How to make tapioca pearls

Published: August 23, 2019 Last Updated: August 17, 2020
By Judy 59 Comments

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

In recent years, tapioca pearls have become a favorite in bubble tea, shaved ice desserts, and sweet dessert soups across Asia and in Asian communities in the West. But what if you want to cook your own tapioca pearls at home?

Some store-bought tapioca pearls can be cooked in a matter of minutes, but dried white tapioca pearls require longer cooking.

We noticed that these packaged tapioca pearls often come with few to no instructions on how to prepare them, so we thought we should publish a post specifically about how to do it. Then you can add them to milk tea to make bubble tea or whatever dessert you like!

(We’ll be coming out with some awesome desserts in the next couple weeks that do use these as well!)

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

What Are Tapioca Pearls?

Tapioca pearls, also called tapioca balls or boba, are small translucent spheres. Their cooked size is usually somewhere between a pea and a marble, and they’re made with tapioca starch, which comes from the cassava root.

They are also pretty flavorless, added to drinks and desserts solely for their delightfully chewy texture (they’re similar to mochi, but a little less soft and sticky).

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Important Tips for Cooking Tapioca Pearls

Before we get into the recipe, here are some key tips for properly cooking dried tapioca pearls:

  • Do NOT wash or rinse tapioca pearls before cooking. They must go from the package directly into boiling water.
  • You must pre-boil the water before adding the tapioca. Do not add them until the water is at a rolling boil.
  • The size of tapioca pearls can vary, and you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. For these white/clear tapioca pearls, you’ll know they are cooked once they are completely translucent, without any opaque white center. You can also taste them throughout the process to test for the right texture.
  • You’ll need to use a lot of water when cooking tapioca pearls, as they are quick to absorb water and also very starchy. Not using enough water may cause them to become starchy and sticky, which we don’t want!
  • Because they are so starchy, you’ll have to change the water a couple times and discard batches of starchy water.
  • Note that 1 cup dried tapioca pearls yields roughly 2 1/2 cups cooked tapioca pearls.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Cook Tapioca Pearls: Instructions

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a deep pot, and add the tapioca.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Bring it to a boil again, cover, and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, keep the pot covered, and allow to sit for another 15 minutes.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Drain the tapioca pearls and rinse under cold water.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

If the tapioca pearls still have opaque white centers, repeat STEP 1 and STEP 2 until all the tapioca balls are translucent.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

You may have to repeat a few times depending on their size.

In the meantime, dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar into 1 cup warm water.

Once the tapioca pearls are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water one more time.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

T hen put them into the sugar water to prevent them from sticking together.

The cooked tapioca pearls lose their chewiness rather quickly, so it’s best to use them within 1-2 days.

Last Updated: June 16, 2019 References

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Have you ever wondered what’s in those big pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea? If you want to cut out preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and commercial colors, make your own tapioca pearls. It’s easy to mix together a dough of water and tapioca starch that you can form into small balls. Boil these tapioca pearls until they’re tender and enjoy them in your favorite tea or bubble drink.

Makes 75 to 100 tapioca pearls

Makes 1 ⁄4 cup (59 ml) of syrup

Makes 1 drink

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Variation: To make black tapioca pearls, add a few drops of black food coloring or a pinch of activated charcoal to the bowl before you knead the dough. Keep adding coloring until the dough is as dark as you like.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Did You Know? Drying the pearls slightly will prevent them from sticking together as they boil.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Sugar Tea Syrup: Stir together 1 ⁄4 cup (59 ml) of hot water with 2 tablespoons (25 g) of brown sugar and 1 teabag of black tea. Steep the tea for 15 minutes before removing the teabag.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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About This Article

To make tapioca pearls, start by mixing ¼ cup of boiling water into a bowl with ½ cup of tapioca starch. Once it’s cool enough to handle, use your hands to knead the mixture into a thick dough, which should take about 1 minute. When the dough is ready, line a sheet with parchment paper and cover the dough with a damp towel so it won’t dry out while you’re working. Roll ½ of the dough into a wide rope, then repeat this step with the other ½ of the dough. Then, cut the stips of dough into pearls and set them on the baking sheet for up to 2 hours. When you’re ready to use your pearls, boil them in a pot of water for 15 to 20 minutes. To learn how to sweeten the pearls, keep reading!

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Welcome to the Bubble Tea Club!Tapioca pearls also known as boba, are spherical starchy balls which has an incredibly addictive soft and chewy texture when added to bubble tea. Our tapioca is from the motherland, Taiwan. To make this recipe you will need ingredients that can be found in our delicious packs.

Feel free to adjust to suit your own taste!

Let’s get into it! 🙂

How to Make Tapioca Pearls


30g Tapioca Pearls


Let’s get into it!

Prepare 360ml of water in a pot and bring to a boil over a stove.

Put pearls into the boiling water.

Cook over a low flame and stir occasionally for 20 minutes or until your desired chewiness.

Drain the water.

Add it into any of your milk or fruit teas and let it take your drinking experience to the next level.

Extra notes

PRO TIP: To increase the sweetness of the pearls, you can soak your cooked pearls in fructose or brown sugar for a further 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can add the fructose or brown sugar into the pot while it is cooking in the last 10 minutes.

Take a pic of your finished bubble tea for the gram and tag @bubbleteaclubau.


Calories: 70, Carbs: 18 grams, Sodium: 10 milligrams

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Learn how to make black tapioca pearls (boba pearls) from scratch with this simple tutorial. It is so easy and fun to make and much better than using the dried one.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

In my last post, I shared my easy, simple version of how to make Bubble Tea using all natural and basic ingredients. I also mentioned that I made my own black tapioca pearls.

The reason for this is because after we came back from our Taipei trip, Armin seems to be craving for Bubble Tea. And since I was getting fed up waiting in long queues at milk tea stands whenever we see one, I decided that it is time to make my own Bubble tea at home.

The problem is, I cannot find black tapioca pearls and believe me we’ve searched everywhere! Maybe they are available in the big city (Manila) but not anywhere near where we live. I found the usual dried sago and even the colorful ones but no black tapioca pearls. We even went as far as asking the tea shops where they get theirs and was told it is delivered to them together with the other supplies and that is all we can get out of them.

I was left with but two choices; to use the regular dried sago or to learn how to make tapioca pearls and I, being me, chose the latter.

I have a pack of the small dried tapioca pearls in my pantry so I looked up what the ingredients are. I was surprised to see that it only needs one. Tapioca flour! Now, that sounds promising, at least. I was not able to find tapioca flour though but saw some tapioca starch, which is mostly the same thing.

This post from Instructables on how to make tapioca pearls help me get started. Very good tutorial there and it works perfectly for making regular white/transparent tapioca pearls. But how do I make them black?

Leslie did mention cooking the pearls in colored water and letting them sit in it after cooking. I tried it and it did somehow turn my pearls to a blackish hue but only on the surface and the core remained white. My goal is to have them as black as the ones you get in the milk tea shops. This means a little more experiments are needed.

I tried adding the color to the water to make the tapioca dough. It was tricky because the water should be really hot, like just-boiled hot, when you add it to the tapioca flour or starch so you have to work fast or else you will get a weird texture that is wet but powdery at the same time (doesn’t make sense, I know, but believe me, it is possible) and will never form into a dough.

