How to make tapioca balls or boba balls

Tapioca Balls or Boba Balls

Tapioca Balls or Boba Balls

Serves 4-5
Prep time 35 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Beverage, Dessert, Snack
Chewy tapioca balls recipe to add to boba drinks.


  • 1 cup tapioca flour or tapioca starch
  • 4 - 6 cups water
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (use 1/2 cup for a sweeter boba)
  • cold water


  • Boiling water must be used to form the 'dough'. Hot water from the tap or water dispenser will not do.
  • To store leftover boba balls, mix brown sugar with water and pour over boba balls until covered. Don't worry about exact measurements. The water just needs to be sweet and prevents the balls from drying out and sticking to each other.
  • Uncooked rolled tapioca balls can be stored in a Ziplock bag with a paper napkin for a few days. Just make sure you let them air dry to get a little dry coat on the outside to prevent sticking before storing. I stored mine is a single layer with the tapioca balls on the napkin.
  • When stored in the refrigerator, the centers of the tapioca balls may turn white and harden.  Just reheat the balls for 30 seconds in the microwave in sugar water before adding to your drink.



Step 1
Add water and brown sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve all of the sugar. Turn off the heat after you have added the 1/2 cup in step 2 to the tapioca mix.
Step 2
In a glass bowl, add one cup of tapioca starch to a bowl. Remove almost a 1/2 cup of the hot sugar/water mixture and add it to the tapioca starch. The remaining water will be used to boil the tapioca balls. Stir the mix until a ball forms and begin kneading. If the dough is too sticky (dough will be slightly tacky), add more tapioca flour. If it's too dry, add more sugar/water or tapioca flour.
Step 3
Optional - add a very thin layer of tapioca flour onto Silpat or parchment paper.
Option 1 - Pull off small portions of dough and roll it into approximately 1.5 cm balls and place on Silpat or parchment paper.
Option 2 - Roll into mini logs and cut into 1/2" pieces and then roll into balls. Make the tapioca balls approximately 1.5 cm.
Step 4
Once all the balls are completed, bring the sugar water back to a boil on medium high. Add the tapioca balls to the boiling sugar water. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook times will vary between 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how chewy or soft you want the tapioca balls.

Step 5
When the cook time is done, the outside of the tapioca balls will turn translucent and the inside may still look white. Don't worry, add cool water into the pot with the tapioca and sugar water and the balls will turn translucent - it's like magic!
Step 6
To stop the tapioca balls from over cooking, remove them from the boiling water and place them into a bowl of iced or cold water. Drain immediately. Store any leftover tapioca balls in a sealed container with new sugar/water for one or two days.