Boba tea staple ingredients: Tapioca Pearls and Sugar Syrup

Tapioca pearls and sugar syrup are the staple ingredients of boba tea. The tapioca pearls add texture to the drink and the sugar syrup is used to sweeten both the pearls and the tea. Below you will find recipes for both these essential ingredients.

Cooked Tapioca Pearl Recipe*


uncooked tapioca pearls

1 cup uncooked

cup of water

8-10 cups

Note: The ratio of water to pearls should always be at least 8 cups water per 1 cup uncooked tapioca pearls.

Makes about 6-10 3 Tbsp. servings


  1. Bring all the water to a boil in a large pot.

  2. Add in the pearls. Stir them in slowly so they don't stick together. They shold float at the surface rather than sink at the bottom.

  3. Cover the pot and boil the pearls for about 20-30 minutes. Make sure you stir them occasionally to make sure the pearls aren't sticking.

  4. Turn off the heat on your stove but let the pearls sit in the water for another 25 minutes.

  5. Rinse the cooked pearls in tap water.

  6. Return pearls to the pot. Cover with sugar syrup and stir to coat.

  7. Put some in a cup, pour your tea over them, shake well and enjoy!

You can store leftover pearls in a covered container in the fridge for a few days. If you want to make another drink after the pearls have been refrigerated, boil a cup of water and put some of the pearls in for 3-5 minutes. Rinse them again, cover them in syrup or brown sugar and serve.

*This recipe may vary if you have bought quick-cook tapioca pearls. If you have, follow the directions on that package rather than this.

Sugar Syrup Recipe


cane sugar

1 cup cane

brown sugar

1 cup brown

cup of water

2 cups water

Makes about 2 cups sugar syrup


  1. Add brown sugar, cane sugar and water into a large pot.

  2. Cook mixture at medium to high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar.

  3. When the mixture begins to boil, remove the pot from the stove.

  4. Cool and serve on tapioca pearls and/or in drink. Leftovers can be refrigerated.

You may substitute honey or ready-made sugar syrup, like the kind available from Monin, to sweeten your pearls or drink.