Easy Tapioca Pudding, Asian-Style! (Vegan + Gluten/Lactose Free)

Tapioca pudding topped with fruit

olvas / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

This Asian-style tapioca pudding recipe is so delicious and very easy to make (cooks in just 15 minutes!). In Thailand as well as throughout Southeast Asia, tapioca is a common dessert, but it is much different than our Western-style tapioca and so much yummier (trust me on this one!). Excellent served cold on a hot summer day or served warm from the pot during the winter months. Also delicious with just coconut milk and syrup, or with fresh or canned fruit added (here we topped ours with canned tropical fruit cocktail for an easy dessert treat). Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup seed tapioca* (available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 12 tbsp. maple syrup (or table syrup)
  • Optional: 1 cup fruit (fresh or canned)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place tapioca in a cooking pot. Cover with 2 to 3 cups water. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. Pour off the water or gently drain the tapioca.

  3. Add 3 cups fresh water plus 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir and bring to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low). Stirring occasionally, simmer the tapioca for 15 minutes.

  5. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes. The residual heat from the pot will turn the tapioca translucent and it should be soft to eat. (Note: the tapioca won't taste like much at this point, you will need to add the toppings for it to come alive).

  6. For a summer dessert, refrigerate the tapioca until ready to serve. During the winter, the tapioca can be served still warm from the pot.

  7. Portion out the tapioca into bowls or dessert cups. Top each portion with 2 to 4 tbsp. syrup (depending on how sweet you want it) and a generous amount of coconut milk (about 1/4 cup per person). If desired, add fresh or canned tropical fruit, and Enjoy!


  • Here we've used seed tapioca, which are very small spheres. If you use pearl tapioca (or another larger size), you will need to soak and cook much longer than we've directed here. For this reason, seed tapioca is our favorite, as it's quick & easy to make, plus it's available at regular grocery stores. Note that tapioca is healthy (is a root vegetable), gluten-free, and vegan/vegetarian.