This Homemade Banana Pudding is a cinch to prepare and is perfect for banana cream pie lovers who don’t have time to roll out a pastry crust.

Making Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding was my sneaky way of getting out of making a banana cream pie! Layering vanilla wafers instead of making a pie crust made this a less tedious way to put a smile on the dear husband’s face!

Old-Fashioned Southern Banana Pudding in two glasses

Why You Must Make

  • Banana Pudding has been around since a recipe was posted on a box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers in the 1920s.
  • This beloved recipe for Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding was revealed in their cookbook so now everyone can make it at home!
  • Using a box of instant vanilla pudding makes this much easier than other recipes that are made totally from scratch!

With no fussy pie crust to make, a box of pudding mix, and a can of sweetened condensed milk, this banana pudding is so much easier to make than a banana cream pie but just as delectable!

Easy banana pudding in a glass serving bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Use ripe, not overripe, bananas for the best banana flavor. The skins should be yellow, not spotted, without any hint of green unless on the stem. The bananas should be firm.
  • PRO-Tip: Briefly soak your banana slices in 7-Up or Sprite to minimize the oxidation process.
  • Though some banana cream pies and puddings use banana extract or juices to flavor the pudding, I love the simplicity of making whipped cream-enhanced vanilla pudding. The two layers of sliced bananas provide plenty of flavor and some banana extracts have an off-putting taste. I was traumatized with liquid banana-flavored Dramamine, for motion sickness, as a child!
  • Make sure the water and pudding mixture gels before proceeding with the recipe. If it does not set properly, your pudding will be runny.
  • Chill for at least 4 hours before serving so the banana flavor can infuse into the filling.
  • This recipe makes 14-16 servings so it’s great for a crowd. You’ll want to start it early in the day if making for company.
  • If using a glass bowl, add the pudding to the center of the bowl, then spread it outward to the sides. This will minimize smearing the sides of the bowl.
  • Let sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Very cold desserts will dull the flavor.
  • If making individual servings, buy some mini vanilla wafers to garnish. You can also slice a banana before serving to add to the garnish.
  • Banana pudding will last about 2 days before the bananas start to deteriorate.
  • Don’t freeze banana pudding as both the bananas and pudding won’t defrost well.

Overhead view of 2 banana pudding parfaits with spoons

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Banana Pudding Be Made Ahead?

If making for company, make early in the day you plan to serve it. It will still be fine the next day, but the presentation will be best on the day it’s made as the bananas will start to oxidize or turn brown as they age.
Allow for 4 hours of chilling time before serving to let the vanilla wafers soften.

How Long Does Banana Pudding Last?

It’s at its prime for about 2 days. Any longer than that and the bananas will start deteriorating. But it will still be safe to eat for up to 4 days.

How Do You Layer Banana Pudding?

Layering depends on your recipe. For this recipe you layer vanilla wafers, then bananas, and then pudding. Try to make the layers level if using a glass bowl.

Can You Freeze Banana Pudding?

Unfortunately, banana pudding does not freeze well.

How Do You Keep Bananas from Browning?

Bananas naturally turn brown from being exposed to the air. The best way to minimize this is to make sure the banana slices are completely enveloped by vanilla pudding to prevent any contact with room air or are treated with citric acid.

If you toss your banana slices in lemon juice, orange juice, or Sprite, the citric acid will delay the oxidation process. I prefer not to taste the tart lemon juice, so my preference is to use orange juice or a lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7-Up.

Don’t be tempted to use under-ripe bananas even though they’re slower to brown. They will not provide the flavor you need for your banana pudding. As mentioned in the recipe, look for yellow bananas that still are slightly green on the stem. They should not have any brown spots. These bananas will be barely ripe and are less likely to brown immediately.

If you’re overly concerned about the appearance of your banana pudding, make it early on the day you plan to serve it. It truly looks best on the day made.

Banana pudding in a glass dish with a serving spoon and vanilla wafer cookies.

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Banana pudding in a glass dish with a serving spoon and vanilla wafer cookies

Southern Banana Pudding Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 16 servings

A classic Southern dessert recipe that's a breeze to prepare!


  • 1 can (14 ounces)sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups ice water (remove ice before measuring)
  • 1 small box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 bananas, yellow but not spotted, and slightly green at the stem end
  • 1 bottle or can of lemon lime soda, like Sprite or 7-up, optional
  • 1 12-ounce box of Nilla Vanilla Wafers


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk and ice water until well combined. Add the pudding mix and beat for about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, 3 hours or longer.
  2. When the pudding mixture is set, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well combined.
  3. Slice the bananas into a bowl. Add the can of soda and let soak briefly while starting to layer the dessert.*
  4. Layer about a third of the vanilla wafers on the bottom of a large (4 qt) glass bowl or another large serving dish.
  5. Gently drain the bananas and place them on paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.
  6. Top the vanilla wafers with a third of the bananas then a third of the pudding mixture. Smooth the pudding with an offset spatula to level.
  7. Repeat the layers two more times.
  8. Crumble some of the remaining vanilla wafers to make crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the pudding.
  9. Chill for about 4 hours before serving.


Adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Cookbook.

Make banana pudding parfaits by layering the 3 components into clear glasses or parfait dishes.

*Soaking the bananas in lemon-lime soda will help minimize browning. It's optional, but your bananas will brown by Day 2.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 3g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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