So for those who have patiently waited for this tutorial, here are the steps involved in making homemade black tapioca pearls.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

1. Place tapioca flour or starch in a bowl.

2. Place black food color in a separate bowl and add a tablespoon of hot water to the food color.

3. Add the rest of the water directly to the tapioca flour and pour the colored water to the bowl as well.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

4. Mix tapioca flour and water with a fork until they start to stick together.

5. Transfer to a flat surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

6. Divide the dough into 2 and roll each forming thin sticks. Cut them into small pieces. Try to make them as even in size as possible and should be small enough to pass through your straw.

7. Roll each piece in between your palms to make them round.

8. Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil in a small pot or saucepan.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

9. Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water and let it cook for 15 minutes or longer until the desired consistency (soft or chewy) is achieved. They will also become darker as they cook.

10. Remove from heat and let it rest for a few minutes. They will shrink back to the original size and will turn black at this point.

11. Transfer tapioca pearls into a sugar syrup or a bowl with a little water to prevent them from sticking together.

It was really a lot of fun doing these homemade tapioca pearls, like playing with clay or play-doh so I think this will be a good and fun kiddie project.

I also find that they are much better than the dried ones. They cook faster, for one and I like the chewy texture that is exactly like the one they use in bubble teas we had in Taipei.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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You may have seen our Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars video and know that we tried many times making the perfect boba for the ice cream only to find that tapioca freezes rock hard. Well, if you’re NOT freezing these bobas and are using it for drinks then these are arguably one of the best pearls I’ve ever had. They are soft, chewy, translucent and the flavour works so well with milk or milk tea… or whatever else you put them in.

For the ingredients, make sure to get the TAIWANESE Tapioca flour. We used a Thai version before and I don’t know if it was us or what but that stuff just disintegrated.

We work with a ratio and I think this makes things much easier.

2 portions tapioca flour
1 portion water
1/2 portion brown sugar

The water needs to be a rolling boil before putting it in with the sugar and tapioca. Keeping in mind that water evaporates, so make sure to boil it in a pot with a lid on it.

The dough gets hot at first but you need to work on it while it’s hot. Mix and knead until a nice soft dough forms. After that the most tedious part of this whole process is rolling out the bubbles. The first time it took us over an hour, but with eventual practice we got it down to about half hour. I guess it’s part of the fun as well.

If you don’t want to use all the tapioca pearls immediately then you can freeze them at this point.

Boil these tapioca pearls in a big pot of water. Again this needs to be a rolling boil. Stir the pot until everything floats up then turn the heat down to medium and boil for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes is up, let it sit for 30 minutes and that’s how you get the beautiful translucent bubble.

You can rinse these under cold water to give them an extra bite, aka “Q” in Taiwanese. Here are the options you can do now. You can either have them as is, sprinkle some brown sugar on them and mix them in OR you can cook them down and caramelize them with more brown sugar and form a syrup – kind of like what Tiger Sugar or other Brown Sugar milk places are doing.

If you are cooking it down, put some brown sugar in a wok or a pan and pour the bubbles in, cook them in low heat until everything is all dark brown and caramelized. Be careful this is really hot.

Cooked tapioca pearls should be served within 3 hours.

We made a few drinks with these, added them with regular milk, oat milk, fruit teas. They were delicious and went down a little too quickly. But we just love how soft and “Q” these fresh tapioca bubbles are.

We’re sure you’re aware that bubble tea and boba are very delicious. But now that you’ve had it from your favorite bubble tea or boba shop, you might be wondering, how can you make boba pearls at home from scratch. And will it be just as delicious?

Making tapioca pearls from scratch is easy. There are only a few ingredients you need and about an hour of your time, that’s it!
Continue reading to learn how to make tapioca pearls for boba and bubble tea from scratch.

What You Need to Make Tapioca Pearls from Scratch

Ingredients list for 1 cup serving of tapioca pearls.

  • ¼ cup of brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1.5 cups of tapioca starch

Yep, that’s really it! Whenever our team makes boba pearls from scratch we typically use dark muscovado sugar. Or we’ll use traditional dark brown sugar from popular brands like Domino. As for the tapioca starch, we’ll likely use either of these two brands (ERAWAN or Flying Horse). You can find these on Amazon or your local Asian market.

Once you have all your ingredients ready, we’re ready to start making boba pearls from scratch.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls from Scratch

To begin, grab your favorite pot so that we can mix everything together. Start by heating up your pot to medium-low heat and add your water in the pot. Once your water is heated thoroughly (not boiling), you can add in your brown sugar.

The amount of brown sugar you’ll need is above in the ingredients list, don’t forget!

Now that you have your water and brown sugar in the same pot, grab your handy stirring instrument. A wooden spoon will do the trick. Gently stir everything together until everything is well incorporated.

We like to use our favorite stirring stick from OXO since it’s easy to clean afterward.

After a minute or two, you should see the brown sugar and water dissolve together. Once everything is dissolved and you have no clumps, take your pot off the heat. We don’t want our brown sugar mixture to burn, sugar tends to burn really fast, which is why we have our heat on medium-low. Very important!

Now that your pot is off the heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of your tapioca starch into the mix. Gently stir it all together. You’ll have clumps at first (this is normal) but continue stirring until everything is incorporated. This is to prep our mixture before we add the rest of the tapioca starch.

Once that is done, we’ll put our mixture back on the heat but this time we’ll have it at low heat. Remember we’re not cooking anything here, we’re using the low heat to help mix everything together nicely. Now, put the rest of your tapioca starch in the pot (the amount is listed in the above ingredient list). And you guessed it, stir everything together until it’s all incorporated.

You’ll know when you’re done mixing when you have a smooth dough-like mixture without any lumps.

Now all is left is to roll your tapioca pearls dough into long noodle-like formations. This part reminds us of playing with play dough when we were younger. The width of your noodles should be around 0.8-1cm for the perfect bite.

Once you’ve rolled out a few noodles with those dimensions, begin to cut your dough into small bite-size pieces. We like to measure about 1cm for each single boba pearl. You can use a kitchen knife or dough knife or chopper to make your cuts.

Now that you have your dough cut into pieces, you can begin rolling the dough into small balls with your hands. The hard part is now done.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Cook Tapioca Pearls

Cooking your freshly made tapioca pearl dough is even easier. It’s very similar to cooking your typical pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in your freshly made tapioca dough balls.

As your tapioca balls are swimming in the boiling water be sure to stir gently very often. Tapioca balls tend to stick easily to pots or themselves if you don’t. Once all your tapioca balls are floating to the top, cook them for another minute or so and they should be ready.

The best way to test if your tapioca pearls are cooked fully to the right texture is to try them out yourself. This is similar to how you try cooked pasta to determine if it’s al dente enough. We like to take the same approach!

Now you’re all done making tapioca pearls from scratch at home! If you want to spice it up a bit you can add some syrup to give your boba pearls more flavor. But this is not necessary if you’re short on time. You can add these boba pearls as is once they’re done cooking to any of your favorite milk tea flavors.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls Taste Even Better

If you want to add more depth of flavor to your already delicious boba pearls, continue reading.

One way you can add more flavor to your boba pearls is by soaking them in a sweetener. One sweetener you can use is your everyday honey from Kirkland.

And the other way is to make some brown sugar syrup and soak your tapioca pearls in this. You can learn how to make brown sugar syrup here and soak your freshly cooked tapioca pearls here.

That’s all there is to making homemade boba pearls from scratch. Let us know how you make out with your boba pearls if you try this at home. We’re curious to see photos and your comments. If you’d like to read more articles from Talk Boba, have a look read on some of our most popular articles below. We’re sure you enjoy them as everyone else does.

