How to Make Boba Pearls Recipe from Scratch 如何自做黑糖珍珠!

by | Last updated Feb 5, 2021 | Dessert & Drinks Recipe, Recipe

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Due to the ongoing Brown Sugar Boba Pearls trends, I though of why don’t I make my own Boba Pearls at home rather than spending so much for a cup of Brown Sugar Boba Pearls drinks? Boba pearls drinks has become easily available everywhere. From night markets to shop-lots to shopping malls. Brown Sugar Boba Pearls is the improve version of the original boba pearls, read on to learn how to make boba pearls at home!

boba pearl milk tea recipe

The Latest Drink Trend is the Boba Milk Tea! Squishy, Super Chewy Boba Pearls!

Boba Pearls also known as tapioca balls, they are translucent chewy spheres made from semi-cooked tapioca, a type of starch that are extracted from the cassave root. How do they got their name boba pearls?

Boba rose to fame in Taiwan – Here is what happened

In Chinese, the word “波巴” pronounced as boba, is a combination of bubble and big which is a Taiwanese sland for “big breasts” or “buxom lady”.

It all started from one small tea shop owner in an attemtp to make his tea stall stands out than the rest, so he made his tapioca pearls double in size to as what we enjoyed, now everywhere, naming his pearls boba. Out of the blue, this become a common term used to desribe the drink, hence, Boba Pearls Milk Tea was created.

Easy Homemade Boba Pearls | Tapioca Pearls from scratch

Homemade Boba Pearls VS Commercial Boba Pearls

​The commercially produce boba pearls for chain businesses contain a lots of additives, to name a few;

  • Sulfuric Acid – a blenching agent and helps in speeding up the process of making flour.
  • Aluminium Sulfate – to increase the viscosity of the flour.
  • Sulfur Dioxide – to separate the starch from unwanted substances and also regulate the microbial and enzymatic reactions.
  • Chlorine – to disinfect the flour for a purer form of flour as well as bleaching properties.

Why add additives to boba pearls?

  • Be able to have a long shelf-life
  • Keep in room temperature enviroment
  • Stable, quick and easy to be use
  • Lower the risk of food contamination

Whereas Homemade Boba Pearls Recipe are made with just a few simple ingredients

They are sugar and tapioca starch. Yes, only these two. Imagine a lot lesser addictive (which also means toxic) into your body. The only single reason and also the valid reason that everyone should make their own Boba Pearls at home!

Author have a say…

Now it comes the era of Boba Pearl Milk drink after the Cheese Tea craze in China. Boba simply stands for the pearls that are made with dark brown sugar and what makes it differ than the regular pearls is that they are much chewier and the sweetness kicks from the dark brown sugar make them really addictive! And guys, here is how you can make your own boba pearls at home! Super super easy!

There is also Colorful Boba Pearls made of Fruits!

Source  :  Wiki

How to make Boba Pearls Recipe from Scratch!

boba pearl milk tea recipe
Ethan Wong
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5 from 3 votes

Homemade Boba Pearls Recipe are made with just a few simple ingredients. They are sugar and tapioca starch. Imagine a lot lesser addictive (which also means toxic) into your body. The valid reason that everyone should make their own Boba Pearls at home!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Beverages, Drinks
Cuisine Chinese
Difficulty Easy
Diet Gluten Free
Servings 10 Cups


Raw Boba Pearls Dough

  • 1 Cup Water (hot)
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 Cups Tapioca Flour

To Braise Boba Pearls

  • 4 Cups Water (hot)
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
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Make Raw Boba Pearls

  • With a clean pot, add boiling water and dark brown sugar in.
  • Melt the dark brown sugar by stirring the mixture.
  • Once it is melted, add tapioca starch and mix it until there is no more lump.
  • Then over a low heat, cook the mixture. Continuously stir it with a spatula to prevent bottom from stick and burn.
  • Cook until the mixture all stick together forming sort of like a dough.
  • Transfer the dough onto a clean working surface and scrap all the sticky bits on the pot and spatula.
  • The dough would be quite warm but still workable with your hands.
  • Knead the dough as you fold it those tiny bits. Knead until the dough is smooth.
  • Thoroughly roll the into an elongated shape.
  • Cut it into a few pieces. Cover them with a damp cloth.
  • Take a piece of dough and roll it into 1cm diameter.
  • Then cut it into 1cm in length.
  • Roll them between your palms into round shape and you have raw boba pearls.
  • Generously sprinkle tapioca starch into a clean container, transfer all the raw boba pearls into the container and coat the boba pearls with tapioca starch.
  • Repeat step (11) to step (14) until all the dough pieces is done.

