This Banana Pudding is a copycat recipe of Magnolia Bakery. Unlike regular banana pudding, this one has whipped cream mixed into the pudding. It’s fluffy & creamy. And now, you can make that at home from scratch (sorry, no instant pudding mix) with better ingredients, cheaper & more!
Before getting into the pudding, I got news. We’re moving to San Jose. The change that we have been waiting for this whole year is FINALLY happening! Bryan got a new job and we’re moving to Northern California.
It’s crazy to think we would leave Los Angeles. That idea never crossed our minds until right now. But life is unexpected. With the right timing, we will take the opportunity. I know we’ll miss a lot of things about Los Angeles, but we’re looking forward to exploring a new city.
Before leaving LA, there is a place that I wanted to check out, Magnolia Bakery. Their famous banana pudding was on my radar for a long time, so we made our way there. The pudding didn’t disappoint. It was creamy, banana-y and rich. It also tasted like the banana pudding from a local BBQ restaurant, Baby Blues BBQ, which I have been eating for years. Unlike regular banana pudding, this one doesn’t served with whipped cream on top. The whipped cream is actually mixed into the pudding. It has a lighter texture than a regular one, which I really like. Not sure who has the original recipe, but what it really matters is that you can now make it yourself!
Magnolia Bakery actually published their banana pudding recipe on a cookbook. But I was shocked to find out that they actually use instant pudding mix in their pudding. Ok, that’s disappointing! $7.50 for 2 cups of pudding that is not made from scratch? Who needs that when you can make it at home with better ingredients and much cheaper?
This recipe is actually fairly easy. First, starts with the pudding. Whisk eggs with cornstarch and sugar. Then warm the milk and slowly whisk into the eggs. Doing it too fast may turn the eggs into scramble. Cook the mixture over the stove and whisk until thickened. When the mixture is thickened like pudding, it’s ready. Cool the pudding over ice bath or in the fridge. Then, make some whipped cream. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding. Next is to assemble everything. I like to do that in layers. Wafers, pudding, banana, pudding… and repeat one more time. Last, but not least, decorate the top beautifully with more wafers. Covered with plastic wrap. And now, be patient and wait. It takes a little time for the wafers to soften and flavors to come together. Your patient will pay off.
This is a great recipe to make ahead and perfect to serve on a holiday party. It looks pretty and it can easily serve at least 8 people, probably more like 10. When it’s time for dessert, just scoop, top with extra wafers and serve. Everyone will love it!
This recipe is the last recipe for now until we’re settled. In the meantime, I will be posting my moving journey on Instagram story. In case I don’t come back in time for the holidays, I want to wish you all a warm & wonderful holiday! ❤️
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding (From Scratch)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 8 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 4 cups Nilla wafers (I used mini ones)
- 4 large ripe bananas
- In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs until smooth and pale, about 3 – 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
- In a medium saucepan, add milk and 6 tablespoons sugar. Bring just to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to melt the sugar. Do not bring to a boil.
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs while whisking constantly. Return everything back to the saucepan and add vanilla bean paste (If using extract, do not add any yet.). Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is thickened and it starts to bubble, whisking continuously, about 6 – 7 minutes. Remove from heat (Add vanilla extract now if using).
- To cool the pudding, you can either do it in an ice bath (10 minutes) or cool in the fridge (3 hours). To prepare an ice bath, in a large sturdy bowl, fill half full with ice cubes. Then fill half full with cold water. Place the hot saucepan along with the pudding inside the iced bowl. Make sure water don’t get into the pudding. If needed, remove some water or add more ice. Stir the pudding occasionally to cool. If you are cooling the pudding in the fridge, transfer the pudding to a medium heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap by pressing down to the surface of the pudding. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or until cold.
- Once the pudding is cooled, choose a desired container that is large enough to hold about 11 cups of pudding. (I used a 7×10 baking dish.)
