Tapioca Pudding

Comfort FoodGluten-FreePuddingTapioca

One of our favorite desserts growing up! This tapioca pudding recipe uses small pearl tapioca, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of my favorite desserts growing up was tapioca pudding. You don’t see it that much anymore. Kids get pre-made 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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  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • 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 Cook the tapioca in milk with salt, slowly adding sugar until the tapioca thickens: 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 Temper the eggs with a little hot tapioca: Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Whisk 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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172 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Antonia

    I made it anda was so yummy!!!! The best recipe!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Valerie

    My husband loved it but it was a bit too sweet for me and definitely sweeter than the tapioca pudding I remember from my childhood. Next time will try halving the sugar and vanilla and perhaps serve with a little jam instead.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Richard Slubowski

    Wonderful recipe. I usually get irritated by others who make changes and then complain about the results. However, this time I made one little change and I liked the result. I split the eggs into yolks and whites, beating the whites and adding at the last minute as you suggested. The only adjustment, was to add the zest and juice from one small lime. Delicious!!! True comfort food!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. mary ann

    BRING BACK CREMOLA PUDDING so I can have it alternating with TAPIOCA.
    iI thank you and Regards
    Mary Ann

  5. Kate

    Yum! My toddler and I just made this and it’s delicious! It reminded me of times my grandmother made it when I was a little girl. Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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