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Is Tapioca Gluten Free?

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Tapioca is an ingredient commonly used in cooking and baking. It’s available in many different forms including flour and pearls. But is tapioca gluten free?

Yes, since Tapioca is not a grain, it is gluten free in its natural form. Not all brands are gluten free though, so it’s important to choose your tapioca carefully.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about ‘‘is tapioca gluten free?’ so keep reading or use the table of contents to jump around.


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The gluten-free guide below is based on personal experience and research.  Always be sure to discuss any medical changes with your doctor for your personal medical needs. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure isn’t that interesting, but you can find it here

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What is tapioca?

Tapioca is a starch that is extracted from the roots of a cassava plant. The Cassava plant is a root vegetable that is popular in foods made to accommodate food allergies since it does not contain gluten, nuts or grains.

Tapioca is available in several forms including tapioca starch, flour, pearls, flakes, syrup and tapioca boba. It is relatively neutral in terms of flavor and is typically used as a thickening agent because of its gelling characteristics. 

Is tapioca starch and tapioca flour the same?

Technically, tapioca starch and tapioca flour are actually not the same. They are very similar and because they come from the same plant people often mistakenly think they are the same. 

While both products come from the cassava plant roots, they actually come from different parts of the roots. They are also different in appearance, how they are best used, and how they are processed.  Tapioca starch in its true form is actually used for industrial purposes.

However, it does get confusing when it comes to food ingredients because companies like Bob’s Red Mill, indicate that they are the same and even list both names on the packaging! As a general rule, when we’re talking specifically about cooking ingredients it is safe to use the terms interchangeably. 

Is Tapioca Gluten free?

Tapioca is gluten free in its natural form. Gluten is found in grains including wheat, rye and barley. Since tapioca is naturally a starch, rather than a grain it’s safe to consume.

However, many gluten containing foods are also made with tapioca, making it very important that you carefully choose your tapioca products. 

Being able to recognize which tapioca products are gluten free and safe for consumption starts with understanding gluten free labeling and certification. 

This easy to follow guide will tell you everything you need to know about gluten free labels and certification in the United States.

Is tapioca dairy free?

Yes! Since tapioca comes from a plant it is dairy free. This is great news for anyone on a vegan diet or those with celiac disease who need to go dairy free.

Do tapioca pearls have gluten?

Tapioca pearls in their natural form do not contain gluten. In their basic form, the pearls are made from a combination of boiled tapioca starch and a sweetener like sugar.

Most pearls are dried and some have additives to extend their shelf life. For that reason, it is very important to look for a gluten free label or certification to ensure that the tapioca pearls you choose are truly gluten free.

Is instant tapioca gluten free?

Instant tapioca is naturally gluten free. Be sure to check the ingredients list for allergens or look for a gluten free label to confirm that the brand of instant tapioca you choose is gluten free.

Is tapioca syrup gluten free?

Tapioca syrup is a liquid sweetener that is made from tapioca starch. As long as the tapioca starch is gluten free (which it will be in its natural form), the tapioca syrup will be gluten free as well. 

Is bubble tea gluten free?

To determine if bubble tea is gluten free, the first thing we have to do is look at the ingredients it’s made with. Bubble tea is made from black or green tea, milk, sugar, fruit and tapioca balls. 

In their natural forms all of those ingredients are gluten free, and that makes bubble tea safe to drink if you’re gluten free. Always be sure to check the ingredients carefully to ensure that the brand you’re choosing does not have any gluten containing additives. 

If you’re ordering bubble tea at a café, be sure to ensure they aren’t cross contacting with gluten-containing products in preparation.

Where to buy gluten free tapioca products

The great news is that gluten free tapioca products are very easy to find. You can usually find them at any local grocery store as well as Target, Amazon and Thrive Market.

If you want to know more about how Thrive Market can save you money on a gluten-free diet check out my full review here, or click here to try Thrive Market, save 30% on your first purchase plus a free gift up to $24.

Best gluten free tapioca flour (starch)

Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour

The Bob’s Red Mill brand is about as reliable as you can get when it comes to flour, and their Tapioca Flour is no different. They’ve got great reviews for their tapioca flour that highlight everything from taste to cost.

Purchase Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour at Amazon here.

Thrive Market Organic Tapioca Flour

This tapioca flour is a great choice if you are looking for a flour that is certified gluten free. It’s also organic, and great for a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Thrive Market Organic Tapioca Flour 18 oz pouch

The Thrive Market brand has great reviews and the best part is how affordable it is!

Add Thrive Market Organic Tapioca Flour to your order here.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Tapioca Flour

Another solid option for flour products is Arrowhead Mills. This tapioca flour is certified organic, certified gluten free and Non-GMO. This flour is also climate pledge friendly.

Buy Arrowhead Mills Organic Tapioca Flour at Amazon here.

Best gluten free tapioca pudding

Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding

This classic tapioca pudding is naturally low fat and ready to eat! It’s made with simple, gluten free ingredients and it’s delicious.

It’s the perfect sweet afternoon treat, or toss it in a lunchbox for an on-the-go snack.

Add Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding to your next Target pick up order here.

Kraft Minute Tapioca

This tapioca can be made in a flash and is even microwaveable. You can enjoy this pudding on its own or mix it up by making a pie from one of the on-box recipes!

Buy Kraft Minute Tapioca at Target here.

Best gluten free tapioca pearls

Bob’s Red Mill Small Pearl Tapioca

These paleo friendly pearls are a classic choice for small pearl tapioca. While the package doesn’t explicitly state that it is a gluten free product, the ingredients list shows that the only ingredient is tapioca starch.

Check out the recipe on the bag for homemade tapioca pudding!

Buy Bob’s Red Mill Small Pearl Tapioca at Amazon here.

International Popcorn Tapioca Pearls

If you’re looking for the large size tapioca pearls this gluten free, family owned, small business brand has you covered! It’s pure and natural with no added colors or preservatives.

Get International Popcorn Tapioca Pearls at Amazon here.

Did you find this guide to ‘Is Tapioca Gluten Free’ helpful?

If so, comment below to let me know or share it using the social sharing buttons so you can easily find it later!

Ready to take back control of your meals and love your gluten free life? Take the 45 second quiz to get a personalized plan with the guide you need to thrive!

image of sharon mccaskill with computer with snag your ideal gluten free eating plan

>> Click here for your custom guide to success! <<

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