Banana Pudding

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From the iconic Magnolia Bakery in NYC, this is the creamiest, dreamiest banana pudding.

Served at Magnolia Bakery, the beloved NYC bakeshop known for its old-fashioned desserts and charming decor, this is arguably the world’s most famous banana pudding. Lucky for me, my sister lived around the corner from the original Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street for over a decade; no visit to her was complete without waiting in a line that snaked out the door to get our banana pudding fix. Given how famous this pudding is (it’s the bakery’s second-most popular dessert, after cupcakes), you may be surprised that the recipe calls for just a few ingredients, one of which is Jell-O instant vanilla pudding. Having made banana pudding from scratch, which requires more ingredients and effort, I can assure you that this version is just as good if not better. The recipe is adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Alyssa Torrey and Jennifer Appel.

What You’ll Need To Make Banana Pudding

Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding, bananas, condensed milk, water, and heavy cream

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk and water until evenly combined.

whisked water and sweetened condensed milk in bowl

Add the pudding mix.

adding instant pudding to condensed milk mixtureWhisk until there are no lumps and the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours or overnight. (Be sure the pudding is completely solidified before continuing, otherwise the dessert will not hold up.)

whisked pudding mixture

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to over-whip; if the cream looks grainy, you’ve gone too far.)

Whisk the pudding to loosen it up. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the pudding mixture a spoonful at a time.

mixing in the pudding little by little

Mix until just evenly blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

pudding whipped cream mixture

To assemble the dessert, use a 4-quart trifle dish or wide glass bowl, and set aside 5 cookies to use a garnish. Spread one-quarter of the pudding over the bottom.

first layer of pudding in trifle dish

Layer with one-third of the cookies.

first layer of Nilla wafers in trifle dish

Then add one-third of the sliced bananas (enough to cover the layer).

first layer of bananas in trifle dish

Repeat the layering twice more, ending with a final layer of pudding. Garnish the top with the reserved cookies or cookie crumbs (or a combination of the two).

layered banana pudding with Nilla wafers on top

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours (no longer).

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Banana Pudding

From the iconic Magnolia Bakery in NYC, this is the creamiest, dreamiest banana pudding.

Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ cups ice-cold water
  • One 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • One 11-ounce box Nilla wafers
  • 5 ripe medium bananas, sliced (see note)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk and water until evenly combined. Add the pudding mix and whisk until there are no lumps and the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours or overnight. (Be sure the pudding is completely solidified before continuing, otherwise the dessert will not hold up.)
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to over-whip; if the cream looks grainy, you've gone too far.)
  3. Whisk the pudding to loosen it up. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the pudding mixture a spoonful at a time. Mix until just evenly blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
  4. To assemble the dessert, use a 4-quart trifle dish or wide glass bowl, and set aside 5 cookies to use a garnish. Spread one-quarter of the pudding over the bottom and layer with one-third of the cookies then one-third of the sliced bananas (enough to cover the layer). Repeat the layering twice more, ending with a final layer of pudding. Garnish the top with the reserved cookies or cookie crumbs (or a combination of the two). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours (preferably no longer as the cookies start to get too soft).
  5. Note: Peel and slice the bananas at the last minute (as you layer the pudding) to prevent them from turning brown.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 518
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55 g
  • Sugar: 39 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 274 mg
  • Cholesterol: 93 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • This is unbelievably delicious! I’m not a huge banana fan but I could eat this all day. It’s now in my top favorite desserts. Thank you for all of your amazing recipes. I’ve made a lot of your recipes and have never found any we did not like, they’re always superb!

    • — Kara on September 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh, my! I made this for dessert for our Labor Day gathering. It was a perfect dessert to top off the evening. It makes a lot, so was able to send some home with our kids, knowing it wouldn’t keep well, but it was still a treat 2 days later, just softer. Didn’t change anything, and this recipe could not be any easier! So simple and delicious, yet looks impressive!

    • — Christine H. on September 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for Labor Day. It was a big hit!! It looked so beautiful in my footed trifle dish, similar to yours. I made two minor changes: I used Jello French Vanilla instant pudding mix instead of regular vanilla. Also, when whisking the three cups of cream, I added 1 Tablespoon of sugar. I felt it needed sweetness. This recipe will be my go to dessert for a crowd. It was a delicious dessert without cooking or baking! Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

    • — Yolanda on September 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best Banana Recipe Ever!

    • — Jonathan on September 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • This dessert was so simple to make and a huge hit at a family gathering! I was nervous about the bananas turning brown but I trusted your tip and followed the recipe and it turned out perfectly! Thanks

    • — Dina Lupton on September 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • My mother and I have made this banana pudding for years to rave reviews. One step in the version we have is to slice the bananas FIRST and let them soak in fresh lemon juice (usually 1-2 lemons is fine; just enough to cover the slices). This eliminates browning of the fruit over time and adds a bit of tang that people love but can’t quite identify.

    • — Lisa on September 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • We just finished eating this for dessert – my daughter is jumping up and down over it – so, so good. I could not wait for it to chill for 4-8 hours! Still so good – easy too!

    • — Kim S. on September 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have never seen Nilla wafers for sale in Canada. Does anyone know what would be a good substitute? I’ve never had them so I’m not sure. Definitely want to make this! Thanks 🙂

    • — Erica on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Erica, either animal crackers or shortbread cookies would work nicely. Please LMK how it turns out if you try this with one of them!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • I am from the South and have always made banana pudding, but I never would use instant pudding or canned condensed milk. Ugh.

    • — Susan on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Is there any reason I could not make this in individual glasses? Like your other banana pudding recipe?

    • — Sammy on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sammy, Individual glasses will work just fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can this recipe be adapted to single-serving pudding bowls or ramekins? 4-qt is huge for my small household. Looks delicious!

    • — Jan on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on September 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have made this often. It is FANTASTIC. At first I used cooked pudding (it had to be better than instant, right?) but once my husband bought instant in error. Voilà! It was even better! It is one of my grandsons’ favorite desserts—they love to help make it. And never, ever substitute cool whip for the whipped cream. This is an amazing, showy dessert for little effort, but you must follow the guidelines about chill times.

    • — Linda on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • I want to make this! I have a question though…once assembled, will the bananas turn brown overnight? Is there a way to prevent this?
    Thanks

    • — Jan on September 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, They really don’t as long as they are covered with the pudding and the dish is covered when refrigerated. (Also, peel and slice the bananas at the last minute as you layer the pudding.) The bakery recommends making it no more than 8 hours ahead, but I find that it’s still really good the next day.

      • — Jenn on September 1, 2022
      • Reply
      • Great. I had the same question about the bananas turning brown and you answered it ! Love this
        Thanks

        • — Gayle on September 1, 2022
        • Reply

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