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How to Make Tapioca Pearls for Boba from Scratch

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? 

We think so! 

As you continue reading this article for making tapioca pearls from scratch you’ll begin to realize how easy it actually is. There are only a few ingredients you need, about an hour of your time and that’s about it! 

By the way, if you didn’t know, Talk Boba and the team writes about the best boba places around your city, the best boba recipes around the internet, and the best teas to use while making homemade bubble tea. If you’re interested in learning more you can head over here after reading this guide for making tapioca pearls at home. We’re also always on the hunt to look for boba lovers who want to write about their boba making journey, click here to write for us if you’re interested. 

Now where were we? Let’s get back to how to make tapioca pearls for boba and bubble tea from scratch. 

What You Need to Make Tapioca Pearls from Scratch 

There are only a few ingredients that you will need in order to make delicious boba pearls at home. Have a look below.

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 office team makes boba pearls from scratch we typically use dark muscovado sugar like this or traditional dark brown sugar from popular brands like Domino. As for the tapioca starch, we’ll more than likely use either of these two brands (ERAWAN or Flying Horse) that you can find on Amazon or your local Asian market.

Learn the differences between tapioca starch and tapioca flour here. 

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 like a wooden spoon and gently stir everything together. 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 nicely 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 and gently stir it all together. You’ll have clumps at first (this is normal) but continue stirring until everything is nicely incorporated. This is to prime 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 a 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 (amount is listed in the above ingredient list) and 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 Cook Tapioca Pearls 

To cook your tapioca pearls, it’s quite simple. 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 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, 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. 

Have a look at our entire list of milk tea recipes. 

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 like everyone else does. 

Until next time, just talk about boba, duh! 

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