How to make popping boba at home? Best recipe to try at home

Are you ready to enjoy a sweet treat and impress your friends? How to make popping boba is easier than you may think. Once a restaurant-only dessert, this classic Taiwanese bubble tea can easily be made at home with simple ingredients. In this post, we’ll walk through the steps of making the perfect cup of popping boba for a delicious afternoon snack or dessert that’s sure to become an instant favorite. So, grab your favorite beverage mug, and let’s get started making some amazing bubble tea.

What is popping boba?

Before we dive into the steps of making popping boba, let’s first understand what it is. Popping boba, also known as “boba pearls” or “popping pearls,” are small chewy balls filled with fruity juice that burst into your mouth when you bite into them. They are often used as toppings for bubble tea but can also be added to other desserts or eaten on their own as a fun and flavorful snack.

popping boba
What is popping boba?

Popping boba vs Tapioca boba

You may have heard of boba before, but popping boba is different from the traditional tapioca pearls used in bubble tea. Tapioca boba has a chewier texture and is usually cooked in brown sugar syrup for added sweetness. On the other hand, popping boba is typically made with fruit juice and does not require any cooking. Its unique texture and burst of flavor make it a fun and popular alternative to traditional boba.

What is popping boba made of?

Popping boba is made by utilizing a spherification process that involves the reaction of sodium alginate with either calcium chloride or calcium lactate. This procedure yields fruit juice-filled “bubbles” which burst upon the application of pressure.

Tools and equipment to make popping boba

  • An electric mixer or blender: To mix the gelatin and water mixture, you’ll need an electric mixer or blender to ensure the ingredients are well combined.
  • Large bowls: You’ll need a large bowl to mix the gelatin and water mixture, as well as a separate bowl for the tapioca starch.
  • A syringe or you can also use a squeeze bottle: These tools will help you fill the boba balls with fruit juice or syrup.
  • Filtered water: It’s best to use filtered water to ensure the boba balls have a clear and transparent appearance.
Tools and equipment to make popping boba
Tools and equipment to make popping boba

How to make popping boba?

Popping boba is a fun treat that bursts in your mouth with fruity flavors. It is a popular dessert that originated from Taiwan and can now be found in bubble tea shops all over the world. But why pay for expensive store-bought popping boba when you can easily make it at home?

Ingredients to make popping boba

  • Tapioca flour
  • Water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Fruit juice or syrup of your choice
  • Sugar

Instructions to make popping boba

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of tapioca flour and 1/2 cup of water. Mix well until a smooth dough forms.
  2. Add in a few drops of food coloring to give your popping boba a fun, vibrant color. This step is optional but adds an extra element of visual appeal to your treat.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, about the size of a pea or marble. You can also use a boba maker or straw to create small, uniform balls.
  4. In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add in the flavored syrup or juice of your choice. Add in 1/2 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.
  5. Carefully drop the tapioca balls into the boiling water. The balls will sink to the bottom at first, but as they cook, they will float to the top.
  6. Once all the balls are floating, cover the saucepan with a lid and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. This allows the tapioca balls to fully cook and become soft and chewy.
  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. To test if the balls are fully cooked, take one out and taste it. It should be soft and chewy, not hard or crunchy.
  8. 8. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the tapioca balls from the liquid and place them on a baking sheet or plastic wrap to cool down. If you want your boba to have a firmer texture, you can sprinkle some tapioca flour on them while they are cooling.
  9. Once the boba has cooled down, it is ready to use in your favorite beverage or dessert. Simply add a spoonful of popping boba into your drink or on top of ice cream for an extra burst of flavor.

Best popping boba flavors

  • Mango popping boba: Bursting with the sweet and tangy flavor of ripe mangoes, this is a popular choice for bubble tea lovers.
  • Strawberry popping boba: For a classic fruity taste, try strawberry popping boba. This flavor pairs well with both milk teas and fruit teas.
  • Lychee popping boba: With its delicate and floral taste, lychee popping boba adds a refreshing twist to any drink.
  • Yogurt popping boba: If you’re a fan of yogurt, you’ll love this creamy and tangy popping boba flavor.
  • Passionfruit popping boba: Tangy and tropical, passionfruit popping boba adds a burst of flavor to any drink.
  • Blueberry popping boba: This antioxidant-rich popping boba flavor is a favorite among health-conscious bubble tea drinkers.

