Sabudana kheer is an Indian pudding made with tapioca pearls (sago), milk, and sugar and flavored with cardamom and saffron. This vegetarian and gluten-free sweet is popular during the fasting season in India. It is thick, creamy, sweet, and absolutely delicious.
I am sharing two ways to make sabudana kheer, without soaking using Instant Pot and the traditional stovetop version (with soaking sabudana).
What is Sabudana
Sabudana (in Hindi, Marathi) is known as tapioca pearls or sago in English. It is hard, round, and white resembling white pearls.
Tapioca is the starch extracted from tapioca roots, which is then processed to form spherical pearls and hence known as tapioca pearls.
These pearls are dried and need to be soaked in water (prior to cooking) to hydrate them after which they are almost double or triple in size.
It is quite popular in India and is specially used to make sweet and savory recipes during fast.
Sabudana is not nutrient-dense but yet used during fasting. The reason being it is high in starch/ carbohydrate which helps provide energy and keeps full for longer. It is also lighter to digest and hence preferred for fasting.
This Sago Kheer Is
- sweet, rich and creamy
- extremely delicious
- made with 5 basic ingredients
- easy to make on the stovetop or Instant pot
- perfect during fasting or any occasion.
Sabudana Kheer is an easy Indian pudding made with Tapioca pearls or sago.
It is also known as sabudana payasam in South India, Sabudanyachi kheer in Marathi and sabudana ki kheer in Hindi.
Sabudana kheer recipe is very similar to the other kheer recipes where the milk is cooked until it thickens and then sabudana is added and simmered until it's cooked.
It's flavored with cardamom powder and saffron threads and sweetened with sugar. Nuts and raisins can be added to make it even richer and for texture.
This sago kheer is extremely rich, creamy, easy and so delicious!! So let's see how to make sabudana kheer!
Sabudana: also known as tapioca pearls or sago. Use good quality, fresh sabudana for the best kheer.
Milk: I prefer using whole milk for kheer as it gives a rich and creamy texture. Skim or low-fat milk can be used but the results will vary. You can also use coconut milk or almond milk to make it vegan.
Nuts and dried fruit: I like raisins, cashews, almonds, pistachios in my kheer as they add a nice crunch and texture. You can add nuts of choice or skip them too
Flavors: Like most kheer, sago kheer is also flavored with cardamom powder. You can add Saffron too but it's optional.
Sweetener: I use white granulated sugar but brown sugar works too. Alternately, Condensed milk (milkmaid) can be substituted for sugar. It makes the kheer even richer, thicker, and delicious with a touch of caramel flavor. For refined sugar-free options, use grated jaggery and chopped dates (see tips for details).
Please refer to the recipe card for exact measurements of ingredients.
Step by Step Instructions (Stove top Method)
1 - Rinse the sabudana 3-4 times till the water runs clear. Soak the tapioca in half a cup of water for 30 mins then drain and keep aside. Soak longer to reduce the cooking time.
Similarly soak the almonds in hot water for 10 mins, peel the skin off and roughly slice them along with pistachios and cashews and keep them aside with raisins.
2 - The Tapioca will swell up and double in size.
3 - In a thick-bottomed pot bring milk to a boil. Take a tablespoon or two of the hot milk in a small bowl. Add saffron threads to it and let it soak.
4 - Add the soaked and drained Tapioca to it. Stir well and cover and cook on low heat simmering until the Tapioca turns transparent and the milk thickens and reduces (approximately 45-60 mins).
Keep stirring intermittently to prevent the milk and Tapioca from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
5 - Check if the Tapioca is cooked. You should be able to mash it between thumb and index finger).
6 and 7 - Add chopped dry fruits -cashews, raisins, and almonds (reserving a few for garnishing along with pistachios), saffron soaked in milk, cardamom powder, and sugar.
8 - Mix well, simmer for another 5-10mins and the kheer is ready!!
Sabudana Kheer Instant Pot Method
I love to make sabudana kheer in Instant pot as
- Makes it an easy dump and go recipe
- Requires no babysitting and stirring and
- The best part you don't have to soak sabudana.
Yes, you read it right!! No soaking needed! You can simply rinse the sabudana well (3-4) times with water to get rid of starch and it's ready to use.
