Homemade Tapioca Pudding is a cinch to make and tastes so much better than store bought. This recipe always gets rave reviews from friends and family. With just eight ingredients and a little bit of time even the novice cook can master this dessert dish.
There is nothing better than a creamy homemade pudding. Just ask my husband. This recipe, rice pudding, banana pudding, and chocolate pudding are just a few of our favorites.
What is tapioca pudding?
It is a warm creamy pudding made from tapioca pearls, milk and or cream, and eggs. Tapioca pearls are starch balls made from the root of the cassava plant. The pearls give it that unique texture that we are so familiar with.
How to make homemade tapioca pudding
Start by soaking the pearl tapioca in cool water in a saucepan (not over heat) until they plump up. It will take about 30 minutes. Then drain any unabsorbed water from the tapioca. Now add the milk, half and half, and salt. Bring it to a low bubbling simmer over medium heat stirring almost constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and slowly add the sugar stirring constantly. Cook until the pearls are plumped and the pudding has slightly thickened, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan.
Then remove the tapioca from the heat. Using a large spoon add a little bit of the hot tapioca mixture to the beaten eggs and whisk to combine. Do this several times to ensure that the beaten eggs have warmed. Then return the pan to medium low heat and slowly add the egg mixture. Cook until thickened to pudding consistency stirring constantly. Then remove from the heat and wait 1-2 minutes to stir in the vanilla. Continue to stir frequently while it cools to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or cover with plastic wrap to further prevent a skin from forming.
Recipe notes and helpful tips
- Small pearl tapioca can be a little hard to find. Bob’s Red Mill has a non GMO paleo friendly tapioca. Call around first or order off of Amazon. Do not use instant tapioca.
- Make sure you temper the eggs so that you do not end up with curdled or scrambled eggs in your pudding.
- Do not add the vanilla until 1-2 minutes after you remove the pudding from the heat.
- For a dairy free versions substitute coconut milk or almond milk for the cow’s milk.
- After the pudding is cooked continue stirring every couple of minutes to prevent a skin from forming and place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the pudding before chilling in the fridge.
- If the pudding becomes too thick to your liking add a couple of tablespoons of milk at a time until desired thickness.
- Enjoy warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to temper eggs
Tempering eggs simply means that you slowly warm the temperature of the beaten eggs with the hot liquid that you are adding them to. This helps prevent lumpy pieces of scrambled eggs ending up in your smooth and creamy puddings and custards. Start by adding several tablespoons of the hot pudding or custard mixture to the egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisk in quickly and thoroughly. Repeat this step at least two more times or until the eggs are thoroughly warmed. Then slowly whisk the egg mixture into the pudding or custard in the pot.
More desserts you will love!
This creamy homemade tapioca pudding recipe is so quick and easy. It tastes so much better than store bought without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes plus soaking time
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: dessert
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- ½ cup small tapioca pearls
- 1 cup cool water
- 2 cups 2% milk or whole milk
- 1 cup half n half
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soak the pearl tapioca in cool water for 30-40 minutes. Drain any unabsorbed water from the tapioca.
- Combine the tapioca, milk, half and half, and salt. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat stirring almost constantly. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the sugar stirring constantly. Cook until the pearls are plumped and the pudding has slightly thickened, stirring constantly; approximately 5-7 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the tapioca from the heat. Using a large spoon add 2-3 tablespoons of the hot tapioca mixture to the beaten eggs in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Do this several times to ensure that the beaten eggs warm.
- Return the pan to medium low heat and slowly add the egg mixture. Cook (but do not boil) until thickened to pudding consistency stirring constantly; approximately 3-5 minutes. Scrap the bottom of the pan to prevent anything from burning.
- Remove from the heat. Wait 1-2 minutes and stir in the vanilla. Continue to stir frequently while it cools to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or cover with plastic wrap to further prevent a skin from forming.
Keywords: how to make tapioca pudding, what is tapioca pudding, homemade tapioca pudding
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Question: is Kraft Minute tapioca the same as the tapioca pearls? Would love to make this
No, it is not. It is partially cooked and granulated pearls.
Can you substitute the sugar with Stiva or use less sugar
Sorry Debbie, I have not tried. Perhaps one of the readers will know.
