How to Prepare Boba Pearls at Home

Tips for making boba at home Have you ever tried boba (bubble) tea before? There are all sorts of flavors and variations, but basically it's a sweet tea (or smoothie) that contains boba pearls you drink along with your beverage. Boba pearls are kind of like small, gummy candies. Strange, right? I think most people either end up loving it or hating it. But it's always fun to try new things.Tips for making boba at home www.abeautifulmess.comWe used to serve boba tea at the our little boutique's sweet shop, so I've prepared the pearls hundreds of times. When I was first learning to prepare boba I found some information online to be very helpful, and some not so helpful. I'm going to share the method that works best for me and in the coming months we'll share some of our favorite boba tea recipes too.How to make boba at home 1. Start with 2 cups of dry boba pearls. There's lots of places to buy these online (and sometimes locally at asian markets as well). Boba can only be prepared up to 24 hours in advance so only make as much as you'll consume. Two cups is plenty for a small get-together, about 6-7 drinks.

2. Fill a large pot (the boba needs to be able to move around so they don't stick together) about 2/3 full of water. Bring this to a boil. Give it a stir and pour the boba pearls in. They should float to the surface within the first 20-30 seconds. If they don't float you may have a bad batch or you may not have allowed the water to boil all the way before adding the boba. How to make boba at home www.abeautifulmess.com3. Allow the boba to cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every so often.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and place a lid on top. Allow the boba to cook covered for an additional 10-12 minutes.

5. Strain the boba from the water and pour into a bowl/container. Add just enough cold water to cover the pearls. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar to sweeten the boba. Allow to cool before adding to drinks.Tips for making boba at home  Now that you know how to prepare the pearls, next up we'll be sharing some of our favorite boba tea recipes with you. For this batch I added boba to my honey and orange sweet tea. What about you? Have you ever tried boba before? Love it? Hate it? Totally weird you out? Let us know your thoughts and favorite flavors. πŸ™‚ xo. Emma

  • I love boba and haven’t had it in a long time. I’m thinking it’s time for me to try it at home! Thanks for the post!

  • I absolutely love boba tea! I like getting it in a smoothie so the pearls freeze up a little bit when you drink them. My favourite flavours are mango, strawberry-banana, and taro.

  • I LOVE boba! I will admit, the very first few times I tried it, I thought the texture was weird. But then something strange happened…I found myself craving it. That is how my addiction to boba drinks began and it’s still going strong probably…a decade later. =P My favorite are coffee frap like drinks with boba. Must try!

  • We love boba or tapioca pearls (we know them under that name) but could never get them right. Especially in Milk Tea. Will try this way of cooking them πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing

  • Love that you’re telling more people about pearl tea.

    Just wanted to pass along an FYI – Pearl tea originated from Taiwan, and “boba” actually means “big breast/nipple” in Mandarin. It would probably be better to refer to the pearls as tapioca pearls instead of boba pearls.

  • Is that what is used for bubble tea ? it looks like it.
    thanks a lot for the recipe, we’ve been wanting to try for years.

  • I always wondered what it actually was that was in the tea! I just might try it now that it isn’t so mysterious.


  • I looove boba tea! I grew up in asia, so I drank it very very often. Though I have to admit I often ask them to remove the pearls, it gets a bit too starchy for my liking after a while.

  • It’s called Bubble Tea here, I never knew it was called Boba as well. I never tried it but I heard so much negative stuff about it. I guess homemade sweet tea with pearls is a lot healthier!

  • Hi Elsie and Emma!

    I <3 reading your blog and am excited to see this recipe. I used to work for an authentic Asian cafe where I specifically made bubble tea all day long πŸ™‚

    A fun fact about bubble tea that I thought I'd share: bubble tea actually isn't called bubble tea because of the boba (which most people think), but is actually called bubble tea because you're supposed to shake the tea (like a martini) to infuse air into the tea. The woman who trained me shared this fun fact and most of my friends think it's neat when I tell them.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • There’s a very high filipino population where I live so this is nothing new.

  • Living in Singapore, I would get boba tea ALL the time! Since it originated in Taiwan, we got some of the real deal stuff around just about every corner! Can’t wait to try making my own x

  • I love bubble tea! It’s so lovely, and i love how you can have it in so many flavours and variations! xxx

  • Thanks for this! I’ve tried making them at home and bombed. We love boba, so now I’ll have to try again.

