How many calories in a small serving of tapioca pudding?

Quick Answer

A small serving of tapioca pudding contains around 150-200 calories. The exact calorie count depends on the specific ingredients and preparation methods, but a typical 1/2 cup serving of commercially made tapioca pudding provides 150-170 calories. Homemade tapioca pudding can range from 170-200 calories per 1/2 cup serving.

Calories in Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding is a sweet, creamy pudding made from tapioca pearls or starch extracted from the cassava root. It’s a classic dessert in many cultures and available pre-made or homemade.

The main calories in tapioca pudding come from:

  • Tapioca pearls or starch – Provides carbohydrates and calories.
  • Milk or cream – Contributes fat, protein and lactose sugars.
  • Sugar – Adds sweetness along with carbohydrates and calories.
  • Eggs – Provide some protein and fat.
  • Flavorings like vanilla or cocoa – Extra calories in the form of sugars or fats.

By adjusting the amounts of these high-calorie ingredients, the calories per serving can vary significantly.

Calories in Commercial Tapioca Pudding

Pre-made or store-bought tapioca pudding often has around 150-170 calories per 1/2 cup serving.

For example:

Brand Serving Size Calories
Jell-O Instant Tapioca Pudding 1/2 cup (123g) 160
Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding 1/2 cup (122g) 170
Trader Joe’s Tapioca Pudding 1/2 cup (125g) 150

As you can see, the calories are very consistent across different brands when comparing the same 1/2 cup serving size.

This calorie count is typical for commercially made tapioca puddings because they follow a similar recipe of:

  • Milk – usually low fat or fat free
  • Sugar – around 15-20g per serving
  • Tapioca starch – 2-3 tablespoons per serving
  • Egg yolks – 1-2 per serving
  • Vanilla – 1-2 tsp per serving

This combination provides around 150-170 calories per average 1/2 cup serving.

Calories in Homemade Tapioca Pudding

Homemade tapioca pudding can have slightly higher calories, ranging from 170-200 calories per 1/2 cup serving.

This is because homemade recipes tend to include:

  • Whole milk or cream instead of low-fat milk
  • More egg yolks as thickener
  • Higher amounts of sugar
  • Additional ingredients like coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk

For example, here is the nutrition information for two homemade tapioca pudding recipes:

Recipe Serving Size Calories
Classic Tapioca Pudding 1/2 cup 179
Baked Coconut Tapioca Pudding 1/2 cup 205

As you can see, calories are a bit higher due to higher fat and sugar content. But even with “decadent” recipes, a 1/2 cup serving still provides under 210 calories in most cases.

Factors Affecting Calories in Tapioca Pudding

Several factors impact the calories per serving of tapioca pudding:

Milk or Cream Used

The type of milk or cream makes a significant difference:

  • Nonfat or low-fat milk – Around 80-100 calories per cup
  • Whole milk – About 150 calories per cup
  • Full fat coconut milk – 230 calories per cup
  • Heavy cream – Over 800 calories per cup!

Choosing lower fat dairy leads to reduced calories per serving.

Added Sugars

Most recipes call for at least 1/3 to 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar. Since sugar provides 16 calories per teaspoon, more sugar equals higher calories.

Some recipes boost the sweetness further with sweetened condensed milk, adding additional sugar and fat.

Opting for less sugar by starting with smaller amounts and adjusting to taste can lower the calorie density.

Number of Egg Yolks

Whole eggs help thicken and enrich tapioca pudding. Each egg yolk provides about 55 calories, so recipes with 2-3 yolks per serving contribute extra fat and calories.

Using fewer egg yolks or swapping the yolks for whites reduces calories while still providing thickness.

Starch Source

The amount of tapioca starch or pearls used impacts calorie totals slightly. More tapioca equals more calories from carbohydrates.

But because tapioca is over 85% water by weight, this effect is minor. The milk, sugar and eggs end up contributing many more calories overall.

Serving Size

Obviously the serving size greatly changes the calorie count. A typical serving of tapioca pudding is 1/2 cup. Consuming a full cup would double the calories.

Similarly, snacking directly from the bowl instead of portioning into servings makes it easy to overeat. Use a measuring cup for accuracy.

Mix-ins and Toppings

Mix-ins like chocolate chips, crushed cookies or dried fruit add extra calories on top of the base pudding.

Rich toppings like whipped cream, caramel or fudge sauce also pile on additional fat and sugars. Go light on these extras to control calories.