Cooking Boba Pearls

  • Bring a pot of 4 liters water to a boil.
  • Add raw boba pearls into boiling water and bring it back to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, transfer the cooked boba pearls into an ice water.

Braising Boba Pearls

  • In a pot, add boiling water and dark brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil and stir occasionally to prevent bottom from sticking and burn.
  • As it is being boiled add all the cooked boba pearls into the sugar mixture.
  • Once its reached a full boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Then remove from heat and let it chill for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with your preferred drinks.



**please note the measurement of ingredients are in ratio portioning, you can use smaller cup/measurement to yield lesser boba pearls
Tapioca is gluten-free, commonly uses as wheat substitute for a gluten-free diet 


Calories : 309kcalCarbohydrates : 80gProtein : 1gSodium : 21mgPotassium : 79mgSugar : 53gCalcium : 48mgIron : 1mg
Allergy : Milk
*These Nutritional Values have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
Keyword Boba Fresh Milk, Boba Pearls, Boba Pearls Milk, Boba Pearls Milk Drink, Boba Pearls Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Boba

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  1. Nur Hafizah

    Can i store the raw boba pearls?

    • Ethan Wong

      Yes, I believe u can freeze them. And simply blanch them whenever u want to cook them

      • Nz

        Do we need to braise again after blanching?

  2. Emily

    I’m so happy! These came out so well! I think I used the wrong kind of sugar because the boba pearls came out a light brown in the end but these are delicious! I like them more than the prepackaged kind! I absolutely will be making these again! It was kind of difficult to make the dough since it was very sticky for me ?. Rolling the boba pearls also took a bit but it was worth every minute. I ended up braising the boba in a honey water sugar mixture instead and they were delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • Ethan Wong

      I m happy to know about this! ??

  3. Cecille

    Hi. I’m wanting to sell uncooked boba pearls in packet. How can I keep its shape? Any suggestion?

    • Ethan Wong

      Just roll it into the shape that u want. And to packed them and selling it would require more extensive research to find out the moisture composition of the pearls. Since they are uncooked and kept in room temperature, they are more prone to spoilage.
      You will need to do more research and test to find out on this.

    • Nurliza Suzlina Binti Ismail

      Hi, im student from food technology and we just make an experiment about the uncooked bobba. you just need to put the bobba in freezer after you finish make a bobba. Before you put in a freezer, make sure you coated the bobba with the tapioca starch so the bobba will not stick to each other. We have been frozen the bobba for a two weeks and when we want to boil it, it turned out very well and chewable like original.

      • SamKL

        how about putting them at room temperature? any suggestion it will not rotten/spoilt?

        • Ethan Wong

          they will spoil quicker in room temp, at least keep them in the fridge

  4. Nana

    Can i use white sugar instead of brown sugar?

    • Ethan Wong

      Yes u may, but the taste wouldn’t be good

  5. Renee

    Hi! Am i able to use palm sugar instead of brown sugar? Thanks! 🙂

  6. pau mari

    can i use cornstarch instead of tapioca flour? thanks!

    • Ethan Wong

      Hey, unfortunately no. Only tapioca flour can produce such texture.

    • Nadine

      Hello! I did test this out with glutinous rice flour, and it worked like a charm! It tasted a bit stale, but it cooked very quickly and wasn’t too bad.

  7. Nz

    How long will the braised boba pearls lasted if keep in the fridge?
    Does it need to be braised?
    Many thanks

    • Ethan Wong

      Braised boba pearls can last about 5 days in yr fridge. Uncooked boba pearls if kept frozen can last a few months

  8. Nohj

    How do I apply this if I plan on using them for commercial purposes? And can I use muscovado sugar for this? Thanks!

