Welcome to Out of the Pantry. We’re making bubble tea, also known as boba milk tea.

We’ll be making it from scratch. It is a very simple recipe, though it does take quite a long time because there’s a lot of wait time.

My name is Jane Gov, from the Pasadena Public Library and the following video was edited from two different live cooking lessons that took place in summer of 2022 — nearly a year ago. Most of the teen voices have been cut out for clarity since you, the viewer here, can’t see their questions in a chat box or hear their voices clearly, but a couple of their questions were left in when it made sense to include it. You’ll obviously notice inconsistencies with the sound and the voice recording.

You’ll also notice that the video is cut out of order from the real time lesson — again for clarity. The steps to make the milk tea appears at the beginning of the video, but during the live lesson, we prepared both the milk tea and boba dough at the same time. I recommend if you’re new to cooking— to do them separately so you don’t have to watch two pots on the stove.

So before beginning, I recommend reading through the entire recipe.

I want to thank the teen volunteers who first tested the recipe with me which helped develop the final workshop. A big thank you Grace, Audrey, Samantha, and Maggie!


Here’s the edited video recording of the lesson:



Yields 2-4 drinks



Milk tea:

4 cup milk (any kind)

2 T brown sugar

4 tea bags


Boba dough:

128 g tapioca starch (approx. 1 c) — arrowroot flour is also okay

32 g tapioca starch for dusting (approx. 1/4 c)

60 g brown sugar (approx. 1/2 c)

80 ml water (1/3c 1T)



1/2 c brown sugar


You’ll also need:





Milk Tea:

  1. In a pot, add:
  2. 4 cups of milk (a little more or less is okay) and 2T brown sugar
  3. Turn on your burner on medium and
  4. Heat until it smokes, but not boiling (About 180-195 degrees).
  5. On medium heat, it takes approx. 15-20 minutes.
  6. When the milk is hot, whisk the milk and brown sugar until it’s blended.
  7. Turn off heat.
  8. Add 4 tea bags and steep for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove tea bags.
  10. Refrigerate until needed.


Cook boba dough:

  1. In a medium pot or pan, add 80 ml of water,
  2. Add 60 g of brown sugar,
  3. Add 3T tapioca flour, (from your kit, it is from the bag that’s labeled 128 g tapioca starch; you still need to use a tablespoon to measure)
  4. Mix well
  5. Then bring the pot to the stove and turn on the heat to medium.
  6. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thick and sticky.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Add the remaining tapioca flour for the dough (except the reserved 1/4 c set aside for dusting) and mix until slightly cooled. It’s okay if it’s not mixed well.
  9. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, knead the dough for 5 minutes while incorporating the rest of the flour.


Roll dough:

  1. Knead until it is smooth. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle a little bit of flour and keep kneading. (This is when you can use that extra flour for dusting.)
  2. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel until you’re ready to roll.
  3. Roll out each piece into a long strip of about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Then using a bench scraper or knife, cut into small pieces.
  4. Roll each piece into a ball and dust with tapioca flour so they don’t stick together.


Boil dough balls:

  1. Fill a big pot halfway with water and boil. The pot should be big enough for the amount of boba you’re cooking.
  2. Cook just the amount you need. You can store leftover raw boba in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  3. Once the water is boiling, boil the boba for 25 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. Cover the pot and let it sit for another 15 minutes.


Make glaze:

  1. Drain the cooked boba using a spoon and place in a clean pan.
  2. While the boba is still hot, add 1/2 cup brown sugar, mix, and heat on low heat until it melts (2-3 minutes).


Assemble your drinks:

  1. In a cup, fill it with as many boba and glaze as you’d like. A good amount would be about 1/4 cup.
  2. Add ice
  3. Add milk tea




References, and adapted from:





Please recycle!

Compost produce scraps.

Wash out the cans and recycle. Wash and reuse plastic containers if possible, otherwise, recycle.

Recycle cardboard boxes.


This recipe was created for Pasadena Public Library by Jane Gov, Youth Services Senior Librarian. Any reference or adaptations to this recipe can be credited to Pasadena Public Library.


Special thanks to teen volunteers Grace, Audrey, Samantha, and Maggie!