Tapioca is the starchy powder extracted from the tuberous root of the cassava plant (also called yuca or manioc), which originated in the Americas and is now cultivated throughout the tropics, especially in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Tapioca starch lacks significant nutritional value, but is useful in baking. It enhances the appearance, texture and natural flavour in baked goods, and helps to create a crispy outside and moist, expanded crumb like the regular bread consistency difficult to reproduce in gluten-free products.

Studies of cassava have found that a chemical produced by the plant may help combat viruses and help cure cancer.