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add heavy cream and condensed milk. Whisk until soft peaks form.
- Transfer the pudding to a large mixing bowl, add about ½ cup whipped cream and whisk together. Add the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold into the pudding. Once combined, transfer to the fridge to keep cold.
- In the meantime, crumble ¾ cup of Nilla wafers in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin or skillet. Set aside.
- Cut the banana into a little less than a ¼-inch slice. Set aside.
- To assemble, add a very thin layer of pudding in the desired container. Add a layer of non-crumble wafers. Sprinkle with half of crumbled wafers. Add enough pudding just to cover. Add a layer of banana slices. Add enough pudding just to cover. Do another wafer layer and then a banana layer. Finally add all the pudding and smooth out the top. Decorate with more wafers. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. The pudding tastes the best after 6 hours of chilling and until 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, scoop the pudding like ice cream into a small bowl. Top with extra wafers and serve immediately.
- When thickening the pudding, make sure to be patient. You don’t want it to be runny. It should be thick like pudding. Once it cools, it will thicken a little more.
- For the container size, I think a deeper dish is better, so you get more layers. I used a 7×10 baking dish that holds 11-cup of pudding.
- 1 box of Nilla wafers is definitely enough for this recipe. I used about ¾ of a box.
- The pudding can last up to 3 days in the fridge, but best within 24 hours. Add extra wafers when serving.
I too was shocked that Magnolia bakery uses instant pudding in their banana pudding. I have never liked the taste of any instant pudding and my mother and everyone in my southern family would be appalled at seeing this ingredient. I suppose that instant pudding has its uses, but I don’t think a good use is in banana pudding. I suppose those raised on instant pudding might not know the difference, but instant pudding does not at all taste like actual pudding. Heck even boxed cooked pudding would be better if you weren’t going to make your own homemade pudding Thank you for pointing this out as I have been looking for a recipe for the Magnolia banana pudding today and was in the middle of deciding whether or not to skip this questionable recipe when I know how horrible instant pudding tastes or just substituting my own pudding recipe. Seeing someone agree with me on a this has encouraged me to try this recipe and later even perhaps my own. Honestly I am baffled at a famous bakery using instant pudding in the first place.
I know! Can’t understand why a bakery would use instant pudding! And they sell it for $7.50, which is insanely expensive! Anyhow, homemade version is so much better and cheaper. Hope you will try this. Thanks for your comment. ?
Your recipe does not math up with that large pan it is in.
This is a great recipe I have used before
Hi Barb, my pictures maybe a bit misleading. The pan I used is 7×10, which may looks like a 9×13 pan. I have added a note in the recipe to clear it up. Thanks for bringing this up.
I agree. Instant pudding in “homemade” banana is a fraud. I wouldn’t make it if that was the best I could do. There are some things in life that are worth the effort. Never use boxed vanilla pudding under and circumstances!
Where are you seeing instant pudding?
Hi Barb, Magnolia Bakery published a cookbook more than 10 years ago. In the book, they included their banana pudding recipe, which uses instant pudding mix. You can easily find that recipe online.
Daji Beamon says
I made it today with instant pudding and it was fantastic. I did whip the heavy cream though! Still I love how fluffy it was. it is now gone. This is going to be my go to from now on. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Daji! Yes, that creamy and fluffy texture makes this banana pudding special. ?
Betty S. says
I agree. This is not Banana Pudding in the Southern sense. No instant anything in true Southern cooking.
I’ve had real banana pudding once. And craved it everytime I made the instant. An older woman from the south made the homemade pudding. I wanted to take the pan and run with it! i will try this one and hopefully i make it right?
This is a little different than traditional banana pudding, but just as delicious! Hope you’ll like this. It’s not too hard to make, just need a little patient. You can do it! Let me know how it goes. ?
