Indulge in a classic dessert with my traditional tapioca pudding recipe. Made with simple ingredients and easy instructions, this creamy treat will become a family favorite in no time. It is a cinch to make and tastes so much better than store-bought.
So Creamy Tapioca Pudding
With just eight ingredients and a little patience, even the novice cook can master this creamy dessert dish. This is an all-time favorite family dessert that should always be homemade, at least in my opinion. The key to a great tapioca is soaking the pearls, vigilant stirring, and tempering the eggs.
There is nothing better than a creamy homemade pudding. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband. He will give you the whole low down. If you love this recipe, try 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 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.
Tapioca Pudding Ingredients
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. Drain any unabsorbed water from the tapioca. Now, add the milk, half and half, and salt. Please 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.
- 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 from Amazon. Do not use instant tapioca.
- Ensure you temper the eggs so 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 version, 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, add a couple of tablespoons of milk at a time until desired thickness.
- Enjoy warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
How to temper eggs
Tempering eggs means slowly warming the beaten eggs’ temperature with the hot liquid that you are adding them to. This helps prevent lumpy pieces of scrambled eggs from forming and ending in smooth, creamy puddings and custards. Add 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 twice or until the eggs are thoroughly warmed. Then, slowly whisk the egg mixture into the pudding or custard in the pot.
Store the pudding in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the pudding. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat with a splash or two of milk.
Tapioca pudding freezes quite well, maintaining its original consistency and texture. To freeze, first cool thoroughly, then spoon the tapioca into a freezer-safe container and cover the top of the pudding with plastic wrap. Secure the lid and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge. Do not refreeze.
More Dessert Recipes
Tapioca Pudding Recipe
- 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.