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 This Banana Pudding

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

Maybe New York gets better bananas 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).

Want to do a blind taste test? Compare this recipe to the real deal by ordering some Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding from Goldbelly.

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe

Yield: 8-10 generous servings


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


Step 1: Make the pudding base

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 Note: 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

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

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

Step 4: Assemble

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

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 Note: 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!

Banana Pudding Tips

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.

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.

What’s the difference between condensed and evaporated milk?

Make sure to double-check your labels at the store. Despite canned sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk looking similar, these two products cannot be used interchangeably (or, at least, not in this recipe).

Both products contain shelf-stable milk that has had its water content reduced by about 60%. Where they differ is that sweetened condensed milk, as the name implies, is sweetened with sugar while evaporated milk is left unsweetened.

Here are our suggestions for sweetened condensed milk substitutes.

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 Note: 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.

The post We Made the Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe—and It’s the Sweetest Copycat Yet appeared first on Taste of Home.