Vegan Sago Pudding

Vegan Sago Pudding

Vegan Sago Pudding

If you have never heard of sago pudding, I don’t blame you. It’s very much a South African dessert. One can find various kinds of desserts containing sago in some Asian counties. Vegan sago pudding is uncommon since this traditional dessert is made with milk and egg.

What is sago?

Sago is made from the pith of palm trees and looks like small white pearls. Sago is often confused with tapioca pearls which are made from cassava root and are slightly bigger. Tapioca pearls are used in bubble tea.

While I couldn’t find sago in a local store, I did manage to get my hands on tapioca and so this recipe is made with tapioca pearls. It was delicious none the less but for a more traditional pudding, I would use sago pearls. Amazon sells them.

Vegan Sago Pudding

An individual touch

Everyone who ever made me sago pudding had their own way of doing it. My Ouma (grandma) baked sago, as did my dad and my mom did a stovetop sago pudding. Don’t tell anyone but I liked my mom’s best. Her way of cooking the sago was fast and always delicious unless she got distracted and burned it…. you know kitchen ‘fails happen!

It’s possible to make a vegan version

There are countless sago recipes out there. Everyone has an individual touch. While a traditional recipe contains eggs to add a richness I managed to make this vegan version and still end up with a rich creamy result. It’s always my goal to make all my favorites vegan and this recipe didn’t disappoint.

Vegan Sago Pudding
South African sage pudding recipe

What does sago pudding taste like?

Sago by itself has no taste. Adding milk, a sweetener and cinnamon to the sago turn this into a delicious dessert. It’s creamy, sweet and cinnamon flavored. It’s a great budget friendly dessert as it requires very few ingreidnts and effort.

Soaking the pearls

It’s important to soak the sage or tapioca pearls before using them. My mom soaks hers in milk overnight or for a few hours. I soaked my tapioca pearls in water overnight and drained them before using. If you don’t soak them, they take FOREVER to cook.

Easy Stove-top sago pudding

You only need one pot for this pudding. You could even try this in an Instapot. It gets more simple, you only need 6 ingredients and to follow these 5 easy steps:

  1. Soak the sago or tapioca for at least 4 hours.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a pot except for the coconut milk. (For a richer pudding add 1/2 the coconut milk into the cooked product at the end but I felt garnishing with some coconut milk was enough).
  3. On medium heat, stir frequently and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce heat and cook until the pearls are translucent.
  5. Serve and garnish with coconut milk.

This vegan sago pudding is:

  • Creamy
  • Sweet
  • Cinnamon flavored
  • Stovetop easy
  • High in Manganese and Calcium
  • Contains 5.6g protein per serving
  • Perfect warm dessert

If you’re enjoying these South African recipes, be sure to let me know and check out these other favorites too: Vegan crunchies and vegan rusks

Vegan Sago Pudding

Vegan Sago Pudding

A 6 ingredient creamy and cinnamon dessert loved by South Africans.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Soaking time 4 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine South African
Servings 4 people
Calories 325 kcal


  • Pot or Instapot


  • 1 cup sago or tapoioca pearls
  • 3 cups oat milk or plant milk of choice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp Agave or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 can coconut milk for garnishing


  • Soak sago or tapioca pearls for 4hours or overnight in water or milk. I used water. If you use milk you can cook in that milk so you don't have waste.
  • On medium heat add the sago, milk, sweetener, salt, cinnamon stick, cinnamon and stir frequently until it comes to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes still stirring frequently.
  • Once pearls are clear the dessert is ready. Serve and garnish with extra cinnamon and coconut milk.


Stir frequently to avoid the pudding burning at the bottom. 
Calories based on 4 servings per recipe. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up for 3 days. Reheat with some added milk. 
For creamier sago add the remaining 1/2 can coconut milk to the sage and stir through before serving. This will result in a stronger coconut tasting pudding. 
Keyword Dairy-free sago pudding, egg-free sago pudding, Sago pudding recipe, South African dessert recipes, South African desserts, South AFrican vegan desserts, Vegan sago pudding, vegan sago pudding recipe
South African Sago Pudding

Let me know if you give this recipe a try by rating them below and sharing on instagram. Tag me @the_hungry_herbivore

Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Xoxo Amy

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