Creamy, luscious, and delicious, Sabudana Kheer (Sago Kheer, Indian Tapioca Pudding) is an Indian dessert made using sago pearls, milk, and sugar. Make it over the stovetop or in an instant pot using my simple recipe (vegetarian, gluten-free).
Check out my other tried and tested Indian Dessert Recipes to make for festivals or special occasions.
About Sabudana Kheer
Sabudana Kheer (Sago Kheer) is an Indian dessert made using sago pearls (sabudana, tapioca pearls) and milk.
It is a great dessert to make for festivals, special occasions, or vrat (Hindu fasting days).
This Indian sago pudding is rich and creamy in texture and comes together in 30 minutes using simple ingredients.
It is gluten-free and can be easily made vegan too.
Sabudana is a very popular ingredient in India. It is called Javvarisi in Tamil, Sabakki in Kannada, Sagubiyyam in Telugu, and Sabudana in Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi.
It is also called tapioca pearls as it is made from the roots of Tapioca or Cassava.
Rich in starch, it is basically processed food.
Sabudana is high in carbs and starch and very low in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is generally cooked with other nutritious ingredients to balance the dish.
Due to its high Instant energy, it is a favorite ingredient to use during vrat days.
It is also a great ingredient to use in summer as it cools downs and maintains the internal body temperature.
You can make sago kheer in a pan over the stovetop or in an instant pot, as per your preference. I am sharing both processes in the post below.
You can easily double or triple the recipe too.
Here are some more kheer recipes that you may like
- Seviyan Kheer
- Badam Kheer
- Carrot Kheer
- Makhane Ki Kheer
- Rice Kheer
- Paneer Kheer
- Orange Kheer
- Chikoo Kheer
- Semiya Payasam
Milk – Use whole milk (full fat milk) to make sabudana kheer rich and creamy.
You can also use any plant-based milk like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk to make it vegan.
Sabudana – Sabudana (Sago Pearls) are the main ingredient of this dish. Use medium size pearls for the best result. They are easily available in any Indian grocery store or on online portals like Amazon.
Saffron – Saffron threads (kesar) are optional but they add a nice hint of yellow color along with a lovely flavor, so highly recommended.
Cardamom Powder – Flavor the kheer with ground cardamom (hari elaichi powder).
Sugar – I make this kheer using organic granulated light brown sugar. Adjust the amount of sugar as per your taste.
You can also use white sugar, dark brown sugar, powdered jaggery, coconut sugar, or date puree in place of light brown sugar.
If using jaggery, add it only after removing the pan from the heat. When added to a very hot kheer, jaggery can curdle it.
How To Make Sabudana Kheer Over Stovetop
Rinse ½ cup sabudana with water.
Note – Unlike the sabudana khichdi recipe where you have to rinse sabudana many times to get rid of the excess starch, sabudana kheer recipe requires you to wash it just once. We want the starch to make the kheer creamy and luscious.
Soak sabudana in ½ cup water for 4-5 hours.
Tip – If you have forgotten to soak the sabudana beforehand, then soak it in boiling hot water for 30 minutes.
Heat 1-liter whole milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to prevent scorching at the bottom of the pan.
When the milk comes to a boil, stir in the soaked sabudana along with 15-20 saffron strands.
Note – Never add the sabudana to the pan before the milk comes to a rolling boil. Doing so might curdle the milk.
Reduce the heat to low and cook the kheer until it gets thick and the sabudana is cooked well (Approx 40-60 minutes).
The consistency of the ready kheer should be flowy like custard. Stir very frequently while cooking.
Post-cooking, sabudana pearls must be soft, slightly sticky, and translucent. There shouldn’t be any bite in them.
Note – Keep in mind that the kheer will thicken considerably as it cools down.
Stir in ¼ cup of granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Check for sugar and add more if you like the kheer sweeter.
Garnish with slivered almonds & pistachios and dried rose petals and serve sago kheer hot or chilled.
Note – If serving the kheer chilled, cover the pan with a tight lid or cling wrap to prevent the cream layer from forming on top.
How To Make Sabudana Kheer In An Instant Pot
Rinse ½ cup sabudana with water and soak it in ½ cup water for 4-5 hours.
Add the soaked sabudana, ½ cup water, and 15-20 strands of saffron to the instant pot and stir gently.
Tip – Never pressure cook the sabudana with milk. The milk might curdle while cooking and it will spoil the kheer.
Secure the lid of the instant pot and set the valve to the sealing position.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 6 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE.
