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Overhead shot of sabudana kheer in a bowl with a spoon

Sabudana Kheer Recipe

Shweta Arora
Sabudana kheer is an Indian pudding made with three basic ingredients tapioca pearls/sago, milk, and sugar and flavored with cardamom and saffron. This vegetarian and gluten-free dessert is popular during the fasting season in India and can be made on the stovetop and Instant pot.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Soaking time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 servings


  • ¼ cup Sabudana tapioca pearls, sago
  • ½ cup water for soaking the Sabudana
  • 3 cups whole milk or use milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 7-8 cashews
  • 7-8 almonds
  • 4-5 pistachios shelled
  • pinch saffron
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup sugar Adjust to taste


Prep work:

  • 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. (soaking can be skipped for Instant Pot)
  • 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.

Stovetop Instructions:

  • 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 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!! 


  • Use good quality and fresh sabudana or else it may leave an unpleasant flavor to the pudding. 
  • To reduce the cooking time, soak sabudana in hot water for 30 mins.
  • This kheer has a tendency to thicken as it cools. So while serving adjust the consistency by adding water or milk to preference. 
  • For refined free sugar option, 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.
  • Make sabudana kheer with condensed milk as a sweetener. It makes it even more delicious rich and gives a caramel flavor.
  • If using Instant pot, you can skip soaking the sabudana. 
  • In Instant Pot cooking, use a combination of water and milk mentioned as using milk only can sometimes cause the burn error. 
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