    • Ethan Wong

      Hey! U can use any sort of sugar to substitute the brown sugar. As to commercialize them, is either u reduce their moisture content to 5% which allow you to store them in room temperature conditions or you add preservative to prevent mould growth.
      Another way is to freeze those uncooked boba pearl but frozen products will require most cost in storage and delivery.
      If you’re gonna ask next how to reduce the moisture content or which preservatives to use, I have not idea on that, that would require a great deal of research and test to find out.
      I hope what I know could give u a head start to your plans.

  9. Laura

    Hi Ethan! I tried this Recipe and I find it the best ever tried for boba! I think that if some have to sticky dough that they haven’t let the mixture long enough on the heat. Mine was a little bit sticky but with some starch on my working place and hands the dough became beautiful. Never had such an amazing consistency before. Unfortunately the dark brown sugar sold here in Italy doesn’t leave my pearls black but brown instead. But the taste and texture is amazing. Now I’ll try the fruity ones next time!
    Thank you so much for this recipe

  10. Lilith

    hello! I have a problem with my boba dough. The dough would not form, instead it starts hardening and crumble. What have I done wrong? D:

    • Nadine

      Hello! I believe this is because the dough was left out for too long. If it is exposed to air with no water for too long it will dry up. I suggest covering the dough with a slightly wet cloth when you aren’t working with it. If it’s already crumbling, add a bit of water and reshape the balls.

  11. Jelly

    After it is cooked, should it be put in a bowl filled with ice? Can i just put in a water without ice?

    • Ethan Wong

      yes, you can. you can change the water a few times to reduce the temperature

  12. Bruce

    Hi Ethan, which ingredients determine the chewiness texture of the boba? is it the amount of the tapioca flour or the water?

    • Bruce


    • Ethan Wong

      Hi Bruce,
      Tapioca flour it is

  13. Lorraine khoo Ting neng

    Hi good day Chef Ethan..
    I do follow ur recipe n step 2make tis boba ,i facing a difficulty
    1st..tapioca flour is difficult 2form a dough like urs video boba hv middle part hard aft cooling or aft adding cold milk n ice? could u plssss advise wat i did wrong n btw wat brand of tapioca flour 2use???

    • Ethan Wong

      To answer your questions;
      1) tapioca flour not forming is due to not cooked enough to form into a dough
      2) the middle part still raw is due to not braising enough, you can braise longer to make sure the middle part is cooked through

      Apologies for the much late reply

  14. Alex

    This is an incredible article!! For those that have the same problem, I overcooked the dough the first time (thought it had to be cooked until it was no longer runny at all) and got a weird consistency that was both wet, yet powdery and broke apart with touch. Not really a good dough, but I forced them into balls and cooked them anyway and its still worked!

    Made another batch taking the dough out when it was still sticky, and it made a MUCH BETTER dough- the taste was similar both methods, although my girlfriend says she can taste the difference haha.

  15. May

    Can you share the brand of tapioca flour you used? I tried one from the chinese market and the dough texture didn’t turn out right? it was too dry and crumbly :/

    • Ethan Wong

      erm, Malaysia’s brand
      Cap Kapal ABC
      Tepung Ubi Kayu

  16. Kalvin

    Did you ever have an issue where the boba lost its shape once it went back into the hot water to cook? Mine flattened once I threw them in the boiling water

    • Ethan Wong

      Never happened to mine before.
      I think that you didn’t cook then enough for the dough to hold their shape.

  17. Amy

    Hello.. Can the boba be stored? For how long and at which stage can it be stored(eg rolled into 1cm balls and coated with flour, cooked and braised etc)?

    • Ethan Wong

      Hey Amy, yes the boba can be stored, coated with flour.
      you can freeze them and probably keep them for months.

      When u wanna use them, simply boil them and then braise.


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Ethan Wong

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I curate recipes during my free time. Currently, I am occupied with a new superfood snack that I have just launch – Truly Gourmet. Oh yeah, I spend my break time learning to code.
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