Slow-cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca

In today’s Record-Eagle column, I ran a recipe for Slow-Cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca Pudding.  (I’ll link to the full column when I’m back from vacation, but in the meantime the recipe is posted below.)

Slow-Cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca

This pudding takes the perennial favorite tapioca pudding and dresses it up. Served warm, it’ll heat you up from the inside out on chilly fall days. Using a real vanilla bean gives the pudding a sumptuous velvet-like texture and flavor. If you don’t have access to vanilla beans, I weep for you, but you can still make a delicious version of the recipe by substituting for the beans with 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract.


  • ¼ cup fine pearl tapioca (not granulated)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ of one vanilla bean
  • 2 cups milk**
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten in a medium bowl
  • non-stick cooking spray or butter for greasing the slow-cooker

**Low fat milk works fine in this, but it’s silkier and richer if you use whole milk or a combination of whole milk and half&half or even GLORY, GLORY heavy cream.


Heat milk in a microwave safe container until very hot. Spray slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray or butter generously. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use the blunt spine of the knife to scrape the ‘seeds’ from the bean pod. Add the vanilla bean and ‘seeds’ into the crock along with the tapioca, sugar, and milk. Stir well, put cover on the slow cooker and cook for 1 1/2 hours on low, or until tapioca is soft.

Use a spoon to carefully break up any clumps that have formed in the crock. Slowly pour a ladle of the hot tapioca mixture into the eggs while beating vigorously with a wire whisk. When it is fully incorporated, pour the mixture slowly back into the crock while whisking. Recover and continue cooking on low for 30 minutes more. When the time is up, vent the lid, turn the heat off, and allow to sit for 30 minutes more. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. If you choose to chill the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface before refrigerating.

If you want to make this pudding something pretty enough for a special occasion or dinner guests just dollop some of the warm pudding in the bottom of a wine glass.   Top with a layer of blueberries equal in height to the layer of pudding and continue on until you reach the top of your glass.

The pudding is great alone, but when you layer it with fresh blueberries in parfait form?  Spectacular.  If you have a sprig of mint the top of this parfait is where it belongs.  If you don’t have mint, don’t sweat it.  No one will care when they’re eating this!

Can you see all those little flecks of vanilla in the pudding?  This is one of my new favorite week-night desserts.  It’s so easy to make and the vanilla is so silky.


  1. says

    I love tapioca pudding but have never tried making it in the slow cooker. I will certainly be trying this. I do not have the beans but I do have pure vanilla..that will have to do. The combination of tapioca,vanilla and blueberries sounds awesome!!

  2. says

    Hi, Susan, we have made slow cooker tapioca several times, and both Jim and I have found it delicious! I was so thankful to find a way to prepare tapioca without soaking overnight, stirring and praying the milk would not scorch, etc. And many kinds of fruit work with tapioca, but the blueberries are especially good right now!


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