Dessert/ easy/ Eggless Recipes/ few ingredients/ Fruit Desserts/ Gluten-Free Desserts/ no mixer/ No-Bake Desserts/ Puddings & Custards/ Trifle & Glass Desserts/ Vegan

Coconut Tapioca

August 4, 2016

A light and refreshing dessert that’s perfect with any meal or summer entertainment.

Coconut Tapioca (vegan)

I’ve started making coconut tapioca recently for my vegan friends, and have quickly found out that everyone goes crazy for it, including me (although that doesn’t really count because I go crazy for almost anything with sugar in it). It’s the perfect treat after a heavy meal and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day.

Coconut Tapioca (vegan)

Tapioca is made of little pearls that give a nice texture to desserts and other foods and drinks. It isn’t popular in some parts of the world, but it definitely should be!

A common way to use tapioca in dessert is combining it with coconut milk and topping with exotic fruit, caramelized bananas, or berries. Some recipes use a lot of liquid to make it more like a soup, and some (like my recipe) use less to make it thicker and creamier.

Coconut Tapioca (vegan)

There are many different ways to cook tapioca, but this recipe is really simple to make if you just follow the instructions. It yields an utterly delicious result that’s not too sweet and has a thick pudding-like consistency.

Coconut Tapioca (vegan)

4.87 from 43 votes
Coconut Tapioca (vegan)
Coconut Tapioca (vegan)
YIELD: 6 servings (about 2.5 cups of pudding)
A light and refreshing dessert that’s perfect with any meal or summer entertainment.

  • 1/3 cup (60 g/2 oz) small pearl tapioca
  • 2 2/3 cups (640 ml) coconut milk (or substitute some of it with whole milk or coconut cream)
  • 1/3 cup (60 g/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sliced fresh fruit such as mango , melon, pineapple, lychee
  • Coconut chips , optional
  1. Place tapioca and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and salt to the tapioca mixture, and heat over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to low and let simmer very gently for 15 minutes until tapioca pearls are transparent and the mixture has thickened. Be sure to stir frequently so that the tapioca doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once done, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Pour into cups and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 3 hours. The pudding will thicken after refrigeration.
  4. Serve with sliced fresh fruit/fruit puree and coconut chips if desired.
  5. Tapioca is best the same day it’s made, but will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

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  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you – that sounds delicious, question about the tapioaca please- is the canned one okay to use?

    • Reply
      March 20, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Hi Ema, for this recipe you’ll need small pearl tapioca, such as this.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Came across this recipe and had to try it out. I wanted as close as possible of one I tried before. I added chia seeds and didn’t know if it should soak with the tapioca or not, so hit or miss, I added it while cooking. I’ve learned a quality vanilla is a must and really brings out so many memories when adding after cooking. Even though I was cooking on simmer, took less than 15 minutes and it’s thick, it doesn’t need the refrigeration to get thicker. My plan is to top with fresh blueberries when chilled. Shouldn’t I wait for it too cool down before putting in the fridge. I used 1 can of coconut milk and it came to roughly 1 3/4 cups, so I added almond milk to make the 2 2/3 cups recipe called for. I know I’ll be making this again and again.

    • Reply
      April 4, 2022 at 4:30 pm

      Why does mine get so thick after leaving it in the fridge? I cook till translucent and it’s perfect after the stove heat but then hardens like a rock in the fridge

  • Reply
    August 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Can I us coonut sugar ormok fruit sugar?

    • Reply
      August 8, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Nancy, since the sugar only adds sweetness in this recipe, you can use another type of sugar that you like and familiar with.

    • Reply
      Wiggy Saunders
      January 15, 2021 at 1:39 am

      Yes I have used coconut sugar for great effect.

    • Reply
      Robin Mannasse, food technologist
      December 19, 2021 at 3:35 am

      Letting hot food cool to room temperature is left over from our grandparents’s days. Warm food is most susceptible to bacterial growth and spoilage! The USDA ans FDA recommend keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Your refrigerator is capable of cooling hot food without heating up. You can help it by chilling in wider, more flat containers to increase surface area and heat transfer.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2017 at 12:13 am

    This is SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be making this often.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Hi, quick question, can you store those desserts in the freezer ? If yes, for how long ?
    Thank you

    • Reply
      November 30, 2017 at 4:41 am

      It’s possible, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it can ruin the texture. If you need to make it ahead or have leftovers, you can store it in the fridge.

