Boba pearls may look fragile, but these are easier to make than you realize. These soft, chewable treats can take almost any dessert to the next level, but you don’t have to rely on store-bought pearls to get your daily dose. Use our guide to make your own boba batch and use the chewable treats as toppings on your favorite desserts and iced drinks at home.
How to Make Boba Pearls from Scratch
Boba is not difficult to make if you are patient. Follow these steps to make a ready-to-eat supply:
Step 1 – Boil Water with Sugar
In a small pot, boil water and add brown sugar when warm.
Step 2 – Reduce
Reduce the flame as much as you can without turning off the stove. Allow the sugary mixture to reduce and cover the pot, so you don't lose all moisture.
Step 3 – Add Tapioca Starch
Add half of your packet of tapioca starch to the water and mix for a few seconds. Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining starch. Mix till it solidifies. You have to be fast, or it may stiffen too much.
Step 4 – Knead the Starch
Using a scraper, scrape the glutinous paste out on a board and knead it like you would knead a dough ball. It will be sticky at first, but you can reduce the stickiness by sprinkling dough on the starch ball.
Step 5 – Divide and Cut
Once the dough is smooth and soft, split it into four parts using a knife or the sharp edge of the scraper. Shape one portion into a thin and long log and cut it into small or large pieces (depending on the size you need).
Step 6 – Shape the Pieces
Shape each of those pieces into round pearls or leave them as they are if you want to save time.
Step 7 – Add Flour and Store
Spread some dry flour on a plate and roll the boba pearls in it just enough that they don't stick to one another. Remove the extra flour and store the pearls in air-tight bags in the freezer.
Cooking Boba Pearls
You aren't done yet. You need to cook the balls before using them as a topping. Follow these instructions to make them edible:
Step 1 – Boil Water
Boil a pot of water. Ensure enough water is in the pot to cover the pearls completely.
Step 2 – Cook for Half an Hour
Boil the pearls for 20 minutes or half an hour on medium heat.
Step 3 – Transfer to Cold Water
When time's up, transfer the pearls into cold water. When they hit the water, the swollen balls will shrink to their original size.
Step 4 – Add Flavor
Drain the boba pearls and add two tablespoons of honey or brown sugar syrup for flavor and to make them slippery.
How to Store Tapioca Pearls
Ask any boba supplier, and they will tell you tapioca pearls should be handled with care as they are fragile. Here are some tips that can you can use to ensure your boba lasts for days:
Before cooking boba pearls, keep the unopened bags in a cool and dry place. The temperature should not exceed 77°F. When you open the bag to cook the pearls, only take out the amount you need and reseal the rest. Store it in the same condition, and ensure you use the pearls in a few days. Excess moisture can make the boba sweat which will reduce its quality.
Undercooked tapioca pearls taste starchy and nasty. To ensure they retain their soft and chewy texture, cook them for at least half an hour and then let them sit for another half an hour. Do this for large pearls.
If you make small pearls, on the other hand, cook them for 10 minutes and let them sit for at least five minutes before using them. Bite pearl to check if it is done. It is ready to use if it is soft in the middle and doesn't offer resistance. However, if it leaves a chalky taste in your mouth, it needs to cook longer. Don’t take out the pearls before ensuring they are cooked through, or you will waste your batch.
Boba pearls turn soft and can quickly turn to mush after they are cooked, so make sure you use them within a few hours after they are cooked. The honey or sugar-coating will prevent them from hardening or getting too soft when you add them to a drink or a sweet treat.
Stir the pearls occasionally, so they don't clump. You can add half a teaspoon of mildly warm water to separate the boba if it sticks. Place the cooked pearls in a Ziploc bag, remove all the air, seal it and place it on a flat surface in your freezer. Defrost the pearls in water and add flavor with honey or syrup before using them.
Make Boba Pearls Like Pro!
You can get a regular supply of these pearls from boba suppliers, but if you want to save money, use our guide to make a batch at home quickly. Always have a batch ready when you have guests over. Make sure you store the balls carefully, as they are pretty fragile. The slightest change in temperature and pressure can spoil them, and your hard work will go down the drain.
If you still have questions about boba pearls or want to order fresh, healthy, and readymade boba, contact us at Fanale. We have been making authentic Taiwanese boba for years, but we also offer jellies, canned toppings, mocha, popping boba, and a range of teas for our large and loyal clientele.
We also supply boba franchises across the nation with containers and equipment they need to ensure they can keep their customers happy with freshly made tea, boba, and sweet desserts.