Until next time, just talk about boba, duh!

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Image by Nino’s Home via YouTube

First off, let me say wow. This video by Nino’s home is very well put together. I was hooked immediately when I watched it because of the great sound and video quality. The ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) in this video threw me off with a surprise. Not a lot of people would understand what I am talking about, but specific sounds can trigger the human brain to send tingles and sensations such as crisp sounds. In this case, I love the sound of the drink being poured in the ice or the sound of the chip crunch. Everything about this video is so cute. From the cat in the video to the cookware. The type of humor in this video makes me laugh and it seems like a short film. There are subtitles you can follow throughout that will help. I can tell that Nino puts a lot of effort into his video because every edit was made seamlessly. This was my first time watching one of his videos, but he just gained a subscriber!

Some and most people have not heard of bubble tea, but it’s one of my favorite drinks. There’s not a lot of good places here in Tennessee that sells this drink. There are way more authentic places in California or Atlanta. The tapioca pearls throw a lot of people off because of how slimy and squishy they are when you chew them. Think about the consistency of eating a soft sweet gummy bear. The tea is sweet, milky, and creamy.


Tapioca Pearls:

  • 125g Tapioca starch
  • 10g Cocoa powder
  • 60g Brown sugar
  • 5g Tapioca starch
  • 70ml Water
  • Tapioca starch

Milk Tea:

  • 15g Black tea
  • 200ml Hot water
  • 20g Brown sugar
  • 60g Milk powder
  • 2 Black tea bags
  • 100ml Hot water
  • 20g Brown sugar
  • 140ml Milk
  • Whipping cream
  • Cocoa powder


First, you want to start off by making your tapioca pearls using all the ingredients listed above. Follow through Nino’s home tutorial.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls Image by Nino’s Home via YouTube

Once the pearls are finished, get your milk tea ready and serve!

How to Make Tapioca Pearls Image by Nino’s Home via YouTube

Overall, I am so excited to make this homemade bubble tea with tapioca pearls. I’ve never made this before, and I’ve been craving this. It’s just hard to find good places around Nashville, so this drink should be fun to make.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

My first paid recipe gig was for a dairy free, soy free, nut free curriculum at The Natural Gourmet Institute. As part of that contract, I created a vegan tapioca pudding recipe using coconut milk.

Today, I’ll be sharing information about how to make a simple tapioca pudding using different types of milk (dairy and non-dairy). I just love the simplicity of tapioca pudding. No matter what milk you use, it’s important to choose something that’s rich for the ultimate creamy texture.

The pearls don’t provide any flavor by themselves, but they do provide a wonderful chewy texture.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which may pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you!

Tapioca Pearls

  • made of tapioca starch from the cassava or tapioca plant – used in boba drinks and pudding
  • come in different sizes – when making pudding, I like to look for white pearl tapioca. Choose either “small pearl” or “large pearl”
  • where to buy – find tapioca pearls in your local store in the baking aisle
  • nutrition – naturally gluten free. Low calorie at about 40 calories per Tablespoon (note: they expand once soaked and cooked)
  • soak tapioca pearls to hydrate before cooking30 minutes
  • turn translucent when fully cooked (10-15 minutes) – be careful not to cook past this stage. You can over-cook tapioca.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Milk (Dairy Free)

If you’re looking for a dairy free or vegan dessert option, this pudding tastes every bit as rich and delicious with coconut milk. Look for full fat coconut milk sold in the can.

To use coconut milk in this recipe, you’ll need to make a few adjustments.

Soak the tapioca in water to hydrate for 30 minutes. Drain.

Combine the can of coconut milk with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan with salt and sugar. Proceed with recipe.

**Note: You will not need to add the egg at step 3 as coconut milk is full fat and will thicken nicely in the fridge.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Flavor Suggestions

This is a simple recipe that takes advantage of the richness of full fat milk (or coconut milk). You may still want to add additional seasoning at step 4 (where the pudding has cooked and thickened). You could try:

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • toasted coconut for garnish

How to Make Tapioca PearlsServe tapioca pudding in nice glassware for a gourmet dessert.

Best Pro Tip: Trust the cooking time for tapioca pearls. It’s easy to over-cook tapioca so even if the pudding looks runny, pull it off the heat. It will definitely get thicker as it cools.

Make Tapioca Pearls

1. Place tapioca flour in a bowl.

2. Combine water and sugar together in a small pot and bring the sugar water to a boil (make sure the sugar has dissolved)

3. Turn off the stove and wait until the boiling has stopped, then sprinkle in 1/4 of the tapioca flour. Whisk until blended then add in the rest of the flour a quarter at a time.

4. Mix the dough until they start to stick together and separate from the pot.

5. Transfer the dough to a flat surface (cover with parchment paper if you have it available) and let it rest for a few minutes until it’s cool enough to handle with your hands

6. Knead until the dough becomes smooth with a texture of play-doh or clay.

7. Divide the dough into 2 (keep the other half in a sealed container to prevent it from drying out) and roll each dough with a rolling pin into a flat round disk (about 3/8” thick) and cut it into strips and then again into squares.

8. Roll each square piece in between your palms to make them round. Try to make them as even in size as possible and should be small enough to pass through your straw.

9. Cook the tapioca pearls or store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To store in freezer, spread out the tapioca pearls in a wide container. Once the tapioca pearls have hardened, you can transfer them into a zip lock bag to save space in the freezer.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Cooking Tapioca Pearls

1. Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium pot over high heat.

2. Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water and stir immediately to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Stir until they all float to the top (2-3 minutes) then turn the heat down to medium low and cover with a lid to cook for 13-15 minutes (depending on your handmade boba size and desired consistency*)

3. Turn off the heat and let the tapioca pearls rest for another 15 minutes. Do NOT remove the lid.

4. Strain the tapioca pearls in a colander or a strainer, then rinse them with cold filtered water and strain again.

5. Transfer the tapioca pearls to a mixing bowl and mix in sugar. The heat from the tapioca pearls will dissolve the sugar. Allow 10 minutes for tapioca pearls to absorb the sweetness before serving. You can also make a sugar syrup instead to soak the tapioca pearls.

Cooked tapioca pearls is best kept warm or at room temperature. Once they become cold; the texture will harden and loose its chewiness.

*The cooking time can be reduced or added depending on how you like your tapioca pearls. For chewier texture, try 13 minutes on medium low simmer and 13 minute resting. For softer texture, try 15 minutes for both steps.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

So this is how you can make tapioca pearls from scratch at home. I would love to hear how it goes for you. You can tag me on Instagram or share your comments below. I will follow up with another post on how to make classic milk tea from scratch to complement the freshly made tapioca pearls. Stay tuned and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletters for more fun boba intel!


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I wonder how they cook tapioca pearls? How long does it take to cook tapioca pearls? How do they make these boba pearls so delicious?

If you’ve asked yourself this before, stay tuned! We’ll teach you how to cook tapioca pearls here.

Cooking tapioca pearls for your favorite bubble tea isn’t as difficult as you may think it is.

There are just a few ingredients you need to get started. And a bit of time. Read on for how to cook tapioca pearls for bubble tea or boba.

Cooking Tapioca Pearls with Store-Bought Tapioca Pearls

There are 3 things you need to have before cooking your tapioca pearls.

First, obviously you’ll need your tapioca pearls. You can find these in your local Asian supermarket. If you have trouble finding them, they may sometimes be in the freezer section.

