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Pressure Cooked Tapioca Pudding

Cook tapioca pudding in minutes with a pressure cooker, not hours of soaking, stirring and waiting.

There are lots of ways to make pudding with tapioca and when coming up with this recipe I immediately excluded the ones that include eggs. Eggs are just not necessary to hold together tapioca and just make the pudding more complicated and too heavy and flan-like to propose for summer.

Dry pearl tapioca in 1/2 cup measuring cup.
Dry seed tapioca in 1/3 cup measuring cup – the pearls are about the size of sesame seeds.

My family has been eating lots of tapioca puddings to get this recipe just right for you!

Here’s a peek at the process I go through when developing a recipe that hasn’t been made in the pressure cooker before – and how some  of my discoveries are helped by an accident, or two.

About this recipe

I started out with soaking tapioca pearls for an hour as just about everyone recommends. Soaking removed most of the tapioca’s natural starch during the process and the pudding was kind of runny. Next, accidentally distracted by the kids, I just dumped the dry pearls straight in the milk – when I realized my mistake I added a little extra liquid to compensate for what would have been absorbed during a soak and cooked the tapioca a little longer. Using the tapioca straight out of the bag resulted in a pudding seemed a little “too” stiff  (too much starch!). On the plus side, I was surprised that without soaking the tapioca pearls were pretty evenly cooked. This told me that, at least when making tapioca under pressure, you don’t have to pre-soak it. And that is how I arrived at rinsing the tapioca – to remove a little of the surface starch but not so much so the pudding won’t hold together.

Both the beauty and bane of pressure cooking is that there is no stirring during the cooking process.  In my experiments I found that the tapioca pearls tended to clump a little at the base of the heat-proof container – and those clumps would contain under-cooked pearls. Mixing everything post-pressure cooking with a fork – and covering tightly while still hot allowed for the under-cooked pearls to catch-up and finish cooking while the pudding is cooling.

tapioca_art_aaTweak it as you like it
Substitute the cow’s milk with coconut or even a nut milk, the sugar for your favorite sweetener (raw sugar works really well), and to get different flavors the infusion with the zest of half an orange, or lemon (in the finished photos), half a vanilla pod (as in the step-by-step photos) or even a teaspoon of your favorite mixed spice mix (like chai tea). Dried fruit can also add a winter flare – re-hydrate the fruit for 10 minutes in hot water first so you don’t throw off the liquid:tapioca ratio.

Instead of using a heat-proof dish, you can actually make this directly in a heat-proof pudding mold, then mix, refrigerate as directed, and finally invert on a serving plate for a show-stopping elegant formed pudding!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket, heat-proof bowl(s) 8 min. High(2) Natural

4.7 from 12 reviews
Pressure Cooker Tapioca Pudding
 
Author: 
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4 -6
  • Serving size: ¼th
  • Calories: 187
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.5g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 39.6g
  • Sugar Carbs: 28.9g
  • Sodium: 39.2mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 0.1g
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Cholesterol: 6.3mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
INGREDIENTS
  • ⅓ cup (60g) seed tapioca pearls
  • 1¼ cups (300g) whole milk (or your favorite milk alternative)
  • ½ cup (115g) water
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • ½ lemon, zested (or orange, or ½ vanilla bean) - see article for other suggestions
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare the pressure cooker by adding one cup of water and the steamer basket and set aside.
  2. Rinse tapioca pearls in a fine-mesh strainer.
  3. To a 4-cup capacity heat-proof bowl add the tapioca pearls, milk, water, lemon zest and sugar. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved and you no longer feel the grit of it at the base. If the container does not have handles to easily lower and lift it from the pressure cooker, construct a foil sling.
  4. Lower heat-proof bowl into the pressure cooker and close and lock the lid.
  5. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 8 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 8 minutes pressure cooking time.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20 to 30 minutes).
  7. Once the pressure has released let the mixture stand in the closed cooker for an additional 5 minutes before opening the lid (the milk in the container will boil over if you open the lid too quickly after pressure is released).
  8. Carefully lift out the heat-proof bowl and stir vigorously with a fork before distributing into serving bowls, glasses or forms.
  9. Cover tightly with cling-wrap and let cool before refrigerating for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before serving or serve warm with the modifications in the notes of this recipe.
  10. Serve as-is or topped with seasonal fruit.
Notes
If serving warm, reduce sugar from ½ to ⅓ cup. If you prefer your pudding more runny and porridgey rather than stiff and jiggly, simply increase the milk in this recipe by ½ a cup or more.


Tapioca pudding with no soaking, waiting or stirring!

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91 Comments

  1. Hi. I am one of those who made tapioca from another site. In that recipe I had to buy several kinds of tapioca before finding one that worked in the recipe. So I now have some Bobs Red Mill that was wrong for the other recipe . Will Bob’s work in this one? If so I’m looking forward to trying it.
    By the way while buying wrong tapiocas I ended up with a bag meant for making that Bubble tea. Do you know the one I mean? I’m wondering what I can do with it since I don’t like that tea. Maybe one of your readers will know if you don’t.
    I’ll rate recipe after I try it.

    1. Instead of that “tea” you could always drop them into some mulled wine or hot apple cider! ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  2. By the way I have both Bobs Red Mill and Reese’s and they both say small pearl and look to be same size. But in other recipe the Bobs did not work and Reese’s did. So is there more to consider with tapioca than just the size?

    1. Bridget, that’s interesting. I would think that perhaps one is pre-rinsed and one is not? It’s the same vegetable cut and dried into that specific shape and size. Another thing to consider is that cassava IS a vegetable, so there might even be some slight variation between batches. All brands of the this size tapioca have worked for me so far. I have not specifically used Bobs Red mill.

