Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Photo: Alex Farnum; Styling: Randy Mon

Fresh mango, papaya, and kiwi give this creamy tapioca pudding a tropical taste.

Yield: Serves 4
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 412
  • Calories from fat: 66%
  • Protein: 4.9g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated fat: 26g
  • Carbohydrate: 36g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sodium: 107mg
  • Cholesterol: 8.5mg


  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca*
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • About 1 cup whole milk or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened large-flake coconut*, toasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh fruit such as mango, papaya, or kiwi fruit


  1. 1. In a medium saucepan, cook tapioca in 1 1/2 qts. boiling water until only slightly chewy to the bite, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk, 1 cup whole milk, the sugar, and vanilla bean, pressing bean gently to loosen seeds, until steaming, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. 3. Stir drained tapioca into vanilla mixture. Cook, stirring often, until tapioca pearls are clear and just tender, 3 to 6 minutes.
  4. 4. Let pudding cool, then chill, stirring occasionally, at least 1 1/4 hours. Remove vanilla bean and stir in more milk if pudding seems too thick.
  5. 5. Spoon pudding into tall glasses. Top with toasted coconut and fresh fruit.
  6. *Find small pearl tapioca in a grocery store's baking aisle or Asian food aisle, or buy it at an Asian market. Get large-flake coconut at a natural-foods store and toast it in a 350° oven until light golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Make ahead: Chill pudding up to 1 day.
  8. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
Note: To add an over-the-top coconut note to this luscious dessert, chill it overnight to thicken, then thin it as chef Tim Luym does--with the water inside a fresh young coconut, sold at Asian markets. He also serves the pudding topped with vivid purple yam, but we've opted for easier-to-find fresh fruit.
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