Homemade Tapioca Pudding Recipe

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Does anything take you back to childhood like a bowl of creamy, sweet tapioca pudding? This classic homemade version will have you reminiscing over those nostalgic flavors and fun little tapioca pearls. Growing up, tapioca pudding was one of my favorite comforting treats. And you know what? It’s still every bit as delightful and satisfying today.

Not only is tapioca pudding delicious, but it’s incredibly easy to make from scratch in just 30 minutes. No more waiting for those instant pudding cups – you can enjoy the real deal at home with minimal effort. Let me show you how to capture those genuine vanilla and egg custard flavors, with the addictive chewy texture of tapioca pearls. This pudding is creamy, sweet nostalgia in a bowl!

Why This Tapioca Pudding Recipe Works

  • Brings back all those happy childhood memories in each spoonful
  • Luxuriously thick and creamy from using whole milk and eggs
  • Adorable little tapioca pearls provide the most satisfying, nostalgic mouthfeel
  • Just 30 quick minutes to prepare this comforting, luscious dessert
  • Versatile recipe allows fun variations like chocolate, coconut, or fruit flavors

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Small pearl tapioca (not instant or quick-cooking pearls)
  • Whole milk for that signature rich creaminess
  • Eggs to create a thick, custard-like pudding texture
  • Sugar for sweetness
  • Vanilla extract for classic, nostalgic flavor

How to Make Perfect Homemade Tapioca Pudding

  1. In a saucepan, combine the small pearl tapioca, whole milk, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in the sugar. Allow to simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tapioca pearls are plumped and the mixture has thickened.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot tapioca liquid – this will temper the eggs so they don’t curdle when added to the hot pudding.
  4. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the tapioca. Increase heat to medium and cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring constantly, until you have a beautifully thick, custard-like pudding consistency. Be careful not to let it boil.
  5. Remove the pudding from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow it to cool slightly before digging in, or chill completely for a thicker set.
  6. Serve the tapioca pudding warm or chilled, plain or topped with fun garnishes like cinnamon, coconut, or fresh fruit.

Pro Tips for the Best Tapioca Pudding

  • Use small pearl tapioca, not quick-cooking – it provides the classic soft, chewy texture
  • Cook gently over low heat, stirring frequently, to prevent scorching or overcooking
  • Don’t skip tempering the eggs first to avoid curdling
  • For an even thicker, more sturdy pudding texture, let it chill thoroughly before serving
  • Make it dairy-free by substituting full-fat coconut milk

Storing Leftover Pudding Let any leftover tapioca pudding cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. You can also freeze individual portions for up to 3 months. This stuff is heavenly straight out of the fridge!

Tapioca Pudding Recipe

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, whisk together the tapioca, milk, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to low. Gradually whisk in the sugar. Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until tapioca pearls are plumped and mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency.
  • In a bowl, beat the eggs. Temper by slowly whisking in 1/2 cup of the hot tapioca mixture into the eggs.
  • Whisk the tempered eggs into the saucepan with the tapioca pudding. Increase heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened to a custard-like pudding texture. Do not boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool slightly before serving warm, or chill thoroughly for a thicker set pudding.

Top with cinnamon, toasted coconut, fresh fruit, or other desired toppings and enjoy that delicious taste of nostalgia!

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