Tapioca Pudding

A Mystery Ingredient Spells Comfort

A Rich Pudding Of Tropical Wonder

I enjoyed tapioca pudding so much as a child, yet never wondering what this exotic root was doing as a dessert.

Now I grow “cassava” in my garden. It’s a beauty to look at, too. Tapioca is a thickening agent in a flour form. As a pudding you want to buy the pearls, the smallest pearls are best. I tweaked a box recipe many times to get this balance of texture, creaminess, and just a slight sweetness.

Tapioca pudding mates well with many toppings- use your imagination! I love to dab on a spoon of jam or marmalade and sprinkle on nuts.

I’m a lover of cardamom and it beautifully spices this dessert. Consider any of the other “cookie” spices: allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or a blend. Coconut milk offers an additional thick and creamy texture when serving tapioca pudding cold.

Note: use tiny pearls for pudding

INGREDIENTS: If using plant based milk, make it rich and creamy 

  • coconut milk- 2 cups, [one can], or milk or plant milk
  • half ’n’ half- 1 cup, [or 3 cups total of a full fat beverage]
  • salt- 1/4 tsp
  • tapioca pearls- 2/3 cup, small granules [not powder]
  • sugar- 2 TBS, or to taste
  • raisins- 1/4 cup, [opt.]
  • cardamom- 1/2 tsp ground (opt.)
  • vanilla- 1 tsp, after cooking is complete

LEFT: It’s Not Pretty, But Out Comes Deliciousness. UR: At the Start of Simmering LR: Taste at the 9 Minute Mark, There Should be a Slight Chew When Done


  1. Combine liquids, tapioca, and salt in a 1-1/2 qt. pot. Let stand for 30 minutes, then bring to a simmer and cook for 10-11 minutes stirring occasionally—scraping the bottom of the pan to keep from burning, until tapioca is nearly translucent
  2. Off heat stir in the sugar, vanilla, raisins [if using], and cardamom
  3. Cool and then refrigerate. Stir well before serving.


  • Marmalade, jam, or lemon curd
  • chopped nuts
  • fresh or dried fruit
  • candied ginger, minced
  • Fresh mint
Orange marmalade and mint

The cover photo includes star fruit with chopped walnuts

Recipe by B. Hettig

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