Dairy-Free Vegan Tapioca Pudding

Dairy-free vegan tapioca pudding

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Soak: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
177 Calories
9g Fat
25g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 177
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 97mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 97mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditional tapioca pudding is prepared with milk, eggs, and sometimes cream. This vegan variation uses cornstarch as a thickening agent and coconut milk as well as almond milk in place of dairy-based milk or cream. The result is a cleaner taste and texture that's more satisfying over time.

Small pearl tapioca is usually found in the same section of the grocery store as other dry pudding mixes. You might also see flakes, coarse meal, or sticks, but these are to be avoided for this recipe. Also, small pearl tapioca is not the same as "minute" tapioca, which is precooked tapioca combined with soy lecithin.

The key to delicious tapioca pudding is all in the effort. Tapioca pudding is hard work as there is a lot of stirring involved, but it is well worth the muscle. You can expect to stir for 15 to 20 minutes in order to achieve the right consistency for the perfect tapioca. Enlist help if you need it, but it's more about stirring consistently and patiently than it is about stirring hard or fast.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Dairy-free vegan tapioca pudding ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine 1 cup of the almond milk and the tapioca and let the mixture soak for 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

    Almond milk and tapioca soaking in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Whisk the remaining almond milk, along with the coconut milk, sugar, and salt into the tapioca mixture.

    Almond milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt whisked into the tapioca mixture

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the mixture to a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

    Tapioca mixture boiling in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. After the mixture has reached a full boil (after about 10 to 15 minutes of stirring), turn down the heat. Continuing to stir often, let the mixture simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.

    Simmer the tapioca mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch and mix with a spoon until it becomes a slurry. Once the tapioca beads are translucent add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until combined. Turn up the heat to medium, add the vanilla, and cook for just a few minutes more, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

    Tapioca pudding thickening in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove from heat and let the pudding cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold. If serving cold, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding before placing in the fridge to prevent a skin from forming.

    Dairy-free vegan tapioca pudding in a bowl covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


Be sure to use the canned coconut milk, which is thicker and creamier. Do not use coconut milk that comes in the cartons in the refrigerated section of the grocery store alongside oat, almond, and soy milks.

Recipe Variations

Tapioca pudding can be served by itself as a simple comfort food dessert.

  • Dress it up with fresh or canned fruit—mangoes would be delicious, so would berries.
  • You can layer it as a compote in a dessert glass and garnish it with a mint leaf for a lovely presentation.
  • It goes very well to cap off a dinner of Thai food, as tapioca pudding is a traditional Thai dessert.
  • Add a little more vanilla extract while making it, or a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • You can use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch to thicken this pudding.

How to Store and Freeze Vegan Tapioca Pudding

Dairy-free tapioca pudding will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to five days. If you would like to freeze this pudding, you can. It's very helpful to freeze it in individual portions so you can defrost as needed; just make sure it's in a freezer-safe container. Frozen tapioca pudding should keep for at least three months.