  • Oooh, yum! I love me some bubble tea. And I live where it’s easy peasy to get some – thanks for the directions, I want to try to make my own boba now! πŸ™‚

  • I used to work in a coffee shop that served them. We called them boba teas, bubble teas, and milk teas. They’re also fun with cold coffee drinks instead of tea!

    I’ve always cooked them in a rice cooker but I think everyone does it a little differently. We brought the water to a boil on the highest setting and let them cook on high for a half hour and then let them sit on warm for another half hour (stirring occasionally to prevent sticking). Rinse them under cold water and you’re set πŸ™‚

  • I love boba and who knew it was so easy to make! I had no idea you could get it online or at an Asian market. Yay for new ideas, thanks!

  • Ack! I’m a little weirded out. Oh my ladies…what do you do with them? Do you eat them? Is it just for flavor? I’m not sure how I would feel about little eggy things in my drinks. Its good though? I may have to try it but it may feel a bit like Fear Factor to! Love your blog!!

  • Bubble tea is one of my favorite drinks! I first had it about 5 years ago in Taiwan and now flip out anywhere I can find it stateside!

  • I love bubble tea and was so sad when our local shop closed. It’s the first thing I asked my husband to bring to the hospital after I had my son. πŸ™‚

  • This post just made my day!! I have already stopped twice to get boba tea this week! Oh my golly goshers thanks for posting this!

  • I often go to ChinaTown in Ottawa (Canada’s capital) for bubble tea….but we call those “pearls” Tapioca pearls not boba.

  • I definitely will try to make this, I have tried it so many times but I did not have a clue about how to make it.
    Would you recommend me a nice online store where I can buy the bubbles?


  • I love this recipe, I recently try this kind of tea and I love it! The one I try was with milk and it was awesome :)My grandapa used to eat and drink boba pearls. In my country boba pearls are called tapioca. Thanks for the recipe and the nice memory, caro.

  • I wish I liked bubble tea, but the taste/texture of the pearls just creeped me out the 2 times I’ve had it before. Maybe I need to try the flavoured pearls that they have.

  • I guess Tapioca an Boba Pearls are the same… If so… Yes! I’ve tried them…! But not in a drink… I’ve had it in a dessert that tasted just like rice pudding… in fact, I think it was the same recipe of rice pudding replacing rice with boba pearls…
    I’ll seek for them… so I can give them a try in some iced tea… Looks too cute and funny to pass up!! β™₯

  • I have literally 50 boba places within a 10 minute drive of my apartment, but nothing beats being able to make your own at home πŸ™‚ I prefer using honey instead of brown sugar, and most often add it to either thai tea or vietnamese coffee at home.

    And now, I’m craving boba!!

  • I LOVE boba drinks! There’s a really great Thai restaurant right across the road from my apartments, and they have such a huge selection of flavors. Thank you so much for posting this! I can’t wait to see the upcoming tea recipes!

  • I LOVE boba! We have a super awesome local place here in the SF Bay Area, and it is a huge hit. Like, line out the door and down the block kind of hit. There are tons of boba places here, but that is by far the most popular!

    My favorite is mango black milk tea πŸ™‚ I like milk tea more than just regular tea for some reason!

    Thanks for sharing and this new series sounds great! Can’t wait to make some at home πŸ™‚

    xoxo Jess
    Foreign Room

  • I am so excited about this! My favorite bubble tea EVER was the peach kind from Red Velvet. I went to the shop on my birthday a couple years ago and drank an embarrassing amount of that bubble tea. πŸ˜‰

  • I’ve never even heard of these- now I’m inspired to hunt some down! I imagine the texture is a bit weird at first, but if it tastes good I might be able to get over it! πŸ™‚

  • I like a small amount of pearls in my smoothie/drink, not too many or it’s tiresome to keep chewing as I drink! My fave is almond milk tea (from Joy Yee’s in Chicago).

  • Thank you for this post! I have a toddler who loves the idea of boba drinks much more than the actual product, so now I can just make her a small batch at home instead of lugging her around town and wasting money on a store-made boba she never really likes.

