The Pudding that Will Change Your Mind About Tapioca

If the grocery store isn't your favorite place, it should be. We're sleuthing for the best back-of-the-box recipes and each week we'll share our latest find. 

Today: Reinventing tapioca pudding (and adding some whipped cream for good measure).

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You finish dinner, and you're in the mood for dessert. You rummage around in the freezer: no ice cream. You ransack the cabinets frantically, but no cookies or forgotten cartons of graham crackers turn up. You're getting desperate. You're about to succumb to the age-old move of eating three handfuls of frozen chocolate chips.

But wait! There is hope, in the form of pudding: fluffy tapioca cream, to be exact. It requires only five ingredients, so you're in business even when your pantry is bare. 

I understand that tapioca pudding might not sound very sexy or newsworthy. Being firmly in the pro-mushy food camp (my dream meal is creamy corn grits, a fluffy bowl of hummus, and strawberry soft serve), it is no surprise that I loved, loved, this whipped tapioca cream recipe. But whatever your feelings on pudding, this one is worth trying.

It loosely resembles a basic tapioca pudding, but it's lightened up by a whipped egg white, which you fold into the hot tapioca. Airy and fluffy, it's a creative, sophisticated take on a classic. It's simple, quick, and satisfying. You don't have to top it with a dollop of whipped cream, but really, why wouldn't you?

Fluffy Tapioca Cream

Adapted from Kraft Foods' Minute Brand Tapioca

3 tablespoons instant tapioca
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, separated

2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Sliced strawberries, for serving (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Do you have a favorite back of the box recipe, or have you heard about a great one? Leave any suggestions in the comments, and I'll try them out and share them here!

Photos by Posie Harwood 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Deedledum
  • arcane54
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
  • Fairmount_market
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Deedledum May 31, 2015
Mmmm, "fish eye pudding"-I just made a rhubarb/strawberry compote that'll fit in well here, especially with whipped cream.
arcane54 May 13, 2015
I grew up with Minute Tapioca and still love a comforting bowlful -- especially when it's warm. Now we call it Happyoca! My favorite brand is Bob's Red Mill.
Kenzi W. May 11, 2015
Pro-mushy food camp for life!
Fairmount_market May 11, 2015
Another gem of a tapioca recipe is "Tapioca Flamingo" from Amanda Hesser's tome of New York Times recipes (originally published in 1949).