The instant pot will take some time to build the pressure and start the timer (10-12 minutes).
Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Release the remaining pressure manually by moving the valve to the venting position. Use a spoon to move the valve.
Once the pressure is released, open the lid of the pot and stir once.
Add ½ liter whole milk to the pot and cook until the kheer thickens (12-15 minutes). Stir frequently to avoid the kheer from scorching.
Stir in ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and cook for another minute.
Check for sugar and add more if you like it sweeter.
Garnish with slivered almonds & pistachios and dried rose petals and serve sabudana kheer hot or chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can feed it to kids above 1 year of age. Sabudana has cooling properties, so this kheer is a great option to feed kids in summer. Avoid giving it to kids if they are suffering from constipation.
Cook the sabudana in water instead of milk. Once it is cooked, add mashed dates to sweeten the kheer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Cool and add breastmilk or formula and mix well.
If your kid likes smooth food, then blend the cooled kheer in a blender.
You can also add coconut milk or regular milk at the end and boil it for 2-3 minutes. You can also add carrot or apple puree to the cooled kheer.
To make the kheer even more nutritious, add some almond and cashew nut paste to it.
You can make sabudane ki kheer without soaking the sabudana; just that it will take more time to cook. The other alternative is to cook the sabudana with some water in a pressure cooker or an instant pot. Then add milk to the cooked sabudana and cook until the kheer thickens.
You can substitute the sugar with jaggery. Cook the kheer as mentioned in the recipe. Once it is cooked completely, remove the pan from the heat and add crushed or powdered jaggery. Mix well until the jaggery is melted.
Add jaggery to the kheer only when it is slightly cooled, otherwise, it can curdle the milk.
Cook the sabudana in milk until they are tender. Add ½ tin of sweetened condensed milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Do not add any extra sugar as the condensed milk is quite sweet by itself.
To make it vegan, cook the sabudana in water until they are softened. Now add almond or coconut milk and heat on low heat until the milk just starts to boil. Switch off the heat and garnish with slivered nuts. Serve warm or chilled. Do not boil the vegan milk otherwise, it may curdle.
Add other dried nuts apart from almonds and pistachios. Walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts are some options.
You can also add dried fruits like figs, raisins, cranberries, etc.
You can flavor sago kheer with fruit purees like mango puree, strawberry puree, or chikoo puree. Add the fruit puree to the cooked and cooled kheer.
You can also add grated bottle gourd (lauki) or carrots to this kheer along with sabudana.
Flavor the cooked and cooled kheer with rose syrup and gulkand (rose jam) for a rose-flavored sabudana kheer.
You can also add some thandai powder to it for a thandai flavored sabudane ki kheer.
You can also flavor the kheer with some rose water, screw pine water (kewra), orange blossom water, or vanilla extract.
Sabudana Kheer will last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.
You can serve it chilled or heat it in a pan or microwave until nice and warm.
If the kheer has thickened too much post-storage, add some milk to it and mix well before serving.
Do not freeze this kheer. It might curdle when thawed.
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Sabudana Kheer Recipe (Sago Kheer)
- ½ cup medium size sabudana (sago, tapioca pearls)
- ½ cup water (for soaking)
- 1 litre whole milk (full-fat milk)
- 15-20 strands saffron (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (elaichi powder)
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar (or to taste)
- Rinse sabudana with water.
- Note – Unlike the sabudana khichdi recipe where you have to rinse sabudana many times to get rid of the excess starch, sabudana kheer recipe requires you to wash it just once. We want the starch to make the kheer creamy and luscious.
- Soak it in ½ cup water for 4-5 hours.
- Tip – If you have forgotten to soak the sabudana beforehand, then soak it in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. It will be ready to use.
- Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
- When the milk comes to a boil, stir in the soaked sabudana along with saffron strands.
- Note – Never add the sabudana to the pan before the milk comes to a rolling boil. Doing so might curdle the milk.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook the kheer until it gets thick and the sabudana is cooked well (Approx 40-60 minutes).
- The consistency of the kheer should be flowy like custard. Keep stirring very frequently while cooking.
- Post cooking, sabudana pearls must be soft, slightly sticky, and translucent. There shouldn’t be any bite in them.
- Note – Keep in mind that the kheer will thicken considerably as it cools down.
- Stir in sugar and cardamom powder and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Check for sugar and add more if you like it sweeter.
- Garnish with slivered almonds & pistachios and dried rose petals and serve hot or chilled.