How to Make Boba Pearls at Home

Learn how to make boba pearls at home with this easy tutorial using natural ingredients. First caveat, this is a time-consuming recipe because of the long rounding process. Do this during free time, such as while watching TV. To make these chewy little balls, we only need three ingredients, brown or dark brown sugar, tapioca starch, and water. Sounds easy and healthy.

You can use these homemade boba pearls to make traditional Chinese boba milk tea. My mom always complained that the tea in the milk tea gave her insomnia. Here’s her new way to enjoy boba in milk – just seasoned with brown syrup. It’s also a new Chinese boba star drinking on the street.

  • Tapioca starch is the most common choice for chewy pearls. Chinese is “cassava starch”. You can get it from Amazon. I have never tried any other types so far.
  • Gelatinizing some tapioca starch is the best way to hold all the flour together and form a dough for further steps. I’ve received several bug reports, mostly due to over- or lack of gelatinization.
  • When starch is added directly to boiling or cold water, we get what is called a non-Newtonian liquid, not a dough. So let’s add some starch for gelatinization. However, if the starch is overheated or cooked, the pearls will not retain their round and chewy texture after cooking. Becomes very soft and formless. So please follow the steps carefully. I highly recommend watching the video and reading the recipe before starting as we don’t have much time to think along the way.
  • Cooked pearls should be eaten within a few hours. Next time you want to use them, freeze them after shaping.


  1. In a small pot, slightly warm the water and dissolve brown sugar (or dark brown sugar). Let the liquid boil completely over slowest fire. Adding a cover can help to avoid too much water lost. Add 1/2 of the tapioca starch in and mix well (count: 6-7 seconds). Remove from heat for electric stove or turn off fire, then add the remaining tapioca starch and continue mixing until gathered. Be quick during this process.
  2. Place the remaining flour on an operation board. Transfer the smooth paste in and knead into a dough with the help of a scraper blade. At first, it might be slightly sticky. Slightly dust the board during the kneading process until it becomes smooth, not sticky any more but still soft. Divide the dough into four parts and then shape one portion into thin and long log. Cut into small cubes.
  3. Round each small squares to small balls (be patient and do not require prefect roundness). You can simple skip this process and save your self lots of time if you get no requirement for the shape. Longer shaping will make the balls more stable after boiled.
  4. In a large plate, spread some flour and coat each ball with enough flour to avoid sticking to each other. Then shift the extra starch off. You can now package in air-tight bags and freeze for later use.
  5. How to make a brown sugar boba drink| in a small pot, melt 1 slice of brown sugar slab and 1cup brown sugar with 100ml water in a small pot. Simmer until melted. Set aside to cool down.
  6. How to cook the boba pearls| bring a large pot of water (at least 6 times of the volume of the pearls) and cook the pears for 20 to 30 minutes. Then transfer the balls into a cold water (they shrink to original size immediately). Drain and mix with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar syrup or honey to avoid sticky together.
  7. How to assemble| drizzle some brown sugar syrup in serving cup, rotate the cup so the syrup can form marbles on the cup wall. Place boba pearls in. Pour in milk. Shake or stirring before enjoy.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories 393 Calories from Fat 72
  • % Daily Value*
  • Fat 8g12%
  • Saturated fat 5g31%
  • Cholesterol 24mg8%
  • Sodium 120mg5%
  • Potassium 384 mg 11%
  • Carbohydrates 75g 25%
  • Sugar 58g64%
  • Protein 8g16%
  • Vitamin A 395IU8%
  • Calcium 314mg31%
  • Iron 0.6 mg3%