Tapioca Pudding

Total Time:
16 hr 25 min
10 min
14 hr
2 hr 15 min

4 servings

  • 3 1/2 ounces large pearl tapioca, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Pinch salt

Place tapioca in a medium mixing bowl along with the water, cover, and let stand overnight.

Drain water from tapioca. Place the tapioca into a slow cooker along with the milk, heavy cream, and salt. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar. Temper small amounts of the tapioca into the egg mixture until you have added at least 1 cup. Then add this back into the remaining tapioca in the slow cooker. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring at least once. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour and then place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

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    I made this for my parents who are tapioca lovers. Their comments were that it wasn't very sweet and I agree. In fact, other than some lemon flavor it was very flat in flavor and "one note" as the Chefs say. Mine was gummy also and I followed the recipe to the tee. Mine also stuck to the sides of the slow cooker as well making for more difficult cleanup. The next day I put it in a sauce pan and added around a 1/4-1/2 C more whole milk and about 1-2 T sugar. I also grated in some nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Now it has some sweetness and flavor. I probably would not make this again. Really Alton! First time I made one of your recipes and feel you fell short on this one.
    I didn't have a slow cooker, so instead I used a rice cooker set to the okayu setting, and it worked out perfectly. I substituted Cardamom and Vanilla extract instead of lemon zest. Great recipe, very creamy and delicious!
    I followed the recipe, (except I didn't use the lemon, put in 1/4 tsp vanilla instead put it in the crock pot, and went to buy groceries. When I got home, I put in the egg yolk, cooked a little more, and it was perfect! (Soak the tapioca in a bowl overnight on the counter, and then be sure to DRAIN IT! For dessert, we scooped it in bowl and then let it cool for a few minutes, tastes good warm with a few mini chocolate chips on top! I will make it again! Would also be good with strawberries!
    First, I don't understand why those who did not follow the instructions said it turned out badly and wasn't a good recipe. (Alton stresses using whole milk and heavy cream yet someone used 2% milk and half & half (!?!, wanted to know what they did wrong, and gave it a one-star rating. 
    Recipe was easy to follow... But I accidentally used 1 cup of heavy cream instead of a half! Amazingly, It managed to turn out ok texture wise, albeit a tad bit on the runny side. What didn't translate well for me was the addition of lemon zest. The flavors just aren't jiving for me - not so bad that it's inedible... but perhaps a wee bit overpowering. Maybe I added too much? Or got some pith mixed in? It tastes like the recipe should be called 'Lemon Tapioca Pudding'... Which isn't a bad thing, just something I didn't have in mind. Any suggestions? 
    In the end, I would definitely make/ experiment with this recipe again.
    try making a meringue w/ the whites..you'll get that fluffiness you're looking for..also, just use less liquid for stiffer pud.
    this is the best way to cook the pudding, its so much easier than babying it on the stove top. i have never made so much pudding before since i found this receipe. i just do one thing different, i dont use the lemon zest i use either almond extrct or vanilla, depending on my mood :
    Made this for the first time. In the past I always did it in a double boiler. Came out perfect. FYI, since I like lemon flavor I added juice of half a lemon with the zest. Also added some nutmeg...yum. As a delicious option consider folding in fresh blueberries, raisins, or strawberries to the cool pudding. This tastes great over warm pound cake or angel food cake with warm pure maple syrup.
    I'm not much of a cook, but I heard making tapioca in the crock pot was pretty easy. I was excited to find this recipe, as I wanted to use large pearl--plus, I felt the video was helpful to someone like me, who is not an accomplished baker. Although I learned a lot from making this recipe, I didn't enjoy the final product. As other users mentioned, I also followed the recipe precisely, just cutting out the lemon zest. The pudding was quite runny and not fluffy like I had hoped. Also, it just didn't seem sweet or flavorful enough. It was very "blah" tasting. I added some vanilla as well as adding a little extra sugar. This pepped up the taste, but the mixture was still runny, even after refrigerating. Would not recommend.
    This is my happiness food. I use the large tapioca from the Asian section of the market. This "softens" faster, so I just soak it in the milk/cream for a half hour in the crock pot and skip the water soaking altogether. Also, I always double the recipe, use skim milk, half and half, and vanilla (instead of lemon. So much easier and fool-proof over the double boiler method.
    I don't get this! The first time I made this recipe everything came out perfect. I decided to make a double batch this time as it went too fast last time. Problem is it is not thickening like it should. Otherwise this is a great recipe when it works out.
    I LOVE THIS PUDDING. It's like the tapioca pudding from when I was a kid, only better. I do add vanilla instead of the lemon zest though. The pearls are way better than the tapioca in a box.
    WOW! What a comfort food dessert!  
    If people are having trouble with their pudding being runny, the secret is all in the tempering of the egg yolks. It's the yolks that thicken things up. To temper properly, have the yolks in a small bowl, already beaten with a whisk. Scoop out the stated amount of pudding & slowly add it to the yolks, all the while beating the yolks like a demon with a whisk. You have to beat while adding the hot pudding or else you will end up with bits of cooked egg floating in your pudding. Once you have incorporated all of the pudding into the egg and it is smooth, add it back to the crock pot, whisking all the while to make sure the yolks are well mixed into the rest of the pudding. The additional 15 minutes of cooking time will cook the egg thoroughly. The pudding will thicken some but will still be runny when the 15 minutes are up but it thickens up to the correct consistency once you get it completely chilled in the refrigerator.
    Since cream comes in 1/2 pint (1 cup) containers and whole milk comes in 1 pint and 1 quart bottles, I use 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of cream. No leftovers! You can also double the recipe in a 5 quart slow cooker.
    I've always been afraid of tapioca pudding. I know, silly. But than I had to make it for a client and you can't serve something without tasting it right? So, I took a small bite and I just couldn't stop! I had to remind myself that it wasn't for me!
    I did a double batch, seemed to work for me no problem. I love the lemon zest, this is what makes it homemade.
    This recipe is marvelous. The best tapioca pudding I've had since my grandmother made it 50 years ago
    I have tried this 3 times always making a double batch and its always runny. I will try one more time as a single batch.
    This was the easiest, tastiest and most awesome that I have ever made! Love the idea of making in my slow cooker.
    This recipe is awesome, so easy and creamy. I did substitute vanilla for the lemon zest and it's great!
    I can't figure out how some are having trouble with this recipe thickening. The only think I can think of is perhaps some aren't draining the water after soaking the tapioca overnight on the counter. DO NOT add this water to your recipe. Also, if you don't use the whole milk and heavy cream, as the recipe calls for, you'll have different results. You can't alter the recipe and then be upset because it didn't turn out as it did on the show.