Second, you’ll need a pot of water. Any non-stick pot will work. If you’re interested this is the non-stick pot that we use in the office a lot of time and it works well for us. There’s nothing worse than trying to clean boba pearls that have been stuck on the bottom of your pot. It’s way too tough!

And third, you’ll need some sort of sweetener. This helps with the overall flavor of your boba pearls. Most boba shops use a mix of brown sugar syrup or caramel made from scratch.

You can buy brown sugar syrup at a supermarket or online. But, if you have time and want to try a fun DIY project, you can learn how to make brown sugar syrup from Talk Boba.

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Wash and Prepare Your Tapioca Pearls for Bubble Tea

Like we mentioned before. Find yourself a highly rated and reviewed tapioca pearl brand in your local Asian supermarket for the best tapioca pearls made at home.

There are many tapioca pearl brands out there as you can imagine. If you’re having trouble, we’d suggest buying these tapioca pearls. Based on previous reviews and our own personal use, we stand by these.

Once you have your tapioca pearls handy, measure out a serving or two that you’d like to cook.
Or simply measure out 100g of tapioca pearls.

If the package of tapioca pearls or boba that you bought contains a lot of excess tapioca starch or flour, feel free to wash it.

We’d recommended using a baking sifter because the holes won’t allow any tapioca pearls to slip out. A great inexpensive sifter that works well (we tend to use this one a lot) is made from Neeshow.

Now, once you have your tapioca pearls or boba readily prepared, let’s continue!

Cook Your Tapioca Pearls in a Pot of Boiling Water

Let’s begin preparing a pot of boiling water for your tapioca pearls to swim in.

Any stainless steel pot that can hold up to at least 4 quarts or more of water is a perfect size.

This step is very simple as you can imagine. Simply fill your pot with water. You can typically find the exact amount of water required on the back of the packaging of your store-bought tapioca pearls.

Once you have your pot filled with water, bring the water to a rumbling boil (212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius).

From here you can add your tapioca pearls or boba that you bought from the store. Careful not to splash as you put your boba pearls in boiling water.

Continue to boil your tapioca pearls for about 15-20 minutes (until softened). Or however long the packaging says on the back of your tapioca pearl’s package.

Some tapioca pearl packages will take less than 5 minutes. Carefully check your label.

While your tapioca pearls are swimming in a very hot bath of water, we can begin the sweetener.

Add a Sweetener to Your Tapioca Pearls for More Flavor

As your tapioca pearls are finish cooking, begin to prepare your sweetener. There are some different methods of sweetener you can use: simple syrup, brown sugar, or even condensed milk.

Let’s stick with brown sugar for this one.
If you have any brown sugar laying around the cabinets of your beautiful home, be sure to grab that. Otherwise, we’ll have to make a trip back to the grocery store and get some brown sugar.

Or better yet, get quick shipping thanks to Amazon.

Once you have your brown sugar, mix a serving of brown sugar with a cup of water and bring it to a slight boil in a non-stick pot.

Be sure to steadily stir your mixture as you slowly bring it to a boil. Once you start to see a slight boil, turn down the heat to medium and begin stirring every so often for about 10 minutes. Or until you have a thick syrupy consistency.

The last thing we want is to burn the sugar and have it stick to the pot for the worst clean up ever… (we’ve been here before).

After 10 minutes has passed (or right consistency is found), pour the mixture into your favorite bowl. Here’s one of our favorites, it reminds us of our childhood rice bowls

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Bringing it All Together for Delicious Bubble Tea or Boba

Once the tapioca pearls have the right consistency we can begin mixing everything together. Strain your finished tapioca pearls and add it into the brown sugar syrup mixture we just created.

Give the tapioca pearls and the sweetener a good stir when they’re both in the same bowl. Be sure to have the tapioca pearls submerged and completely covered with your brown sugar mixture too!

Now, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving. We do this so the tapioca pearls soak up some of the sweetened brown sugar taste for each bite. It’ll be sweet, malty, and delicious!

What’s the last step?

You guessed it, serving! Feel free to serve with your favorite bubble tea flavor. We like Thai milk tea and taro milk tea, in case you’re wondering.

Let us know what your favorite bubble tea flavor is and how you did with cooking tapioca pearls or boba pearls at home. If you enjoyed this and learned something new, be sure to let us know in our exclusive Talk Boba group. We share funny stories about our boba experiences good or bad.

Read other interesting boba and bubble tea articles here.

Cassava starch is called tapioca, which is processed into several forms, one of them being in the pearl or spherical form known as tapioca pearls. These pearls are opaque in their raw form and appear translucent when cooked. Tastessence gives you step-by-step instructions to make this gelatinous food at home.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Cassava starch is called tapioca, which is processed into several forms, one of them being in the pearl or spherical form known as tapioca pearls. These pearls are opaque in their raw form and appear translucent when cooked. Tastessence gives you step-by-step instructions to make this gelatinous food at home.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca Love!

1. National Tapioca Pudding Day is on the 15th of July.
2. National Tapioca Day is on the 28th of June.

Tapioca is a form of starch that is extracted from the ‘cassava’ root. This plant is now cultivated all over the world, but its origin was in Portuguese. Tapioca is used in many different forms and in different recipes. It is widely used as a thickener in many recipes. The starch is made in different forms: flakes, rectangular sticks, soluble powder, and pearls. Pearls, being the most widely used, are in the range of 1 – 8 mm in diameter. They are normally white, unless colors are used while processing. The pearls become translucent and chewy when cooked.

Things You’ll Need

The Making of Tapioca Pearls

Step 1: Keep water for boiling.

Step 2: Remove the tapioca starch in a bowl.

Step 3: When the water is at its boiling point, switch off the gas and mix the water in the starch.

Optional: You can add any color if you want, at this stage.

Step 4: Keep mixing and knead until it forms a dough.

Step 5: Make small balls of the dough. The size depends on what you’re going to use it for.

Tip: The dough may start drying when you’re making the balls, so you can add some drops of water and knead it again.

Step 6: Let these balls dry for a few hours. You can keep it for drying overnight.

Step 7: After they are dried, cook them. For cooking, keep water for boiling. When it starts boiling, put the pearls into it and let it cook. Keep stirring frequently so that they do not stick to each other. You will see them floating above, which means that they are almost cooked. Cook it for some more time. You can taste one and decide on the time, depending on how chewy you want it to be. The total time might go up to 20 – 25 minutes.

Step 8: Drain the pearl out of the water and remove it in a bowl or some other liquid (e.g. sugar syrup or other juices).

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Recipes to Use These Pearls

Use it in Bubble Tea

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca pearls are normally white, but the pearls used in bubble teas are black in color. This black color is because of the brown sugar syrup.

In the last step (step 8 explained above), when you separate the pearls, put it in white sugar, brown sugar, and water mixture. The mixture is done in 1:1:2 proportion (take 1 cup of each brown and white sugar, and mix it with 2 cups of water and heat). The pearls firm up when you put them in the syrup. These pearls can then be used in your favorite flavored tea.

Use it in Tapioca Pudding

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Small pearls are used in desserts normally. There are different ways of making a pudding everywhere. You can add tapioca pearls to your recipe and relish a great pudding.

1. Stir milk, pearls, sugar, and salt together.
2. Boil the mixture and stir continuously.
3. Add beaten eggs and simmer it till the mixture is thick. It can be served cold or hot.

