Canned Sweetened Condensed Milk Is The Key To Creamier Banana Pudding

Classic banana pudding and its no-bake technique make it a favorite among both the seasoned chef and student cooks. This dessert is all about the layers, which begin with creamy vanilla pudding. But to get an even smoother and more luscious consistency, you should add a can of sweetened condensed milk to your pudding mix. The end product will be sweet and smooth and reminiscent of the banana pudding they serve at the famed Magnolia Bakery in New York. 

Sweetened condensed milk, which was invented by Gail Borden in the 1850s and made its mark during the Civil War, is still milk but is comprised of 60% less water, which is removed to create a thick creamy texture, and sugar, which is added to keep it from going bad. This innovative product also has a lovely caramel flavor that perfectly complements banana pudding. The Magnolia Bakery likes it so much that it uses it in place of whole milk, but many other recipes call for the traditional prep of your pudding with the appropriate amount of whole milk along with the addition of the can of sweetened condensed milk. But if you swap it for whole milk, you will need to add some water to thin it out because of condensed milk's dense viscosity. A general rule to keep in mind is that 1 cup of whole milk is the equivalent to about half a cup of sweetened condensed milk. 

Don't forget to let it set

If you are swapping, the order of operations also matters. You'll need to beat the condensed milk with water before you add it to the pudding mix. This will create the perfect creamy texture and milky taste. If you plan on adding a can to your pudding made with milk, you will want to prepare your pudding per the instructions, and allow it to sit for five minutes at room temperature before adding a can of sweetened condensed milk.

From there it needs to be refrigerated overnight so it can set; otherwise, you risk allowing your piece de resistance of the dessert table to be thin and watery. Translation: Exercise a little patience here and your base layer of pudding will be so delicious that you will wonder what else you can use your sweetened condensed milk in.

Once you've assembled your layers of Nilla wafer cookies, whipped cream, bananas, and sweet vanilla pudding, prepare to have your taste buds wowed and satiated in the same spoonful with the way all the ingredients work together to create a sweet, creamy, banana tasting dessert. Just don't make this sweet treat unless you have friends around who can help you eat it up. Sadly, banana pudding doesn't do well in the freezer and will last just three to four days in the refrigerator.