Alley Moyers says
This is not how I learned to make southern banana pudding. For the holidays, we use 1/2 & 1/2 instead of whole milk. No condensed milk. Thickened with flour, not cornstarch unless you are in a hurry. Milk, flour and sugar stir over medium heat until thickened . It takes 10 or 15 minutes. Separate the 4 eggs, temper the yolks in, add butter & vanilla. Line your bowl with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers. Layer them until all of the pudding has been used. Make a meringue out of the whites and broil until browned. I don’t use the meringue but topped with whipped cream.
Hi Alley, thank you for your detailed instructions. That is similar to how I made my traditional banana pudding too. But this recipe is not a traditional southern banana pudding, this is a copycat recipe of Magnolia Bakery banana pudding. It’s slightly different.
Alley, this is the best ever recipe I have used it for 40 years and everyone love this.
That is the way i was shown how to make banana pudding as well! I also top with whipped cream my preferencr. 🙂
Great recipe! I have never had the real Magnolia banana pudding so I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have enough of anything to make multiple layers. The photos all look like a 9 x 13 so I assumed that must be 11 cups. Plus I saw the 8 servings, so they must be smaller servings than I was assuming. ? I’ve never heard the cup count for baking dishes in a recipe before. My fault for just assuming, because the cup size would be more accurate because then a pan can be any shape, so again, my fault, but maybe adding a couple example common dish sizes to the recipe would be good. I’m very good at cooking/baking and am rarely ever confused by a recipe, so I imagine a lot of people have this issue. But maybe it’s just me. Lol. That said, this is very good! Next time I won’t use the sweetened condensed milk for the whipped cream. There was no flavor at all to the whipped cream (in my opinion) so I’ll just do vanilla and sugar next time. I’m also not someone who likes very sweet deserts, but this needed a little more sugar for me too. Easy fixes to make it to my taste next time! Very good though! Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you Cali! Happy to hear that you like the pudding! The only reason I used cup count for this recipe is that people can choose any container(s) they want, like plastic container, trifle bowl or even individual ramekins. But you’re right that my pictures could be a bit misleading. I will add the size of the baking dish I used, so it’s more clear. Thank you for your suggestion. ?
We tried to not eat desserts that are too sweet, so I probably reduce the sweetness a bit more than usual. I’m glad that you pointed that out, so some other readers can be aware and adjust the sweetness to their liking. And yes, vanilla & sugar can definitely be substituted for the condensed milk. I personally love condensed milk and I think there is a slight caramel taste to it. But I can see just adding sugar is much more convenient.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write the feedback. I really appreciate it. Have a wonderful week!
I came back to let you know that the banana pudding sweetened up beautifully! When I tried it the first night, it hadn’t sat long. I knew it would get better but I didn’t realize it would get sweeter. The sugar was just right after a night in the fridge. Thanks for adding the sizes to the recipe. Again, I knew why you did cups and that it was my fault for assuming, lol, but I think some example sizes may be helpful! Anyway, next time I’ll keep everything as is, aside from the whipped cream. I couldn’t taste the sweetened condensed milk in it, even after sitting, plus I hate wasting the can if I’m not going to use the rest of it quickly. I’m about to make some Thai iced tea to use it up this time though! Again, thank you and thanks for the reply!
Yeah! That’s great to hear! If you still have leftover condensed milk, it’s also good with strong coffee too (Vietnamese coffee). Thank you for your comment. ?
I am definitely saving this recipe to try at a later date. I always make the old fashioned banana pudding. Which is custard egg yolks, sugar, flour, pinch salt, whole milk. Then stir-stir-stir until thick then add vanilla. Assemble with Nilla Wafers & bananas. Of curse use the egg whites for a Meringue top. This recipe intrigues me. I must give it a go…
Hi Donna, I hope you will give this a try! I love the traditional version, but I also like this too. Different, but still tasty! ?
The list of ingredients does not have whipped cream; however, the recipe does use it (this is not the heavy cream). How much whipped cream do we need? I’m in the middle of preparing this recipe and would appreciate clarification. Thanks.
