Home » Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Sweet Creamy Tapioca Pudding

Sweet Creamy Tapioca Pudding

This Tapioca Pudding recipe is simple, quick, and oh so delicious. It will bring back sweet childhood memories with every spoonful!

A vintage bowl filled with tapioca pudding.

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe

Does anyone besides me remember Tapioca Pudding? That creamy, soothing, nursery-sweet childhood pudding that is still so delicious?

Honestly, I had almost forgotten about it myself until recently. I got it on my mind one day and couldn’t stop thinking about it until I made some.

It seems that I’ve been cooking lots of recipes from the past lately but I just can’t help it! Those old recipes are so delicious.

And some of them are precious reminders of the people and places we still hold in our hearts. For me, cooking from the past is a tribute to all those generations of cooks who came before and, I hope, a legacy I can leave to the cooks who come after me. They connect me to my roots and I love that!

So, about this Tapioca Pudding. Well, first I had to find some tapioca. You know how in the grocery stores they put the “hot” items right at eye level? The ones that are the best sellers with the highest profits? Yeah, well, you’re going to have to get on a stepladder or down on your knees to find the tapioca. But it’s there. I promise.

And making it is as easy as pie. You basically dump everything into a pan, heat it up and you’re done. Really.

❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This classic recipe is sure to remind you and your loved ones of childhood.
  • It’s so easy, it’s practically impossible to mess up.

🛒 Ingredient Notes

  • Minute TapiocaFor convenience, I always use “minute” tapioca. It doesn’t require any overnight soaking or other lengthy preparation like pearl tapioca. The brand I always purchase is Kraft Minute Tapioca in the familiar red box.
  • Milk I recommend whole milk. It’s dessert. You deserve a splurge.
  • VanillaUse a quality brand of vanilla extract since it’s the predominant flavor in the pudding. You can’t go wrong with McCormick vanilla.
  • Sugar You’ll use plain old granulated sugar.
  • Egg One large egg.

That’s it! Just five ingredients is all you’ll need.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Tapioca Pudding

All ingredients for tapioca pudding in a saucepan.
  1. Start by putting the sugar, tapioca, milk, and egg in a saucepan. Let it stand for five minutes before you do anything else.
  2. After five minutes, cook the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a full boil. That’s a boil that you can’t stir down.
  3. Remove it from the heat and add the vanilla.
Tapioca in a bowl with plastic wrap covering the top.
  1. Now cover the pudding with plastic wrap touching the surface so it won’t form a skin and let it cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. You can serve it either warm or cold. Dish it up in serving bowls and, if you like, top it with a little toasted coconut.
A vintage bowl filled with tapioca pudding.

🍚 Storage Information

For short-term storage, allow the pudding to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Tapioca may also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

❗ Tips and Variations

  • Make a variation by mixing in dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, or diced dried apricots.
  • For a chocolate version, add chocolate chips or chocolate syrup to the pudding while it’s still warm.
  • Garnish as I did with toasted coconut or with a dash or nutmeg or cinnamon.
  • Substitute full-fat coconut milk for the whole milk if you need to avoid dairy products.

❓ Questions About Tapioca

What exactly is tapioca?

Tapioca is simply starch. Specifically, it’s starch from the root of the cassava plant native to Brazil.

Why did my tapioca turn out runny?

The most likely reason your tapioca came out runny is that you used low-fat milk. This pudding needs the fat content from whole milk to create that lovely silky, semi-firm texture.

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

A vintage bowl filled with tapioca pudding.

Tapioca Pudding

This Tapioca Pudding recipe is simple, quick, and oh so delicious. It will bring back sweet childhood memories with every spoonful!
5 from 6 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 144kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 2 ¾ cups milk
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Toasted coconut (optional garnish)


  • Mix the sugar, tapioca, milk and egg in a medium saucepan; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil (a boil that can’t be stirred down).
  • Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  • Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap and let cool for 20 minutes; stir.
  • Spoon individual servings into dishes. Sprinkle the top with toasted coconut (optional)
  • May be served warm or chilled.


  • For short-term storage, allow the pudding to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Tapioca may also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 144kcal | Carbohydrates 22g | Protein 4g | Fat 4g | Saturated Fat 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 1g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 38mg | Sodium 59mg | Potassium 159mg | Sugar 17g | Vitamin A 221IU | Calcium 131mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

— This post was originally published on August 14, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Mary Alyce says:

    Everyone in my family love tapioca pudding. I’ve make a very similar recipe for many years and make it like my grandma and mother did. . .separate the eggs, add beaten yolk to the pudding before cooking. Beat egg white stiff. When pudding is cooked add a small amount to beaten egg whites to temper, then fold in remaining egg whites. This makes a creamier pudding.

  2. Dear Lana, Thank you for sharing your recipe. I chose to use organic tapioca granules (1/4 cup) and then used 3 cups of whole milk. I put extra vanilla on each of the ramekins with glad wrap covers. Turned out wonderful. Thank you again

  3. 5 stars
    I love tapioca pudding, thanks for the reminder. I don’t make it very often as there is no such thing as too big a serving for me. A soup bowl is about right.

  4. Hello, My dad taught me to make this when I was in my late teens. Only thing I can’t find is after it is made how long it can be kept in the fridge. Found one page stating to gobble it up in 8-10 hrs while it is still hot.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      The standard recommendation for keeping any cooked food in the fridge (leftovers, etc.) is three days. I’d say the same for tapioca.

