Skip to main content

How to make Boba From Scratch

·4 mins

As a Taiwanese, I cannot tell you how important Boba is in my life. Ever since the COVID pandemic, the best way to consume boba is to make them from scratch. This April, after many requests from friends, I decided to write-up this boba recipe.

The ingredients are easy to find from local Asian Supermarkets and the steps are not hard to follow. Enjoy!

Ingredients #


  • Tapioca Starch: 150g
  • Water: 100g
  • Brown sugar: 25g
  • A deep pot with lid
  • A small pot

Steps #

  1. Add water to small pot and boil it. Add sugar. Try not to let too much water evaporate so add a lid or use near boil water.

Step 1

  1. [Critical step] The water must BOIL a lot and pour it into the bowl of trapicana starch. It must be very hot to successfully make boba. Stir it once you added in the boiling brown sugar water.

Step 2

  1. Very hot, so stir it with a spoon or fork. Stir it with the starch in the center then toward the outside so it mixed with most of the starch. It should look like this. If it doesn’t, try to see if it looks like the “Save me” dough in the bottom of the page.

Step 3

  1. When it it not too hot, you can use your hands to munch the dough and slowly make it less sticky. Eventually it should look like this. If it is still really sticky, add a little bit of starch.

Step 4

  1. Break the dough into small pieces and roll it into a ball-shape. They will become slightly larger when cooked, so make it slightly smaller than the boba that you usually get.

Step 5

  1. Put some starch in a bowl so that the raw boba doesn’t stick. But don’t put too much!

bowl of starch

  1. Boil water using the large pot with lid. Once boil, dump in the raw boba. (My pot is too small, so find a larger one! The larger the pot is with more water, the less likely boba get burnt and stick to the bottom) Stir the water when raw boba is added to prevent the sticking.

pot of boiling water with raw boba

  1. Stop stiring when the boba floats. Turn the heat to medium. and close the lid

boiling boba with lid

  1. Wait for 20 minutes. In the meantime, check occationally by stiring the boba. Add boiling water if the water becomes thick.

cooking boba

  1. After the 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and let it sit, for 30-40 minutes. The boba should become translucent. Rinse it into a bowl.

  2. Add abundent amount of brown suger to the bowl of boba and stir it. Let it sit. You can also place it in a cold water bath.

bowl of cooked boba with brown sugar

Drink I : Milk tea #

  1. Boil water and add black tea bag into the pot. Continue boil the water with the tea bags.

pot of boiling tea

  1. Wait until the tea is very dark. Remove the pot and pour it into a cup and add milk.

  2. Add boba.

Drink II: Brown Sugar milk with Boba #

  1. Add little water to the pot and boil it. Add a lot of brown sugar.

    brown sugar syrup

  2. Stir it constantly to prevent burnt. Stop when the bubbles don’t go away quickly even with the pot off stove. This forms a thick consistency.

    brown sugar syrup consistency

  3. Add boba into it and scoop boba and brown sugar syrup into a cup. Twist a cup at an angle so that brown sugar slides over the entire cup. Add milk.

    brown sugar milk with boba

Final Product #

final product

“Save me” Dough #

This dough usualy is because the water is not enough. It looks like this.

Google image

It looks glossy, very hard, and it breaks like a jelly. This might be because the starch is not fully “cooked”. The way to resolve this is to use a hot water bath to soften it and stir while adding starch. Be caution not to cook the dough through tho! Some recipes add the starch into the boiling sugar water but I personally think that makes it harder to control.