Traditional recipes

Tapioca Pearl Pudding

Tapioca Pearl Pudding

This textured tapioca pudding recipe was inspired by ice cream and gets its concentrated dairy flavor from milk powder, which adds richness without fat.


  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • ⅓ cup small pearl tapioca (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk milk, cream, milk powder, and salt in a medium saucepan; add tapioca and let sit 30 minutes to hydrate.

  • Add sugar to tapioca mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the consistency of a thick soup, 10–12 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes (it will thicken slightly). Let cool, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

  • Divide among small glasses. Chill pudding until cold (it will thicken), at least 2 hours. Serve topped with nutmeg.

  • DO AHEAD: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 264 Fat (g) 17 Saturated Fat (g) 11 Cholesterol (mg) 91 Carbohydrates (g) 23 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 16 Protein (g) 4 Sodium (mg) 80Reviews Section

    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
    • 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant or quick-cooking)
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
    • Freshly grated nutmeg (for serving)
    1. Whisk milk, cream, milk powder, and salt in a medium saucepan add tapioca and let sit 30 minutes to hydrate. Add sugar to tapioca mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
    2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the consistency of a thick soup, 10-12 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes (it will thicken slightly). Let cool, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
    3. Divide among small glasses. Chill pudding until cold (it will thicken), at least 2 hours. Serve topped with nutmeg.
    4. Do ahead: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

    • 1/2 cup medium pearl tapioca (do not use instant varieties)
    • 4 cups whole milk
    • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup sugar, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 3 egg yolks

    Place the tapioca in a large bowl with a quart of cold water. Cover and allow the tapioca to soak for at least 12 hours. When ready to use, use a fine mesh strainer to drain off the water and set the soaked pearls aside.

    In a large saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt and set aside. Place the eggs and yolks in a large bowl and whisk them until they are combined. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all of the sugar is added. Whisk until the egg mixture is a very light yellow color, about two minutes, then set aside.

    Place the saucepan with the milk mixture over low heat and bring to a simmer. Once it begins to bubble, remove the pot from heat and temper the eggs with the hot liquid by whisking the eggs constantly as you add the liquid a little at a time.

    Once the two mixtures are completely combined, pour the custard back into the original pot and and add the tapioca. Whisk constantly over low heat. As you whisk, the mixture will begin to thicken. Watch the pearls, they will become translucent, with just a bit of cloudiness in the centers, indicating that the pudding is done. Do not worry that the pudding looks a bit watery, as extra liquid will be absorbed during the cooling process. Scrape the pudding into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the top surface. Chill in the fridge, at least 2 hours.

    Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

    Homemade Tapioca Pudding Topped with Jam
    (Source: Unknown Magazine, circa 1920)

    Tapioca Cream

    Soak 1 cup pearl tapioca overnight in 2 cups milk, then add 4 cups milk. Boil till clear, then add salt, yolks of 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, vanilla flavor to taste. Bake in oven (350°F).

    When done, spread whites of eggs beaten stiff with 1/2 cup sugar on top and brown.

    Creamy Pearl Tapioca with Apple

    Two tablespoonfuls pearl tapioca soaked overnight, 1 pint of milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 4 apples pared, cored, and quartered, a little salt and nutmeg.

    Bake two hours (350°F), stir twice during that time, and serve hot with whipped cream.

    Old Fashioned Tapioca Pudding Recipes

    Practical Cooking and Dinner Getting (1876)

    Tapioca with Apple, or Peach

    Pare and core (with a tube) six or seven apples lay them in a buttered dish. Pour over a cupful of tapioca or sago one quart of boiling water let it stand an hour add two teacupfuls of sugar, a little lemon, vanilla, or wine pour this over the apples, and bake an hour (350°F).

    Peaches (fresh or canned) may be substituted and are an improvement.

    Tapioca Cream

    Soak a teacupful of tapioca overnight in milk. The next day, stir into it the yolks of three eggs well beaten and a cupful of sugar.

    Place a quart of milk on the fire, let it come to the boiling-point, and then stir in the tapioca, and let the whole cook until it has thickened then take it off the fire, and stir in the whites of the eggs beaten to a froth. Flavor to taste.

    A small portion of the beaten whites of the eggs can be saved to decorate the top. Stir into the latter a little sugar, put it into a paper funnel, press it out over the top of the pudding according to fancy, and place it in the oven a few moments to brown the meringue.

