CHEF ALTON BROWN has the BEST method for making Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding! If you are a tapioca fan and have never had the large pearls, try them! I like large pearls much better than small pearls.

I first tasted creamy large pearl tapioca pudding in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at several famous restaurants there when I was about 13 years old.  I love tapioca pudding and I never knew large pearls existed until that trip to Amish Country! To me, it was a huge difference for the better!

The large pearls were never easy to find. Even today not every store has them, but you can order them easily online now.  

I have tried several recipes and Alton Brown has the best one as far as I’m concerned! I love Alton Brown’s recipes! He puts the science behind his techniques and I can understand why he does certain things!

 It is made in a SLOW COOKER and it is SO EASY to do!  The only thing different I do is substitute vanilla extract for his lemon zest. I admit, there is a step-by-step process to making it, but the steps are very easy to follow. 

His brilliant technique and timing is what is so great with this!

It comes out perfectly every time!  

Thanks, Chef Alton Brown!

See the steps how to make it in the slideshow below.


Large Pearl Tapioca by Alton Brown
Alton Brown's method is brilliant! It is just not using a slow cooker to make the large pearl tapioca, but the steps and timing he uses. His technique gets you a finished product that is perfect and creamy and the most delicious large pearl tapioca pudding you will ever have!
4 from 3 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 342


  • ½ cup large pearl tapioca (3.5 ounces)
  • 2 cup water cold
  • cups milk whole
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place the tapioca pearls in a medium bowl with the water. Cover, and let it stand overnight.
  • Drain the water from the tapioca. Place the tapioca into a slow cooker along with the milk, heavy cream, and salt.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 HOURS stirring occasionally.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and the sugar.
  • Temper small amounts of the tapioca into the egg mixture until you have added at least 1 cup.
  • Then add this back into the remaining tapioca in the slow cooker. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 15 minutes, stirring at least once.
  • Transfer the pudding into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap.
  • Allow it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour then place it in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.
Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 749IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 1mg


  1. Heidi September 30, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    Can’t wait to try it! My grandma used to make large pearl tapioca when I was lilttle. She called them “frogs’ eyes!!!”

  2. Rachel Sauder January 11, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Can this be doubled?

    1. Angie January 11, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I have never doubled it so I don’t know. I have an average size slow cooker, about 12 inches in diameter. I wouldn’t double it in that size. I guess if your slow cooker was a little larger it would work.

  3. Anonymous August 3, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Has anyone tried this in an instant pot?

    1. Angie August 3, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      I haven’t heard anything about this recipe on an instapot vs a slow cooker. I am not sure of the answer to this. I don’t have an Instapot to try it out. This is Alton Brown’s recipe and I know he used a slow cooker and I have made it many times in a slow cooker. I love this recipe of his! He has the right techinique to make this work perfectly every time for me!

      1. Anonymous January 19, 2019 at 1:25 pm

        I just made it in my Instapot, on the slowcooker setting. It came out great.There is enough room to double the recipe in the 6 quart Instapot.

        1. Angie January 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm

          Great information! Thank you for sharing that! Glad you liked it!

      2. Nikki L Wickham July 16, 2023 at 12:40 pm

        I tried it in my instapot on slow cooker mode it did not set up. Followed directions to a T and it was a bust. Disappointed I wasted all that product.

  4. Mary April 10, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    It was a fail for me. It was a gelatinous mess. The pearls weren’t even distinguishable. Won’t be making this again. It’s back to the stovetop double boiler for me.

  5. Bobbi Jo Wells December 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I bought some pearl tapioca and can’t wait to try this especially after reading the posts! I used to buy walmarts tapioca in the deli but they no longer have anxious to try this!

    1. Angie December 11, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Great! It is a favorite of mine and many others. Glad you found the large pearl tapioca! Locally where I am they sell the small pearls, not the large pearls. They are hard to find so I order them online.

  6. Maria July 26, 2016 at 9:47 am

    This pudding was a little time consuming but so worth it its delicious and worth the time I have a non stick slow cooker and it w worked great define “do again”

  7. viflyguy November 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I made your tapioca recipe Angie and it’s the best recipe ever. A keeper!!! Thank you.

    1. ang1m November 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Awesome!! And tip your hat to the fabulous Alton Brown for his ingenious technique with the large pearl tapioca that I am finding out are more popular than I thought! Hundreds have saved it on Pintrest. I dug long and deep to find the best recipe …hit the gold with this one! Thanks for writing back!

  8. ang1m November 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Your welcome Lily! Glad you also are a fan of the pearls! 🙂

  9. Lily November 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I love tapioca pearls, the texture is so much fin to eat, thanks for sharing your recipe:)


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