These tapioca pearls are relished all over the world in different forms. Try them to enjoy the flavor.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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How To Make, Vegetables & Fruit

Published: Jun 5, 2020 Updated: Jul 12, 2020 by Sophie Leave a Comment

Boba Tapioca Pearls are an essential part of bubble tea. Learn the foolproof method to make black boba pearls at home with no weird ingredients so that you can enjoy them without fear.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

What are Boba Pearls

Boba Pearls are tapioca pearls that are often added to bubble milk tea. They are made from tapioca starch and have a bouncy, chewy texture with some softness.

You can find packaged boba pearls at Asian grocery stores, however they may contain additives and preservatives. There are also reports of unhealthy chemicals in tapioca pearls used at some bubble tea shops. Therefore, I have decided to make them (as well as boba tea) at home.


The main ingredients are:

  • tapioca starch/flour: make sure you buy tapioca flour from Vietnamese or Thai brands. The flour should be very fine and lightweight (like cornstarch).
  • cocoa powder and dark brown sugar: these two ingredients together give the pearls a natural dark color and a subtle flavor. No need to use food coloring (or any weird stuff).
  • water

When I make them with Vietnamese dark brown sugar, they will have a black color while if I make them with Western dark brown sugar, the color will be deep brown which is still very beautiful. So just grab dark brown sugar at your regular grocery stores.

How to Make Boba Pearls

Black boba pearls are not difficult to make at home. There are 3 main steps here:

  • preparing the dough,
  • shaping the pearls,
  • boiling the pearls.

It is also possible to make ahead and we will discuss that later in the post. I strongly recommend watching the video below and then continue to read to understand the method.

Watch the Video

Preparing the dough

First, dissolve dark brown sugar into water and bring it to a boil. To create the pearls, tapioca flour is usually mixed with boiling liquid to make a kneadable dough. When I dumped all of the starch into boiling liquid (or vice versa), I found 2 potential issues:

  • The texture may get weird, wet, lumpy and doesn’t form into a dough.
  • If the mixture manages to form into a dough, it is a little difficult to shape the pearls. After cooking, they taste okay though. However, they will be hard chewy the next day (after being stored in the fridge) instead of pleasantly chewy with a bit of softness.

When starch is added directly to hot liquid, it can clump very easily. On the contrary, slurry can be added directly to hot liquid and incorporate more easily than starch. So the solution I came up with is using part of the flour to form a tapioca starch slurry first, then add it to the freshly boiled liquid while stirring to form a wet mixture. After that, gradually add the remaining flour and use a wooden spoon to combine and/or use your hands to knead into a soft and smooth dough.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

This foolproof method works every time. Moreover, you can cook the pearls, then refrigerate, and they still have a great texture the next day after reheating in the microwave.

Shaping the pearls

Lightly dust a clean working surface and your hands, press the dough into a flat disk and cut into strips. Roll each strip into a long log and then cut into small pieces. I like to keep each piece not too big since the smaller they are, the fewer time needed to cook them. Don’t make them too small though, or it will take a lot of time to go through all the dough.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Now comes the time-consuming part, which is rolling the dough pieces into round balls. This sounds like a task for when you have a lot of free time or when you binge-watch Netflix :). You may also want to ask your spouse or kids for a helping hand. And don’t stress yourself out about making them perfectly round.

Boiling boba pearls

This is the easiest step out of all three. Just boil the tapioca balls in plenty of water until they are fully cooked.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Mine often take less than 15 minutes to cook. The exact amount of cooking time will depend on the size of the pearls.

Cooked boba pearls will need to be soaked in a simple brown sugar syrup (or honey) to avoid sticking as well as give them more flavors. So once the pearls are cooked through, transfer them to a bowl of cold water. Then drain and soak them in the syrup. The longer you keep them in the syrup, the darker their color will become.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Use and Store the Pearls

If you follow my method, after putting the pearls in the syrup, you can use them right away or store them in the fridge until the next day. When you want to use them, briefly microwave them until they become soft-chewy again and add them to your bubble tea.

Highly recommend: make my brown sugar milk tea recipe and enjoy with these homemade tapioca pearls.

How to Make Ahead

After step 2 (shaping the pearls), lightly coat them with tapioca flour, place in a Ziploc bag, and freeze them. When you need to use them, just remove from the fridge and cook in boiling water and marinate in brown sugar syrup after that.

How to Make Tapioca PearlsHomemade boba pearls that have been frozen

I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating (if you have tried it). New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

Wheat flour and corn starch are useful and versatile ingredients, but a number of less-common starches are equally valuable. One of those is tapioca, a tropical starch that’s widely used in pudding and bubble teas. When ground to a fine flour, it can be used as a general-purpose thickener or as part of a gluten-free flour mixture. You don’t need any specialized equipment to grind your own, just inexpensive kitchen appliances you probably already have.

Tapioca is made from dried cassava roots, a starchy staple that plays a potato-like role in the cuisines of tropical countries. It’s most commonly formed into small “pearls,” which absorb liquid and enlarge into gelatinous balls. In other words, those common, inexpensive tapioca pearls in your cupboard are exactly the same as the tapioca flour you buy at the health-food store. To use them as flour, all you need to do is grind them down to powder.

How to make tapioca flour?

A spice grinder, blender or food processor is all you need to make your own tapioca flour. Spice grinders have a relatively small capacity, and most will only turn out a few tablespoons of flour at a time. Depending on your specific model, a blender might manage to pulverize 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup of tapioca at a time. A full-sized food processor can usually cope with two or more cups of tapioca at once.

Measure the tapioca pearls into the machine and process them, shaking occasionally, until they turn to fine powder. In a food processor or blender, you might opt to pulse the tapioca several times until it’s partially powdered, then process continuously for several more seconds.

Pour the ground tapioca through a sifter or fine-mesh strainer to remove any large particles.

Return any coarse particles to the grinder along with fresh pearls and repeat until you have as much as tapioca flour you need.

Using the Tapioca Flour

As a thickener for sauces and baking, tapioca flour has strengths and weaknesses. It can give a heated sauce or gravy an oddly stringy character, which many diners find off-putting. That’s one reason why it’s made into pearls, which don’t have the same texture. In fruit pies, on the other hand, tapioca flour shines. It leaves the fillings as glossy and beautiful as cornstarch does, but — unlike cornstarch — it isn’t affected by freezing and thawing, and the fruit’s natural acidity won’t weaken its thickening effect. Its stringy texture is much less noticeable in a cold slice of pie, and it’s further masked by the textures of the crust and fruit.

People usually have strong feelings about tapioca — and if you grew up on the gooey tapioca pudding cups served in school cafeterias, those feelings may be strongly negative. Get ready to redress your childhood tapioca issues with this delicious combination of starchy tapioca pearls and nutty-sweet taro root.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 cups (10 ounces) taro

1/2 cup small tapioca pearls

1 cup coconut milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large pot, bring 5 cups of the water to a boil.

Cut the taro into 1/4-inch cubes.

Add the taro and tapioca pearls; reduce the heat to medium.

Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, adding additional water, as needed.

When the tapioca pearls become translucent, add the sugar, coconut milk, and salt; cook for 3 minutes.

Create melon balls with about a 3/4-inch diameter.

Add 1 1/2 cups melon balls to the pot; cook to heat through, about 2 minutes.

With coconut milk, a full cup of sugar, and the starchy thickness of tapioca and taro, this dessert runs the risk of seeming pretty rich. But the little bit of salt gives the whole dish a more complex flavor.

