This is an easy homemade tapioca pudding recipe that is topped with gooey caramel! If you love homemade tapioca pudding, then you may enjoy this 5-ingredient easy tapioca pudding recipe.
It is easy to make and can be enjoyed warm or cold. Keep reading because I also include a dairy-free option for this tapioca pudding recipe.
What is tapioca anyway?
Tapioca pudding is one of the puddings that are true comfort food. I had no idea that tapioca comes from cassava roots. Did you know this? I order Boba tea all of the time and it never occurred to me to ask.
My daughter is the one who inspired me to create this caramel tapioca recipe. She loves the thick creaminess of tapioca pudding and often asks me to buy it when she comes grocery shopping with me. The ingredients in store-bought tapioca pudding are not great and I knew we could make it more healthy here at home.
This old-fashioned creamy caramel tapioca pudding with caramel sauce is the best tapioca pudding recipe I've ever made! If you love pudding, you are going to love these mouthwatering Gluten Free Pudding Recipes...I can't wait to hear which ones you try!
- Small tapioca pearls - you can use a large pearl size too.
- Milk - you can use dairy milk or a non-dairy milk
- Caramel - I use store-bought caramel (just make sure to check the ingredients to ensure it is gluten free!)
Instructions to make this:
Step 1: Soal the tapioca pearls. Double-check the soak time on the brand of tapioca pearls you buy. The instructions said to soak them in water overnight, so we set this up before bedtime. This is what they look like after the soaking (above). See how puffy they are?
Step 2: I do not own a double boiler, so I just put water into a large saucepan and then put a smaller one inside. Heat the milk and caramel on low heat until it is warm.
Tip: You want to use a double boiler or two pots to prevent your pudding from burning.
Step 3: Add the tapioca and allow to very gently boil over medium-low heat. It will thicken quickly.
Top Tip: Whisk frequently to avoid it getting stuck on the bottom of the pot!
Step 4: This homemade tapioca pudding really thickens up after adding the egg yolk and sugar combination.
Change up your tapioca pudding flavors by adding different flavor combinations! Here are a few ideas:
- Add a teaspoon of pumpkin spice for a fall holiday treat.
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- Add chocolate shavings on top.
- Add vanilla or almond extract for a nutty flavor.
*If you are a true caramel addict, you MUST try this Gluten Free Caramel Apple Cake!
Can you make this dairy-free?
You can easily make this tapioca pudding dairy-free by using non-dairy milk instead of regular milk. I have used both coconut and almond milk successfully. Trust me, coconut milk tapioca pudding is really, really yummy!
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ:
Yes, most tapioca is gluten free. Tapioca is typically made from tapioca plant. Just to be extra cautious, always check the ingredient label.
Tapioca balls are made with tapioca (from the cassava root). You can buy tapioca balls in many different sizes.
You can't really soak the tapioca pearls too long, but they will get mushier if you over soak them.
Tapioca pearl are vegan, but this recipe does have egg yolks in it so my recipe is not vegan.
This tapioca pudding will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an air-tight container.
If you don't have time to make homemade tapioca pudding, Cozy Shack pudding is gluten free and you can find it at most grocery stores!
More pudding recipes to Try:
Caramel Tapioca Pudding
- ½ cup small tapioca pearls
- 2 ½ cups milk I used raw whole milk for this so it would be really creamy.
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup caramel
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- Soak tapioca pearls overnight in a bowl of water.
- Drain pearls.
- In a double broiler, or two different sized sauce pans like I did in the photo above.
- Add milk, caramel, vanilla, and salt to double broiler and heat until warm.
- Add tapioca pearls and heat until and tiny bubbles appear.
- Do not boil.
- In a small bowl, add egg yolks and sugar.
- Mix well.
- Use a soup ladle to scoop up a bit of the hot tapioca mixture.
- Add very slowly to the egg mixture while whisking quickly to blend it.
- Add a little more tapioca mixture and repeat twice more.
- Pour egg mixture into tapioca mixture and whisk quickly to blend it all in.
- Cook on low, uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Most tapioca pearls are gluten free but always double-check the label.
- Soak the tapioca pearls overnight. You can use small or large tapioca pearls.
- You can make this recipe dairy-free by using non-dairy milk like coconut milk.
- I highly recommend using a double boiler or two pots to make this recipe. It reduces the risk of the pudding burning on the bottom of the pan.
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