How to Make The Perfect Banana Pudding
This is the no-bake recipe for creamy banana goodness you’ve been waiting for. Crispy wafers and creamy banana pudding come together for a delicious treat.
If you’re American (and perhaps even if you’re not), the second you saw the name of this recipe, you thought, Magnolia’s Bakery.
Am I right?
For those out of the dessert loop, Magnolia’s is a chain bakery (its flagship location is in New York) that has, over the years, become synonymous with their banana pudding. It’s so popular, the pudding can be ordered online and shipped. Such is the mania for this dessert! If you visit Magnolia’s and don’t have the banana pudding, have you really visited Magnolia’s?
Naturally, I wanted to emulate their version. Theirs is a bit more indulgent (I’ll go over their version below) but this one, because it features healthier options, can be enjoyed a bit more frequently.
I’ve worked with banana pudding before when making these paleo dairy-free banana pudding pops but this is an entirely different beast. I also made rum pineapple cake trifle, which looks similar but isn’t quite the same.
I also wanted to make this banana pudding recipe like a centerpiece that I can present to my guests. Magnolia’s — probably because of the sheer volume they dish out — scoop a serving up from a big vat and present it to you in little cups. It tastes unbelievably good but doesn’t look very nice. As my photos suggest, I build mine like a trifle so you can see the layers (hopefully, you have a glass container).
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This pudding is no-bake. It’s a low-maintenance way to make a fancy dessert for your family and friends.
- It may be the closest you get to Magnolia’s without having to drive for hours or board a plane (or have the pudding travel a great distance to reach you).
- The creaminess of the pudding, the softness of the fresh bananas, and the crunch of the wafers is a great combination. The mouthfeel is one to savor.
- It comes together in no time and can be served straight away or kept overnight.
- Have you seen it??? When you set that down in the middle of your table after dinner, all eyes will shift between it and you… in a good way!
Is This Banana Pudding Healthy?
The short answer is, no. It is a dessert after all. However, it features low-fat milk (where some might opt for whole milk) and bananas, which contain calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. You may be tempted to use unsweetened condensed milk but I urge you not to. The dessert will lose some of its sweetness (obviously) and its consistency will surely change as the unsweetened stuff is thinner. At the very least, try the recipe as it was intended and then perhaps try the unsweetened version so you can compare and decide whether the drop in quality is worth the improvement in nutrition.
I just love how many ingredients are vanilla flavored. That’s how you know it’s going to taste fantastic (assuming you like vanilla, of course).
- 2 cups of low-fat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 sachets instant vanilla pudding
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 packet vanilla wafers
- 6 fresh bananas
Pour the milk, vanilla essence, and instant pudding into a large bowl and whisk until well combined, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Use an electric whisk to whip the cream into stiff peaks.
Peel and slice the bananas. Reserve one banana for decorating the top of your pudding.
Line the bottom of the bowl with one-quarter of the wafers. Spoon on a layer of instant pudding, then whipped cream. Then bananas. Repeat these four layers until you have filled your bowl. Then decorate the top if you like and serve.
Given this recipe is intended to mimic the Magnolia’s version, I don’t want to stray too far from the original by suggesting several ways you can change it. I WILL, however, point out where my version differs from theirs. The genuine article is actually really simple: bananas, wafers, vanilla pudding, heavy cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Because I’m a fan of vanilla, I have added some essence and opted for vanilla wafers (though this isn’t a dealbreaker). I also went low-fat with my milk, where Magnolia’s went with the heavy cream. I don’t think the heavy cream is necessary but it’s up to you.
Yes absolutely, just be aware that it is sweeter than the whipped cream so adjust accordingly.
Make sure that you are only decorating with fresh bananas right before serving as they will brown, you can also squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help. And for the rest of the bananas in the pudding just make sure you are covering them completely as it is the air that makes them turn brown.
It obviously won’t be banana pudding anymore, but yes. Using berries or pineapple work really well, too.
How to Store Banana Pudding
To store, cover the pudding in plastic wrap. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just be aware that the wafers will soften over time — even in the fridge. If you want to keep it longer, you can freeze it. Before serving, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
How To Make The Perfect Banana Pudding
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 packets instant vanilla pudding
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 packet packet vanilla wafers (11 oz)
- 6 fresh bananas
- Pour the milk, vanilla essence, and instant pudding into a large bowl and whisk until well combined, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Use an electric whisk to whip the cream into stiff peaks.
- Peel and slice the bananas. Reserve one banana for decorating the top of your pudding.
- Line the bottom of the bowl with one-quarter of the wafers. Spoon on a layer of instant pudding, then whipped cream. Then bananas. Repeat these four layers until you have filled your bowl. Then decorate the top if you like and serve.
- You can use Reddi-Wip instead of the whipped cream. Just be aware that it is sweeter than the whipped cream so adjust accordingly.
- Make sure that you are only decorating with fresh bananas right before serving, as they will brown. To slow down the browning process, you can also squeeze a little lemon juice on them. And for the rest of the bananas in the pudding just make sure you are covering them completely as it is the air that turns them brown.
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