Don’t succumb to the temptation of using quick-cooking tapioca in this recipe because it simply won’t give the same results as the pearls. Tapioca pearls are tapioca starch that has been processed into pellets ranging in size from about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

  1. How to Cook Tapioca Balls
  2. The Best Way to Cook Tapioca
  3. How to Cook Pearl Barley on the Stove
  4. What Is the Nutritional Value of Tapioca?
  5. How to Make Sago at Home

Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Large tapioca pearls make up the slightly chewy bubbles found in boba, or bubble, tea. You can also use these large pearls to make tapioca pudding, though the larger pearls take more preparation to reconstitute correctly. You can soak them overnight, which is the preferred method for making pudding, or reconstitute them more quickly by boiling. You can store reconstituted large pearls in a sugar syrup in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Overnight Soak

Combine one part large tapioca pearls with three parts cold water. Soak the pearls in a covered saucepan overnight so they can reconstitute.

Drain any remaining water in the pan the following day. Add 1 quart milk and ¾ cups sugar for every ½ cup of dry tapioca pearls used.

Bring the tapioca and milk to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir to prevent the tapioca from scorching. Cook until the tapioca pearls become clear, which can take up to 30 minutes.

Quick Cook Method

Mix the tapioca pearls with water in a saucepan, adding 2 cups of water for every ¼ cup of dry pearls.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil until the pearls float to the top of the water.

Lower the heat to medium so the water remains at a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let the tapioca stand for an additional 15 minutes so it reconstitutes completely.

Combine equal parts boiling water and sugar together in a separate pot, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Drain the tapioca and pour the sugar syrup over the top. Cool the tapioca to room temperature before using it.

5 Answers

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

The beauty of Bubble Tea is the versatility of this drink. Please play with the recipes and come up with your own creations. You can substitute milk, cream, half n half, sweetened and condensed milk, and the like instead of non dairy creamer. This way you can see how creamy, thick or strong the differences are and what you prefer. You can use tea or water for the powder drinks. You can blend your drink with ice and make a smoothie. Play with the sugar syrup recipe or use a pre-made syrup like fructose or simple Hawaiian cane sugar. The only limit to this drink is our own imaginations. If you come up with something spectacular and want to share it, please email us and we will post it on our site. Good luck and enjoy!

How to cook Tapioca Pearls for Bubble Tea:

1 cup Tapioca Pearls (Bubble Tea Supply of course)

Approximately 6-10 servings

The ratio should be a minimum of 7:1, water to tapioca pearls.

Boil water in a large pot.

Add in the tapioca pearls to boiling water.

The tapioca pearls should float in the water.

Boil for about 25 minutes depending on the tapioca pearl with the cover on.

Turn the heat off and let the tapioca sit in the water for 25 minutes.

Rinse the cooked tapioca pearls in warm water and drain out the water.

Cover with bubble tea sugar syrup or brown sugar and serve.

Note: This is for those that want to make Bubble Tea at home and don’t want to wait an hour. What I do is boil the tapioca pearls for 20 minutes and let it sit for 15 minutes. I rinse the tapioca pearls and then place in a container in the refrigerator. When I get the urge, I boil a cup of water and put some refrigerated tapioca pearls in for about 3-5 minutes. Rinse, cover in sugar syrup and serve. It usually lasts a few days before it gets too mushy. Enjoy!

*This is not recommended for bubble tea shops.

How to cook Bubble Tea Sugar Syrup:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

Approximately 32-35 sixteen ounce servings

Mix sugar and water in a large pot.

Cook at medium to high heat.

Once the mixture boils remove from stove immediately.

Bubble tea with tapioca pearls and shaved ice is one of the attractive drinks young Asian today. If you want to know how to cook tapioca pearls for bubble tea. So what do you need to do?

First, you should go to the supermarket and buy packaged tapioca pearls but I have found that these packaged tapioca pearls usually do not have detailed cooking instructions, so I hope this article will help you in progress cooking tapioca pearls at home

1. What Are Tapioca Pearls?

Tapioca pearls, also known as boba or tapioca balls, are small white spheres made from tapioca, which have a slightly translucent texture when finished cooking. Tapioca pearls are quite tasteless, so they are often used in combination with a variety of sweet drinks, especially milk tea and Thai tea.

2. How to Cook Small White Tapioca Pearls


  • 1 cup of raw small white tapioca pearls (160g)
  • 8 cups of water, each cup is 200ml
  • A pot with lid, mesh strainer, spoon, plastic wrap, & bowl


Step 1:

Pour 8 cups of water in a medium-sized pot. Place it on the stove and let it come to a boil on high heat.

Step 2:

Next, add the tapioca pearls on the boiling water cautiously. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Then turn off the heat and let stand another 15 minutes

Step 3:

Now, transfer the cooked tapioca pearls on a mesh strainer to drain the excess water and begin to rinse the pearls gently through cold running tap water. This step helps the tapioca pearl retain its crunchiness.

Step 4:

Put the cooked & rinsed tapioca pearls in a bowl and soak with prepared sugar water. (Dissolve three tablespoons of sugar into 1 cup of warm water). Close the lid and serve when bubble tea is ready.

You can also use sugar syrup or brown sugar instead of sugar water. Use tapioca pearls within 5 hours and do not store them overnight

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Tips When Cooking Tapioca Pearls

You must not wash tapioca pearls before cooking, and you should only add tapioca pearls when the water has boiled.

The size and number of tapioca pearls will affect the cooking time and the amount of water to be used. Usually, 100 grams of dried tapioca pearl need 5 cups of water to cook; each cup is 200ml. During the cooking process, you may have to add water several times. If you don’t want them to stick together

Want To Drink Your Own Bubble Tea At Home?

If you crave bubble tea and wish you could have it anytime you want, you can. Its easy to make the tapioca pearls at home and the rest of the drink is typically a mixture of fairly standard beverages and sweeteners.

Bubble tea, famous for those pea to marble sized balls of tapioca known as pearls or boba, was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s. Originally a blend of black tea, sweetened milk and small tapioca balls like those normally used in pudding; most bubble teas today blend together a recipe of black or green tea along with fruit or milk and the larger boba diameters which have become the preferred pearl size.

Because of the huge range of color and taste combinations, bubble teas can quench your thirst, theme your party and if you choose to spike your sip, they become cool cocktails like these spotted cheetah, jaguar and leopard drinks. Perfect for tailgate parties where you want to match sports team colors because similar to using colored ice cubes in your drink, tapioca pearls come in a rainbow of colors as well.

Where Can You Buy Tapioca Balls?

You can buy tapioca pearls online or find a local Asian market that specializes in Chinese food products that carries them. Depending on the popularity of bubble tea in your area, boba balls may be more widely available and at a variety of sources other than just ethnic specialty stores.

Black tapioca pearls are arguably the most popular, but white boba and a variety of other colors including assorted are available. The ones used for this tutorial were the large dark brown marble sized boba with a whitish surface shown to the right which blacken up when cooked.

How To Cook Tapioca Pearls



tbegin to float on the top after a few minutes. Once the tapioca pearls are floating, turn down the heat to a medium setting, cover the pot with a lid, and let simmer for five more minutes.

When done, carefully scoop out or pour into a colander to avoid cutting or tearing the spheres and rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking any further. Recommend adding some simple syrup, which most home bar owners will already have on hand, to help keep them fresh and soft a little longer. Honey works well too. Whether sweetened or not, tapioca pearls are best served within several hours after cooking.

