Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Large pearl tapioca pudding in white bowl with strawberry on top

Tapioca pudding! What else is there to say?

Tapioca pudding might be the epitome of comfort foods.  It bring memories of worn out diners that have stood the test of time, grandmother’s kitchens with smells only grandmothers’ houses can produce and simpler times.

I used to buy the stuff in the container for Ron when he was little.  He loved this stuff, he called it “tappy O da pudding”.  He rarely eats it now, he doesn’t care much for processed foods.  Perhaps he might try eating it again now with this recipe.  Pass on a love for tapioca pudding to his child.

I believe the key to a good tapioca may be starting with large pearl tapioca.  No small tapioca and certainly no instant.  I have had poor luck with those.  The recipes always say to soak the tapioca overnight, but I only ever soak mine for about 7 hours.  It cooks up beautifully, even as a double batch.

With that being said, I have also had days that I had to cook the pudding a few minutes longer because of my impatience.  It’s a trade-off, a few hours of soaking time for few minutes of cooking time.

You can easily double this recipe, but unless you are feeding a crowd I do not recommend doubling it.  It makes a ton of pudding.  It is good warm, trust me, I couldn’t wait a minute longer and had to try some as soon as it was cool enough to get into my mouth.  But, it was perfection once it cooled overnight.

When cooling, make sure it is covered with plastic wrap setting directly on top of the pudding.  This prevents a skin from forming on top.


Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

Old fashioned tapioca pudding using large pearls. Reminds you of simpler times.

  • Author: Beth Mueller
  • Prep Time: 7 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop


  • 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Place tapioca pearls in a bowl and fill with water.
  2. Stir the tapioca around and drain.
  3. Refill the bowl with water and allow to sit for at least 7 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Drain the tapioca and set aside.
  5. In a large sauce pan mix milk and 3/4 cup of the sugar.
  6. Over medium heat, bring milk and sugar to a simmer.
  7. When little bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan, add the tapioca.
  8. Continue to simmer for 25 minutes, or until tapioca balls are mostly clear, stirring frequently.
  9. In a bowl, combine eggs and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar.
  10. Temper the eggs by mixing small amounts of the hot milk, sugar, and tapioca mixture until half of the hot mixture has been incorporated.
  11. Add egg mixture to pan and stir well.
  12. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  13. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  14. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill.


Can be made with less sugar, this will affect provided nutritional information.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 274
  • Sugar: 44.1 g
  • Sodium: 72 mg
  • Fat: 5.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52.2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Cholesterol: 74 mg


Other old fashioned dessert ideas:

No-fail Fruit Cobbler

White Wedding Cake

Pineapple Sheet Cake

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Slow Simmered Green Beans

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5 thoughts on “Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding

  1. Joyce (I'm not on any of those social media and do not know how they work but I would like an answer via email) says:

    Why so much sugar in all these tapioca recipes????? Why any sugar at all? Wouldn’t 1/3 C honey be sufficient?

    1. Well, I suppose there is a lot of sugar in tapioca pudding recipes because they are intended to be desserts.

      You can certainly reduce the amount of sugar in any recipe you find, but the finished product will be something different than any blogger or recipe site test kitchen has put out there as tried and true. Most of us cook our recipes multiple times to be sure that the recipe, as written, is how we are cooking it.

      With that being said, try 1/3 cup of honey in this recipe and see how it turns out. I don’t believe it will be sweet enough, but I encourage everyone to experiment in the kitchen!!

      Happy Sunday!

  2. I found this to be cloyingly sweet. It turned out well, was very creamy and easy to make but it cojld benefit from a bit of salt and about a half-cup less sugar.

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