Can you eat tapioca pearls?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat tapioca pearls?” and discuss how you can use them?

Can you eat tapioca pearls?

Yes, you can eat tapioca pearls. Natural gluten-free flour may be made from them, and boiling them softens them and makes them simple to eat. If you don’t add them to your pudding or soak them in sugar syrup, they taste like nothing.

Starch balls made from cassava roots, known as tapioca pearls, originate in Southeast Asia. Now, tapioca pearls are gaining worldwide appeal. Starch balls with various flavors, sizes, and shapes may be found in packs of five to ten.

Tapioca pearls are pearls formed in spherical shape and are a mixture of gelatinized and un-gelatinized starch produced by heat-moisture treatment. Even though there is no standardized procedure in making tapioca pearls, the current methods in practice have some common steps, which can be generalized as, moistening the starch up to 50% moisture and then giving a mechanical shaking to form sphere shapes. The spherical shaped starch is then undergone with a two-step heating where it is roasted in a rotary dryer at about 200-300°C and then cooled and again undergoes a secondary drying of 50-60°C before packing. The final product is a fine pearl, which is fragile when given a little force. And when the product is cooked, it acquires a transparent, chewy, gel like nature (2).

Your preferred seasonings may be added to the tapioca pearls to create the appropriate color and texture. It’s also a good idea to soak the tapioca balls in a sugar syrup to keep them fresh and enhance their taste.

China is the world leading importer of cassava products, importing an estimated 9.5 million tonnes of flour and starch and also accounted for 63% world share of cassava import value in 2017. African countries were not among the leading importing and exporting countries while Asia led both the import and export cassava market with 72% and 73% contributions respectively (1).

Is Eating Tapioca Pearls Bad?

No. Pure starch, tapioca pearls may be chewed and eaten raw, even though they have no flavor. A sugar syrup soak makes the balls easy to eat, and they’re also a fantastic source of energy. According to studies, tapioca pearls contain 1.43% protein, 0.96% fat, 0.2% fiber and 79.35% carbohydrates (2).

In comparison to other grains, they are deficient in protein and important elements. Tapioca pearls may be added to a variety of recipes to boost their nutritional value. Tapioca pearls that have been improperly processed might be harmful to your health. Consuming cassava products may induce cyanide poisoning since they are poisonous. Hydrogen cyanide will reduce the energy availability in all cells, but its effect will be most immediate on the respiratory system and heart (3).

Symptoms might be life-threatening in certain circumstances. However, studies show that cyanide content of the raw cassava is reduced to a safe level by the processing steps involved in the production of the tapioca pearl (2). The high carbohydrate content of tapioca pearls may potentially cause allergic reactions in certain individuals, as well as be dangerous for those with diabetes. Cassava flour was found to have a high glycemic index in a study. High GI food consumption is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (4).

Why Do You Need to Eat Tapioca Pearls?

Gluten-free tapioca pearls are a healthy choice for those with gluten-related medical conditions. With the addition of other flours like coconut and almond, they are a great substitute for corn-based goods and even better when mixed with other flours like almond and coconut.

By lowering inflammation and dangerous bacteria, resistant starch found in tapioca pearls helps keep your gut healthy. Additionally, the addition of tapioca balls boosts your metabolism and energy levels. Resistant starch (RS) fraction passes on to the colon, where it is fermented by the microorganisms producing mainly short chain fatty acids (SCFA). Due to this fact, RS has functional properties and positive effects on diabetes, some kinds of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, colonic health, obesity, and osteoporosis (5).

To help you gain weight, tapioca pearls are your best choice. A serving of tapioca pudding has enough calories and no cholesterol to help you gain weight in a healthy way.

However, what are the health advantages of tapioca pearls? There are several health benefits of tapioca, including its ability to keep your digestive system free of dangerous germs and inflammation.

Tapioca pearls may be used in a variety of ways.

You may be wondering what to do with those tapioca pearls you saw on Amazon or at your local shop. When used in dishes, tapioca pearls not only taste great, but they’re also good for you. Here are some ideas for creative uses for your tapioca..

Tapioca pearls may be used as a thickening ingredient in sauces and soups because of their neutral taste and thickening capability.

It’s no longer necessary to produce a dreary pudding. Tapioca pearls may be used in puddings, sweets, and even snacks because of their delicate texture and pearl-like appearance. It’s also worth trying bubble tea since it’ll make you joyful and rejuvenated.

Grain-free bread may be made by combining tapioca pearls with other flours, such as almonds. Tapioca pearls, used to produce flatbread, may also be used to spice up breakfast and supper. Topping your flatbread with your favorite ingredients is always a good idea.

Soggy bread, on the other hand, is the definition of a binding agent. Tapioca bread improves the texture of the dough and holds in moisture, preventing it from becoming soggy. This means that you may include it in your hamburgers, pizza, and chicken nuggets.

Tapioca pearls may be incorporated in bubble tea, also called the Boba (Bubble in Chinese) tea is a Milk tea beverage. Usually Bubble tea is served in a cup and drunk with a large straw, where the tapioca pearls are slurped up, while the tea is sipped (2).

Tapioca Pearls: How Do You Keep Them Safe?

Tapioca pearls provide sauces, soups, and beverages like iced tea, smoothies, and even bubble tea with a chewy texture and taste. As a result, appropriate storage is essential if you want to keep your foods fresh and flavorful. 

Store-bought tapioca pearls in sealed containers are the most common source of uncooked tapioca pearls. Freshness may be maintained for months in your pantry area. The shelf life strongly depends on the initial microbial count of the processed product, on the packaging material and storage conditions. According to studies, the average estimated shelf life of tapioca flour packed in LDPE polyethylene bags was in the range of 3-4 months at ambient temperature (6). Make careful to remove all the air from the plastic bag before storing leftover uncooked pearls for a minimum of 2-3 days.

To get the greatest results and taste, consume your cooked tapioca pearls within a few hours after preparing them, and store uncooked leftovers in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 days.

To learn more about eating tapioca pearls click here


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat tapioca pearls?” and we discussed how you can use them?


  1. Otekunrin, Olutosin A., and Barbara Sawicka. Cassava, a 21st century staple crop: How can Nigeria harness its enormous trade potentials. Acta Scient Agric, 2019, 3, 194-202.
  2. Bulathgama, Ashani Uthpala, et al. Development of Commercial Tapioca Pearls used in Bubble Tea by Microwave Heat–Moisture Treatment in Cassava Starch Modification. Euro J Eng Technol Res, 2020, 5, 103-106.
  3. Thakur, Abhishek, Vishal Sharma, and Aayushee Thakur. An overview of anti-nutritional factors in food. Int. J. Chem. Stud, 2019, 7, 2472-2479.
  4. Fasanmade, Adesoji Adedipe, and Magnus Michael Chukwudike Anyakudo. Glycemic indices of selected Nigerian flour meal products in male type 2 diabetic subjects. Diabetologia croatica, 2007, 36, 33-38.
  5. Pereira, Bruna Letícia Buzati, and Magali Leonel. Resistant starch in cassava products. Food Sci Technol, 2014, 34, 298-302.
  6. Lestari, Dianika, Elvina Yessica, and M. T. A. P. Kresnowati. Shelf-life evaluation of packaged fermented cassava flour. Bandung Institute of Technology, 2019.

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