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Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

Daddy loved creamy tapioca pudding for dessert. Was it the milky soft chewy little pearls? Or was it because tapioca pudding is such a comfort food, an old-fashioned treat that brings back childhood memories? Here’s a dreamy creamy soothing-to-the-soul dark chocolate tapioca pudding–in memory of my Dad. For Father’s Day, let’s cook up some sweet nostalgia. 

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding with strawberries in wine glasses with red check tablecloth

white tapioca pearls and chopped dark chocolate with knife for Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding


We called him Daddy, all of us. Not Dad, not Father—Daddy. He was 48 years old when I was born, the sixth of 8 children.

Like so many of his generation, Daddy smoked cigarettes. Which triggered the strokes, the first one when he was 58.

Daddy used to sing a Scottish folk song, a simple nursery rhyme.  For me, it’s an early glimmer of love and a favorite memory. Me sitting on his lap in a rocking chair, in the living room, Daddy singing. He could carry a tune.

Letty on the piano next to her Father Memories of Daddy are scarce, because I was still a young girl when he died. So I sing and cook to remember the sweet times, of the lilting song and creamy tapioca pudding.

5 cups of Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding with strawberries, ready to eat

There’s hardly a dent in my bag of small white pearls, even after testing and re-testing this dark chocolate tapioca pudding and my Maple Chai Bubble Tea—both recipes call for such small amounts of tapioca.

I’ll use those pearls up even if it takes until next Father’s Day. I’m inventing orange-scented white chocolate tapioca pudding as I write. When you invite me to dinner, I’ll bring dessert.

What food memories do you share with your father?

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding notes:

  • Tapioca has a few different incarnations—small and large pearls, instant tapioca and tapioca flour, aka tapioca starch. All have thickening power. Use either the small or large pearls in this recipe.
  • This recipe is adapted from one on the back of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill small pearl tapioca.
  • I settled on Bob’s Red Mill brand because the pearls kept the right texture and thickened the pudding  perfectly. With another brand of small pearl tapioca (not instant), the results were not as successful.
  • Soak tapioca pearls in water before cooking in milk, about 30 minutes for small pearls, a bit longer for larger pearls. They should be squishy on the outside, but not all the way through before adding them to the milk. Be careful to not pre-soak either size pearls too long or they will become mushy.
  • I don’t recommend instant tapioca for this recipe; the classic pearly texture will be lost. Instant tapioca and tapioca flour are wonderful in fruit pies–the thickened fruit juices run clear, in contrast to cloudy, as with cornstarch or flour.

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Nutrition Facts
Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
Amount Per Serving (2 g)
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 230mg10%
Potassium 110mg3%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 80IU2%
Calcium 119mg12%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • #4 of 8

    I remember we used to eat the tapioca pudding while it was still hot.
    couldn’t wait for it to chill. Reply · 13 June, 2014

    • Letty

      I like it warm too–especially chocolate! Reply · 13 June, 2014

  • Mary Thoen

    Looks yummy! I’ll be trying it for sure. I remember Daddy hiding Russell Stover chocolate patties from Mom in the piano 🙂 Reply · 13 June, 2014

    • Letty

      That’s a sweet memory. Thanks Mary! Reply · 14 June, 2014

  • This looks fabulous Letty! I love Tapioca pudding! I always make the classic vanilla so I’ll have to try your version too! Reply · 24 June, 2014

  • Letty

    Thanks for the link to your coconut milk whipped cream. I love these vegan alternatives to dairy whipped cream. Reply · 24 June, 2014

  • Liz

    The pudding looks great and I love the photo of your wonderful Catholic Daddy, may he rest in peace. Reply · 4 January, 2015

    • Letty

      thanks Ann. Yup, he was a good one, even though I didn’t know him in adulthood. He died when I was in 7th grade. Reply · 4 January, 2015

  • Dennis Halloran

    Mom used to make Tapioka for us all as a treat,
    Little Known facts about Dad
    Class President and Captain of the football team at Bismarck, ND HS in
    First two Years were at Providence College, and transferred to St Mary’s College in Oakland(before Moraga)
    Did graduate work in Boyology at Notre Dame
    Among his several jobs before USO-NCCS, he was the Director of Social Services in Orange and other counties after the Depression Reply · 18 June, 2015

  • Adela

    I have to tell you- I just made this pudding! The minut I read your recipe, the sixth pudding recipe in 20 minutes, I knew this was the one I wanted to try.

    It’s FANTASTIC! Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait for it to cool, and I couldn’t stop at sampling only one.

    DEE-liscious Reply · 25 June, 2016

    • Thanks Adela. My Dad would be proud of you!! Reply · 26 June, 2016

  • Virginia Moore

    The story of your father brought tears to my eyes How very honoring! Thank you for sharing it with us. Reply · 18 June, 2019

    • Thank you so much! I am lucky to be his daughter. Reply · 18 June, 2019

  • I love that you are offering sugar-free and dairy-free options! Reply · 20 June, 2019

    • Thanks Caron. I’m always looking to “healthify” desserts. 😉 Reply · 20 June, 2019

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