Tapioca Pudding

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One of my favorite desserts growing up was tapioca pudding. You don’t see it that much anymore. Kids get pre-made over-sugared puddings from the grocery store.

My parents don’t make it that often as it requires too much (for them) careful stirring while the tapioca cooks. And you won’t find tapioca on any low-carb diets as it is pure starch, from the same plant as cassava.

Yet tapioca pudding is one of those comfort foods that conjures up happy childhood memories. It’s actually really easy to make.

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca Pudding Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Look at the instructions on the package of tapioca that you buy. Some small pearl tapioca requires overnight soaking in water. If your package has that requirement, reduce the milk in the recipe to 2 1/2 cups from 3 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (you can usually find it in the baking section of the grocery store, do not use instant tapioca)
  • 3 cups whole milk (or skim milk with cream added)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

1 Combine tapioca, milk, and salt in 1 1/2 quart pan on medium high heat. Stir while bringing to a bare simmer. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, at the lowest possible heat, adding sugar gradually, until the tapioca pearls have plumped up and thickened. Depending on the type or brand of tapioca you are using and if you've presoaked the tapioca as some brands call for, this could take anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes of cooking at a very low temperature. Stir occasionally so that the tapioca doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

2 Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Mix in some of the hot tapioca very slowly to equalize the temperature of the two mixtures (to avoid curdling).

3 Return eggs to pan with tapioca. Increase the heat to medium and stir for several minutes until you get a thick pudding consistency. Do not let the mixture boil or the tapioca egg custard will curdle. Cool 15 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Serve either warm or chilled.

Note: If you want to make a more light and fluffy, but still rich, tapioca pudding, separate the eggs. Use the egg yolks to stir in first to the pan with the tapioca. Once the pudding has become nice and thick, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl to soft peaks. Remove the pan of tapioca pudding from the stove, fold in the beaten egg whites into the pudding.

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Tapioca Pudding

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Showing 4 of 126 Comments

  • Philippa

    Made it. Lived it! But next time I’m going to try it with less sugar as it was a bit too sweet. Maybe coconut sugar. My son has asked for a chocolate version.

  • Karen Mitchell

    Way too much sugar!! I added 1/2 what the recipe says and it was still sickly!!
    Also, who uses white sugar?? If it’s not bad enough!!

  • Rose

    I was taught to make this by G-ma who just cooked….. no recipe. Recently made it for a work potluck. Everyone liked it.
    Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t. Your method is what I just do. For my work pals who want the recipe, I’ll send them here

  • J.D. Staton

    For those whose tapioca pudding has turned out “scrambled egg-like” in consistency, this is the result of not “tempering” the eggs (causing them to curdle), with a very small amount of the cooked milk mixture, first – prior to fully folding the eggs into the cooked ingredients. If you put cold, raw eggs into hot, cooked liquid, the result will be “scrambled eggs”, unless you very slowly and in small amounts, introduce the raw eggs to the hot liquid (look up the term “tempering eggs” on the Internet, for more instructions, if you’re still confused about this).

    One of the very best tapioca pudding recipes I’ve ever eaten was at a SE Asian (Vietnamese/Thai) restaurant. They served warmed tapioca pudding, made with coconut milk (instead of dairy milk as many people of Asian descent cannot tolerate/digest dairy products) and slices of cooked banana. There is no greater “comfort food” than warm coconut-flavored tapioca pudding with bananas! YUM! When I’m sick or down, I crave this dish like crazy. It’s as gentle on the digestive system as any dish could possibly be.

    For those who were wondering, tapioca comes from the root of the cassava plant. It comes in two different sizes of “pearls”, with the smaller pearls used as a thickener (in place of corn starch or flour in a variety of dessert recipes). The large pearls are generally used in a huge range of delicious “bubble tea” recipes, though can be used for making dessert concoctions, as well. It’s far harder to locate places to buy the large pearls (look at Asian food stores or on the Internet), while the small pearls can be found in any standard grocery store (in the baking aisle). Recipes for “bubble tea” can be found on the Internet and You Tube. Enjoy!

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