Tips for Light Tapioca Pudding

Here are some tips to lighten tapioca pudding and lower the calorie density:

  • Use nonfat or low fat milk as the base.
  • Reduce the amount of added sugar.
  • Use fewer egg yolks or swap some yolks for whites.
  • Flavor with extracts like vanilla instead of sugary toppings.
  • Skip the chocolate chips, roasted nuts or other calorie-dense mix-ins.
  • Enjoy a measured 1/2 cup portion to control serving size.
  • Substitute cooked tapioca pearls for some of the starch.

With smart substitutions and smaller portions, you can still enjoy tapioca pudding without overdoing the calories.

Nutritional Profile of Tapioca Pudding

In addition to calories from carbohydrates and fats, tapioca pudding provides a range of other nutrients:

  • Protein – From milk, eggs, and a small amount from the tapioca. Around 5-10g per serving.
  • Fat – Mostly from the dairy ingredients. Varies based on the type of milk used.
  • Carbs – Around 30-40g carbs per serving, mainly from the tapioca starch and added sugar.
  • Fiber – Minimal amounts from the tapioca pearls. Less than 1g per serving.
  • Calcium – Around 15-20% of the RDI per serving thanks to the milk.
  • Iron – 5-10% of the RDI; more if made with enriched flour.
  • Potassium – Around 5-10% of the RDI.

So while not high in fiber or micronutrients, tapioca pudding does provide protein, calcium and other nutrients.

Calorie Density of Tapioca Pudding

In terms of calories per gram, tapioca pudding has a moderate calorie density compared to other desserts.

For example, chocolate pudding contains about 1.6 calories per gram. Tapioca pudding has around 1.3 calories per gram.

By comparison, the average calorie density for common desserts include:

Dessert Calories per Gram
Brownies 4.5
Ice cream 2.5
Cake 3.5
Cheesecake 2.7
Tapioca Pudding 1.3

So tapioca pudding is relatively low in calorie density compared to most other dessert options.

Health Benefits of Tapioca Pudding

In moderation, tapioca pudding can be part of a healthy diet. Potential benefits include:

  • Low Glycemic Index – Around 54 GI, which is lower than many other desserts. Less impact on blood sugar.
  • Provides Protein – Between 5-10g from the milk and eggs.
  • Contains Calcium – 15-20% RDI per serving thanks to the dairy.
  • Naturally Gluten-free – Safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
  • Plant-based and Vegan options – Can be made with plant milks and egg substitutes.
  • Versatile texture – Soft, creamy and pleasantly thick.

Tapioca also provides a sense of fullness thanks to the soluble fiber from tapioca starch and protein from the dairy ingredients.

Just keep portion sizes in check and avoid excessive toppings to keep calories reasonable.

Weight Loss Friendly Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding can be part of a weight loss diet when prepared with smart substitutions:

  • Use nonfat milk and limit cream or coconut milk.
  • Reduce the amount of added sugar or use zero-calorie sweetener.
  • Cut back on egg yolks and use more whites for thickness.
  • Skip calorie-dense mix-ins and toppings.
  • Portion into a 1/2 cup serving and don’t go back for seconds.
  • Enjoy as an occasional treat within daily calorie goals.

This provides around 120-150 calories per serving, allowing it to fit into most weight loss meal plans.

Be sure to account for the calories and limit other sweets and high-fat foods that day. Enjoy in moderation as part of an overall healthy, portion-controlled diet.

Easy Low Calorie Tapioca Pudding Recipe

This simple recipe cuts calories by using low-fat milk, less sugar, and skipping egg yolks.


  • 2 cups skim or lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar or sugar substitute
  • 3 tablespoons small pearl tapioca
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Combine tapioca and milk in a saucepan. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Once simmering, cook for 15 minutes, continuing to stir often.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, egg whites, vanilla and salt.
  5. Transfer pudding to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until chilled and set.
  6. Enjoy a 1/2 cup portion.

This makes 4 servings at 130 calories each. Perfect for a guilt-free sweet treat!


Tapioca pudding can provide 150-200 calories per typical 1/2 cup serving. Exact counts vary based on ingredients and preparation methods. Commercially made puddings contain around 150-170 calories thanks to using lowfat dairy and reasonable sugar levels. Homemade puddings tend to be slightly higher in calories at 170-200 per serving when including whole milk, cream or more egg yolks. Still, tapioca pudding is relatively low in calorie density compared to many other desserts. When prepared with simple substitutions to lower fat and sugar content, and eaten in moderation, tapioca pudding can be part of a healthy diet or weight loss plan.

Leave a Comment