    Creamy Tapioca Pudding Recipe

    Suggestions and Experience (1908)

    Make this Creamy and Delicious Tapioca Pudding
    (Source: Suggestions and Experience, 1908)

    Creamy Tapioca

    A good hastily cooked dessert for a busy day or when unexpected company drops in and the larder is bare (especially if you are five miles from even a small town, as I am), is to take one cupful of tapioca, wash and place in a double boiler when tender, add one pint of milk, butter size of an egg one saltspoonful of salt.

    When this has cooked a few minutes, add three well-beaten eggs, and sugar to taste, stir just long enough to cook the eggs. It makes a nice light creamy dessert pudding. Any added flavoring may be used. —Mrs. James Nicholl, Idaho

    Delicious Tapioca Pudding Recipes

    The White House Cook Book (1913)

    Creamy pearl Tapioca

    Five tablespoonfuls of tapioca, one quart of milk, two ounces of butter, a cupful of sugar, four eggs, flavoring of vanilla or bitter almonds.

    Wash the tapioca and let it stew gently in the milk on low heat for a quarter of an hour, occasionally stirring it then let it cool, mix with it the butter, sugar, and eggs, which should be well-beaten, and flavor with either of the above ingredients.

    Butter a dish, put in the pudding, and bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for an hour. If the pudding is boiled, add a little more tapioca and boil it in a buttered baking dish one and a half hours.

    Strawberry Tapioca, or Peach

    This makes a most delightful dessert. Soak overnight a large teacupful of tapioca in cold water in the morning, put half of it in a buttered yellow-ware baking dish, or any suitable pudding dish.

    Sprinkle sugar over the tapioca then on this put a quart of berries, sugar and the rest of the tapioca. Fill the dish with water, which should cover the tapioca about a quarter of an inch. Bake in a moderately hot (375°F) oven until it looks clear.

    Eat cold with cream or custard. If not sweet enough, add more sugar at table and in baking, if it seems too dry, more water is needed. A similar dish may be made, using peaches, either fresh or canned.

    Apple Tapioca

    Put one teacupful of tapioca and one teaspoonful of salt into one pint and a half of water, and let it stand several hours where it will be quite warm, but not cook.

    Peel six tart apples, take out the cores, fill them with sugar, in which is grated a little nutmeg and lemon peel, and put them in a pudding dish over these pour the tapioca, first mixing with it one teaspoonful of melted butter, and a cupful of cold milk, and half a cupful of sugar bake one hour (350°F) eat with sauce.

    When fresh fruits are in season, this pudding is exceedingly nice with damsons, plums, red currants, gooseberries, or apples when made with these, the pudding must be thickly sprinkled over with sifted sugar.

    Canned or fresh peaches may be used in place of apples in the same manner, moistening the tapioca with the juice of the canned peaches in place of the cold milk. Very nice when quite cool to serve with sugar and cream.

    About the Tapioca Pudding Recipes

    I have always loved the creamy tapioca puddings Mom made, especially when she served them with a big dollop of her homemade strawberry jam on top.

    On other occasions, she topped them with freshly whipped cream flavored with almond and that was delicious too. Homemade puddings are so good tasting!

    I loved tapioca when I was a child. Its creamy smoothness and good taste were unparalleled. I jokingly called it frog's eggs, and Mom would accommodate sometimes by adding a drop or two of green food coloring. I still believe that desserts should be fun.

    Enjoy trying these old fashioned tapioca pudding recipes and enjoy a delicious homemade dessert you'll be proud to serve your family.

    Tapioca Pearl Pudding - Recipes

    2/3 cup small pearl tapioca (we like Bob's Red Mill brand)

    4 cups low-fat (2 percent) milk

    3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

    1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar

    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, soak tapioca in water for 30 minutes. Add milk, salt, egg yolks and granulated and brown sugar to the tapioca and stir over medium heat until it boils. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes or until very thick. Stir in vanilla and nutmeg. Transfer pudding to heat-proof bowl (tapioca will thicken as it cools). Cover tightly and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

    Coconut-ginger variation: Substitute coconut milk for half or all the milk in pudding recipe. After removing from heat, stir in 1/4 cup diced candied ginger, if desired, or serve with diced fresh mangoes.

    Paleo Tapioca Pudding


    Do you ever feel like you just need a vacation? Well, I can’t give you a vacation, but I can give you a recipe that will make you feel as if you were on one.


