This homemade strawberry bubble tea makes for the perfect summer refreshing treat! It is perfectly sweet, filled with fruity flavors and so much healthier than boba teas from the coffee shop. Plus, it is ultra easy to make right at home! Includes fresh strawberries, plant-based milk, sweetener to taste and chewy boba pearls. Plus, you will have the option of including brewed tea or not. This version is vegan, dairy-free and naturally gluten-free!
We have been so much into bubble teas lately and since strawberry season just started, I though it was a perfect timing to make a strawberry bubble tea for the blog!
We actually make this chocolate bubble tea when we feel like bobas, especially since our kids always beg for anything chocolate. But including fruits when making milk teas is another favorite way to make them and such a perfect treat for the summertime.
And strawberries are a perfect addition to milk teas: it is refreshing, slightly sweet, bursts with fresh summer fruity flavors and also is such a nice way to enjoy all the natural vitamins from strawberries. And you might already know that I'll do anything for a pink drink!
This boba tea recipe is pretty simple and includes:
- fresh strawberries
- plant-based milk
- vanilla extract
- tea (optional)
- chewy boba pearls.
The only ingredient you might not already have are tapioca pearls. BUT, they are super easy to order online, not expensive at all and once you get them, you will be able to make a ton of bobas just with one bag within a few minutes.
I also like to incorporate some brewed tea (with or without caffeine) in bobas for a nice subtle hearty and round flavor, although you can omit if you prefer. I'll use black tea when it is just for me for a little pick me up or switch for caffeine-free rooibo tea when also serving for my little ones.
And making a strawberry boba right at home is so much easier than it seems! You might not have a bubble tea shop nearby, but this should not stop you from enjoying them. All you have to do is cook the tapioca pearls in water (just like cooking pasta - 15 minutes) and then serve with a homemade blended sweet strawberry milk. So easy!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Easy to make right at home
- Healthy and filled with real strawberries (made without fruit syrups or processed sugary powders)
- Amazing chewy texture, thanks to the boba pearls
- Less expensive than buying boba teas at the coffee shop
- Delicious fruity flavor
- Sweetened to your taste
- Perfect healthy summer drink
- Vegan, dairy-free and naturally gluten-free
What is bubble tea and where to find tapioca pearls
Bubble tea is a Taiwan drink that consists of brewed tea, sweetener, flavoring ingredients of choice and chewy tapioca pearls. There are also 2 kinds of bubble teas: with milk (milk teas) or without milk.
Bubble teas can also be called boba tea, tapioca milk tea or pearl milk tea and they are made using all sorts of flavoring ingredients such as fruits, spices, chocolate, etc.
Milk teas have such a fun and unique texture that's creamy and smooth yet filled with boba balls to chew on as you drink the sweet tea. It can be served hot or cold, although you will find refreshing cold milk teas more often in tea shops.
Boba pearls or tapioca pearls are made from the starch of the cassava root and usually are dark black or brown. They are naturally a little sweet and sometimes also are sweetened with extra sugar. You can usually find them in your local Asian market, but if you don't have one nearby, then simply buy boba pearls online. Look for tapioca pearls made for bubble tea as they are usually quick cooking and easier to prepare.
Or, if you have tapioca starch at home and looking for a fun cooking project, then you can make your own tapioca pearls from scratch too!
Ingredients you will need
- Tapioca pearls: I used the dark starchy tapioca pearls that I found at my local Asian market, but feel-free to use any pearls you have or prefer (see above). The bursting juicy pearls would work too, although they are usually less healthy and filled with sugar.
- Plant-based milk: I used full-fat oat milk from the brand Oatly (I love this milk as it is so creamy and thick), but soy milk or almond milk would be great too.
- Strawberries: I used a large handful of strawberries, which was about a whole packed cup. You can use more if you want a stronger strawberry flavor!
- Sweetener: maple syrup is my go-to sweetener for drinks for its amazing flavor and it dissolves easily, although you can also use agave nectar or granulated sugar too.