To make sabudana kheer in Instant Pot, add milk, water, and sabudana (rinsed and drained) to the instant pot and cook it on porridge mode for 8 mins (high pressure). Allow a natural pressure release.
Start saute mode and add, sugar, dry fruits, nuts, and soaked milk and saffron. Saute for 5 mins stirring continuously. Sago Kheer is ready!!
It will be a thinner consistency but will thicken as it cools and turn creamy.
Serve sabudana kheer warm or chilled garnished with some more dry fruits on top. Enjoy!!
Use good quality Tapioca to prevent an unpleasant flavor to the pudding.
Soaking sabudana helps reduce cooking time so if you have time, definitely soak. But if you are making kheer in the Instant Pot, soaking can be skipped.
Soak sabudana in hot water for 30 mins for fastening the soaking process.
This kheer has a tendency to thicken as it cools. So while serving adjust the consistency by adding water or milk to preference.
To make kheer healthier without refined sugar, use grated jaggery or finely chopped dates. Add these only after the kheer is cooked to prevent it from splitting the milk and changing the flavor.
To use jaggery, turn off the heat and then add it. Similarly, add chopped dates after the kheer is cooked.
Make sabudana kheer with condensed milk as a sweetener. It makes it even more delicious, rich and gives a caramel flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, I've had success making sabudana kheer without soaking in Instant pot. It was cooked perfectly. Just make sure to rinse sabudana well so the starch is washed off.
You can also cook in on a stovetop but the cooking time will increase. Also, the amount of milk or liquid needed will be more.
Yes, sabudana is naturally gluten-free, so it's an ideal ingredient if you or anyone in your family has an intolerance or allergy.
I like to make this dessert with whole milk, but you can easily make it vegan by using dairy-free milk like almond or even coconut milk.
This is a great make-ahead dessert. Once made, let it cool and keep it covered in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 2-3 days. It will thicken considerably. Reheat it on the stovetop by adding little milk or water to loosen it up.
More Indian Dessert Recipes
Hope you enjoy this creamy Sabudana Kheer recipe!! If you give this recipe a try, please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ in the recipe card. Thank you ❤️! You can also follow me on Facebook | Instagram to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!!
Sabudana Kheer (Tapioca Pudding)
- Rinse the sabudana 3-4 times till the water runs clear.
- Soak the tapioca in half a cup of water for 20-30 mins then drain and keep aside. Soak longer to reduce the cooking time. The Tapioca will swell up and double up (½ cup) in quantity. (Skip soaking for Instant Pot Method)
- Similarly soak the almonds in hot water for 10 mins, peel the skin off and roughly slice them along with pistachios and cashews and keep them aside with raisins.
- In a thick-bottomed pot bring milk to a boil. Take a tablespoon or two of the hot milk in a small bowl. Add saffron threads to it and let it soak.
- Add the soaked and drained Tapioca to it. Stir well and cover and cook on low heat simmering until the Tapioca turns transparent and the milk thickens and reduces (approximately 45-60 mins).
- Keep stirring intermittently to prevent the milk and Tapioca from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Check if the Tapioca is cooked. You should be able to mash it between thumb and index finger.
- Add chopped dry fruits -cashews, raisins, and almonds (reserving few for garnishing along with pistachios), saffron soaked in milk, cardamom powder, and sugar.
- Mix well, simmer for another 5-10mins and kheer is ready!!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Clean/sanitize the instant pot and all the parts thoroughly.
- In the Instant pot insert, add milk (2½ cups), water (½ cup), and sabudana(rinsed and drained, no soaking needed). Mix well.
- Close the lid and cook it on porridge mode for 8 mins (high pressure). Once it is cooked, allow a natural pressure release.
- Open the lid and start Instant Pot on saute mode.
- Add, sugar, dry fruits, nuts, and soaked milk and saffron. Saute for 5 mins stirring continuously.
- The kheer is ready, it might look thinner consistency but will thicken as it cools.
- Rich, creamy, and delicious Sabudana Kheer (Tapioca Pudding) is ready! Serve it hot or chilled garnished with some more dry fruits on top. Enjoy!!