Can I use almond or cashew milk?
Not sure. I have never tried Maybe one of the readers will know.
I love this tapioca recipe. It was absolutely delicious and so flavorful! A perfectly easy dessert when you’re want something in a pinch. I could not find the right tapioca pearls so I ordered them on Amazon.
My family and I really loved this tapioca recipe. It was so creamy that it reminded me of my Grandma’s pudding. Thanks for the great recipe.
This was so delicious! My husband just loves this recipe. Now he wants me to make this again.
I can’t believe I have only just realised that Tapioca isn’t the same as rice pudding. All these years I thought they were the same thing. But I do love rice pudding so will now have to give this a try
Thanks Natasha! Enjoy!
Oh, we haven’t had tapioca in a least a decade. So hard to find good-tasting ones.
This came out… a 👏🏽 ma 👏🏽 zing 👏🏽! I used a heaping half cup of tapioca with 1c and a little extra water, and it came out exactly as thick as I like it. Will be making this often from now.on. Thanks!
Thanks so much! So glad that you liked it!
where can you buy tapioca pearl small or large ?
I purchase it at the grocery store. They also sell it on Amazon.
I love tapioca pudding. Can it be made using Almond milk and no calorie sweetener?
I am not sure. Maybe one of the readers will know.
Yes Marilyn you can use almond milk. Add unsweetened almond milk coffee creamer as a substitute for half and half. Low calorie sweeteners can take strange when heated to the temperature needed to thicken. Add it once the pudding has cooled.
Can you use heavy whipping cream instead of half & half?
Yes you can.
I haven’t had tapioca pudding in so long. I think it’s really good too. I will definitely have to make this soon.
I grew up on tapioca pudding. My mom made this pudding about once week.
Tapioca pudding is one of my favorite classic easy desserts! Your version turned out great! It was super creamy sweet and delicious!
Love tapioca and this pudding looks so creamy and delicious. Thanks for sharing.
This was so easy and delicious! Thank you!!
I have always been a fan of tapioca pudding, and this recipe was no exception! So creamy and delicious and way better than any store bought version, indeed!
Best recipe! My family loved it.
Tapioca is my son’s favorite dessert and I cannot wait to make this for his birthday this Saturday! He’ll be tickled to pieces 🙂
We cook tapioca pearls in Asian / Indian recipes. This sounds so creamy and with a custard flavour to the pudding so I will for sure try it.
This turned out so amazing!! Everyone loved it. Such an easy recipe to follow.
Me nd my kids loves this tapioca pudding, SO addicting!
I’ve never had homemade tapioca pudding, but I can imagine that it’s so much better than any of the versions I’ve tried pre-made! You have some great tips here for making sure it turns out well too.
I haven’t had tapioca in forever, but it used to be one of my favorite puddings! 🙂 I will have to try your recipe soon.
I made this last weekend and it was so good! Thanks so much for sharing!
Love creamy puddings and this recipe looks so easy. Saving for later when I can source some tapioca. I have been looking for a while but its not that easy to find in Scotland sadly.
This was SO GOOD! Everyone loved it!
katerina @ diethood.com
I love tapioca pudding! This looks incredibly delicious!! Can’t wait to give it a try!
This Tapioca Pudding looks so perfect! Definitely a must try!
This is really good! I love that it is really easy to make!
This pudding looks very inviting! I would like to wake up with this.
I’ve always loved tapioca pudding, but this recipe takes it to a new level! Awesome! I WILL be make this very soon!
(btw, any thoughts on folding whipped egg whites into cooked mixture?)
Never knew how easy it was to make your own tapioca pudding. Thanks for sharing!
This was fantastic and I could not get enough!
I never was a fan of tapioca pudding– this recipe has changed my mind.
Oh yum! I love that creamy texture! So much better homemade. Looks amazing with the blueberries and mint on top.
I always love a good homemade pudding, and this one looks fabulous! That creamy texture just looks incredible. Whipping up a batch ASAP!
This simple dessert was so easy to make but was the perfect end to our dinner yesterday! It was creamy and sweet!
I love tapioca pudding and it’s so hard to find these days! My whole family will love this!
I love everything about this recipe! It’s so creamy, so comforting! It’s my go-to dessert on a busy night.