This sago pudding is thick, rich, and creamy, and needs just 4 ingredients to make! Also known as tapioca pudding, it’s made without eggs or dairy and is easily customizable!
Coming from a half Malaysian background, my sister and I often grew up eating traditional desserts. There was plenty we weren’t fans of (think anything with red beans or pandan!) but one we would always fight over was the sago pudding!
Sago pudding was something my father would often make for us, especially whenever he visited the Asian supermaket. In those days, tapioca pearls were quite hard to find! These days, they can be found at any supermarket. As such, it became something we ate on a very regular occurance.
Is sago pudding and tapioca pudding the same?
Traditionally, sago and tapioca pudding is the same thing. Depending on where in the world you are located, they could be called one or the other. In some countries, tapioca pudding is made with uses flaked tapioca instead of pearls.
I’ve been meaning to share a sago pudding recipe for quite some time. Coming from a half Malaysian background, it was one of the first desserts I ever made and has been a staple! Now, this pudding may look incredibly fancy but I promise you, it is so easy to make and needs just 4 ingredients!
Unlike traditional tapioca or sago puddings, this has no dairy and no eggs are needed, but you’d never tell. The texture of the pudding is thick, creamy, and slightly gooey. It’s sweet and customizable to a plethora of toppings, flavors, or enjoyed on its own!
I had some Malaysian friends over for dinner the other night and served them this for dessert and they could NOT believe it had no dairy in it- It tasted like our childhood classic!
How do you make a sago pudding?
- Tapioca pearls– Also known as tapioca balls, these can easily be found in the baking or health food (gluten free) aisles at most supermarkets. If they come in varying sizes, use the smallest ones you can find
- Coconut milk– Full fat coconut milk, not the carton kind! For an extra richer flavor, swap out half the milk or coconut cream.
- Granulated sweetener of choice– I used erythritol, but any sweetener can be used. If you use coconut or brown sugar, your pudding will be darker in color.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good pudding.
- Mango– Optional, but I love adding some lightly blended mango puree to spread over the top.
Start by adding the tapioca pearls and coconut milk into a bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes, for the pearls to soak up the liquid. After 30 minutes, transfer into a small saucepan, along with the sweetener, and place over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce to low heat and stir it gently for 15 minutes until it has thickened. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
Now, transfer the mixture into eight small glasses and place them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, to thicken even further. Before serving, blend up your mango and spread it over the top.
Tips to make the best tapioca pudding
- For an even richer pudding, replace the coconut milk with coconut cream or plant based double cream. You can also stir some of the cream in once the pudding has set.
- Do not let your pudding simmer for too long, as it will thicken considerably once it has refrigerated.
- The mango is totally optional. I often make it without it and serve the pudding with ice cream or whipped cream.
Tapioca pudding flavor variations
While this pudding tastes delicious on its own, here are some other flavor ideas for some variety!
- Coconut– Fold through 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes once the pudding has simmered, and serve with coconut flakes on top.
- Chocolate– Stir through 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mixture, before you bring it to a simmer.
- Banana– Whisk in 1/2 mashed banana to the pudding, and serve with sliced bananas.
- Almond milk– Replace the coconut milk with unsweetened almond milk and increase the tapioca pearls by 2 tablespoons.
- Sugar free- Use any sugar free sweetener for the granulated sweetener.
Storing and freezing vegan tapioca pudding
- To store: The pudding should always be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep well for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Cover the puddings and place them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
More vegan dessert recipes to try
- In a small bowl, combine the tapioca pearls with coconut milk and coconut cream and let it sit for 30 minutes, for the pearls to thicken.
- Transfer the mixture into a small saucepan. Add the granulated sweetener and place it over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce it to low and gently stir it for 10-15 minutes, before removing from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Distribute the pudding mixture amongst eight small glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Before serving, blend your mango and spread over the top of each pudding.