    For me, after adding the egg yolk and cooking another 15 minutes, mine started to thicken in the crock under high heat still. Of course it will thicken more as it cools properly in the fridge and it has. It's very thick and super creamy. I like the lemon zest, although I think I would prefer it just a smidgen bit sweeter.
    I bought a box of tapioca (7 oz large pearl) and doubled the recipe, the pudding never thickened. I soaked the tapioca overnight in the fridge. Could this be the problem? Then I watched the video later and saw that Alton left it on the counter. I will probably try this again using the original measurements. For now we will eat tapioca soup. I don't want to waste it.
    I just tried this recipe and since my boys are allergic to Eggs and Milk, I substituted the Egg using Egg Replacer, the Milk with Soy Milk, and the Heavy Cream with Coconut Cream. It turned out really well! My wife and I thought it was fantastic. My sons liked it, however, because it was their first time having Tapioca Pudding, they weren't too keen on the chewy little tapiocas... oh well! Recipe was still a success. The pudding was on the thinner side (of thick) before it cooled down, but once it was in the fridge, it thickened up a lot and was great. About the recipe, I doubled it because the tapioca pearls I got was a 7 oz. box. I added a full can of Coconut Cream (instead of Heavy Cream), which was technically more than needed. (1.5 cups instead of 1 cup) I simply subtracted that amount from the Soy Milk (milk). Good job and thank you, Alton!
    made this three times. Once it did not thicken enough so I added tapioca starch mixed with water and zapped in micro for a minute or two. It then thickened up. Todays batch was a little runny so I just left it to cook in the crock pot for another 45 minutes instead of the 15 minutes called for after adding the yolk sugar mixture. Made chololate tapioca with changes to this recipe. I doubled the recipe to start with using 1 cup tapioca, and four cups water. then in the morning I added six cups milk, 3/4cup cocoa ( Berry Cocoa) and one cup heavy cream. After two hours one cup sugar and three large egg yolks were tempered in. It was still too runny after 15 minutes so I left it on crock pot high for another 30 minutes at whick point it was thick and bubbling. I added a tablespoon of vanilla and stirred it in. this turned out to be the best batch of chocolate tapioca yet. One thing I learned was that it needs to be stirred occasionally throughout the cooking or it will ball up in the bottom where it could get too thick. The large pearls are cooked through perfectly.
    Unlike some of the negative reviews, this came out perfect for me - even though I edited the recipe!

    I opted to use whole milk instead of the milk/heavy cream. While I believe my pudding did come out less creamier, it was still quite enjoyable. My grocery store also only had small pearls, so I used them instead. I also opted for vanilla instead of lemon.

    I did weigh my tapioca, versus using a measuring cup. Comparing the two, the "1/2 cup" was less then what it weighed out to be. Like Alton says often... weighing is much more precise. Had I measured instead of weighed I don't think my results would have been nearly the same. I wondered if the single egg yolk and the tapioca would be enough to thicken it well - but it set up beautifully.
    Priscilla of Waltham:
    1. Don't worry about the cream unless your eating tapioca more than once a month. I make it as a special treat. Besides you need dairy fat for your body to absorb some vitamins.
    2. Use a quart of milk and eliminate the cream. Keep in mind that it may not be as rich so the tendancy is to eat more of it getting the same amount of fat anyway.
    3. I use three large eggs including the whites instead of one yoke. You may say what is heart healthy about that ! There is no proven evidence that eating cholesterol in egg yokes increases your body cholesterol levels. There is no impact eating one egg a day. Simply save three eggs a month for the tapioca and eat it over three days.

    That's my philosophy !
    To make this more heart-healthy, what can I substitute for the heavy cream? Many thanks for ideas!
    Made this recipe twice. Flavor is excellent. Followed directions to a tee and both times it will not thicken up. Any ideas would be appreciated
    Very good and simple to make.
    My experience with this recipe was similar to the last 2 ratings and highly disappointing. The tapioca disintegrated into the cream and milk mixture--it just seemed as there was to much liquid for the amount of tapioca that was indicated. I too used 2 eggs to make it thicker, which ended up into a gloppy goo!!! O:( Will not make it again.
    For whatever reason, mine came out a little funny. It didn't take as long as two hours to cook and my pudding is this really strange and gooey texture, like silly putty. It keeps it's shape and sticks together in a giant blob in the bowl. It tastes pretty good, though i don't think it's sweet enough for me.
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