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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tapioca Pudding from Scratch

I love tapioca pudding. So when I saw this bag of tapioca pearls at the Phipps Country Store and Farm when we went berry picking last month, I had to buy it. It was the last bag, it just felt like it was meant to be.

So, this morning, around 9 am I told Nate I was going to quickly throw a batch together. I had a 9:30 conference call and figured that should be no problem. He laughed and said, “That will not be done.”

Obviously I have never made tapioca from scratch. And obviously Nate is smarter than me.

One of the directions was, “Bring to a boil over low heat.” Little did I know…that was a 90 minute step! Not kidding. In fact, it never even reached boiling, but I could tell that the pudding was {finally} done at around 90 minutes and decided to call it quits.

And, no, I didn’t miss the conference call! I found a laptop and actively participated in the 1+ hour meeting over Skype, while constantly stirring the pudding. That’s what I call multi-tasking!

Another thing I learned…the directions for this particular tapioca involved mixing the cooked pudding in with a simple meringue. I was curious how that would come out. It came out perfectly.

So, was it worth the time? The pudding is really, really good. I think if I you have some reading to do, or a podcast to listen to, or a conference call to participate in while the pudding cooks then, sure, it’s worth the time. But the pre-made stuff at Trader Joe’s is also really good. So, yeah. I’m torn.

I will say this – the pudding was especially delicious about 10 minutes after it was done, when it was still warm but not hot anymore. You can’t get that from the refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s.

Regardless of whether or not it was worth it, those little tapioca pearls are beautiful!

And, no, I don’t have a recipe for you because the directions were very specific to the package I bought (for example, “Use 1/4 package of tapioca”). But I’m sure if you want to give tapioca from scratch a go, whoever you buy the pearls from should have directions!

And, before we leave today…tell us if you love or hate tapioca. I feel like it’s one of those divisive foods, sort of like Miracle Whip. I’m curious where you all stand!


  1. I just LOVE tapioca pudding… I’ve never had it from scratch, but growing up my mom always made it from a box. Yum!

  2. I’m definitely a tapioca lover. The rest of the family not as much, but they all love rice pudding. Go figure.

  3. My mom makes an amazing chocolate tapioca pudding!!! Love it!

  4. 5
    Erika B.

    I love tapioca pudding. Whole Foods has an awesome version with vanilla bean flecks in the prepackaged deli section. It’s one of the only things I will buy there.

  5. I haven’t had tapioca in years. I should check out the TJs next time I’m there. Theirs is just Cozy Shack, though, isn’t it?

  6. 7

    I adore tapioca pudding.

    A note that you used the pearl kind, but if you use the “quick” tapioca, where the little balls are smaller, kind of quinoa-sized, it cooks much faster–about 15 minutes.

    • Jane Maynard

      those pearls are too darn slow…I’m totally doing quick from now on. but it was still fun to try it out, I suppose…plus, seriously, they’re sooo pretty 🙂

  7. I do a chocolate tapioca pudding from scratch, like Meg’s mum, adding chopped Green & Black’s 70% in and stirring in fresh raspberries just before serving. Almost healthy comfort food…Great for my soft-food diet patients (minus fruit,) although most are initially reluctant owing to nasty experiences of 20th century UK school dinners.

  8. I’ve never actually had tapioca pudding so I don’t know how I feel about it. Maybe this is something I need to remedy soon. I’m sure my kids will eat it. They’ll eat anything!

  9. 10
    t sara

    I love tapioca! My grandma used to make it for us every time we would visit her. I found this recipe a few years ago…it’s a fun twist on the original if you are a coconut fan. It uses the instant, so I’m not sure how that compares, but it’s much quicker and pretty delicious in my opinion 🙂

  10. 11

    Wow, guess I’ll stand up for those of us who do not like Tapioca. ICK! Your pictures are beautiful though and make it look very good, but not enough to try it.

  11. 12

    Stick to your ribs love it!!!

  12. 13

    Ditto Stacy…

  13. Tapioca pudding from scratch sounds fabulous. Way to rock it. Tapioca has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. I’m glad you were able to conquer your conference call all the while. Muy impressive.

  14. I am in the HATE category – like H-A-T-E hate. I hate rice pudding too, it is the texture and thick creaminess, makes me gag. Your pictures are so lovely and it really makes me want to try it but it would be a waste of 90 minutes 😛

  15. 16
    Jane Maynard

    ha ha! I love that the haters are starting to come out of the woodwork…including my own mother! I knew you were out there, anti-tapiocans. 🙂

  16. 17

    i love tapioca but there is a lot of bad pre-made tapioca pudding out there. i’m a big fan of tapioca pearls (Boba) in drinks, which you can find at many chinese/vietnamese/etc. drink shops. i think you should do a post on what the freak tapioca actually is, and find out why asian tapioca is usually black and the kind in pudding is always white.

  17. 18

    When I was a kid ( in elementry school) someone told me that the “round things in the pudding were fish eggs” soooo needless to say I haven’t tried it since then. Still freaks me out!

    Alllthough I do like rice pudding sooo maybe one of these days i’ll give it a shot

  18. 19

    Oh, I am a tapioca lover for sure–love the coconut idea, too! I doubt I’d have the patience for this, but the idea of warm tapioca might convince me. That does sound pretty incredible!

  19. I make a lot of rice pudding because it’s one of my hubby’s favorites. I’ve been trying to make a lot of our foods from scratch and getting more into trying desserts and puddings now. I think every recipe you try for the first time is trial and error. I don’t make tapioca but am willing to try it. We might just love it!

  20. 21

    I love tapioca pudding. A little whip cream with some nutmeg and I’m back in my grandma’s kitchen. Not sure if I’m brave enough or rather patient enough to try it from scratch.

  21. i loooooooove tapioca pudding but never have it because… i’m not sure why. i want to try to make it from scratch but i usually just buy it at the store. 🙂

  22. 23

    p.s. while I do love tapioca pudding, I really don’t like Boba. Something creepy and weird about those pearls swimming in a drink. Ick.

  23. YUM! I love tapioca pudding! I haven’t had it in a really long time, so I may have to make, or buy some 😉

  24. 25

    Love it! How can anyone hate it? I’m sorry, I just don’t see how it’s possible. Creamy, rich goodness…

  25. 26

    Really wish you’d post your recipe. Can’t you just measure out 1/4 bag & use the equivalent?
    I was also wondering how this recipe stands up to the Whole Foods one, which I’m “addicted” to!
    Thank you

    • UGH. I wish I had posted the recipe, too! I just dug around in my drawer to find the tapioca bag so I could share the recipe with you….all I can find is the bag of tapioca, no recipe. curses! so, then I called the number on the bag and discovered that the farm where I bought it is out of business (thanks to the California drought). heartbreaking – it was a wonderful place.

      soooooo….I’ll use this recipe next time I make it!

      and, I have not tried the whole foods one – is it one you cook from a mix or is it already made? I HAVE to try it! 🙂

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