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Overhead shot of sabudana kheer in a bowl with a spoon

Sabudana Kheer (Tapioca Pudding)

Shweta Arora
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. Here are two ways to make sabudana kheer, without soaking using Instant Pot and the traditional stovetop version (with soaking sabudana).
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Soaking time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 servings
Calories 325 kcal



  • 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 kesar
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder elaichi
  • 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. (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.

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 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!! 


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 stove and then add it. Similarly, add chopped dates (skip the sugar) 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.


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 460mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 1mg
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