Easy Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert

Easy Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert

With only six ingredients, this easy coconut milk tapioca dessert is creamy and rich, with a subtle hint of vanilla. Bananas are fabulous with it and so are many other fruits. I’m lucky to be in Hawaii for a few days and so am celebrating apple bananas! And orchids!

coconut milk tapioca pudding in glass jars with banana slices and orchids

Simple and mildly sweet

This is one of the simplest desserts I know. As you’ve learned if you’ve tried any of my other dessert recipes, I prefer a very mild sweetness. This keeps the dessert from triggering more cravings for sugar. It also lets the flavor of the coconut milk complement your chosen fruit in the pudding. But be careful if you are thinking this is low carb — there is plenty of carbohydrate in the tapioca itself.

coconut milk and tapioca pearls cooked in steel saucepan

The tapioca pearls give an interesting texture and translucent pearl-like appearance and thicken the mixture. If you don’t want it as thick as you see here, or if you are using granulated sugar instead of maple syrup, you can add a little more water.

The perfect dessert for a Thai meal

This dessert is the perfect finish to a Thai meal but often accompanies Vietnamese food as well. Consider making it if you serve my Coconut Milk Green Thai Curry!

This recipe was inspired by the many restaurants and cafes in Hawaii where we’ve eaten tapioca cooked with coconut milk. Sometimes it’s with mango, sometimes with banana, as here, and sometimes plain. I’ve used the large pearl tapioca because that’s what we find locally, but small pearl would do if that’s what is available to you.

coconut milk tapioca pudding in glass jars with bananas and papaya on lauhala mat

Choosing your fruit

Apple bananas are slightly tart and firm when ripe, compared to those available in most Mainland markets. If you have an Asian market nearby ask if they have anything like it. The Central American bananas might be too bland but you could try using them slight under-ripe. Plantains would be an excellent alternative. Other slightly tart fruits would be delicious: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or papaya.

This pudding would be nearly as tasty and refreshing without fruit at all! Best of all, it can be served slightly warm if you are in a hurry, or chilled if you make it far enough ahead.

Please leave comments about this recipe below.



Other fruit desserts on A Meal In Mind

Coconut Yogurt Fruit Popsicles

Strawberry-rhubarb-mint parfaits

Patriotic Fruit Tray with Spiced Yogurt Dip

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coconut milk tapioca pudding in glass jars garnished with bananas and orchids

Easy Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert

  • Author: Beth of A Meal In Mind
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai


This easy coconut milk tapioca pudding is one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make, with just six ingredients and a few minutes on the stovetop. Smooth, creamy and mildly sweet, it can be garnished with your fruit of choice!



  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup large pearl tapioca
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey; or 2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional but delicious)
  • 12 tablespoonfuls of fruit per serving (Bananas, berries, etc.)


  1. Combine water and large-pearl tapioca in a 2-quart saucepan and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Tapioca pearls will partly fall apart.
  2. Stir in coconut milk and salt. Bring to a simmer and heat for about 10 minutes or until the liquid is thickened and the tapioca pearls are translucent.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sweetener and the vanilla and mix well.
  5. At this point you need to decide if you want to serve fruit on the side or mixed in. If you want to mix it in, fold it in gently now.
  6. Spoon into serving-size dishes.
  7. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with additional fruit if desired.

Keywords: coconut milk dessert, pudding, Thai food, banana tapioca

coconut milk tapioca pudding in glass jars with banana slices and orchids

12 thoughts on “Easy Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert”

  • I love Thai food and Tapioca, this looks like a delicious way to end a Thai meal! I’m sure the vanilla is the perfect addition with that touch of salt yummy!!! The colors are so pretty too 🙂

    • Hello, Angela, it’s certainly one of my favorites, and even though I’ve gotten careful with my use of vanilla since it’s gotten pricey, it’s worth it here. It was so much fun to have all the tropical fruits to play with, and the orchids!

  • Yum, this sounds delicious! I often use coconut milk to make chia pudding for breakfast – but this take on it with tapioca sounds great. I will have to try. Thank you!

    • Hello, Darcy, yes I’ve made a similar pudding with chia, especially for breakfast, and enjoyed it very much. I hope you will try it with tapioca and let me know what you think. Thanks for the comment!

  • I love tapioca pudding and this looks like one I need to try – now! I have all the ingredients, so I think it will be on our menu for dessert tonight. Thank you!

  • So refreshing, bananas are very good for health. I love bananas and I have tried lots of recipes related to bananas. This is the dish which I have never seen before. It’s really unique and looks really good. Thank you so much for sharinh this short and sweet recipe. Have a nice day.

    • This is such a favorite family recipe. I hope you get to try it and enjoy it as much as we do. I so agree that the bananas are so healthy and give such a wonderful highlight to the recipe depending on what bananas you have! Let me know if you make it.

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