Mango sago, sometimes called coconut tapioca pudding, is a lightly sweetened, refreshing dessert topped with chunks of sweet, juicy mangoes. It's quick and easy to make, perfect for the summer, and naturally dairy free and gluten free! And if you're a fan of pomelo, also check out our mango pomelo sago recipe!
Mango sago is a very popular dessert in Asia and for good reasons. It's quick and easy to make, needs only 4 ingredients, and is lightly sweetened so it stays refreshing! Also, because it's made with coconut milk, it's super creamy and naturally dairy free!
If you're looking for more Asian desserts, you may also like our Taiwanese castella cake, ube basque cheesecake, and matcha crème brûlée, and these Hong Kong mango pancakes. But if you're a chocolate lover, I highly recommend our nama chocolate. It's easy to make and tastes amazing!
What is mango sago?
Mango sago is a Southeast Asian tapioca dessert that's especially popular during the summer, since it's served chilled. It's made with sweet, ripe mangoes, sago pearls, coconut milk, and a sweetener.
Depending on the countries you visit, there are many variations of this coconut tapioca pudding. But this creamy mango sago is by far the most popular, along with mango pomelo sago (you'd often find this at boba shops).
Mango sago ingredient notes
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
Our mango sago recipe is incredibly easy to make and requires only 4 ingredients!
- Sago pearls - Sometimes also labeled as tapioca pearls or have these two characters on the bag: 西米 (xī mí). Sago pearls are tiny (usually) white pearls, but sometimes you may find the rainbow colored sago pearls. Don't confuse them with boba pearls, also can be called tapioca pearls!
- Coconut milk - We recommend using full fat coconut milk for richer, creamier flavors.
- Sugar - We opted for regular granulated sugar because it's super accessible and can be easily dissolved. But you can use your preferred sweetener. Some alternatives are honey rock/crystal sugar, and palm sugar.
- Mango - We highly recommend using yellow or champagne mangoes. They are very juicy, tender, sweet and fragrant when ripe, and the seeds are smaller.
How to make mango sago
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Prepare the sweetened coconut milk. Combine the coconut milk with sugar (or your prefer sweetened) and mix until the sugar dissolves. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
🌟 Pro tip: You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate it for a couple of hours so that your mango sago can be served chilled. Or, you can add some ice to the coconut milk, if you don't mind it being slightly diluted.
2. Cook the sago. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sago pearls into the water while stirring. Keep the water at a high simmer and cook the pearls for about 10 to 15 or according to package instruction, until most of the pearls only have a small white dot in the middle. Make sure to stir frequently.
🌟 Pro tip: Make sure to have at least 5 to 6 cups of water! The sago pearls will expand as it cooks and also release starch, which will make the water thick.
5. Drain and rinse. When the sago pearls are done cooking, drain the tapioca pearls with a mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water until completely cooled. Drain well.
6. Make the coconut sago. Place the cooked and rinsed sago pearls into the sweetened coconut milk. Stir to combine. Also loosen up any pearls that may have clumped together.
7. Assemble. Ladle the coconut sago into your serving cup/bowls and top it with ripe mangoes. You can also drizzle some honey on top for extra sweetness if you like. Enjoy!
📝 Note: If you prefer a more pudding like consistency, refrigerate for about 2-4 hours or overnight.
2 ways to cut mangoes
Here are couple of ways to cut mangos for your mango coconut sago. Feel free to chose the one you prefer of combine both.
1. Slice off the bottom of the mango (where the stem is) to create a flat bottom.
2. With the mango standing on the flat bottom side, cut the mango as close to the seed as possible. Repeat with the other side.
3. With the flesh side of the mango facing up, make vertical then horizontal cuts on the mango. Cut completely through the mango, but don't cut through the skin! Repeat with the other half, then use a spoon to scoop out the mango.