- Vanilla extract: pairs so well with the strawberries and the creamy milk. Omit if you don't have it.
- Tea bag: optional, you don't actually have to make this drink with tea. I used one bag of caffeine-free rooibo tea for both drinks, which makes the flavor more subtle.
What kind of tea can I use?
Milk teas are made with all sorts of tea! You can use your favorite kind, such as:
- Black tea: traditional kind of tea used for making boba. It carries a delicious aromatic taste that's a little malty and floral too. Black tea is the one that I use when making chocolate boba as it pairs well with cacao, but it would be a great choice here too. Choose Earl Grey for more variation in flavors.
- Green tea: provides a nice vegetal + earthy taste and would work amazingly well with strawberries. It is also rich in antioxidants, which is a nice bonus!
- Rooibos: this is my go-to tea when making boba teas for my kids. I find its flavor milder and it is naturally caffeine-free. This is the tea that I used when making the pictures and video seen here.
- Matcha: another classic is matcha milk tea. You can add boba pearls to any iced matcha latte, such as this Chai matcha latte or this Blueberry matcha latte!
- Others: I don't think there are any rules on what tea you should use, so feel-free to simply brew your favorite one. Jasmine, chamomile and oolong are all great.
How to make strawberry milk tea
This strawberry boba should be all ready within 15 minutes! The longest step really is to prepare the tapioca pearls, which should give you enough time to make the milk.
Cook the boba pearls
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and then, add the tapioca pearls. Let them simmer for about 5-10 minutes or longer for softer balls. Then, let them rest for an additional 5 minutes before draining them. Transfer to a small bowl and add a little maple syrup (1 tablespoon) and stir. Set aside.
Make the strawberry milk
While the tapioca pearls are cooking, then prepare the strawberry milk.
If including tea, then start by brewing the tea bag in ½ cup of hot water for about 5 minutes or to your liking. Remove the bag and let it cool down in the fridge until ready to use (this can be done ahead of time).
In a blender, add the milk, brewed tea (if using), sweetener, vanilla extract, strawberries and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. You can also add more strawberries for a stronger fruit flavor.
Assemble and serve
Divide the cooked tapioca pearls in between 2 serving glasses and then fill the glass about half way up with ice cubes. Pour the strawberry milk over and stir.
You can also add a spoonful of strawberry jam if you want for a beautiful red swirl effect and more sweetness. Enjoy with a wide bubble tea straw.
- When blending, you can try to leave some small chunks of strawberries in the milk instead of completely blending to smooth. This will give the milk more texture and since you will be using a large wide straw, the pieces of fruit should go through it easily.
- Adjust the texture of the boba by cooking the pearls more or less. For a super chewy consistency, then you can boil them for 5 minutes, but for a more delicate texture, then keep boiling for at least 10 minutes or even longer. Simply taste the balls before draining them!
- You will need a wide bubble tea straw to enjoy your drink, so you can enjoy the boba pearls without having to use a spoon. I got my bubble tea straws online.
- Cooling down the brewed tea, milk and strawberries will give you better results. This is why it can be a great idea to make the strawberry milk mixture ahead of time and transfer in the fridge before servong. BUT, do not cool down the boba pearls in the fridge, they have a better texture when still warmish (but not burning hot) and freshly cooked.
Variations and serving suggestions
Other than playing around with the kind of tea you are using (see above), there are a few other ways you can change up the recipe:
- Ultra creamy: use some coconut milk when making the strawberry milk. I would recommend doing a mix of half coconut milk + half regular plant-based milk so the drink isn’t too rich. Coconut milk would add more creaminess, but also a nice tropical flavor that would pair well with the strawberries.
- Swap the berries: or make a mix and match of a few berries. Blueberries, blackberries or raspberries would all work well in this recipe. If you use a berry that has more tiny seeds that don't blend very well, then you may want to strain the milk using a fine-mesh colander for a smoother texture.