    • Reply
      January 8, 2020 at 5:41 am

      Hi, just wondering, I have large tapioca pearls, would this work or do I need to put more pearls in?

      • Reply
        January 29, 2020 at 2:38 am

        You’ll need to use the smaller pearls for this recipe.

      • Reply
        January 29, 2021 at 11:06 pm

        Large pearls do work but need to be cooked much, much longer. On the sweet side but very yummy! Definitely will make again, and will try with the small pearl tapioca that I finally found.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I made this during the week. It was the first time I made a successful tapioca pudding without burning them! I think soaking them first may have helped. Thanks for the recipe!
    I made an extra coconut cream topping sweetened with agave sugar to add extra moisture to the pudding when I served it.
    Will be using it again and sharing it with my friends!

    • Reply
      December 17, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Thank you so much Jane!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Delicious even though I forgot to add the vanilla. I have to try again to add all ingredients. Very simple and thanks for doing the recipe also in grams.

    Sunny greetings from Mauritius

  • Reply
    stanze smith
    May 8, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Do you have the nutrition information?

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 7:43 am

      I don’t have that info, but there are many nutrition calculators online that can analyze calorie and nutrition facts for recipes, so you can find out that way.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Awesome recipe, followed it through and had great results, I used light coconut milk and soy milk. Delicious, thank you for the recipe:)

  • Reply
    teresa Blunier
    May 12, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Can you use instant tapioca with this recipe?

    • Reply
      May 13, 2018 at 4:47 am

      In general, you can make puddings with instant tapioca, but I recommend using pearls for this recipe, because they give a nice texture to the pudding.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    What a fantastic recipe. I used one can of coconut milk and soy milk and added a half a vanilla bean to the pot while the tapioca was cooking. It thickened up really nicely. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Is this canned or refrigerated coconut milk?

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 6:47 am

      Canned coconut milk

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I used double the amount of pearls, and still felt like the recipe was “short” in terms of tapioca. With 1/3 c. of pearls, you end up with a pudding that has some tapioca in it. Which is fine. But I wanted a mostly tapioca dessert, held together with the pudding. This is, of course, just a matter of preference. Recipe works just fine. (I am assuming that, as I had more and more pearls, the mixture will slightly change consistency, due to the extra starch.)

    Note: I used red and green pearls together, but this was a mistake. There were significantly different cooking times, so I ended up with one color with a bit less texture by the time the other color was cooked properly. That is always a danger when you’re cooking with items that come from different batches, and I’ve come across it before, when trying to cook with vastly different types of rice.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Great recipe! We’ve had this in the restaurant and wanted to try it at home. Bought tapioca pearls and tried this recipe. Everything worked fine – 250 ml of coconut milk and the rest of full fat milk. Texture was delicious and the taste… Yummi 🙂 I recommend. One more thing – while still hot, I mashed one ripe banana into the mixture and this was awesome 🙂 Thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I make mine with cloves, it’s awesome!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Fantastic! I always make it pudding -grandma ?- style with eggs an all that. But this turned out great! Happens that I had canned coconut milk, tapioca and a pinch of sugar. I didn’t add anything else so the coconut flavour could be tasted. Great idea! Thanks! now I’m looking forward to make your funfetti cake for my little ones birthday this month! Can’t wait. Greetings from Spain.

  • Reply
    Ms Ford
    November 30, 2018 at 5:25 am

    This looks amazing and can’t wait to make it! If I wanted to make more than 6 serves do I just double the ingredients?

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 5:18 am

      Yes, you can multiply the ingredients to make larger batches.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2018 at 1:03 am

    I’d like to add a flavor to mine for the holidays. Yep, pumpkin. When should I add it? I’m thinking during the simmer; fold in the desired/appropriate amount of puree & a li’l spice, then do the simmer. ???

    • Reply
      December 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Susan, you can add it along with the sugar and salt.

  • Reply
    Katie Lee
    December 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Shiran,
    I have triple the ingredients and followed the instructions carefully to make a large batch for Christmas party. But it came out so thick that I ended up adding 3 cups of water. What went wrong?

