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Brown sugar boba pearls in a white sauce pan.
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4.95 from 20 votes

How to Make Brown Sugar Boba Pearl

Learn how to make great tasting boba at home with all natural ingredients.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting time15 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert, Taiwanese
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 161kcal
Author: Edwina


Boba Dough

  • 60 g water ¼ cup (make sure you use a full ¼ cup)
  • 45 g Taiwanese style brown sugar about 5 tbsp loosely measured
  • 120 g tapioca Flour about ¾ cup, plus more for dusting

To serve

  • 15 g Taiwanese style brown sugar 2 tbsp
  • brown sugar milk, milk tea or other boba-compatible drinks of your choice


Making the dough

  • Combine water and Taiwanese brown sugar in a sauce pan, cover and bring it to a boil (not just a simmer) over medium heat.
  • Keep the sauce pan on the heat while adding about ⅓ to half of the tapioca flour in. Cook and stir constantly until it forms a very sticky dough/paste (don't worry if it's a bit lumpy).
  • Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add in the rest of the tapioca flour, stirring until all the dough comes off of the bottom of the pan (about 10 times). Pour the mixture onto a working surface.
  • Let the mixture cool a little so that it won't burn your hand, but don't let it sit out for too long (work with the dough while it's still warm).
  • Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and form it into a ball. If it's too dry (hard to knead), add a little bit of cold water. If it's too wet, add a little more tapioca flour.


  • Take a portion of dough and wrap the rest with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying.
  • Roll the portion of dough it into a thin log (about ⅓ inch thick) before cutting into small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball that's about ⅓ inch in diameter. Repeat this step for the rest of the dough. If it's too dry and difficult to form into a ball, wet your hands a bit before trying again. After the balls are formed, coat them with a thin layer of tapioca flour to prevent them from sticking together.
  • If you choose to cut them into cubes, flatten the dough out to about ⅓ inch thick, dust the dough with tapioca flour and then cut it into ⅓ inch strips. Make sure the cut sides are coated with tapioca flour before cutting it into cubes. After cutting the boba into little cubes, toss them with tapioca flour to coat each cube with a thin layer of tapioca flour.


  • Boil a big pot of water (at least 6 cups). When the water is boiling rapidly, put the uncooked boba in a sift to shake off excess tapioca flour before putting them into the boiling water. Stir to prevent sticking.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low and maintain a gentle boil, cooking for 15-20 minutes until it's 90% cooked through. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let it sit for another 15 minutes.
  • Drain the boba and give it a quick rinse with cold water. Place them in a bowl, mix in 2 tbsp of Taiwanese brown sugar and let them cool down to room temperature before serving. It will be chewier once it cools down.


  • Add boba pearls into the drink of your choice and enjoy!


  • Freeze any uncooked boba that you didn't cook. When you are ready to cook your boba, just follow the same instructions as before (no need to thaw beforehand) except that you'd need to cook your boba for 5 minutes longer.



  • Taiwanese brown sugar is not as sweet as regular brown sugar, so the boba pearl will be too sweet if you replace it with regular dark brown sugar. The best alternative is probably coconut sugar. Dark muscovado sugar may also work well.
  • When boiling the water with sugar, it's best to use a small sauce pan with a lid in order to minimize evaporation, which will affect the texture of the dough.
  • It's important that you bring the water to a boil and add in the first ⅓ of the flour/starch while the sauce pan remains on the heat, otherwise the mixture will become a thick liquid instead of a sticky dough/paste.  
  • When shaping the boba, you can also just cut them into small squares instead of rolling into balls to make the shaping process faster. Try to make them no bigger than half an inch in diameter or it will be hard to cook through.
  • The boba pearls will become about 1.5 times bigger after cooking, if you plan to enjoy it with straw, make sure you make it small enough.  
  • It's very important to cook the boba in enough water (at least 6 cups for this recipe) and bring it to a rapid boil before adding boba, otherwise they will dissolve in the water.
  • The boba will get chewier after they cool down.
  • If you want to make authentic bubble tea at home , make sure you make the milk tea according to my instruction of How to Make Taiwanese Style Milk Tea (For Boba, Bubble Tea) 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 56mg | Sugar: 41g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg