We Made the Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe—and It’s the Sweetest Copycat Yet

We *heart* NYC—and this official Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe.

Some people go to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty. Others want to see the Yankees play baseball or stroll through Central Park.

Our priority when we visit the Big Apple? Eating as much Magnolia Bakery banana pudding (and these other iconic New York foods) as we can before flying off into the sunset from JFK.

Why People Love Magnolia’s Banana Pudding

What’s so special about the Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe? We wish we knew for sure.

Maybe New York knows how to keep bananas fresh better than the rest of the country, or perhaps their famous banana pudding recipe just has the best banana/vanilla wafer/pudding ratio. We also haven’t ruled out the possibility that maybe there’s something in the water (as the legend of the NYC bagel says). Whatever the reason, we’re hooked, and today we’re sharing the official Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe.

It’s an easy, 6-ingredient recipe (like this copycat Sara Lee pound cake) that you can prep ahead and assemble before you indulge in the best banana pudding you’ll ever eat (that doesn’t require a ticket to NYC).

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe

Ingredients for Magnolia Banana Pudding flat lay on a white marble kitchen counter topLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Yield: 8-10 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water, ice-cold
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream, cold
  • One (11-ounce) box of vanilla wafers, such as Nilla
  • 6 large ripe bananas, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Directions

Step 1: Make the pudding base

Making vanilla Jello pudding in a large stainless steal bowl on a white marble kitchen counterLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the sweetened condensed milk and water. Beat on your mixer’s second speed until evenly mixed, then add the pudding mix. Beat until smooth, with no lumps remaining, then transfer to a glass bowl. Cover and chill until set, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Editor’s Tip: We used a stand mixer to prepare our pudding base and cream. If you don’t own a stand mixer, you can use an electric hand mixer instead.

Step 2: Whip the cream

Homemade whipped cream in a bowl on a white marble kitchen counter, view from aboveLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Next, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of your stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Make sure you don’t over whip the cream.

Step 3: Combine

View of a kitchen aid mixer combining two different ingredients for a desert recipe, view from aboveLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Next, gradually add the set pudding base to the whipped cream, mixing well after each addition until smooth.

Step 4: Assemble

A grid showing the different layers of banana cream pudding, shot from above on a white marble kitchen counterLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

To assemble the pudding, grab a large trifle dish, deep 13×9 baking dish, or other 4-to-5 quart serving container of your choice. Spread one-quarter of the whipped pudding mixture into the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Top with one-third of the vanilla wafers and then one-third of the banana slices. Repeat the layering process two more times, ending with a layer of pudding.

Step 5: Finish and chill

view from above of a Pan of banana cream pudding topped with whipped cream and crumbled vanilla wafer cookiesLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Garnish the top of the pudding as desired with either additional whole vanilla wafers or crumbs. Cover tightly with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t try to speed up the chilling process. During this time, the pudding will continue to thicken, the cookies will soften and that delicious banana flavor will infuse throughout the pudding.

Step 6: Scoop and serve

Once fully set, generously scoop the pudding into individual bowls (or try these cute homemade ice cream cone bowls) and garnish with additional cookies and banana slices as desired. Enjoy!

Tips for Making Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

How long does banana pudding last?

Unfortunately, as with most banana desserts, banana pudding is one of those desserts that doesn’t store well. We recommend enjoying the finished recipe within 12 hours of serving. If you’d like to make it in advance, we suggest preparing the whipping pudding topping 1-2 days ahead and then assembling it with the fresh banana slices and wafers the morning of your event.

How do I keep the bananas from browning?

The only way to keep sliced bananas from turning brown is to toss them in lemon juice. This works for a fruit salad, but the flavor isn’t ideal for banana pudding. Instead, assemble this dessert with fresh banana slices 4-6 hours before you plan to serve it.

Can I make my own pudding?

Sure! If you have a tried and true homemade vanilla pudding recipe you love, you could certainly experiment with it. Prepare the pudding the old-fashioned way, according to your recipe, then beat into the whipped cream and finish the recipe as directed.

How can I make this copycat Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe my own?

Instead of using a trifle dish or baking dish, make mini banana pudding desserts by assembling each dessert in a glass. You can also make a chocolate hazelnut version by folding Nutella into the whipped cream. Use a microwave-safe bowl to heat the Nutella in 10-second intervals until it reaches a pourable consistency.

How do I make this recipe gluten-free?

To make a gluten-free banana pudding recipe that’s just like Magnolia Bakery’s recipe, you’ll need to purchase vanilla wafers that are gluten-free and swap them for the classic Nilla wafers. Aside from that, no changes to the recipe or method should need to be made since vanilla pudding mix and sweetened condensed milk are typically considered gluten-free foods.

Editor’s Tip: Jell-O brand pudding mix is considered gluten-safe even though it is not officially labeled as gluten-free. As always, we recommend checking your labels to verify their ingredients if you are particularly sensitive to gluten.

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren is a recipe developer and food photographer. At Taste of Home, you’ll find her putting famous celebrity recipes to the test, from Dolly Parton’s stampede soup to Stanley Tucci’s six-ingredient pasta casserole. She’s also known for her FoodTok finds and sharing tips for how to re-create Internet-famous 15-hour potatoes, apple pie cinnamon rolls and chamoy pickles. When she’s not trying out a recipe-gone-viral, she’s developing copycat recipes and new twists on comfort food for her food blog, Frydae.