How to Cook Large Asian Pearl Tapioca

Large Asian pearl tapioca is used in desserts, like old-fashioned tapioca pudding and in Taiwanese bubble, or boba, tea. Cooking methods vary, but cooking completely is essential to achieve a desirable texture, rather than a starchy and unappealing dish. Well-cooked, the tapioca pearls should have a slightly chewy texture, similar to gummy-style candy, but they have very little natural flavor. Tapioca pearls are available in their natural white or a variety of colors, some with a slight flavor added.

A ladle in a glass bowl of black Asian tapioca pearls. (Image: David-Shih/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Bring 8 cups of water to a full, rolling boil over high heat.

Step 2

Pour 1 cup of tapioca pearls into the boiling water. Pour slowly and stir as you go to keep the balls from sticking together. Continue stirring for one minute.

Step 3

Reduce the heat to medium and cover.

Step 4

Cook the tapioca pearls for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot covered for an additional 15 minutes.

Step 5

Rinse well with cool water and drain. If you're planning to use the pearl tapioca for bubble tea, cover in sugar syrup or brown sugar and use immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pearl tapioca

  • Large soup or stockpot

  • Strainer

  • Sugar syrup or brown sugar


Check the bulk section of your natural food store or an Asian foods market to find large pearl tapioca or boba.

Try soaking the pearls overnight for a softer texture if you're making tapioca pudding.


Leftover tapioca pearls become starchy and gooey quickly at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Freeze unused portions flat in large resealable freezer bags for future use.

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