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Thickening Pies with Types of Tapioca

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2011

Can pearl tapioca, Minute tapioca, and tapioca flour be used interchangeably?

In the test kitchen, we usually turn to Minute tapioca to thicken our fruit pies. Coarsely ground and precooked, it dissolves easily during baking, especially after it has been pulverized in a spice grinder. To see how other types of tapioca stack up, we weighed tapioca flour and ground pearl tapioca to match the 19-gram weight of 2 tablespoons of Minute tapioca and used them in our Sweet Cherry Pie. Both products produced great results, the only minor difference being that the pearl tapioca left minuscule gelatinous spheres in the filling.

The bottom line: While we still prefer to use finely ground Minute tapioca because it’s easy to find, other tapioca products can be substituted.