Saffron Tapioca Pudding
60 Min

Saffron Tapioca Pudding

It can be easy to overdo tapioca pudding. Once it is somewhat thick and the tapioca pearls are clear, take it off the stove and let it thicken some more. 

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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
Soak the tapioca in hot water for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
Step 2
In a heavy bottom stockpot, cook the milk with saffron threads until reduced by two thirds stirring frequently.
Step 3
Add the tapioca and cook on medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 4
Add sugar. Continue to cook until the tapioca pearls are translucent and cooked through. Sprinkle cardamom on top. (see note) Remove from heat and let it cool. Stir it occasionally to prevent a solidified layer from forming on top of the pudding. 
Step 5
Serve warm or cold with chopped pistachios and fresh fruit on top.
1 cup tapioca pearls
6 cups whole milk
Generous pinch of saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups cane sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
1 cup chopped fruit (such as mangoes, berries, or figs)

Notes & Variations

  • Be sure to sprinkle the cardamom on top, rather than add with the sugar which sinks to the bottom. This will prevent the cardamom from clumping.
  • Use almonds or walnuts.
  • Add a pinch or two of freshly ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg.
60 Min

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Considered the caviar of spices, saffron is the carefully hand-harvested dried stigma of the Crocus sativus flower, native to Asia Minor and southern Europe. It is widely cultivated in India in the Kashmir Valley, where it is used in foods from the famous roghan josh, a decadent lamb stew, to desserts and drinks.