Iced Coconut Cream with Tapioca Pearls Gluten-Free Recipe

An exotic cross between tapioca pudding and sweetened iced coconut milk, this refreshing gluten free dessert from the team behind San Francisco’s Burma Superstar restaurant is unusual, approachable, and totally captivating. Reducing the coconut milk into a cream and then reconstituting it helps keep the coconut milk from separating. While granulated sugar works fine, palm sugar, available at Asian markets, adds a subtle caramel taste to the dessert. If you buy it, look for light-colored pure Thai palm sugar, which comes in 3-inch rounds. Two rounds is the perfect quantity for the syrup.

Iced Coconut Cream with Tapioca Pearls Gluten-Free Recipe

Servings 6
Calories 236 kcal
Author Kate Leahy


  • 1/2 cup (2 rounds) palm sugar or granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, or 15 grams chopped palm sugar
  • 2 (13.5-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup tapioca pearls (regular white, not the big pearls used for bubble tea)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ice cubes, for serving


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly, 6 to 10 minutes. Once cooled, the syrup should be able to lightly coat a spoon. Set aside.

  2. In a medium high-sided saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk and the 2 tablespoons sugar. Be careful because the milk might start to splatter as it heats. Once the milk starts bubbling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the coconut milk has been reduced by a quarter or third. Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, to chill thoroughly, about 40 minutes.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add the tapioca and salt, return the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often to prevent the tapioca from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the grains are nearly clear, 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit 5 minutes to continue to absorb water until completely clear. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup and pour into a heatproof glass bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. To serve, add ice cubes to six large glasses. Generously spoon in some of the tapioca. Stir the coconut cream, pour enough over the ice and tapioca to coat, then drizzle the sugar syrup on top as desired. Serve with spoons.
Nutrition Facts
Iced Coconut Cream with Tapioca Pearls Gluten-Free Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Sodium 36mg2%
Potassium 168mg5%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 1.8mg2%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Photography John Lee

2 Comments on “Iced Coconut Cream with Tapioca Pearls Gluten-Free Recipe”

  1. If I subscribe to your magazine why do I have to pay to subscribe to you on line?

  2. Hello, Janet! We only have a digital publication; we do not have a print magazine. Perhaps you are confusing us with someone else?

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