Tapioca Pudding is a timeless and old-fashioned dessert! This is a quick and simple recipe that does not require overnight soaking and can be ready in under 30 minutes!

While it may not be the most attractive dessert to ever grace your computer screen, Tapioca Pudding is a classic favorite for so many people. With its unique, bubbly texture, it’s a little different than some smoother pudding recipes you might have enjoyed, like banana pudding or chocolate pudding!

Tapioca Pudding in a bowl with a spoon

Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Did you grow up enjoying Tapioca pudding? My grandmother made it often on Sundays (along with her other classic desserts, including ambrosia salad and oatmeal cookies), but I never realized how easy grandma’s tapioca pudding recipe was to make! This recipe uses instant tapioca so you can have dessert ready in under 30 minutes (no overnight soaking required).

This makes a great dessert served either warm or cold. While Tapioca is wonderful when served plain without toppings, I often like to top mine off with a swirl of whipped cream and a handful of fresh raspberries. Optional, but delicious!

What is Instant Tapioca?

Instant tapioca is simply tapioca that has been processed into finer pieces.

Other varieties of tapioca (small pearl or large pearl) typically require long periods of soaking (some as long as 12 hours!), but instant tapioca needs only 5 minutes. That’s what makes this a 30-minute tapioca pudding!

Tapioca Pudding in a blue bowl

What are the Clear Balls in Tapioca Pudding?

Really, what are the things in tapioca pudding?? That’s actually the tapioca! As it cooks, the tapioca granules that you added to the mixture will soften and swell. This will give the tapioca pudding that soft, bubbly, and unique texture that’s the hallmark of tapioca pudding.

Tapioca really doesn’t have any flavor on its own. You’ll get the flavor from the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Rather than flavoring, the main purpose of the tapioca is to thicken your pudding and provide that signature texture.

Tapioca Pudding with a blue spoon

What is Tapioca Pudding Made out of?

The ingredients in Tapioca Pudding are actually pretty simple and straightforward. You will need:

  • Minute or Instant Tapioca
  • Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sugar
  • One egg (large)
  • A dash of sea salt
  • Pure Vanilla Extract

Combine all of these ingredients (except for the vanilla) in a saucepan and let them sit for 5 minutes (this 5-minute rest will take care of soaking the instant tapioca). Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture has come to a boil and begun to thicken, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

The tapioca pudding may still seem thin and runny immediately after leaving the stovetop, but it will continue to thicken as it cools. Make sure that you immediately transfer to a serving dish and cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will prevent a skin from forming.

If you’d like, you can add 1/2 cup raisins to your pudding along with the vanilla extract. Many folks like to soak the raisins, while cooking the pudding, in 2 Tablespoons of rum for a bit of extra flavor.

More Pudding Based Recipes You’ll Love

Now that you know how to make tapioca pudding, you’ll want to make it every Sunday too!

Tapioca Pudding in a bowl with a spoon
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Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca Pudding is a timeless and old-fashioned dessert! This is a quick and simple recipe that does not require overnight soaking and can be ready in under 30 minutes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Samantha


  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins optional


  • Combine milk, heavy cream, tapioca, sugar, egg, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk well then allow to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Place on stovetop over medium heat and, whisking constantly, bring mixture to a boil (this will take several minutes).
  • Continue to boil while whisking for an additional minute then remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract (and raisins if using).
  • Pour into a (heatproof) serving dish and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the entire surface of the tapioca pudding (this will prevent a skin from forming while the pudding cools).
  • Allow to cool for 20 minutes before uncovering and serving. Tapioca pudding is excellent served either warm or chilled, so store uneaten tapioca in the refrigerator in an airtight container and serve leftovers cold.


If desired, soak the raisins in 2 Tablespoons of rum as the pudding cooks.
4.95 from 17 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 186 | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 157mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. My mom used to put chopped dates in tapioca pudding. I was a delicious addition. A buffet restaurant that we used to go to had toasted oats, coconut and brown sugar topping that you could sprinkle on top. That was another yummy addition. I think I need to get some instant tapioca. Thanks for them memories! Thanks for all of your delicious recipes as well.5 stars

  2. I have tried to find Tapioca here in Indiana for many months. My grocers say they haven’t received any. I have tried in Texas and Virginia without locating it. What has happened to tapioca?

  3. I have looked and looked to find instant tapioca, to prevent my husband from spending so much on the pre-made kind, I cannot find it!

  4. I did not see how much the recipe yielded. I am cooking for two people, and I am guessing this yields approximately 2 1/2 cups.4 stars

    1. Hi JP, this recipe is designed for approximately 6 servings. It works out to be about 1/2 cup per serving so approximately 3 cups in total :) Enjoy!

  5. I’m assuming you use the pearl tapioca for the pudding. Where can I find it. Most stores carry only the real fine tapioca.

  6. This is very good.. was looking for a really simple tapioca pudding recipe that did not involve beating and separating eggs. Glad I found it, I made it with almond milk and it was delicious!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it with Almond milk but I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. Let us know how it goes if you try it!

  7. This is basically the recipe that is on the box of tapioca. Have made it many times. One of my favorite desserts.5 stars

  8. This recipe looks fast and delicious. I enjoy raisins in my tapioca, at what point would I include the raisins and should I soak them first?

    1. If you’d like to soak them, you can do so before you start cooking the tapioca pudding. Add the raisins at the end along with the vanilla. The recipe has been updated. Thank you Maura!

    1. We have only made this recipe as written, but I think it would work. Maybe another reader has tried almond milk. Let us know if you try it Martha!

      1. Thanks for letting us know Martha. Happy to hear it worked out!