Ultimate Banana Pudding Recipe

5 from 5 votes

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Perfectly sweet and delicious, this Banana Pudding Recipe will make you never want another dessert again! Best for any holiday or potluck!

I never used to be a banana pudding addict until I started making this banana pudding recipe. Ohhhh mama is it good! A little time consuming because you have to plan ahead, but so so delicious! This recipe comes from Magnolia Bakery (as in the place in NYC known for their banana pudding). There is no better banana pudding recipe out there which is why I’m sharing this slight variation of their recipe with you today.

Banana pudding

Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana Pudding is a traditional southern recipe consisting of pudding, banana, and vanilla cookie layers. However, this recipe can be found just about anywhere nowadays. Although it’s easier to buy it pre-made, it tastes even better homemade. So here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself:

  • Banana Layers – you’re going to need ripe bananas for this recipe. FYI: The longer the banana pudding sits, the more likely the bananas are to brown. The best way to ensure the bananas won’t turn brown is if you cover them completely with the pudding mixture so they aren’t exposed to air.
  • Nilla Wafer Layers – essentially a texture and flavor compliment to the creamy pudding and sweet bananas.
  • Pudding Layers – made with vanilla pudding mix and sweetened condensed milk. After it sets fold fresh whipped cream into the pudding to make it even lighter.

Want even more desserts? Check these out: Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip CookiesSalted Caramel Apple Crumble RecipeThe Best Cheesecake Recipe, and *AMAZING* Peach Cobbler.

Banana Pudding Pro Tips

So, banana pudding success comes when you:

  1. let the initial pudding-sweetened condensed milk mixture set up in the fridge for enough time to be really thick and…
  2. letting the entire banana pudding set in the fridge so that the nilla wafers have enough time to soften.

Other than that, it’s a very simple recipe with easy to find ingredients.

Layering Bananas, Nilla Wafers and, Vanilla Pudding

How to Make this Banana Pudding Recipe

This banana pudding recipe is so darn simple that anyone can make it! The hardest part is having the patience to let the pudding mixture thicken and then leaving the finished banana pudding in the fridge long enough for the nilla wafers to soften. Even though this takes some time, it ends up being the perfect make ahead dessert for any gathering or holiday.

  1. Make the pudding mixture: In a large bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined – about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to overnight to set and become very thick.
  3. Gently fold freshly whipped cream into the pudding mixture until no streaks of pudding remain.
  4. Add 1/2 the Nilla wafers into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  5. Top with a layer of bananas, and 1/2 of the pudding mixture.
  6. Repeat these layers once more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer.
  7. Cover tightly and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours – or up to 8 hours.

Note: If you’d like to use a trifle dish, divide the nilla wafers, the bananas, and the pudding mixture into 3rds and layer three times instead of just two.

How to Make Banana Pudding: Layering

How Long Does Banana Pudding Last?

I would suggest eating this banana pudding within two days of making it. Any longer and the bananas start to get too brown and ripe. Since I suggest using very ripe bananas to begin with, that window is only about two days. BUT, if you use bananas that aren’t as soft or ripe, you could push this to 3-4 days.

The time frame on this recipe is what makes it such a great potluck or holiday dessert, lots of mouths to feed means not worrying about what to do with leftovers.

Do I Serve Banana Pudding Warm or Cold?

Some banana pudding recipes have a meringue topping and are served warm, however, THIS recipe is served cold and without meringue. Making this sweet snack perfect for a hot summer day when you just need something creamy, comforting and cold!

Top Layer

Can this Banana Pudding Recipe be Frozen?

Unfortunately, because of the ingredients in banana pudding, it should not be frozen. The pudding is mixed with water and then folded together with whipped cream. When frozen and then thawed, the consistency of the pudding will inevitably change. The bananas will also turn brown and mushy when defrosted. Not pretty or delicious.