Storage Tips:

Most bubble tea recipes call for some sugar or other sweetener like condensed milk or fruit juice to be added anyway, so this will not normally detract from any drink recipe. If you prefer not to add any though, keep the cooked tapioca pearls stored in a bowl of enough water to cover so they don’t dry out.

The boba should last a couple days stored in the refrigerator this way, but will gradually harden well past the point of being the consistency of soft gummy bears and start to become crunchy. To soften again, at least partially, add hot water or microwave briefly until chewy.

Tapioca cooking times may vary depending on ball size, brand, style, etc. Preparation is generally the same though. Be sure to follow any specific instructions accordingly.

How To Make Bubble Tea

Classic Bubble Tea Recipe:

  • 2 oz cooked tapioca pearls
  • 4 oz strong black tea (chilled)
  • 4 oz milk
  • sugar to taste

Add the milk and tea to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and pour into a parfait, collins or other large glass with the tapioca balls already inside. If you soaked your boba in simple syrup additional sugar may not be needed or at least not as much anyway.

Can You Substitute Sago For Tapioca In Bubble Tea?

Sago, also known as sabudana in India, is a starch typically made from tropical palm stems and is similar in appearance to white tapioca pearls when the flour is balled into a paste and boiled. Many bubble tea vendors offer sago pearls as an option in their drinks, so it can be substituted. Sabudana has a different texture though that is not quite as springy when chewed and has more of a pasta taste than tapioca pearls (recommended) which are fairly neutral in flavor.

Other variations include jelly cubes, mung bean paste, taro balls and many more. Although not quite a meal like these Sandwich Cocktails and some Bloody Marys are, there is normally more to eat with bubble tea drinks than just a garnish.

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How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Homemade Tapioca Pudding is a simple, creamy, delicious, and timeless dessert. It’s better than boxed Minute Tapioca and easier to make than you might think!

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Have you ever tried to make Tapioca Pudding? When is the last time you even ate tapioca pudding??

I sort of feel like tapioca pudding is the forgotten dessert. I mean, I never hear anyone talk about it, and I definitely never see anyone serve it. And I never see any recipes for it…so I want to change that!

Only the best memories come to mind when I think about homemade tapioca pudding – my mom used to make it when I was a kid. But it was usually reserved for times when I was sick. Like chicken soup. I have no idea why. And she always served it in footed dessert ice cream bowls (like the ones in these pictures), never in parfait glasses or ramekins. So funny the things we remember from our childhood!

I actually think I bought these footed dessert dishes a long time ago, specifically for serving tapioca pudding, because otherwise it wouldn’t be the same, right? Ha.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

What is Tapioca?

Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root, also known as yuca, a plant native to Brazil, referred to there as “mandioca,” and its starch is referred to as “tapioca.” It’s become a staple in many countries, but actually has zero nutritional value, and often just used as a thickening agent in many foods, like stews, gravy, and pie.

Tapioca pearls come in all different sizes. Bobs Red Mill is my preferred brand, but you can use any kind, adjusting my recipe depending on the package instructions.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Fun Tapioca facts!

1. It’s gluten-free. Because of this, it’s often ground into a flour and used as an alternative to wheat in gluten-free breads, helping replace the texture and moisture missing from the lack of gluten.

2. Unlike cornstarch , tapioca can handle freezing and thawing without losing its gel structure or breaking down.

3. Tapioca pearls and powders are usually white, but the pearls used in desserts and drinks can be dyed to just about any color – like you see in bubble tea!

4. When tapioca is added to filled bakery desserts, like danishes, it traps the moisture in a gel, preventing the pastry from becoming soggy during storage.

What is the difference between boxed Minute Tapioca and this Homemade Tapioca?

Minute (or Instant) Tapioca, is a smaller grain than the pearls, which helps it cook faster, making it widely popular. Tapioca pearls, although varying in size, are still larger than the Instant version and usually require pre-soaking before being used in a recipe. BUT I just love the texture of the larger pearls, you guys. And honestly, it’s worth the wait. Homemade Tapioca pudding is still crazy easy!

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Anyway, I adore homemade tapioca pudding and make it all the time for my kids – they don’t need to be sick for such a treat. We all love it warm and cold, but I think the preference is cold. I actually didn’t even know people ate it warm until a few years ago. Again…childhood. My mother never served it warm.

You can add cocoa powder to it, giving it a chocolate flair. Or I’ve seen some pictures with fruit mixed it. But I just love it simple like this.

Do you want to know how to make tapioca pearls on your own? It’s easier than you might think. The ingredients are very simple and the main thing you need to cope with the task is patience. If you have enough patience, you will receive the perfect pearls. Let’s see how to make them!

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Image source:

Can I prepare tapioca pearls at home?

Surely, you can! You will need to perform only a few simple steps and you will have the pearls you want. You will be in the full control of the process, so you will be able to make them as soft or as chewy as you like. Finally, you are free to add any colors and tastes, it’s up to you to choose what every cup of your bubble tea will be like.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Image source:

Of course, such a delicacy will impress your guests more than anything else on your table. They will be delighted to find out that you’ve made these pearls with your own hands and right from scratch. The treat is definitely worth the efforts and you should never worry: you can make them, it’s easy!

What are tapioca pearls ingredients?

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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The products you will need are as follows:

  • 9 teaspoons of tapioca starch (it’s also called tapioca flour but it’s basically the same)
  • 3 teaspoons of water (the water must be literally boiling! This is the only way to create the necessary substance)
  • 3 cups of water (for cooking in a saucepan)
  • 1 cup of sugar (brown sugar is better)

As you can see, there’s nothing special and each of these ingredients can be found in either your kitchen or the nearest shop. Optionally, you can add some food flavoring or food colors to create multi-color bubbles. If you like it, you are free to choose whatever flavor you prefer.

Simple steps to prepare tapioca pearls from scratch

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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Now, you need to do everything very carefully and really quickly.

  • Pour three cups of water into the saucepan and set it to boil
  • When the water is boiling, take three teaspoons of this water into a separate bowl (a glass one works best of all) and immediately add the tapioca starch. It’s really important to do this while the water is still boiling to reach the necessary consistency of the dough
  • When the starch is thrown into the water, start stirring it vigorously with a spoon to mix it to smoothness. When you see that the entire amount of starch is in and there’s no more water on the bottom, start kneading the dough with your fingers
  • At this point, you may not be afraid that you will overdo with the kneading. The tapioca starch contains no gluten and the dough cannot be overworked
  • In the meanwhile, add sugar to the boiling water and stir till it’s dissolved completely. Pour a part of the sugared water into a separate bowl because you will not need it now

Now, you need to know one typical mistake that can turn all your efforts into a mess. The water that’s used for the dough must be boiling. If it’s not hot enough, the substance will never acquire the necessary shape and firmness.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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In the process of kneading, you might fee that the dough has become hard and dried out. This is not a problem. Several drops of water on the table and everything is fine again. On the other hand, in case you have added too much water and the dough starts sticking to your fingers and the cutting board, add a tiny bit of tapioca starch to regain the consistency.

After the dough is kneaded to smoothness, it’s time to start making tiny balls. The quickest way to cope with it and make your pearls of practically the same size all the way is cut the dough into pieces and then roll to form long thin sausages (something about 5mm wide in the diameter).

Take a very sharp knife and cut them into small pieces. Then, roll each piece so that they turn into small beads the size of a pea. You are free to give them any shape. If you are intended to surprise your guests with classic tapioca pearls for bubble tea, here you go.