Hi Rhonda, check out step 7. You whisk together the heavy cream and condensed milk until soft peaks form. That is whipped cream.
I want to love this so badly! Did anyone else’s taste super salty?! I have no idea what could have gone wrong as I followed the instructions to a T. 🙁
Hi Natalie, that’s really odd. I would love to help. The only salt in the recipe should just be a pinch, which is around 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon. Maybe double check your ingredients? Let me know if you have questions.
Where did you get that blue dish?
Hi Greg, I got it from William Sonoma. I think it’s WS exclusive. It’s called “Staub Stoneware Rectangular Baker, 7 x 10”. Hope you can find it.
I cannot wait to try this recipe. It sounds amazing. My mother and other southern ladies used to make it with meringue when I was young, but I did not like it that way. I am a whipped cream kind of girl, so this sounds right up my alley. lol
I hope you will give this a try! A little different, but tasty. Have a great day!
Hello, thank you for posting this recipe! Excuse my ignorance but I thought that banana pudding would also have banana mixed into the Pudding. But apparently it’s layered with banana pieces and wafers, sounds delicious.
But on the topic of adding the banana flavor to the pudding, would you have a suggestion how to best do this and get a nice creamy texture still?
I think I’m thinking of some type of banana flan.
Just making a banana purée and mixing with the cold pudding does not seem to do the trick and cooking with the banana makes it weird. Do you have any other recipe tips?
Hi Stefanie! That’s a good point. I think maybe it looks better with all the layers. But just like tiramisu, all the layers blend together when you’re eating it. And the banana flavor definitely comes through.
For the flan question, I have not made a banana flan before, so I can’t really tell you how to make one. But it looks like there are some recipes out there. And they do add the puree into the custard before baking. You should definitely look into that. If not, maybe just serve sliced banana on the side with the flan. Hope this helps!
Wonderful recipe but I’m incredibly curious as to where you got your casserole pan it is stunning.
Thanks! I love this baking dish. Great size. I got it from Williams Sonoma. I think it’s WS exclusive. It’s called “Staub Stoneware Rectangular Baker, 7 x 10”. Hope you are able to find it!
LaTonya Saucer says
Not the banana pudding I grew up on. I can only eat the one made from scratch. I wish they could have found a new name for this dish and not banana pudding. The younger adults in my family make it this way and use Pettridge farm chessmen cookies instead of vanilla wafers. I like it the homemade way just like my Southern Grandmother makes it.
I bet your grandma makes an amazing banana pudding! I agree with you. If I can make it from scratch, I will try to do that. This homemade one isn’t too hard either. Although this is not traditional banana pudding, but still delicious!
This is hands down the BEST banana pudding ever! I served it to guests and wish I’d taken a photo but we all scarfed it down too quickly! One person even went for thirds.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Mylene! I’m so happy that you and your guests love this! Thank you for letting me know how it went. You makes my day! ?
This is such a good dessert! Its perfect for weeknights or guests!
Thank you! Yes, so easy to serve too!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Of course. It can last for 3 days, but best within 24 hours.
Toni Spencer says
I have been making banana pudding from scratch since I was 12. My grandmother taught me. This is okay recipe but hardly a typical Southern banana pudding. I made it once and my family wanted to know why I had changed my recipe! They said it was okay but not BBC excellent. I will continue to make my grandmother’s recipe. I get rave reviews form everyone who eats it. Sorry!
You’re so lucky to have your grandmother’s recipe! I’m sure it’s amazing. Thank you for giving this recipe a try though. Just like pizza, there’re different versions. It’s perfectly ok if this is not the version for you. Have a great day!
