We have talked about lots of colored boba pearls, but the original color of boba pearls is white. Let’s find out the basic white boba pearls, learn the basics, and how to make them at home.
What are boba pearls
Boba pearls are the most interesting part of bubble tea. They are round, chewy balls made from tapioca starch.
Tapioca starch has a white, powdery substance. It is extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca starch is a strong starch because it has a high level of amylose, which is composed of long chains of glucose molecules that are linked together in a linear fashion. So tapioca starch is the ideal ingredient for boba pearls.
Sometimes you may wonder whether other starch can be used to make the balls. The short answer is yes. Cornstarch and sweet potato starch can also be used to make dough for boba pearls, creating a much soft texture.
After cooking, the starch will turn transparent with a very faint pink color. If we add colored ingredients like mango or strawberry. the boba pearls naturally get a color.
White boba pearls
We use white sugar, water, and tapioca starch to make those small white balls. They may vary in different sizes as follows.
- Sago is the smallest size of tapioca balls.
- Store-bought white pearls are in the middle.
- Homemade white tapioca starch can be the largest.
What’s the taste of white boba
White boba pearls have a neutral taste that doesn’t have much flavor on its own. We add sugar, so you may find a faint sweetness.
White boba pearls vs crystal boba
Since white tapioca boba pearls turn transparent after cooking, you may wonder about the difference between white boba pearls and crystal boba. They are different types of ingredients for bubble tea.
White boba pearls are made from tapioca starch, water and sugar. While crystal boba is made with agar, a gelatin-like substance from seaweed or konjac sometimes.
White boba pearls are quite chewy while crystal boba is much softer.
White boba pearls have a natural, sweet flavor. While crystal boba gets its flavors from its liquid base.
Related reading: check the types of boba pearls to find out the difference in detail.
- sugar: sugar is optional
- tapioca starch: this is the essential ingredient that creates a chewier taste for the boba pearls.
Tips for successful homemade boba pearls
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients to guarantee the best results concerning the texture and shape of the boba pearls.
- Use Tapioca Starch: Tapioca starch is the key ingredient in boba pearls.
- Make sure the puree is hot boiling before adding the first half of the starch.
- Be quick (6 to 7 seconds) when stirring the first half batch of starch. Then remove from heat and add the remaining starch. We tested several batches, and this yields the best result.
- On summer days, the dough can be a little bit sticky when it is still hot. Don’t dust too much extra flour at this stage, it will harden after cooling down.
- Knead the dough and shape it when it is still warm. But be careful, don’t get burnt on summer days.
- Keep the Dough Covered: Tapioca starch can dry out very quickly, so it’s important to keep your dough covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap when you’re not working with it.
- Size and Shape: If you plan to use it in boba milk tea, try to keep the size smaller, around 1/4 inch in diameter. For dessert or tart decoration, you can shape it to 1/3 inch in diameter.
Add white sugar to water in a small pot. Stir from time to time to avoid burning. Then turn off the fire, and add the half of the starch. Mix for 6 seconds. Then add the remaining starch.
Mix the dough when it is still hot using tools like a scraper. Knead with your hand until it is warm, but not completely cooled.
Knead until the dough is almost smooth. Then cut into four pieces, and shape each piece into a long log. Pinch a small portion and roll it into a round ball. You can also use a knife to cut into small square cubes.
Dust with more starch to avoid sticky. Then shift the extra flour off with a strainer.
White Boba Pearls
- 90 ml water
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup tapioca starch , dip and scoop method
- more tapoica starch for dusting
Disslove the sugar
- Add white sugar to water a small pot. Heat until boiling. Stir from time to time to avoid burning.
Add the starch
- Turn off the fire, and add half of the starch. Mix for 5-6 seconds. add the remaining starch.
Knead the dough
Shaping the pearls
- Knead until the dough is almost smooth. Then cut into four pieces, shape each piece into a long log. Pinch a small portion and roll into a round ball.
- Dust with more starch to avoid sticky. Then shift the extra flour off with a strainer.
Cook the pearls
- You can freeze the boba pearls after dusting or cook them right now.
- On stove: bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the boba pearls. Heat over the high-middle fire and cook for around 10 minutes until the boba peel floats on the surface. Turn off the heat, cover the lid, and let it stay for another 10 minutes. For larger boba pearls, cook 15 minutes and set aside for another 15 minutes.
- Insant pot method: Add boba peals and water to the pot. Secure the lid and close the vent. Set the Instant Pot to manual, high pressure for 5 minutes.
Soak and mix with syrup
- Soak the cooked pearls in iced water and then strain. Warm boba pearls have a softer texture. You can skip soaking process if a softer texture is perfered.
- Mix with syrup or honey.
Yes, you can use it to replace any other type of boba pearls.
There is no big difference between the two. Black boba pearls are colored by food coloring or brown sugar, while white boba pearls are sweetened by white sugar.
You can store the boba pearls at room temperature for around 4 hours, soaked in syrup or honey.
They can be cooked just like other types of boba pearls, using a half-cooking half-stand method.