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Homemade Boba Tapioca Pearls

From scratch boba is easier than you think! It only takes three ingredients to make. Best of all, these homemade boba pearls do not contain artificial food coloring or preservatives.

Make a large batch and freeze for later use!

Yield: about 1 1/2 cup uncooked tapioca balls

Servings 4 servings
Author Maryanne Cabrera


Tapioca Pearls:

  • 80 grams (about 1/3 cup) water
  • 70 grams (about 1/3 cup) dark muscovado sugar, or other brown sugar
  • 160 grams (about 1 cup) tapioca starch

Cooking Syrup:

  • 1490 grams (48 oz/ 6 cups) water
  • 300 grams (about 1 1/2 cup) muscovado sugar, or other brown sugar


  1. In a small heavy bottomed sauce pot, combine water and muscovado sugar. Set over medium high heat and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add half of tapioca starch. Use a sturdy spatula to quickly incorporate starch into hot liquid. Add remaining half of tapioca starch. Stir and fold mixture together in pot until shaggy dough forms.

  3. Remove from heat and transfer shaggy dough onto a clean work surface. Knead dough together by hand. Dough will be rather dry. Wet palms of hands with water to encourage dough to stick together. Continue to knead until smooth dough forms. *

  4. Divide dough into four equal parts. Work with one piece of a dough at a time. Cover other dough with plastic wrap or upside bowl to prevent it from drying out.

  5. If dough is starting to dry out, moisten palms of hands with water to gently hydrate dough. Roll dough into a thin log (about 1 - 1.5 cm in diameter). Cut the log into two equal parts. Align the two logs and cut into small pieces, about 1.5 cm each.

  6. Roll each piece in between your palms to form balls. If the dough is drying out and difficult to roll, moisten your palms with water and continue to roll.

  7. Place formed tapioca balls in a sheet tray dusted with a small amount of tapioca.

  8. Repeat with rolling logs and shaping balls with remaining dough.

  9. Once you have shaped the dough, place raw tapioca balls in a mesh strainer (sifter). Shake out any excess tapioca starch.

    *At this stage, you can either cook the pearls or freeze for later use.

Cooking Tapioca:

  1. *If using all the tapioca pearls: bring to a boil 6 cups of water. Add 1 1/2 cups raw tapioca pearls. Stir to ensure pearls do not stir together. Allow mixture to continue to boil for 10-15 minutes.

    Pearls will float to the top as they cook. After 10 minutes, taste one pearl to check for doneness.

  2. Add 1 ½ cup (300 g) dark sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow tapioca pearls to cool in brown sugar syrup for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Freezing Tapioca:

  1. Spread sifted raw tapioca balls on a sheet tray. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours until solid. Transfer to airtight container (like zip-top bag). Can be stored in the freezer for up 6 weeks.

  2. When ready to cook, follow cooking tapioca instructions. No need to thaw tapioca before cooking.

Reheating Cooked Tapioca:

  1. The cooked tapioca will keep in the fridge up to 4 days. Be sure to store tapioca in the brown sugar syrup.

    To reheat in microwave: place tapioca and syrup together in microwave safe container. Heat for 20 second intervals until tapioca is warm, chewy, and soft. (Takes about 40-60 seconds depending on your microwave's wattage)

    To reheat stovetop: place tapioca and syrup in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. gently reheat oven low heat until tapioca is warm and chewy.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Cooking Notes:

  • 1:4 ratio of raw tapioca pearls to water. For example, cook 1 cup raw tapioca pearls in 4 cups of boiling water.
  • 1:1 ratio of raw tapioca pearls to dark sugar for soaking/cooking syrup. For example, 1 cup raw tapioca pearls will need 1 cup dark sugar. 

Other methods, require you to strain the tapioca from the original cooking water. I don't do that.