jars of tapioca pudding with red currants

Vanilla Bean Tapioca Pudding

  • Author: Anita Parris Soule | Cook on a Whim
  • Prep Time: 8 hours soaking
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: stovetop


This is the old-fashioned dessert of your dreams. Or maybe the old-fashioned dessert you never knew you needed. Creamy, a tiny bit chewy, and just sweet enough. This recipe is easily made vegan/dairy free by swapping cow’s milk for coconut, almond, or whatever alternative milk you prefer.



1 cup large pearl tapioca

3 cups milk (alternative milks work great here)

1/4 cup sugar or honey

1 whole vanilla bean

1/4 teaspoon salt


Place 1 cup of large pearl tapioca in a bowl and cover with 3 cups of cold, filtered water. Allow to soak for 8 hours.

Once tapioca has soaked, add 3 cups of milk, sugar or honey, salt, and split vanilla bean (or whatever flavoring you choose) to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Add drained tapioca to simmering milk mixture and cook, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for 20 minutes or until tapioca pearls become translucent and soft.

Carefully transfer to serving dishes or small jars and allow to cool to room temperature before storing, covered, in refrigerator.


Make sure you are using large pearl tapioca. I use hoosier farm brand and I know reese is a popular brand as well. This will require you to soak overnight, but it is well worth it.

Have fun with the flavorings. Instead of vanilla, or in addition to it, use cinnamon, cardamom, or any warming spice blend you love. Add a splash of your favorite extract or even a bit of bourbon. Lemon or orange zest, lavender… the sky is the limit!

Keywords: tapioca pudding, pudding, large pearl tapioca pudding, dessert, vegan, dairy free dessert, egg free dessert