vanilla chai tapioca pudding

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My family is the definition of blended family. Marriages, kids, divorces, re-marriages, more kids. We’re all a big, loving mish-mash of DNA that are always there for one another. A blended family can a lot of times mean a drastic age difference among siblings, and that’s what my sisters, brother and I have. My siblings range from 12 years to 8 years older than me, and that means that they had a decidedly different parental experience than I did.

Just imagine how different of a person 8 years can make you, let alone 12? My parents were not the same parents that my sisters or brother had.

I think a lot of sibling bonding comes from shared experiences. I didn’t have that with my siblings. When I was going into first grade, my oldest sister was headed off to college. The number of shared experiences I have with my three siblings is very small compared to a traditional family. So for that reason, I tend to latch onto the few things we did share. And one of those is tapioca pudding.

A few times a year, Dad would buy a box of instant tapioca pudding and we’d mix up a giant batch in a stainless steel bowl. We’d eat tapioca pudding for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert until we couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating another spoonful of the sponge-y beads. My sisters have the same memory as they were growing up. I’m not sure we ever actually did the tapioca-making together, but we all had the same experience, nonetheless.

Every now and again, I get a craving for a nostalgic bowl of tapioca pudding. The classic vanilla pudding is easy to whip up and you can find a recipe for it almost anywhere. I chose to literally spice up my batch with the classic flavors of chai tea (without the tea).

You can find tapioca pearls at most international food markets. Check in the baking area, that’s where I found mine.

Vanilla Chai Tapioca Pudding

Makes 2-4 servings

Print this recipe


  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 square cheese cloth
  • 2 cups unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (can sub 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Combine tapioca pearls and water in a small bowl. Allow pearls to soak for one hour. Drain.
  2. Place the cinnamon stick, ginger, and cardamom pods in the middle of the cheesecloth and tie closed.
  3. Mix tapioca pearls and all remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan, place the cheesecloth packet in the pot.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until tapioca pearls are completely translucent (there should be no white parts).
  5. Remove from heat, remove the spice packet and discard, spoon pudding into individual serving dishes and chill until cool.

Do you like tapioca pudding?

It is definitely one of those things that people either love it or hate it.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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18 Responses
  1. Heather

    I like tapioca pudding but haven’t had it in a LONG time. My dad and I used to eat it together. Neither my mom or my sisters liked it so it was something special I got to share with my dad that was just us.

  2. My youngest brother and sister are 20 and 22 years younger then me. I know what you mean.

    I’ve never had tapioca pudding. We used to eat lots and lots of ice cream (with chocolate sauce) together. And apparently my younger siblings share that memory too.

  3. I have never been able to eat Tapioca pudding…I think it is a texture thing with me, but my husband LOVES it! I think I will make this because I love the flavors in chai tea so much maybe I can eat it, and maybe we can make a memory for our little love bug to share with his one day siblings 🙂

  4. Melissa B.

    Oh my I LOVE tapioca pudding! My mom used to make that for me when I was young, and it is such a comfort food to me. I love how you can have it hot, warm, or cold, and it is equally delicious. I love rice pudding, too.

    Man, now you have my mouth watering!!

  5. oooh pudding! I crave tapioca every time I see it in the store!
    Recipes connected to our childhoods are the best.
    I love your blog : ) I just found it and I will be coming back!

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