Coconut Tapioca (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Coconut Tapioca (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Tapioca Ingredients:

  • 1 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon, cut in halves
  • 3-star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 thumbnail piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 gallon of water

Coconut Water Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean (open the beans and scrape them in a small bowl with ½ cup water) or 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 oz. anise-flavored liqueur (such as Pernod) or Grand Marnier
  • 1 lime, first zested and then juiced, save in a bowl


  1. In a large pot, add 4 cups of water, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, and cloves. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. The water will become slightly brown and infused with spices. Strain out the spices with a metal strainer and discard the spices. Keep the brown water in the pot.
  2. In the meantime, add coconut milk, water, vanilla bean, and sugar to another large stockpot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to a low, simmer, and stir for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the pot on the side.
  3. Add tapioca to the spice water, bring to a boil, and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer and stir for about 7-10 minutes until the tapioca is almost translucent.
  4. Using a fine-mesh skimmer, transfer all of the cooked tapioca into the warm coconut water and stir until all the tapioca is separated. Set the pot to the side until it cools.
  5. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and star anise liqueur. Transfer into a large glass container and refrigerated. The coconut tapioca will keep refrigerated for up to one week.
  6. Serve chilled. Topped with berries, mango, kiwi, or other fresh fruit. If the coconut tapioca is too thick, it can be diluted with natural unsweetened coconut water.

A note from the Chef:

Cooking the tapioca pearls in spice water will add more depth to flavor the tapioca.

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