Good morning! I made this recipe and I am a seasoned home cook. The pudding was gummy and I think the amount of corn starch is to blame. Additionally when you add 1 tablespoon of vanilla it turns the pudding an unattractive brown color. I’m not sure if I’d make this again. My friends insisted that I don’t use a made from scratch recipe and I think the pudding is the reason why. I’m not sure what mistakes I made in technique, but I’m embarrassed to serve this to guests. It was not a lot of filling either and even in a trifle bowl it barely filled 1/3. It seems like your recipe should have more ingredients to double the amount to fill a glass casserole dish as is traditional in most households.
Hi Nadine, I’m sorry that your pudding didn’t turn out well. I think the problem likely has something to do with the cornstarch. When you’re adding the hot milk, make sure to do it slowly and whisk the egg mixture at the same time. And then, when everything is back to the saucepan, make sure to whisk continuously as well. Hope this helps.
As for the vanilla, the basic pudding is just a start. There is whipped cream added to that, so the color will be lightened up later. Vanilla extract adds a lot of flavors, so it’s important to have. If you prefer, you can add vanilla seeds instead.
For the size of the container, since this is not a baking recipe, it can be more flexible. That’s why I recommended readers to “choose a desired container that is large enough to hold about 11 cups of pudding”, so they can use anything they want, like a casserole dish, a large bowl, a plastic containers or even 2 containers. As long as those containers can hold 11 cups of stuffs, they’re good. This approach maybe a little unusual, but this is how I see it.
Thank you for feedback. I hope I’m able to answer some of your questions. Have a good day!
So the pudding itself doesn’t have any bananas in it? You only add bananas as slices after the pudding is already made?
Yes, you’re right! When you’re eating the pudding, everything is kind of mixed together. So you will get some banana in almost every bite.
Julie Chapman says
I have a question. It say to add a 1/2 cup of whipped cream. Does that mean heavy whipping cream or actual whipped cream? Because it states to add the heavy cream & condensed milk then when done mixing transfer to a bowl & add a 1/2 cup of whipped cream & there is no whipped cream in the ingredients list. Thank you in advance ❤
Hi Julie, it’s whipped cream, not whipping cream. The “1/2 cup of whipped cream” comes from the heavy cream and condensed milk that just being whipped together in the previous step. The pudding is combined with the homemade whipped cream. Hope this helps!
Is the pudding supposed to be thick after step 5? If so, what did I do wrong because mine is more runny than thick?! This is my first time attempting homemade banana pudding lol
Hi Brooke! The pudding should be pretty thick after it chilled. If it’s runny, it wasn’t thicken enough during the cooking process. When thickening the pudding, it will bubble at one point. That means you’re almost there. Let it bubble little bit more, about a couple more minutes. The mixture should be thickened at this point and not runny. And once it cools, it will thicken a little more. Hope this helps!
Jill Frieburg says
Hi! Do the bananas hold up making this one night ahead?
Hi Jill. Yes, they do. That’s usually what I do it. Enjoy! ?
Jill Frieburg says
Great! Thank you for the response, looking forward to trying this!
Blakeley Warner says
Only 4 stars because I just made it and am waiting to eat it after dinner tonight! I DID lick the spoon after making it, and the pudding/whipped cream combo tastes great! This fit in my pan perfectly. I used the whole box of Nilla wafers, but maybe ate two for testing purposes. Thanks for this recipe using homemade filling. I know this will be my go to banana pudding recipe.
This is also Paula Dean’s recipe. Look up her recipe, and you will see what I mean.
I ordered a cup of banana bread pudding and have no idea what I got. Its definitely not the bread pudding I grew up having even in the best of restaurants. I was a cupful of layers of cream, bananas and tiny circular biscuits. I could have done that myself in 2 minutes. Totally disappointed.
Kim D says
Yes I agree, I made it worth instant and OMG it was sooooo good.
Hello, Pudding looks great! Do you have a video for this recipe?
Hi Daniel, thank you. Unfortunately, I don’t. But I wrote as much details as I could in the recipe.
This looks so good! Also I love your blue dish!!! What brand is it?!!!