What Is Tapioca Syrup?

Christine LaFleur

Tapioca syrup is a syrup made from the cassava tuber, or yucca root, a plant that is indigenous to the tropics of South America. The syrup is made when natural enzymes are introduced to the cassava tuber. This process is known as enzymatic hydrolysis. After enzymatic hydrolysis is complete, a sweet syrup is formed. The syrup is considered to be a healthy sweetener.

Tapioca syrup is made from the yucca root.
Tapioca syrup is made from the yucca root.

Typically, tapioca syrup is a light golden color, and it contains a neutral flavor. The neutral flavor makes it an ideal candidate as a food additive. The flavor is not beany, and the texture is not grainy like some other syrups. It can be added to soy and dairy products.

Tapioca syrup may be used in place of honey.
Tapioca syrup may be used in place of honey.

There are many uses for tapioca syrup. It is used as an alternative sweetener in place of corn syrup, honey, sugar or maple syrup. Typically, the syrup is gluten-free and is not genetically modified. Many people use it as a healthy alternative to other sugars.

Tapioca syrup may be used in cookies.
Tapioca syrup may be used in cookies.

Some people enjoy cooking with tapioca syrup. It can be used in baking instead of corn syrup or applesauce. Tapioca pearls that form from the cassava tuber are often used in pies and other desserts. Some people use it as a binding agent. For example, it can be used to prevent meats from drying out after they have been processed.

Tapioca syrup may be featured in smoothies.
Tapioca syrup may be featured in smoothies.

Drinks can benefit from tapioca syrup. Instead of honey, this syrup can be used in smoothies and other drinks to provide texture. Cookies, candies and pies can be made with this syrup instead of sugar or other alternative sweeteners. It is important not to over-bake items made with this syrup because the starch content is very high, and the product might become too sticky or starchy.

Homemade flavored syrups can be made with this syrup. The neutral flavor can be easily masked by other flavors. When combined with other flavors, tapioca syrup can be placed on the table in place of maple syrup. It can be enjoyed on pancakes, waffles or toast.

Commercial uses of this syrup include acting as sweeteners in snack and health food bars, fruit drinks and cereals. The health benefits of the syrup are because the glucose in the syrup is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. The complex carbohydrates in the syrup can take two to three hours to digest. This long digestion period provides a steady flow of energy for the person who consumes it.

Tapioca syrup may be drizzled on toast for an unconventional breakfast.
Tapioca syrup may be drizzled on toast for an unconventional breakfast.

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Discussion Comments


The article says one of the health benefits is that the glucose is absorbed immediately into the bloodstream. This is not a health benefit - this is a death sentence. See the new movie "Fed Up", or the trailer for it (I have no connection to the film but recently took the 10-day sugar-free challenge so I am getting educated).


My sister likes tapioca syrup. She's vegan and she doesn't eat honey. So when she came to stay with me, I bought her organic tapioca syrup to eat with her vegan pancakes. She liked it a lot.


@donasmrs-- Unfortunately, tapioca syrup is not suitable for diabetics. Its effects on blood sugar are not much different from corn syrup or rice syrup. It's a high glycemic food and as far as I know, diabetics must stick to low glycemic foods all the time. So I don't think that this is a good sweetener for you.

Even those of us who don't suffer from diabetes should not eat sweeteners like this too frequently. Tapioca syrup needs to be enjoyed in moderation. You're right that this is a great option for people with gluten sensitivity and intolerance. But when it comes to weight management, metabolism and keeping blood sugars stable, it's not the best food.


Tapioca syrup is not suitable for diabetics, is it? What is the sugar content and glycemic index?

I'm guessing that it's not a suitable sweetener for diabetics since the article mentioned that the glucose in it is absorbed quickly.

I'm a diabetic and I usually use sugar-free syrup. But I've heard that some natural sweeteners can be used in moderation by diabetics because they don't affect blood glucose like regular sugar or corn syrup does. So I'm wondering if tapioca is one of them. The great part about tapioca is that it's gluten-free. I also have a gluten sensitivity, so it would be great if I could use this.

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