    • Reply
      December 15, 2018 at 5:43 am

      Hi Katie, it depends on the tapioca you’re using and how much liquid it absorbs. Multiplying the recipe shouldn’t matter. It’s a good thing that you added liquid until the desired consistency.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    It seems lovely but when is the best step to add the vanilla extract?
    I follow recipes strictly and it was never mentioned in the directions

    • Reply
      February 18, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Step 2. Last sentence. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Wow what an incredible recipe! Thank you so much! I’m wondering if I can make it again and add chocolate powder or matcha next time to mix it up… would you say this is possible? Thanks again for the super yummy dessert recipe! Thank

  • Reply
    February 21, 2019 at 4:41 am

    This recipe is amazing! I really loved it! Just wondering if I can add chocolate powder next time to mix it up? 🙂

    • Reply
      February 21, 2019 at 5:25 am

      Hi Myriam, do you mean cocoa powder? You can add some for chocolate flavor, but I’m not sure how it would taste like. It would also add some bitterness.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    can sago be used instead of tapioca?

  • Reply
    April 9, 2019 at 6:45 am

    In Gulf countries we make the tapioca in different way! I’m so excited to try this recipe, it looks yummy and refreshing. thanks

  • Reply
    April 21, 2019 at 6:03 pm


    Typically, in stove heated recipes the vanilla is added last because, if added at the beginning with the rest of the ingredients, it will lose a lot of its flavor to evaporation while it cooks.

    • Reply
      March 27, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      I accidentally made this with I stand tapioca and it still came out great! A little thick, so make sure if you are using the instant kind that you add more liquid. So delicious!

  • Reply
    Dorthy Owen
    June 27, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I am lactose intolerant and love tapoacia pudding especially the large pearls. Can I still add eggs to this recipe as my old recipes always called for tempered eggs.

  • Reply
    Caroline Thomas
    June 27, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Hi! I found it to be too sweet fir my taste but I agree that other than that the recipe is fantastic. Can I reduce or eliminate the sugar completely or does this affect the final texture which is perfect as is. Thanks!

    • Reply
      July 1, 2019 at 4:12 am

      Hi Caroline. You can reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer it less sweet.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! It came out delicious. Next time I will put in it 50% more tapioca pearls and half of the sugar and I think it will suit me better, but still – loved it!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Hi, can I use the carton coconut milk? or does it have to be canned? and when I store it in the fridge..should it cool first before putting in the fridge? and when in fridge, should it be sealed airtight? or uncovered?

  • Reply
    September 22, 2019 at 11:37 am

    What can I use instead of vanilla — chocolate?

  • Reply
    September 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    great recipe – I also recommend to cut the sugar by half and add more tapioca pearls. I made this for the Jewish new year with pomegranates layered in between and looks amazing!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Ok. SO. I accidentally used 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and I used Coconut Sugar because it’s all that I had. You guys, it tastes like Salted Caramel! The colour is like caramel, with darker brown tapioca pearls. Fantastic!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    I was stirring and reading the reviews and thought that maybe I should have read the reviews first but I didn’t and I am glad! I followed this recipe as is and this tapioca is FANTASTIC!!! No alterations need to be made! This is my new go to Tapioca.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve made this twice and it was perfect and guests loved it each time. I’ve never used tapioca before or eaten it much, and I can’t believe how easy and delicious this recipe is.

    I only get 4 serves the first time – perhaps we are greedy – so definitely recommend increasing the quantities.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Looking forward to make this for Christmas! How many serves can we get from this recipe, I read both 4 serves and 6 serves in the comments?

    • Reply
      December 26, 2019 at 8:52 am

      It depends on the serving size, but in my opinion it would be great for 6 people (about 1/2 cup per serving).

      • Reply
        Shiri Burdette
        April 22, 2020 at 1:58 am

        My sister in law made this and It was so delicious now I’m making it too

  • Reply
    Dana Murphy
    February 4, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Hello! Could I use honey as a sweetener instead of sugar? And if so, how much should I use? Thank you!

    • Reply
      February 5, 2020 at 2:06 am

      You can, but honey can have a strong flavor, so I would start with only 2-3 tablespoons. You can add more to taste, if desired.

      • Reply
        Dana Murphy
        February 5, 2020 at 11:34 am

        Thank you! One more thing- The Reese brand small tapioca pearls I bought say to soak them in warm water overnight… should I do this or should I follow your recipe instructions? Thank you again!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Thank you!! Also, the tapioca pearls I bought say to soak in room temp water overnight… should I follow those instructions or should I do what your recipe says? They’re the Reese small pearl tapioca brand! Thank you again!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    This tastes very good! Nice light coconutty/vanilla flavor. — but the recipe only made 4 small servings. I’ll make this again, but increase the amounts of ingredients. This would be really good with mango puree, but we ate it all before I got to that!