  5. Stephanie Golleher says:

    Interesting tid bit of info, Colleen. The last time I made tapioca it did not set, so I was looking for a reason. It seems you may have given me the answer! Rarely, do I taste and return the same spoon to the pot, but I’m also not dumb enough to think that I didn’t do just that!!! It could have happened, but I will be very careful that it does not happen again! Thank you!

  6. I made some tapioca twice now and each time followed the recipe…and both times it did not set to pudding…but rather a thick tapioca milk. Do the pearls get old?

    1. Wow, Susan, I honestly don’t know. Unless maybe you didn’t use the quick cooking kind of tapioca? I’ve been making tapioca since I was about 12 years old and I’ve had it fail to set up.

    2. Never return your tasting spoon to the pot, instead use a clean one each time you “taste”. The enzymes in your saliva will start to digest the tapioca, and it will not thicken, but instead become very loose!

  7. Tapioca Granulated says:

    A heavenly dessert! I have always loved tapioca. It is so versatile and delicious.

  8. sippitysup says:

    Remember it? I dream about it regularly! GREG

  9. Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! says:

    Love the idea of using the plastic wrap to avoid getting a skin on the pudding. Smart!

    I love tapioca, too. My mom made it a lot – and burned it a lot – but even slightly burnt it was darn good.

    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie. The plastic wrap tip works for any kind of pudding. Keeps that icky skin from forming on top.

  10. Oh yes, me too, I love the old fashioned creamed puddings. There’s nothing better than a nutmeg crusted bowl of baked rice pudding, (no stove top please,) or a pretty parfait dish filled with tapioca pudding, topped with a dollop of homemade preserves & cream.

    I have to confess I’ve gotten a bit lazy in my later years at getting around to making tapioca pudding very often though. I’m a fan of large pearl tapioca, but it takes soooo long to make into a proper pudding.
    I’ve never used minute tapioca, save for berry pie thickening, but since your pudding recipe looks so tempting, and so quick, I’ll just have to give it a go.

    Thanks for sharing Lana!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jocelyn. The minute tapioca is so quick and easy I don’t even bother with the other kind any more. Not much difference I can tell either.

  11. tapioca is a versatile pantry item, I keep it handy, so great for thickening so many things… I remember eating at Morrison’s and while I would always go for coconut pie, Momma reached for this pudding…

    1. Yes, it’s great for thickening fruit pie fillings especially. But I still love the old fashioned creamy pudding :-)

  12. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective says:

    I do, I do! And i want some right now!

    1. Just wondering how you’d spice it up, Sommer. I *know* you’d have some ideas :-)

  13. Jane Bonacci - The Heritage Cook says:

    Lana – my mom used to make me tapioca all the time and it is one of the things I miss most about her. It’s funny how just the mention of a type of food can bring those memories flooding back!

    1. It is, isn’t it Jane? Food carries tons of memories for me. Until I started blogging I thought I was the only one who felt that way. Happy to know it’s not just me.

  14. I am so excited to see this. Tapioca pudding has been on my mind since buying the pearls. Thanks for this! It’s going to give me a nudge to get going. :)

    1. I’d love to see what you come up with, Chris. I know you’ll put your own special spin on it!

  15. SMITH BITES says:

    i don’t remember having too much tapioca pudding as a child but i LOVE it as an adult – Kozy Kups has them ready made in the milk section . . . for emergencies!!!

    1. Would you believe I’ve never tried any of those Kozy Kups desserts! I’ll remember it, though, for the next time I have a tapioca “emergency.” :-)

  16. Lana I just love tapioca pudding. I am dying for some now!

  17. I always loved when my mom made tapioca pudding – it was my favorite!

  18. I love tapioca!
    Old recipes are the best because they come with memories ;)

    1. So right, Teri! So right.

  19. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. says:

    looks so good! I have never made this, and now I want to

  20. claudia lamascolo says:

    I want some! This is finger and bowl lickin good!

  21. Love, love, LOVE tapioca pudding! My mom made it pretty regularly for “dessert” and it was always a treat. Thanks for bringing back the memories. I have to make some soon!

  22. We must have made gallons of this stuff when we were kids. I think it was relatively inexpensive, so Mama didn’t have a running fit when we scalded it, burned it up, and made the house smell horrible. But, after a couple of times, I think we got the hang of it.

    I remember that tapicoa was either “small pearl” or “large pearl.” I liked the little squishy b-b texture. And the vanilla. It always smelled so good.

    Thanks. I may see if I can locate some on my next trip to the grocery store. Short as I am, I may have to climb the shelves.

    Miss P

    1. I remember making it, too. And yes it’s very inexpensive except that the milk costs a good bit more now than it did back then. Good luck finding it – it’s there I promise.

  23. Karen Bove says:

    Funny, I just bought a box of tapioca for pudding. Now you’ve inspired me to actually make it!

    1. So glad I could be an inspiration to someone :-) Hope you enjoy it, Karen.

  24. Chrisina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen says:

    My husband loves tapioca pudding!! I actually bought some minute tapioca a few months ago but I have yet to give it a try! After seeing these yummy pictures, I think I need to give this recipe a try! :)

    1. I love it too, Christina. Surprise your husband with some tapioca soon…he’ll be so happy!