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Your Go-To Tapioca Pudding Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Your go-to Tapioca Pudding recipe is this one — loaded with sweet vanilla flavor and those tapioca pearls you know and love!
Three servings of tapioca pudding

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: Sweet, creamy, and comforting vanilla pudding with soft, slightly chewy tapioca pearls. My tapioca pudding recipe is ready in no time at all.

Homemade tapioca pudding is a favorite of comfort food fans — you also just need a few simple ingredients! Likely, the only thing you may not have worked with before is small pearl tapioca, but don’t let that intimidate you. Tapioca pudding couldn’t be easier to make. 

I’ll walk you through preparing and using the tapioca, as well as getting the perfect creamy vanilla pudding the pearls are cooked in. The pearls in homemade pudding have such a wonderfully chewy and silky texture I’m positive you’ll never go back to instant! 

What Is Tapioca?

Tapioca is made from the root of a plant found in Brazil — the cassava plant. First, the plant is processed, and manioc flour is made, then the starch that is left over is made into tapioca. It’s a great carbohydrate that is also gluten-free! The starch is made into a couple of different forms, including a powder that helps thicken soups and is used in gluten-free baking, and pearls. These pearls are used in tapioca pudding — if you’ve had boba or bubble tea before, you’ve had larger tapioca pearls that have been colored or sweetened with brown sugar! If you’re interested in using tapioca flour, try my Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe

A close up of tapioca pudding served in glass dishes.

What Type Of Tapioca Should I Use For Homemade Tapioca Pudding?

Tapioca pearls have many different forms, including size and how they are prepared, so you want to be sure you get the right pearls for this pudding. I use small pearl tapioca for my pudding — the medium-sized pearls would need to soak longer in order to get that great chewy texture. 

You also don’t want to use instant tapioca pearls, sometimes labeled as “quick-cooking.” 

You’ll also want to be sure you purchase tapioca pearls and not boba. Boba is sweetened and colored. Tapioca pearls for pudding should be clear and pretty flavorless. Typically, boba is larger than the small pearls you want for pudding. Raw, they will look white, almost like round grains of rice. 

How Do I Prepare Raw Tapioca?

Before you start making tapioca pudding, you will have to first soak your raw tapioca pearls. For small tapioca pearls, I like to soak them in water for about 40 minutes. I find any less than 40 minutes makes the pudding way too chewy — so don’t skip the soaking step! To cook the pearls, first drain them, then add them to your saucepan with the milk, cream, and sugar, cooking the tapioca over low heat and stirring constantly until thickened. Then, temper in the eggs and continue cooking until you reach a pudding texture. Follow my recipe below for the step-by-step guide.

Are Tapioca Pearls Fish Eggs?! Frog Eggs?!

Small tapioca pearls are sometimes called “fish eggs” or “frog eggs” due to their tiny, round appearance but don’t worry — they are not eggs of any animal. They are vegan and made from the root of a plant! Kids, especially, claim tapioca are fish eggs. For the life of me, I can’t find the origin of that rumor. According to Wikipedia, the Mandarin name for tapioca pearls translates to “frog eggs!”

Tools You Need To Make Tapioca Pudding

A spoon taking some pudding

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Tapioca Pudding

  • Make sure to use small pearl tapioca for this pudding. Medium pearl tapioca would need an overnight soak.
  • Don’t skimp on the soaking time for the tapioca, or your pudding will be too chewy!
  • The hot tapioca mixture is added gradually to the eggs to temper them. If the eggs are added to the hot tapioca mixture all at once, they could scramble.
  • Be especially careful to cook this pudding over low heat and stir constantly once you add the eggs; because of the tapioca pearls, you can’t strain this custard to remove any egg curds.
  • My Danish Risalamande has a wonderful cherry sauce that would also be amazing served with this pudding.

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Tapioca Pudding Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Your go-to Tapioca Pudding recipe is this one — loaded with sweet vanilla flavor and those tapioca pearls you know and love!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Soak for 40 mins
Your go-to Tapioca Pudding recipe is this one — loaded with sweet vanilla flavor and those tapioca pearls you know and love!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 ½ cups (12 fl oz/360 ml) water
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 ml) small pearl tapioca
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz/480 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt


  • Place the water and tapioca in a small bowl and let soak for 40 minutes.
  • Drain the tapioca pearls, then place them in a saucepan with milk, cream, and sugar. Crack the eggs into a small bowl near the stove.
  • Cook the tapioca over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • While whisking the eggs constantly, add the hot tapioca mixture, one spoonful at a time, until completely combined. Return this to the saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency. (Do not let the mixture come to a boil.)
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Leftovers can be eaten cold, or you can add a splash of milk and heat gently in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through.
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9 days ago

I made my on Saturday, my husband love it !! And very Easy to made 😊😊

Barbara Miller
Barbara Miller
12 days ago

I have a question. My mom used to beat egg whites and fold them in, but I don’t remember how to do it. It makes the tapioca feel light and delicious. Do you know how? Tapioca is definitely a comfort food for me. My mom made it with sweetened sliced peaches and a dab of whipped cream. It was my dad’s and my favorite desert!

12 days ago

My mom would make tapioca pudding when I was a kid and added crushed pineapple (which I love) but she used minute tapioca. Could you add crushed pineapple to this recipe or would that be too sweet?

12 days ago

I just bought tapioca pudding as t the grocery store last night because i had a craving. Can’t wait to make my own.

12 days ago

This recipe is so simplified. Going to prepare this for my lovely wife as well as my Mum in law

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere!

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