    • Reply
      Jeannette Nemon
      November 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      I layer this Small Pearl/Coconut Tapioca alternately with Carrot Halvah or “Gajur Halwa” in clear Parfait Glasses The flavors combine beautifully! I top this with thin slices of Ripe Mango, lightly tossed in squeezed Lime. Over the top, I put some Cashews I browned. I have some Gluten Free family members, so when I prepare this for them, I prepare the Carrot Halva & browned Cashews in Myokos Non-Dairy Butter.

  • Reply
    Rebecca Sanders
    March 17, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Hi. Love this recipe so much. It’s our favorite dessert. However, sometimes it comes out to a snotty kind of consistency. Not sure what I am doing to make it this way. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      April 8, 2020 at 4:24 am

      Hi Rebecca. Puddings can have this kind of consistency, and that’s usually ok. Can you explain more?

  • Reply
    Richard Tunner
    March 19, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    I really like your recipes! Two days ago I tried to make this pudding and it was sooo yummy! Thank for the share!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2020 at 10:30 am

      Thank you so much, Richard!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Hi! I’ve made this recipe once before, it’s AMAZING. I ran out of enough coconut milk, can I substitute some almond milk? Should I add anything else to avoid the consistency changing?


    • Reply
      March 23, 2020 at 3:03 am

      Thank you, Clair 🙂 Yes, you can use some almond milk instead.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    I made this yesterday and it turned out fabulous. I used tapioca pearls. I had to cook it longer than 15 minutes more like 30 to get them cooked all way (transparent) but the flavor was awesome. I also only had 1 can of coconut milk so I added some coconut/almond milk to make the total amount. I think I would like to do it with all coconut milk, the 1/3 cup of sugar was plenty but not too much. Overall an awesome easy recipe. Thank you for posting and sharing.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Hi, could I use all soy milk instead of coconut milk?

    • Reply
      April 8, 2020 at 4:06 am

      Hi Violet. You could, but the flavor would be completely different.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    This is a great recipe. I used pearl tapioca not quick cooking and just soaked it longer and cooked it longer.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2020 at 3:25 am

    I made this recipe for my family and everyone LOVE it! It’s easy to make and the taste is creamy delicious. I love that it has no added sugar and it tastes so yummy. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Kate Myers
    April 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Delish! A big hit with both me (vegan) and my omni family. Thanks

  • Reply
    April 25, 2020 at 4:32 am

    Thank you for this great recipe! So yummy!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    This was delicious!!!! I will be making this dessert for a long time.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Delicious! I love this recipe. Easy to make, the hard part was stopping at one serve.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    How many cups does it make?

    • Reply
      June 29, 2020 at 2:13 am

      About 2.5 cups.

      • Reply
        November 1, 2022 at 6:10 pm

        Recipe is delicious but the pudding ended up quite thick, especially after the fridge.
        I may try to use half coconut milk half water next time

  • Reply
    July 27, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Absolutely amazing! Warm and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. I followed the recipe exactly. I will definitely be making this again!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2020 at 5:23 am

    A light and refreshing dessert that’s perfect

  • Reply
    November 13, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Hi SHIRAN,
    Thanks for your best article about coconut tapioca vegan.
    Keep your good job.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Amazing! I followed your recipe exactly although my tapioca (I used Bob’s Redmill Tapioca) soaked for about an hour and a half as I was busy doing something else and the time got away. It didn’t matter in the end as everything came together wonderfully! I did stir in some shredded coconut with the vanilla at the end and also added golden raisins at the beginning of the cooking. Refrigerated overnight and served with mango. My new favorite dessert! Thank you

  • Reply
    July 3, 2021 at 5:05 am

    Delicious recipe! I used 270ml coconut cream and soaked sweetened dried mango in 370ml of hot water to make up the liquid and omitted the sugar – it’s what I had in the cupboard. Absolutely delicious and not too sweet! It’s now a staple cupboard dessert 😉 thank you!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    Great simple recipe! I usually go half water, half coconut milk on the liquids. The richness of full coconut milk is a nice change of pace sometimes. If you use coconut sugar, the sweetness is great. Coconut sugar has a nice smokiness and doesn’t seem as sweet. But if you use regular cane sugar, I’d advise to reduce the sugar a bit.

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      January 8, 2023 at 6:06 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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