In case you are searching for interesting mouth sensations, you can cut them into any shape you like. Squares, triangles, hearts, anything. The dough is firm enough to maintain the shape and you always have space for creativity.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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Sometimes, it’s recommended to let the pearls dry a little. Some specialists offer waiting 2 to 4 hours until the dough gets completely dry and only then start cooking. It’s up to you, actually, your time and patience. If you don’t want to wait, you shouldn’t. The result will hardly differ much.

When this is done, pour the balls (or other shapes) into the boiling sugar syrup. They will drown to the bottom first, then they will rise, and then you will see that they are getting bigger. This is the moment when the waiting starts. The waiting depends on the texture of the pearls you want to receive and their actual size. In average, they are done in something between 10 and 25 minutes.

It’s important to check the readiness of the pearls every 3 to 5 minutes or so. Don’t forget to stir them all the time because the syrup may get very thick in the process of cooking and you will lose control over the pearls. As soon as they are the ready, remove them from the syrup. Now, take the bowl with the sugared water you have set aside at the very beginning and pour them into it. Then, let them cool down in the fridge.

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

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You need to remember that even if the balls feel slightly overdone when you remove them from the syrup, it’s okay because they will regain firmness in the process of cooling down. The cooler they are, the thicker they will become. Never leave the pearls in the same liquid where they were cooked: due to the starch, it turns into a slimy mess and it’s not good for the pearls. The pure transparent syrup will do better for them.

Well, this is how to make tapioca pearls and make your guests sure you are a perfect cook. When you are cooking them for the first time, it’s better not to make the things more complicated by adding aromas, colors, and so on. Try the classic sugar ones and practice your hand. Later, you should feel free to create the pears of any kinds and with any available flavors.

If you have found the article useful, please kindly share it and recommend to your friends. Have the best of luck and enjoy the sweet pearls in your tea.

featured in Delicious Asian Drinks

Craving bubble tea but don’t want to keep spending so much money on it? Making your own is really easy — and much more customizable. You can buy tapioca pearls or boba from Walmart or Amazon (or your local Taiwanese store) then make the tea with a blend of your favorite black tea, sweetener, and half and half or non-dairy substitute. Just add ice and a wide straw, and you can have your favorite treat anytime!


  • 2 cups water ( 480 g )
  • 6 black tea bags

Tapioca Pearls and Brown Sugar Syrup

  • ½ cup medium black tapioca pearls ( 50 g )
  • 2 cups brown sugar ( 440 g )
  • 1 cup hot water ( 240 mL )
  • ½ cup tapioca pearls ( 50 g ) , cooked
  • ½ cup ice ( 30 g )
  • brown sugar syrup , to taste
  • 1 cup black tea ( 240 mL ) , chilled
  • ¼ cup half & half ( 60 mL )
  • 2 wide-opening straws


  1. In a medium pot over high heat, combine the water and tea bags. Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and let the tea cool to room temperature.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the tapioca pearls and boil until softened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the pearls through a strainer.

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Introduction: How to Make Milk Tea Boba

Today ill be showing you how to make milk tea boba. Boba is a drink with tapioca pearls with any type of tea. Boba is simple to make and it doesn’t take too long. You can get your supplies at any local groceries stores. I’ll be using British tea but any type of strong tea can work. You can use smoothies but it’ll just be showing you milk tea boba.#HMS2020


Step 1: Preparing the Tapioca Pearls

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a deep pot. Then add 1 cup of black tapioca pearls. For every 1 cup of tapioca pearls, add 8 cups of water. Boil the tapioca pearls until it floats to the top then cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Once you have finished boiling your tapioca pearls you scoop the tapioca pearls out of the pot and let it rest in cold water for 20 seconds. Then transfer it into another bowl.

Step 2: Preparing the Syrup

Grab a saucepan and add 2 cups of water until it starts to simmer. Once the water has simmered add 2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix the sugar around until it dissolves. After the sugar has dissolved turn off the stove and add your tapioca pearls into the syrup and mix it around.

Step 3: Making the Tea

You can use any type of strong tea or ice tea for your boba but ill be using British tea. My tea is hot tea but you can use ice tea. Grab your tea bag and place it into your cup and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar. Boil half a cup of water and add it to your tea. Mix it around and take out the teabag. Add a fourth of a cup of milk in the tea and mix it around.

Step 4: Finishing Off the Boba

Once you have finished making your tea, add your tapioca pearls that are mixed with the syrup into your tea. Add as many ice cubes as you want. Then add your straw and mix the tea around with your tapioca and you’re done!

Boba can use any tea and any brand of boba whichever works for you. Boba is an easy beverage to make and it doesn’t take long. Do whatever works best for you. If you have different tapioca pearls still check the instructions on the back just to be sure you are boiling your tapioca pearls right.

Be the First to Share

Did you make this project? Share it with us!

Bubble tea is also called as pearl milk tea or bubble milk tea. It is first popular in Taiwan. Later it became famous in many places including Singapore. The queue for bubble tea is so long!

My husband craves for bubble tea but during this circuit breaker period, as the shops are closed, I want to make bubble tea at home. The homemade tapioca pearls are much tastier than the store bought dried ones. It’s so fun to make especially with kids.

These pearls are so easy to make and only needs 3 ingredients (tapioca flour, water and brown sugar). It’s a bit tiring to knead the flour, this is where your husband’s strength comes to use😉Frankly on seeing the flour, I didn’t think that I can get a smooth dough but as you continue to knead you will get it. The colour of the rolled pearls is greenish at first but slowly it became darker and almost black by the end.


For tapioca pearls:
Tapioca starch – 1 cup
• Brown sugar – 1/4 cup
• Water – 1/3 cup
• Black colour food dye – 1/4 tsp (optional)
For Brown sugar syrup:
Water – 1/4 cup
• Brown Sugar – 1/2 cup


1.In a pan, heat water and brown sugar. Add black food dye (optional).

2.When it’s boiling, add half of the tapioca starch. Cook on low flame by mixing. Switch off the flame and add flour and mix.

3. Remove from pan and knead it for 12 to 15 minutes till smooth dough is formed.

4.Roll the dough cylindrically and cut into half. Repeat the process twice and roll the dough thin cylinders and cut into small pieces.

5. Take a bowl and put some tapioca starch. Make balls with the small pieces of dough and drop in the bowl. This is avoid sticking of balls to each other.
6. After making all balls, dust the excess flour by using a sieve.

7. Boil water in a pan and add tapioca pearls. Cook on medium flame for 15 minutes. Slowly you can see the balls change in colour and float .

8.Switch off the stove and leave it for 5 minutes. Later remove the pearls from the into a bowl and sprinkle some brown sugar to avoid sticking. Tasty and chewy tapioca pearls are ready!

9. In a small pan, add water and brown sugar. Heat in high flame and bring it to boil.
10. Reduce to medium flame and let it bubble. Cook on low flame for 15 minutes till it’s slightly thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

11.Add some ice cubes and tapioca pearls in a glass. Pour some brown sugar syrup and coat the walls. Add milk or milk tea and enjoy the tasty brown sugar pearls milk!


• Kneading takes time atleast 12 to 15 minutes. If it’s too dry, add little bit a water and it’s too sticky, add some starch.
• Don’t worry if the pearls in greenish, colour changes to black after cooling.
• Put the small tapioca balls in a bowl with flour to avoid sticking.
• After removing from water, sprinkle some brown sugar on pearls to avoid sticking.