This is no ordinary Banana Pudding! It’s the original recipe from the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City. The Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe is creamy and light and filled with just the right amount of Nilla Wafers and fresh bananas. And it’s one of the easiest and most delicious desserts you will ever make!

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding in glass bowl with spoons

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe

This isn’t a copycat, but Magnolia Bakery’s original recipe for their banana pudding. If you’ve been to New York, and you love food,  you’ve probably been to Magnolia Bakery.

Magnolia Bakery also  has locations in LA, and Chicago as well. While Magnolia Bakery is famous for their cakes and cupcakes, I think the best item sold in the bakery is their banana pudding.

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding in glass bowls with spoons on cookie sheet. Looking down from top.

It’s made in a huge container and then scooped out and put into their cute paper cups for serving. I love the original banana pudding and the chocolate version as well! Utah is a long way from NYC, so enjoying banana pudding from Magnolia doesn’t happen often enough.

The options for getting a taste of New York in Utah comes two ways. One, order a batch of pudding delivered to your door for $100. Yes $100 for about 10 servings. Not bad if you consider most desserts  at restaurants cost between $6-$10,  but not really affordable for most folks.

Option two, make the banana pudding in your home, with fresh bananas, cream, pudding and wafers for about $1-$1.50 per serving.  And you’ll have the bowl and beaters to lick (no charge)!

Bowl with whipped cream, carton of whipping cream and beater with whipping cream
Mixing bowl with spatula and  whipping cream and vanilla pudding

The Best Banana Pudding

This banana pudding outshines my mom’s banana pudding by a landslide. Don’t tell my mom! She made banana pudding for us growing up, probably the way most of your moms made banana pudding, and the way I made it,  before I knew better. A box of Nilla Wafers, a box of banana pudding (banana flavor) Cool Whip, and of course, bananas!

Small glass bowls with sliced bananas, bananas in background and Nilla Wafers box

This recipe uses the Nilla Wafers, but that’s about the extent of the old version. The Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe incorporates a can of sweetened condensed milk, fresh whipped cream, bananas and cookies. So simple, and so good.

I can’t really imagine a person in their right mind not loving this dessert. Every time I serve it, this is the conversation that follows… “What is this??”  “This is SO GOOD”  “This is probably really bad for me” “Can I have the recipe?” and  “This is the best banana pudding ever!”

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding in small glass bowls with spoons on a cookie sheet.

Banana Pudding,  a few essential tips for success

Five essential tips for making the best banana pudding on the earth:

  1. First and probably most important tip, (besides making sure you have purchased all correct ingredients)  is to PLAN AHEAD. The success of this dessert depends on planning ahead. You need a full 3-4 hours for the pudding to set up properly. Make pudding as directed in recipe, then let sit in fridge. You can do this up to two days ahead of assembling dessert. You also need to allow an additional few minutes to assemble the dessert and another 4-8 hours to set up before serving. I have served this at the 4 hour mark, 6 and 8 hours after assembling and I think 6 hours is the perfect amount of time for setting up.
  2. Buy bananas that are slightly green. No old bananas. Those are for banana bread, not banana pudding! The slightly under ripe bananas are perfect for this dessert. Make sure the bananas are almost ripe, not bright green!  Many people brush the bananas with lemon juice or “fruit fresh” to keep from browning, but I have found using slightly under ripe bananas and serving within 6 hours of assembling keeps the bananas looking fresh. I also make sure to completely cover the bananas with pudding. This helps the browning from happening too quickly.
  3. Purchase the right ingredients. Regular–  (not low sugar or low fat) pudding mix, whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and cookies. The success of the dessert depends on it. Too often, I have readers tell me they have made a recipe and followed the directions exactly and had a fail. When I drill down the ingredients I usually find they substituted margarine for butter, or stevia for sugar, or used low fat cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese…all of these substitutions seem insignificant, but when a recipe fails, it is often traced back to improper ingredients used or simply not carefully following directions. This recipe is, dare I say…foolproof? It is very simple. Just make sure you use the ingredients called for!
  4. The set up time of the finished desert is critical. If you’ve ever eaten Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding, you know the cookies absorb the pudding and bananas and almost become ONE. Meaning, the dessert is best when the flavors and ingredients have a chance to meld together into one soft, fluffy mouthful of creamy goodness. This won’t happen if you make the dessert, assemble and serve too soon. 4 hours is minimum, 8 is maximum set time.
  5. Wait to top the banana pudding with any fresh bananas until just before serving for best presentation!
Looking down on Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding in glass bowl with spoon

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Recipe

4.84 from 30 votes
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding in glass bowl
Author: Si Foster
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
chill: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10 generous 1 cup servings
Magnolia Bakery in New York City is known for its cupcakes, but many agree the banana pudding is the best dessert made at the bakery! Vanilla pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk, fresh whipped cream, bananas and of course, Nilla Wafers, are key ingredients in this easy to make treat.


  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, NOT evaporated milk!
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water I use cold bottled water from fridge
  • 1 3.4 oz (small box) Instant Vanilla Pudding (make sure it is INSTANT), I like Jello Brand "Instant Pudding and Pie Filling" mix sold in a box
  • 3 cups good quality heavy whipping cream, shaken, I use Darigold or Winder Dairy
  • 4-5 cups slightly under-ripe bananas, sliced (about 5 large bananas), bananas should be slighly green (not bright green!)
  • 1- 12 oz box Nilla Wafers regular or mini size, reserve some for crumbling on top and placing on top of pudding


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl whisk together the can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 1/2 cups cold water until combined.
  • Add the pudding mix and beat with a whisk or the whisk attachment. The mixture should be smooth and all pudding ingredients dissolved.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, overnight, or up to two days ahead of serving. Make sure to allow the pudding enough time to set up.
  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream in a clean bowl for a few minutes (this takes about 3-4 minutes in a stand mixer on high until the cream is stiff.)
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the set up pudding mixture until no streaks of pudding remain. Don’t beat with a mixer; gently fold mixture so the cream doesn’t deflate! You may use a large whisk and whisk by hand.
  • To assemble dessert, use a large glass bowl, trifle bowl, 9×13 pan or 10-20 4-8 oz cups
  • If making in small individual containers, I like to use a 1/4 cup measure and place pudding in the bottom of the bowl or cup first, then layer sliced bananas and a layer of cookies. Repeat and end with a little pudding mixture on top. Cover and let chill for 4-8 hours.
  • When ready to serve, slice a few bananas and place a Nilla Wafer or crushed wafers on top of each serving if making individual portions. If making in a bowl, arrange in three layers and end with either wafers or pudding on top.


  • PLAN AHEAD. You need a full 2-3 hours for the pudding to set up properly. You can do this up to two days ahead of assembling dessert. After allowing the pudding to set up, you’ll need another 4-8 hours for the assembled dessert to set up properly. I think 6 hours is the perfect amount of time.
  • Buy bananas that are slightly green. Make sure the bananas are almost ripe, not bright green! I received several messages regarding the ripeness factor of the bananas when I posted the original Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding. I understand a riper banana will yield a sweeter banana, but I’d rather have a firm banana that is not discolored than a sweet soft (and eventually slimy) banana in my dessert!
  • Purchase regular pudding, whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and cookies. The success of the dessert depends on it. No low fat or low sugar ingredients/versions of the listed ingredients.
  • If you are topping the dessert with fresh bananas, wait to top the pudding with bananas until just before serving!
  • If you are making this for a party, and would like to make individual servings, the recipe yields about 10 heaping 1 cup servings  (quite a large serving), or about 18-20 1/2 cup servings. I suggest the smaller version for most occasions.

Did you make this recipe?

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