    2 ounces small pearl tapioca

    2 cups coconut milk (not cream) – I used unsweetened, boxed, pourable, drinkable coconut milk.

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    1. Place tapioca and coconut milk in a medium-sized saucepan and let the pearls soak for 25-30 minutes.
    2. Add the salt to the tapioca and milk, and gently heat over medium until it simmers.
    3. Reduce heat to low and let simmer very gently for 10-15 minutes stirring often so the tapioca does not stick! The mixture will thicken and pearls will become transparent.
    4. Once done, remove from heat and stir in honey, and extract.
    5. Pour mixture into 4 cups and place in the refrigerator until chilled, approximately 2 hours. The pudding thickens more with refrigeration.
    6. Serve as-is or with a pinch of ground vanilla beans on top for looks and flavor.
    7. Enjoy!


    1. On step 4 you can also add a pinch of ground vanilla bean but it will slightly darken your pudding.
    2. Pudding can last longer if covered in the frig.
    3. I used boxed, pourable, drinkable coconut milk sold in all stores.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

    If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at Tina (at)

    I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

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    Recipe Summary

    • 3 cups whole milk
    • ½ cup quick-cooking tapioca
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

    Stir together the milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low cook and stir 5 minutes longer.

    Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Stir the egg mixture back into the tapioca until well mixed. Bring the pudding to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat cook and stir 2 minutes longer until the pudding becomes thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding may be served hot or poured into serving dishes and refrigerated several hours until cold.

    Recipe Summary

    • ¾ cup water
    • ⅓ cup uncooked small pearl tapioca
    • 2 ¼ cups 2% reduced-fat milk
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅓ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Grated whole nutmeg (optional)

    Combine 3/4 cup water and tapioca in a medium saucepan let stand 30 minutes.

    Add milk and salt to tapioca mixture bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Combine sugar and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually stir about 1/2 cup hot tapioca mixture into egg mixture. Return tapioca mixture to pan. Cook 4 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.

    Remove from heat stir in vanilla. Spoon pudding into a bowl. Place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl let stand 15 minutes or until pudding is cool, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill. Garnish with grated nutmeg, if desired.

    Easy Slow Cooker Tapioca

    Pour milk into slow cooker and turn onto HIGH. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add tapioca, stir, and cover with lid. Cook for 2-3 hours until tapioca is tender. (Large pearl may take an hour longer - pearls should be translucent and clear when done.)

    In a small bowl, beat egg and vanilla with a whisk. Add 1 cup of the hot cooked milk/tapioca to this egg mixture, stirring well. Then pour this mixture into the slow cooker and stir. Cover with lid and cook for a final 20 minutes. Remove lid, pour pudding into serving bowl and chill.

    What to Serve with Tapioca Pudding

    As mentioned above, you can add a ton of different extras to this dish to feed more people.

    Personally, I love to serve this pudding with some summer berries such as raspberries and strawberries. Other fruits such as mango, banana, or peaches will work nicely with the pudding.

    For a bit of extra crunch, you can add some chopped nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts. I like to go one step further and mix some homemade granola in with the pudding.

    If you want to see how to make this paleo-friendly tapioca pudding, then be sure to check out the video below. Alternatively, there is a full written recipe underneath the video.

    Aside From Pudding, How Can I Use Tapioca Pearls?

    Q: I have a box of large tapioca pearls that I bought for a dessert. I love tapioca pudding but I’m the only one in the house who eats it.

    Any suggestions for non-dessert recipes? Thanks!

    Editor: Rachel, depending on how large your tapioca pearls are, you could make some sort of boba (bubble) tea with it! We love milk tea with cooked tapioca pearls in the bottom of the glass.

    If that’s too offbeat for your family, then look for dumpling recipes that use tapioca, like this one from Veggie Belly:

    Readers, any good ideas for Rachel?

    Faith is the Editor-in-Chief of Kitchn. She leads Kitchn's fabulous editorial team to dream up everything you see here every day. She has helped shape Kitchn since its very earliest days and has written over 10,000 posts herself. Faith is also the author of three cookbooks, including the James Beard Award-winning The Kitchn Cookbook, as well as Bakeless Sweets. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two small, ice cream-obsessed daughters.

    Watch the video: Πουτίγκα με Ψωμάκια - Στέλιος Παρλιάρος (January 2022).