1. Slice off the bottom of the mango like in step one for the diced mango.
2. With the mango standing up, trim away the skin with a sharp knife. You can also use a sharp vegetable peeler.
3. After the mango is peeled, cut the mango as close to the seed as possible on both sides.
4. Thinly slice the mango halves then shingle them.
5. Then, roll it up for form a rose. You can also open up the "petals" a bit. Repeat with the other half.
🌟 Pro tip: To make a mango rose, we highly recommend using a ripe mango that isn't too soft. If the mango is too soft, it'll become mushy while you're handling it.
- Cook the sago pearls until the center is just a small dot of white. Different brands of sago will vary in cook time. You can cook according to the package instruction or until the centers are just a small dot of white.
- Cook the sago pearls in hot, boiling water. Sago pearls will disintegrate if they are added to room temperature or cold wate.
- If need be, add more hot water to the sago pearls while they are boiling. Some brands will require more water to boil the tapioca pearls than others. The brand we usually use needs 6 to 1 ratio, water to tapioca pearls. So if you find the water for the tapioca pearls becoming too thick, you can always add more HOT water to it.
- If you prefer a looser mango coconut sago, you can use more coconut milk. You can also add water or ice to thin out the coconut sago, if you like it less rich. Do adjust the sweetness too! If you prefer your mango sago to have a pudding-like consistency, refrigerate the coconut sago for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight.
Mango sago is best enjoyed within a couple of hours after making because the coconut sago will become thicker as it sits. The sago pearls will lose its chew and become softer as well. But if you prefer a thicker, pudding-like coconut sago, then you can refrigerate it overnight.
If you don't mind the thicker consistency and softer sago pearls, the mango sago will stay good, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Although we recommend cutting the mangoes when ready to enjoy.
Also, if you'd like, you can prepare the sweetened coconut milk up to 3 days ahead of time.
Sago pearls, sometimes also known as tapioca pearls, are tiny white balls made of tapioca starch. But don't confuse these with boba pearls, which are much larger and used for boba tea. They are sometimes also called tapioca pearls.
Sago pearls on their own are pretty neutral and don't have much flavor. They do have a slight chewy to them, which makes them perfect for adding texture to drinks and desserts without altering flavor!
Different brands of sago pearls can differ in cooking time. Usually, they take 10 to 15 minutes to cook. You'll know that they are cooked when most of the pearls have only a small white dot in the middle, and after rinsing, they will all turn clear.
Absolutely! Feel free to use your favorite fruits, but I recommend using fruits that are sweet. So avoid citrus and fruit that can be acidic, like pineapples. Melons and watermelons are some of our favorite alternatives.
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- Cook the sago pearls:Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sago pearls to the boiling water while stirring.*Make sure the pot is large enough to accommodate at least 2 to 3 quarts of water. Also use at least 5 to 6 cups of water because the sago pearls expands and absorb the water as they're cooked and the water will become thicker as the starches are released.*
- Keeping the water at a high simmer, allow the sago pearls to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or according to the package instructions, until most of the sago pearls only have a tiny white dot in the middle. Make sure to stir frequently.
- Make the sweetened coconut milk:While sago pearls are cooking, combine the full fat coconut milk and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
- Strain and rinse:Once the sago is cooked, strain the sago pearls using a mesh strainer, and thoroughly rinse the sago with cold water until completely cooled. The sago pearls will all become clear at this point. Drain well.
- Assemble:Add the sago pearls to the prepared sweetened coconut milk and stir until the pearls are loosened up and well combined with the coconut milk.
- Portion the coconut sago into serving cups or bowls and top with mango. Enjoy!
- For pudding-like consistency:Allow the coconut sago to sit in the fridge for at least 2 to 4 hours or overnight before serving. Top with mangoes after.
- If you need a guide on cutting mangoes, we've shared 2 ways you can cut mangoes for mango sago in the post above - with step by step photo reference!
- Use more or less coconut milk depending on your preference. If you prefer a thicker mango sago, you could use about ½ cup less coconut milk. Also adjust the amount of sugar if needed as well.