How to Prepare Boba Pearls at Home

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This post was originally published in 2013. We’ve updated it with more information and photos. We are always aiming to make sure the content on our site is up to date and helpful. 🙂

Have you ever tried boba (bubble) tea before? There are all sorts of flavors and variations, but basically it’s a sweet tea, smoothie, or latte that contains boba pearls you drink along with your beverage. Boba pearls are kind of like small, gummy candies that are made of mostly tapioca. Strange, right? I think most people either end up loving it or hating it. But it’s always fun to try new things. And today I’m going to share my no-fail method for preparing boba pearls at home.

We used to serve boba tea at the our little boutique’s sweet shop many years ago, so I’ve prepared the pearls lots 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’ve also noticed that when I buy boba pearls sometimes the instructions on the package will vary a great deal depending on the brand (and sometimes I am unable to read it if there is not an English version). So, I’m going to share my fool-proof method for preparing boba pearls—it’s super simple!

1. Start with 2 cups of boba pearls, around 10 ounces. 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, although it is best when served within 12 hours of making the pearls. 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 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Bring the water to a boil. Give it a stir and pour the boba pearls in. They should float to the surface within the first 30-45 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.

3. 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 2-3 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.

If you don’t need to use the boba pearls for more 12 hours then cover the container and refrigerate. The pearls will stick together some the longer they sit in the syrup, so give them a good stir before adding to drinks to help them unstick. You will also want to serve boba pearl drinks, bubble tea, with large straws (larger than standard size) so the pearls will fit inside the straw and can be consumed.

Now that you know how to prepare the pearls will you be making them? Have you ever tried boba before? Love it? Hate it? Totally weird you out? Let us know your thoughts and favorite flavors. 🙂 xo. Emma

How to Prepare Boba Pearls

  • 2 cups boba pearls
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • water
  1. Fill a large pot (the boba needs to be able to move around so they don’t stick together) about 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Bring the water to a boil. Give it a stir and pour the boba pearls in. They should float to the surface within the first 30-45 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.

  2. Allow the boba to cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every so often.

  3. Remove the pot from the heat and place a lid on top. Allow the boba to cook covered for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  4. 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.

If you don’t need to use the boba pearls for more 12 hours then cover the container and refrigerate. The pearls will stick together some the longer they sit in the syrup, so give them a good stir before adding to drinks to help them unstick.

Boba can only be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, although it is best when served within 12 hours of making the pearls. So only make as much as you’ll consume.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman



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