Tapioca Pearls

tapioca pearls

Tapioca pearls make a delicious topping for ice cream, snow ice, or can be enjoyed the classic Taiwanese way – in boba tea.


  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 3 teaspoons black food coloring, or mix 1/2 teaspoon blue, 1 1/2 teaspoon red, and 1 1/2 teaspoon green food coloring to make a dark brown color
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling hot water


  1. Mix the water and food coloring in a small bowl.
  2. Put the tapioca flour in a bowl and stir in the colored water with a fork. 
  3. The mixture will feel very dry at first but don’t worry – this is completely normal. Use one of your hands to knead and keep kneading until it becomes doughy, about 5 minutes. If the dough is still very crumbly, it’s okay to add up to an additional tablespoon of water, and knead again.
  4. Use a ⅛ teaspoon to scoop out a little dough and form a ball with it. Cover the bowl with a towel while you are doing this so the dough doesn’t get too dry. Set aside on a plate and repeat until all the dough has been used. 
  5. Or you can form the dough into a ball and equally slice it in 4 segments. Roll each dough segment on a flat surface to create a thin long stick. Try to make all four sticks about the same size.
  6. Grab a knife and slice into small pieces about ½-inch thick. Roll each piece in the palm of your hand to create little balls. 
  7. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add the tapioca pearls separately so they don’t stick together. Stir with chopsticks or a fork and boil for 15-20 minutes, until they are soft and chewy. Turn the heat off and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar and boiling water together, and keep stirring until the sugar has completely dissolve. Set aside. 
  9. Drain the tapioca pearls and add them to the brown sugar syrup. You can leave them in the sugar syrup until you are ready to use them. 
  10. Use the pearls for boba drinks, as a topping for ice cream, frozen yogurt, or shaved ice.


If you are saving the tapioca pearls for later, leave them in the sugar syrup and transfer to an airtight storage container. Refrigerate. They will keep for 7-10 days.


Keywords: bobba, bubble tea

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