      I don’t know what other recipe you used, so I really can’t comment further on what the issue might be.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Actually, tapioca pearls/balls are made from tapioca flour or starch not the pressed root. Tapioca pearly are basically a pasta made from a tapioca flour. The tuber “root” is known as casava, mandioca and yuca in South America. I grew up eating it boiled and roasted. It’s similar to a potato but more fibrous.

        1. Thanks for the info, LNdA!

          Ciao,

          L

    2. Please see my Dec 7th comment. I forgot to mention that I rinse the tapioca under cool running water for 30 seconds before putting it in the pot. I’ve made it numerous times and it always turns out good with Bob’s Red Mill Small Pearl (bought online at Thrive Market).

      1/3 c small pearl tapioca (rinsed for 30 seconds under cool water)
      1 – 14 oz can Golden Star Coconut Milk (unsweetened, full fat, only ingredients Coconut milk and water)
      1 c water
      2 T pure maple syrup
      about 1/8th teaspoon salt (Real Salt brand)

      Put everything in the instant pot liner for 4 min on high pressure. 10 min NPR.

      Hope this helps you out!

  3. Can you experiment and offer a recipe that uses honey, or perhaps blending up dates in the “milk”. Or coconut sugar for the sweetner? I do not use sugar, it is harmful for our health!

    Thanks! and God bless.

    1. Janet, you can just add the same quantity of honey. I cook with honey often and I’ve tried different “conversions” but in the end a 1:1 substitution works for me.

      Ciao,

      L

  4. Yummy! I used Bob’s red hill small pearl tapioca and had to cook it an extra 3 minutes. The pearls were still just barely undercooked. I will use less sugar next time. Thank you so much for a super easy recipe!

    1. I tried this recipe again because it is so easy and 13 minutes manual with full npr was the right setting for my set up. I think maybe the thickness of the glass bowl (I have anchor) as well as tapioca brand ( I used Bobs Red Mill) could affect cooking times. If you try this recipe and it looks watery, make sure you are stirring it up well after cooking. It sets up more as it cools.

  5. Sorry, I meant Bob’s Red Mill.

  6. Is the 1/3 cup tapioca the tight measurement that weighs 60 grams? Mine weighed only 30??!! I can’t really rate the recipe because mine looks very watery and is still cooling.

  7. Curious why recommendation to decrease sugar if I like to eat it warm?

    1. Cold temperatures decrease the sensation of sweet. You can test this yourself by eating ice cream and melted (room temperature) ice cream. The frozen ice cream will taste less sweet.

      1. What Anna said. Thank you! : )

        Ciao,

        L

  8. Oh and why does it need to sit out 3 hrs?

    I’m getting ready to do this now

    1. “Mixing everything post-pressure cooking with a fork – and covering tightly while still hot allowed for the under-cooked pearls to catch-up and finish cooking while the pudding is cooling.”

    2. The sitting out time is to give the tapioca a chance to finish “cooking” and also to come down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.

      Ciao,

      L

  9. Thanks Anna..
    By the way I used Bobs Red Mill cooked in Pyrex as didn’t have right size stainless steel.
    At 8 minutes with natural release, pears still a little hard. I added 3 more minutes. Based on your reply above to me, I wonder if just sitting under the Saran Wrap would have been enough to soften it up. But I didn’t have this answer at the time.

    Oh by the way only used 1/3 c sugar as I know I like it warm. It was plenty sweet. May even decrease more next time. Is the tapioca naturally sweet in its dry state?
    I only got three servings which I could have eaten immediately but restrained myself to only having one.

    1. Thanks, Anna too! Bridget, when the pearls are finished they should be mostly translucent with maybe a “dot” of white – that dot will finish cooking during the cool-down.

      Ciao,

      L

  10. Hello Laura,
    I am very new to Instant Pot cooking, but I’m loving it. I am so grateful for your recipes and expertise. I love tapioca and have made it many times in my slow cooker using Alton Brown’s recipe.
    It’s so much quicker in the IP. I have only made it once in the IP and it did turn out well, but not as thick and creamy as I like. I wonder why you use part water for the liquid and not all milk. I would think it would be richer and creamier with all milk….unless there is a problem with that. I know you have tried everything and if you say use part water there must be a good reason. Please enlighten me.
    Many thanks.

    1. Sylvia, I found that milk is too “thick” to be absorbed as quickly as water by the Tapioca grains. It may well *eventually* be absorbed – but I did not test the times for that. If you’re feeling adventurous, please report back on your experiments!

      Ciao,

      L

  11. Laura I just ordered an Instant Pot and would like to make tapioca. I live in Italy and wonder where you find the tapioca pearls (and what are they called). I have never looked for them so they may be easy to find, but it would be helpful to know where in the store to look! Thanks.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I find them in health-food stores (Biomondo), a well-stocked Herbalist (Eroboesteria) and my town also has a large Pakistani community and I get it form their local grocery store- It costs less and I can pick-up coconut milk and spices on the same visit. : )

      Ciao,

      L

      1. I ended up ordering the tapioca from Amazon.it. When I took it out of the pot there was a large clump of pearls on the bottom of the bowl. I had to nearly beat it to death to separate them! I added a little vanilla while it was cooling and it was delish.

  12. Have you tried this with large pearl tapioca? Wondering if it would work the same.

    1. I just tried it and it’s very soupy. I don’t know if it will really cook enough to absorb the mixture.

  13. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out very watery. Not getting any thicker as it cools. Help!

  14. this turned out great for me with small tapioca from Bobs Red nill. did not change one thing and the pudding was perfect.

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