  • I love drinking bubble tea, it’s such a horrible addiction. I’ve always wanted to learn to make my own to save money but never got around to learning how to prepare the pearls. Definite thanks for the lesson!

  • i LOVE boba/bubble tea/tapioca drinks (depending on where I’m at), and consider myself somewhat of a snob, especially when it comes to the flavor and texture of the pearls. So excitd to see you talking about it here! πŸ™‚

  • I came into your shop once (being a local) because I’d heard you all had this and wanted to try it, but I guess it was after the sweet shop closed. Can you buy these in the Springfield area? Do you know of anyone else who sells boba tea ready to drink?

  • I just donΒ΄t like bubble tea. I tried it once, to find out what everyone was talking about, and wasnΒ΄t very amused. But I think itΒ΄s cool that it can be prepared at home too, so the bubble tea store cane be skipped easily if you want some.

  • Oh I bought some pearls in Chinatown and wasn’t able to cook them properly (they were hard, even after cooking them), but I will definitely try your recipe! Thanks!

  • I actually tried my first bubble tea (it was milk tea with tapioca pearls) in Chinatown last week… and I hated it! I really wanted to like it, but the taste was just very strange, and the sensation of sucking up the pearls was nauseating. Ahh.. I really thought I would love it and become bubble tea connoisseurs like you guys, but I guess it wasn’t to be. :s

  • I absolutely love Bubble Tea…we could previously only get it in London (which we visit often for business) or Glasgow (but I moved to Northern Ireland some years ago)… I’m so delighted there’s somewhere in Belfast now selling Bubble Tea, I don’t have to leave!! πŸ˜‰

    …we’re obsessed. I like a vanilla black milk tea with regular boba + passionfruit popping boba, or melon milk tea with lychee popping boba on top.

    Excited to try it at home! πŸ™‚ x

  • OMG! I love this post. I am a huge fan of bubble tea but never thought to make it at home. Thanks for the step by step tutorial. I love drinking large glasses of un-sweet tea in the summer. Throwing in some boba in the glass will make the tea a special treat. Can’t wait for the boba recipes to come.

    -Marcella from

  • Please Please do a almond milk and coconut ! Its sooooo amazing but i have no idea where to get the almond milk powder or coconut powder that the boba shops use. Its an amazing combo especially because it is a natural coconut and not that imitation blue type of coconut flavor. Love y’all!

  • Thank you for posting this! My daughter has been asking me about making boba tea at home. πŸ™‚

  • THANK YOU so much for sharing this! I love bubble tea and I’ve always wondered how I could make it at home.

    My family is going to love you for this… it’s our favourite treat.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  • i work at a bakery and we make bubble tea too! our most popular is a jasmine milk tea, and we make our own burnt sugar syrup. πŸ™‚ our boba recipe seems about the same as yours, so i’m glad our method is tried-and-true by you πŸ˜€

  • I had never had boba until I moved to college, where they had a boba stand in the student union. I LOVED it!! I used to get a green tea or coconut smoothie with boba before class, yum. My husband HATES drinks with what he calls “debris” in it, haha, so I am the only boba drinker in our household πŸ™‚

  • So interesting! I’d like to try this!
    There’s a great Vietnamese bahn mi trailer here in Austin that has really good Cardamom bubble tea. If you’re still here, you should try to check it out! It’s called Lulu B’s and it’s on S. Lamar. They have an amazing Lemongrass Tofu sandwich too!

  • That’s so funny, in my area we call it bubble tea! I love it, it’s so delicious! One of my favourites has been lychee!

  • Ah! Boba tea was such a craze in cali a few years ago! To think I could have been making it at home. Now a search for the perfect passion fruit tea…

  • Love it!! I just bought some tapioca flour to make some boba from scratch!

  • I experienced this tea in Munich some days ago whee the new American shop called bubblekitchen just opened its doors. It was a discovery though I could not get used to it immediately. The different fruit tastes of the boba-like balls where quiet sweet. And the real boba was like chewing gum!
    Anyway, a great experience and lots of fun for my friend who thought I was crazy. Enjoy!

  • So glad for this article! I just followed the steps and I’m drinking home made green milk tea boba! So delicious! I used honey instead of brown sugar because that was all I had lol

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