If you do want to make this in advance, simply make the pudding mixture ahead of time and don’t assemble with the nilla wafers and bananas until the day before.

Substitutions

One disclaimer about using substitutions: this recipe is a variation of the Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe, so if you do sub anything in or out it’s not going to be as close to that recipe. But as always, feel free to make it how YOU like it.

  • Banana Mix instead of Vanilla Pudding. If you love love love banana flavoring, try using banana flavored pudding mix.
  • Cream Cheese. One of my readers has made this recipe but they mixed in cream cheese to the pudding mixture. Sounds delicious!
  • Butter Cookies instead of Vanilla Wafers. You can use any sort of plain cookie you like. You can even try shortbread for this recipe.

Banana Pudding Recipe

Even More Desserts to try!

Below is the printable recipe card. Be sure to pin, save, bookmark, print, share, fill in the blank here so you can keep this recipe close. It’s a good one. Have a great, day, friends!

5 from 5 votes

Banana Pudding Recipe

Perfectly sweet and delicious, this Banana Pudding Recipe will make you never want another dessert again! Best for any holiday or potluck.
servings 18 servings
Prep Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 can
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 3.4 ounces vanilla instant pudding mix 1 box
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas
  • 12 ounces Nilla Wafers 1 box

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined - about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to overnight. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set. It will be watery if you don't let it set up long enough.
  • In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until no streaks of pudding remain.
  • To assemble dessert, use a 9x13 glass dish. 
  • Arrange 1/2 of the Nilla wafers covering the bottom, overlapping if necessary. Next, layer 1/2 of the bananas, and 1/2 of the pudding mixture. Repeat once more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer. Cover tightly and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours - or up to 8 hours. 

Notes

The longer the banana pudding sits, the more likely the bananas are to brown. The best way to ensure the bananas won't turn brown is if you cover them completely with the pudding mixture so they aren't exposed to air.
If you'd like to use a trifle dish, divide the nilla wafers, the bananas and the pudding mixture into 3rds and layer three times instead of just two.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Vitamin C: 3.7mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Banana Pudding, Banana Pudding Recipe, How to Make Banana Pudding
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Recipe Rating




19 Responses
  1. Dawn

    5 stars
    I’ve made this for years with one change. I add cream cheese to the pudding mixture. Everybody raves about it and it always disappears quickly

    1. Ashley

      Dawn I love the idea of using cream cheese instead of the whipped topping. How much cream cheese would you use for this recipe?
      Thank you for sharing this tip. Can’t wait to share this with my family!!

    2. Johnetta Hart

      5 stars
      I also make mine with cream cheese. Smooth texture and everyone asks what did you use. I, also put pure vanilla extract in mine. Delicious!!!

    3. Roneshia Ramclam-McCain

      Do I add cream cheese instead of the whipped or add cream cheese when mixing the water and pudding before referigerating?

  2. Banana Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut | Lauren's Latest

    […] your idea of a dessert you’d enjoy, these other recipes would be fabulous substitutes: Ultimate Banana Pudding, Perfect Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Lemon Cream Pie with Fresh Raspberries, Mixed […]

  3. Allyson Cathey

    5 stars
    My mom made her banana pudding just like this. She died last July and like many of the things I forgot to ask her, this recipe was one. Thank you for posting this. I am making it for Easter and I am so glad that a taste of my mom and home will be there. <3

  4. Kim Wennerlind

    This looks so delicious and I can’t wait to make it! I love your recipes and am so glad you do what you do! Thank you!

  5. Kimberli

    5 stars
    Me and my two girls just spent Columbus Day weekend in NY. ‘Spent’ too many calories at Magnolia’s on this pudding. Since you’d posted about it, I was thrilled to come back and make the pudding at home by getting the recipe here! Now I will have to try the pumpkin one 😉

  6. Angela Hodges

    I am so excited to try this recipe. We had the banana pudding at Magnolia when we were in NY and have been wanting more ever since!

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