilla wafers being prepped

Banana Pudding Recipe FAQs

1Why do my bananas turn black in banana pudding?

The brown color is an enzymatic reaction between bananas and oxygen. When sliced bananas are exposed to air (oxygen) it creates a natural pigment that changes the color to brown–just like apples do. This is why banana desserts are best enjoyed soon after being made. Take care to carefully cover all banana slices with the custard which will keep it from browning as quickly.

2How do you keep bananas from turning brown in Banana Pudding?

When they’re fully covered in the pudding, bananas are less prone to browning — it’s when they are in contact with air that they brown quicker.

You can lightly brush slices of banana with club soda (NOT tonic water) before adding to the pudding.

3Why is my Banana Pudding soupy?

Pudding can turn out soupy because the cream/pudding wasn’t thickened fully. If the heavy whipping cream isn’t whipped enough, it will be soft and soupy. On the other hand, if it is mixed too vigorously, it can become watery.

4How long does this Banana Pudding last?

Banana Pudding is best enjoyed fresh within 24 hours

5What can I use instead of Nilla Wafers?

The best substitute here is graham crackers. (Use this S’mores Icebox Cake for reference in layering the graham crackers)

6Can you freeze banana pudding?

Unfortunately, this pudding does not freeze and thaw well. Because of all the dairy, the custard can break or seep. Additionally bananas brown and are also prone to seeping.

7Are you supposed to refrigerate banana pudding?

Yes! This pudding needs to be refrigerated to properly set up and soften the cookies. Additionally, any leftovers should be promptly returned to the fridge. Make sure to cover the pudding tightly to keep it as fresh as possible.

Process shots of Banana Pudding-- images of the all the layers being arranged in the pan

Image of the Banana Pudding ready to be enjoyed

Tools

  • stand mixer is invaluable when making this Banana Pudding Recipe. While electric hand mixers will work, it’s a lot more time intensive with a lot more effort!
  • A sturdy rubber spatula is great for scraping the sides of the stand mixer and smoothing the layers of pudding.

Overhead image of the dessert

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Banana Pudding Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This Banana Pudding Recipe is unbelievably easy to prepare! Layers of creamy pudding with sweet vanilla-flavored cookies and, of course, fresh bananas! This pudding recipe is (barely) adapted from the famous Magnolia Bakery recipe.
Print Recipe

Banana Pudding Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This Banana Pudding Recipe is unbelievably easy to prepare! Layers of creamy pudding with sweet vanilla-flavored cookies and, of course, fresh bananas! This pudding recipe is (barely) adapted from the famous Magnolia Bakery recipe.
Course Dessert, treat
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Banana Pudding Recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 -16 servings
Calories 506kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.50

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (Note 1)
  • 1-1/2 cups very cold water
  • 1 pkg (3.9 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix (Note 2)
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream (Note 3)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract), optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 box (11 oz.) vanilla wafer cookies
  • 5-6 ripe, firm bananas sliced

Instructions

  • PUDDING: In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or very large bowl) add sweetened condensed milk and 1-1/2 cups cold water. Beat until combined, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the entire (dry) pudding mix and beat until the mixture is fully smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a separate bowl. Cover, and refrigerate until firm about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • CREAM: In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or very large bowl) add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 1-3 minutes, until the cream starts to thicken. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip or cream will break. Reduce mixer to low.
  • ADD IN PUDDING: While the mixer is running on low, add in the pudding mixture, a large spoonful at a time. Beat until no streaks of pudding remains and mixture is nicely thickened. (See video/photos)
  • ASSEMBLE: Reserve 4 cookies for garnishing on top. Spread 1/4th of the pudding on the bottom of the trifle or dish. Add one layer of cookies followed by a layer of bananas. Add another 1/4th of the pudding. Repeat the layers until bananas, cookies, and pudding has been used, making sure the top layer is pudding.
  • CHILL: Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-6 hours or until cookies are tender (they should be softened to cake consistency). Crush up cookies to garnish on top. This dessert is best served within 12 hours of assembling.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sweetened condensed milk: Be sure to use regular (not low fat or reduced fat/sugar. This is not to be confused with evaporated milk.
Note 2: Pudding mix: Use regular (not sugar-free, not low-fat). We’re looking to use instant pudding mix and not the cook-and-serve type. The other thing to keep an eye out for is the pudding box size. We want to get the small 3.9-ounce (110g) box. When using the pudding mix, follow recipe directions — don’t prepare it according to package directions. Use Jell-o brand for best flavor (not sponsored).
Note 3: Heavy whipping cream: Milk won't work here -- it won't whip and thicken the way that cream does. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 506kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 994IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 0.3mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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2 Comments

    1. I honestly haven’t tried, but I don’t think that would work the best. (I believe it would brown pretty quickly plus get watery unfortunately).

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