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

  • 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.


  • 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


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. 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

Showing 4 of 146 Comments / Reviews

  • Marie | Just Plain Living

    Tapioca pudding is one of those comfort foods that I love but my husband – who never had it until I made it for him – dislikes. I can’t understand him at all. My mother always made the quick minute tapioca, and it was an Old Order Mennonite lady who showed me how to make the old fashioned kind on the back of her wood stove.

    She was so very insistent – you can’t do anything else when you’re making tapioca. Just stand by the stove and mind your pot. :)


  • Penny Krieger

    Excellent recipe. I used all organic; tapioca, milk, eggs, vanilla but followed your directions very closely. One change, I did substitute honey for sugar, decreasing the milk slightly.

    All worked perfectly and it was delicious! Saved the recipe to make again sometime.


  • Jessica

    Made this recipe today and used almond milk. Tapioca Pudding is a family favorite but being lactose intolerant I wanted to make it so everyone could enjoy! I used unsweetened vanilla and then omitted the vanilla not wanting the vanilla flavor to be over powering. The family loved it ! Thank you!


  • Grandpa, Ansonia , Ohio

    Just made this today 12- 24- 17 for our Christmas . It is so good, just like my grandma made. You have to try it.

  • Andy Clark

    Finally after years of hit and miss, this recipe provides ‘secret answer’. Simply put: once Egg mix is added DO NOT let it boil or it turns grainy.

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