Get creative and experiment with different flavors to find your favorite.

Tips for making perfect popping boba

  • Make sure to use filtered water to ensure the boba balls have a clear appearance.
  • Use an electric mixer or blender to mix the gelatin and water mixture thoroughly.
  • When filling the boba balls with fruit juice, make sure to remove any air bubbles by gently tapping them on a flat surface.
  • Leave the boba balls in the calcium lactate bath for 10 minutes to fully form their outer layer before transferring them to the sodium alginate bath.
  • Rinse the boba balls well with filtered water before serving to get rid of any excess starch and prevent them from sticking together.

How to make bubble tea with popping boba?

Bubble tea, also known as boba tea or pearl milk tea, is a Taiwanese drink that has gained worldwide popularity. It typically consists of black or green tea mixed with milk and sweetened with sugar or syrup. The name “bubble” comes from the tapioca pearls that sit at the bottom of the drink, while “tea” refers to the base of the beverage. Now that you know how to make popping boba, let’s combine it with bubble tea to create a delicious and fun drink.

How to make bubble tea with popping boba?
How to make bubble tea with popping boba?


  • 1/2 cup of freshly brewed black or green tea
  • 1/2 cup of milk (can be any type, such as cow’s milk, almond milk, or soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or syrup (adjust to your preferred level of sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup of cooked popping boba


  • Shaker or blender
  • Tall glass


  1. In a shaker or blender, combine the freshly brewed tea, milk, and sugar/syrup.
  2. Shake or blend until well-mixed and foamy.
  3. In a tall glass, add a spoonful of popping boba into the bottom.
  4. Pour the tea mixture over the boba balls. The foamy layer should sit on top of the drink, giving it a visually pleasing look.
  5. Add a wide straw for easy sipping and enjoy your homemade bubble tea with popping boba!

FAQs for making popping boba

Is popping boba vegan?

Yes, popping boba is usually vegan. It is made from fruit juice encased in a thin seaweed membrane. However, if the boba tea contains dairy milk, it is not vegan.

How else can I use popping boba?

Popping boba can also be used as an alternative to traditional boba in bubble tea. Additionally, it can be added to smoothies, and slushies, and even used as a flavorful topping for frozen yogurt. Popular flavors of popping boba include mango, passion fruit, strawberry, green tea, honeydew melon, pomegranate, blueberry, and kiwi.

Can you make popping boba out of alcohol?

You can create giant popping bobas using various types of transparent juice. Some options include Sprite, green tea, lemonade, fruit juice, or even alcoholic drinks. So, making popping boba with an alcoholic beverage is indeed possible.

11 thoughts on “How to make popping boba at home? Best recipe to try at home”

  1. This is my first time making popping pearls. I added 1/8 teaspoon of sodium alginate to 1/2 cup of watermelon simple syrup. I then let it sit in the fridge for an hour, then dropped it into a solution of 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons of calcium chloride. The spheres formed just fine. But after rinsing, the outside of the pearls are incredibly bitter. I also noticed that the solution had not turned clear like in the videos I watched. I think it’s because I used tap water instead of distilled? What would cause this reaction?

    • Calcium chloride is likely your problem. It itself tastes bitter/makes other things taste bitter, which is why it’s usually suggested to use a different calcium salt for spherification (calcium lactate is a common choice). If you only have calcium chloride, I would suggest using a much lower concentration of calcium chloride. A tablespoon per cup of water is wayyy too much imo. I’d suggest half a gram to one gram per cup of water (approximately 20 times less than that you’re currently using), and slowly go if it’s not enough. Note that you may have to let the pearls sit a bit longer in the bath.

    • The popping boba pearls should be stored in the liquid they are made from, so they don’t lose their flavor. Put the container with the popping boba in the fridge to make them last longer. It is best to consume the popping boba within 24 hours, but they are probably good for up to a week, depending on the liquids you use to make them.

    • Not all liquids are ideal for direct spherification. You should avoid liquids with a high calcium content as the calcium will interfere with the spherification process. This will lead to a premature solidification of your liquid. The best way to find out if a liquid works for direct spherification is to test it.


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