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Did any of y’all grow up eating a rich and creamy vanilla tapioca pudding? I remember it from church potlucks…how we children would fill up red plastic drinking cups with the stuff and enjoy it to the very last bite. The base of it was almost custardy, which is why I included eggs in this recipe, like I was making a vanilla pudding. Of course if you’re following a low-glycemic eating plan, like Trim Healthy Mama, tapioca is out because of its high glycemic index (and therefore its impact on blood sugar). By happy accident, chia seeds do a great job of mimicking the texture of tapioca, so here you have it – a Vanilla Custard Chia “Tapioca”!
The chia seeds do add a slight flavor of their own (I buy mine from Aldi, but you can purchase online here as well), but nothing too distracting. The pudding is good warm, but I think it’s more traditional when refrigerated and served cold. It will thicken up in the refrigerator.
I love to heat up leftovers in the microwave for a few seconds, top with a smear of peanut butter to melt, and enjoy for breakfast! (Add some protein for a complete meal, such as some collagen in your tea or coffee.)
I used THM Super Sweet Blend to sweeten this Vanilla Custard Chia “Tapioca”…it’s my favorite versatile sweetener and does a great job in baked goods and puddings like this! If you don’t have the sweetener I used, feel free to use your favorite low-glycemic sweetener to taste. This sweetener conversion chart can help you find out how much to use, but I always recommend starting with less sweetener than you think you’ll need, then tasting and adding more in small increments until you get it just right. I personally use less sweetener than most people because that’s what my taste buds like, so feel free to taste and add more sweetener to this recipe (and all of my recipes!).
If you accidentally cook this too long and end up with scrambled eggs in your pudding, you can try using an immersion blender to blend it and smooth it out. You’ll lose some of the “tapioca” effect because you’ll be blending the chia seeds, but some texture remains and the pudding actually becomes a really nice consistency.
You could probably even use this Chocolate Custard Chia “Tapioca” recipe to make a dairy-free vanilla version if the half and half and butter in the recipe on this page keep you from enjoying it. I would just leave the cocoa powder out of the chocolate recipe and see what happens.
You may also enjoy:
Single-Serve Vanilla Chia “Tapioca” (dairy free)
Single-Serve Strawberry Chia “Tapioca” (dairy free)
As always, check out the Notes section of the recipe for extra info. Check out the links in and below the recipe to see the products I use and recommend. Some of the links included in the recipe and blog post are affiliate links, which means that if you make purchases through these links, I make a small commission (but your price doesn’t change).
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- Whisk the first section of ingredients very well in a nonstick saucepan. Whisk in the chia seeds and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the mixture just starts to bubble, whisking often, especially towards the end. Pull the pan off the heat and whisk in the Super Sweet Blend, butter, and vanilla. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. Refrigerate overnight to thicken, then enjoy!
- This "tapioca" is good warm or cold. If I heat it up for breakfast, stirring a little bit of peanut butter into it to melt is super yummy. (Add some extra protein, such as collagen in your coffee or tea, to make it a meal.)
- TIP: If you accidentally cook this too long and end up with scrambled eggs in your pudding, you can try using an immersion blender to blend it and smooth it out. You'll lose some of the "tapioca" effect because you'll be blending the chia seeds, but some texture remains and the pudding actually becomes a really nice consistency.