Boba pearls, also called tapioca pearls, are the chewy balls that make bubble tea so fun to drink. Have you ever wonder whether you can make boba pearls without tpioca starch? Will cornstarch work?
Most of the boba pearls recipe use tapioca pearls for the right texture and chewy taste. But we find cornstarch can substitute and tapioca starch to make similar looking and less chewy boba pearls.
With just 3 simple pantry ingredients – brown sugar, cornstarch, and water – you can easily craft homemade boba pearls with a delightfully chewy texture.
Follow the step-by-step recipe below to make plant-based boba with cornstarch you can use to top bubble teas, smoothies, and more.
Cornstarch boba pearls vs tapioca pearls
You may wondering about the difference between cornstarch boba pearls and traditional tapioca pearls. In general, tapioca boba is chewier with a firmer skin. While our cornstarch boba pearls are softer and a little bite less chewy.
- Very chewy, gummy, sticky texture
- Each pearl has an outer firm, rubbery skin
- Stretches slightly when pulled apart before popping
- Less chewy, with a softer, smoother mouthfeel
- No tough outer skin on each pearl
- Gentle pop when bitten into instead of stretching apart
- Cornstarch boba pearls are much easier to shaping. That’s a good news.
When heating the mixture, use slowest fire and keep stirring to make sure no burnt bottoms.
The dough might be slightly sticky when still not, wait for a while until it is almost cooled down before shaping.
Step by step guide
step 1: Combine sugar and water – Add 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 1/3 cup water to a small saucepan. Heat over medium stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
Step 2: Mix in cornstarch – Add 6 tbsp. cornstarch into the sugar water.
Step 3: Cook over low heat – Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until thick dough forms, 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Knead dough – Remove from heat. Knead gently on a clean surface until dough is uniform, then roll it out to a larger pice about 1 minute.
Step 5:Shape pearls – cut the dough piece into small strips around 3/4 inch. Then pinch a small part and shape into round balls.
Now the cornstarch boba is ready. Dust with some flour to avoid sticky.
Cornstarch Boba Pearls
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 6 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp. white sugar or syrup for coating
- Combine sugar and water – Add 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 1/3 cup water to a small saucepan. Heat over medium stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
- Mix in cornstarch – Add 6 tbsp. cornstarch into the sugar water.
- Cook over low heat – Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until thick dough forms, 3-4 minutes.
- Knead dough – Remove from heat. Knead gently on a clean surface until dough is uniform, then roll it out to a larger pice about 1 minute.
- Shape pearls – cut the dough piece into small strips around 3/4 inch. Then pinch a small part and shape into round balls.
- Coat with cornstarch- place the shaped cornstarch boba pearls in a bowl with extra cornstarch. Toss to coat. R
- Cook the pearls – Add pearls to boiling water in a medium pot. Boil 10-12 minutes until translucent, stirring gently. Turn off the fire and wait for another 5 minutes
- Sweetened the pearls – Drain cornstarch and then add white sugar. Mix well to avoid sticky. Now your cornstarch boba pearls are ready to use.
How to Customize extra Flavors
Plain boba pearls serve as a neutral base. And our brown sugar cornstarch boba pearls has a lovely brown sugar. Following is some of the ideas of customize the flavors of cornstarch boba pearls at home.
- use mango or other fruit juice to create fruity flavor boba pearls. Strawberry, passion fruit and dragon fruit can bring the boba pearls with lovely color and texture.
- You can use white sugar to make white cornstarch boba pearls.
Can you use other starches like potato or arrowroot?
Yes, starches like potato and arrowroot can be used to make pearls too. But they may differ in texture and taste.
Can I make white cornstarch boba pearls
Certainly, use white sugar instead of brown sugar to make the dough as white dough, then you will have white cornstarch boba pearls. r white sugar. The brown sugar adds nice depth but not overpowering sweetness.
How to use cornstarch boba pearls
Or try to add it into smoothies or decorate your pudding and cakes.