Sabudana kheer is a creamy, delicious & thick Indian pudding made with tapioca pearls, milk, sweetener & cardamoms. Tapioca pearls are known as Sabudana in Hindi & Kheer is an Indian pudding. Sabudana also known as sago is often used in Indian cooking to make various dishes like porridge, kheer, khichdi & vada. These pearl like white balls are made from tapioca root also known as cassava. They are more popularly known as sago in many Asian Countries.
In Tamil they are called as Javvarisi, in Telugu sagubiyyam, in Kannada sabakki and in Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi they are known as sabudana.
Sabudana is a processed food and is a pure starch. They are not nutrient rich except for the high carbohydrates. They are very low in protein, vitamins & minerals. Hence they are combined with nutritious ingredients and cooked.
In India sabudana is widely used as a fasting food as it boosts energy instantly. This sabudana kheer is one such dish mostly made during religious fastings. Sabudana Khichdi and Sabudana Vada are 2 other dishes made during Hindu fastings.
Sabudana kheer is a great summer food too & can be served as a chilled dessert or breakfast on a hot day. It is believed to reduce the body heat and balance the body temperature. It is also given to babies and toddlers to boost energy. If you are looking for ideas to feed sabudana to your baby then you can check here how to feed sabudana to your baby.
About Sabudana Kheer
Sabudana kheer is simply made by simmering sago in water until the balls turn transparent and are cooked through. They are later simmered in milk until thick. Lastly the kheer is sweetened with sugar or jaggery and then flavored with cardamom powder.
It is served either warm or chilled with a garnish of plenty of toasted or ghee fried nuts. While the traditional sabudana kheer is made with whole milk (full fat milk) it can also be made with any kind of milk including vegan alternates like Almond milk or coconut milk.
To make sabudana kheer you can use any healthy sweetener like jaggery, palm jaggery or stevia etc. If using jaggery then make sure you turn off the stove & cool down the kheer slightly before adding it.
How to Make Sabudana Kheer (Stepwise Photos)
1. Rinse ¼ cup sabudana very well at least twice. Then pour 1 cup water and begin to cook stirring often to prevent burning. You can also soak the sabudana first in hot water for 30 mins to overnight to reduce the cook time. Refrigerate soaked & drained sabudana in the fridge for up to 2 days so you can cook anytime easily.
2. When the sabudana turns transparent check if they are cooked through. You can bite a few and check. They should not be hard or chewy. All of the pearls look transparent this is the first sign they are well cooked. Pour 1 cup milk and mix.
3. Continue to cook until they turn completely soft and light. The mixture also turns thick & looks starchy. Then add 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder.
4. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar. I used brown sugar. You can also use jaggery. If you add jaggery to the boiling kheer it will curdle. So to use jaggery turn off the stove, cool down a bit & add the grated jaggery. Or make a jaggery syrup following the recipe notes and cool it completely. Then add it here. If using jaggery to kheer, you should never cook it further after adding it to avoid curdling.
5. Since I used sugar I boiled until the sabudana kheer turned thick. It will thicken further upon cooling so turn off when it is of pouring yet thick consistency.
Serve sabudana kheer chilled or warm. Garnish with chopped nuts and saffron if you desire.
- Soaking sabudana for 30 mins in hot water will cut down the cook time.
- Sabudana gets cooked faster in water than in milk so I cook them first in water until transparent then add milk.
- To make this kheer more richer and delicious, blend 10 to 12 blanched almonds, 1 pinch of saffron with half cup milk until smooth. Then pour it to the kheer towards the end. Simmer just for a few minutes.
- You can skip sugar completely and just add finely chopped dates to sweeten the dish. Do not cook once the dates are added as the flavor of the kheer changes.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup sabudana tapioca pearls (sago)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar or chopped dates or jaggery (refer notes)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk (use more if needed)
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1 tablespoon nuts chopped – almonds, pistas & cashews
How to Make Sabudana Kheer
- Add sabudana to a heavy bottom pot and rinse it very well.
- Pour 1 cup water and cook them until transparent stirring often. You can also soak them for few hours to reduce the cook time.
- After cooking, sabudana turns light and transparent meaning they are well cooked, they should not be hard or chewy. Add milk at this stage.
- Cook on a medium heat until the kheer turns thick.
- Add cardamom powder and sugar. Stir and cook until the sabudana kheer turns thick to your liking. If needed add more milk & simmer. It usually thickens upon cooling so turn off when it is of pouring consistency.
- Serve sabudana kheer warm or chilled. Garnish with chopped nuts. You can also fry the nuts and raisins in ghee and pour it over the kheer.
- If using dates, just add them towards the end. Cooking dates will alter the taste of the sabudana kheer. I use medjool dates as they are softer.
- You can replace sugar in the recipe with jaggery following this step: Add 1/3 cup jaggery and 3 tbsps water to a small pot. Heat it till it melts. Pour it to a strainer and filter to remove impurities. Cook till the syrup thickens. Cool this completely. Turn off the stove when the sabudana is cooked. Then add the jaggery to the kheer otherwise the sabudana kheer will curdle.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Sabudana kheer recipe was originally published in April 2012. Updated May 2019 with new images.
Sabudana is cooling to the body so it is ideal to feed your baby during summers. We usually feed sabudana when the baby has a tummy upset or during teething.
Avoid it if your baby is suffering from constipation. Also avoid sugar and salt until your baby is one year old.
You can also add a piece of carrot to the sabudana kheer. Just blend the carrot with water or milk until smooth. When the sabudana is cooked pour the carrot puree and cook until you get the smell of cooked carrots.
Here are the 3 different ways I have followed to make sabudana kheer for my babies. As the baby grows move to the next method.
1. Sabudana powder (for 8+ months)
- Rinse sadubana well in water. Drain in a colander. Dry on a clean white cloth until completely dry.
- Then dry roast it well on a low flame. Cool and make a fine powder & dry again.
- Sieve if needed and store it in an air tight jar in the fridge.
- Use a teaspoon of this for every ¾ cup water. Cook until it turns slightly thick. Cool and feed. You can also add milk.
2. Sabudana kheer puree (for 8+ months)
The second method is to cook the sabudana kheer following the above method and then puree it in a blender.
3. Almond milk sabudana kheer (above 1 year)
- 1.5 tbsp. small sago (sabudana/ saggubiyyam)
- 4 to 6 Soaked Almonds (optional)
- 45 ml Milk (optional, can use water instead)
- 1 pinch Cardamom powder
- 1 tbsp. organic Jaggery or sugar
- 130 ml Water
- To make sabudana kheer for babies, wash sago and cook in water till they turn transparent.
- Grind the almonds with milk and cardamom.
- Pour the almond mixture in the cooked sago and cook it further till soft.
- Add jaggery and mix well. Switch off the flame. Do not cook after adding jaggery. Serve warm. If your baby cannot eat soft sago, then blend it to a puree in a blender when it cools down.