- Strawberry slushie boba: to make a frosty and thick drink, then use frozen strawberries instead!
- Matcha strawberry boba: simply add some matcha tea to your drink just before serving. Just check out this iced matcha blueberry tea to see how I do this.
- Chocolatey: add a drizzle of chocolate sauce for such a treat!
Once the bubble tea is assembled and ready to drink, then it is recommended to enjoy it right away. The boba pearls will harden over time turning more chewy, potentially unpleasant and even, they can stick together.
That being said, you can definitely make the strawberry milk ahead of time, including with the brewed tea or not, and keep in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 days. When ready to serve, cook the boba pearls, shake well the strawberry milk and assemble the drink.
They are the same! Boba refers to the tapioca pearls at the bottom of the drink whereas boba tea just means milk tea with boba. Bubble tea is just another way to refer to the same drink!
Yes! I would recommend to thaw or mostly thaw the fruit so it blends easier and also, don't forget to include all the juice from thawing the strawberries. Chill the thawed fruit before blending for a colder drink. You can also use strawberries that are still frozen, which would give you a texture closer to a slush.
Bubble teas from coffee shops can be high in added sugar and filled with preservatives, but when you make it yourself at home, then you can control better what you include in your drink. This version is definitely healthier than from the coffee store: less added sugar, made with healthy oat milk and filled with vitamins and antioxidants from real strawberries. As a side notes, the tapioca pearls are mostly empty in nutrients, but they bring a unique pleasant texture to this otherwise wholesome drink!
The content in caffeine depends on the type of tea your are using (or if you are adding it at all). You can include caffeinated black tea for its aromatics flavor and a small kick in caffeine. But, if making it also for kids, then use a rooibo tea instead for added flavor without including any caffeine (or omit the tea altogether!).
Try these other strawberry drinks next!
- Strawberry açai lemonade
- Strawberry, blackberry and banana smoothie
- Cucumber strawberry smoothie
- Strawberry almond milk
- Healthy mixed berry tonic
- Strawberry chocolate smoothie
- Strawberry mojito mocktail
- Strawberry latte
More boba teas to try
I hope you like this strawberry bubble tea recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Strawberry Bubble Tea (Boba, Milk Tea)
- 2 cups plant-based milk - I used full-fat oat milk from Oatly
- 1 packed cup fresh strawberries - can also use frozen, see notes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-3 tbsp maple syrup - or to taste
- 1 bag green or black tea - optional. For a non-caffeinated drink, simply omit or use a rooibo tea.
- ½ cup hot water - optional, if using tea
- ½ cup uncooked boba pearls - see notes
- Start by brewing the tea (if using): steep the tea bag in the hot water for 5-10 minutes. Then, remove the bag and chill the tea in the fridge until ready to use.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and then, add the boba pearls. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until desired consistency. Then, remove from the heat and let them sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes before draining them.
- While the boba pearls are cooking, make the strawberry milk: in a blender, add the brewed tea, plant milk, vanilla extract, sweetener and strawberries. Blend on high until smooth. Then, taste and adjust flavors to your preference.
- To serve, divide the boba pearls in between 2 serving glasses and then, fill up your glass half way with ice cubes. Pour the strawberry milk over and enjoy with a wide bubble tea straw.
- Also, this is optional, but you can add some strawberry jam to your drink for a nice swirl of red fruit and added sweetness.
- Once assembled, this milk tea recipe is best enjoyed right away (the boba pearls will harden over time). BUT, you can brew the tea and even make the strawberry milk ahead of time and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
- You can also use frozen strawberries: simply thaw them in the fridge overnight or speed up the process using the microwave (but try not to end up with warm fruit). You can also blend the strawberries while still frozen for a frosty or slushie consistency.
- Adjust the consistency of the boba pearls to your taste: taste them as they boil to check for doneness and keep boil for longer if looking for a softer texture.
- You can find boba tapioca pearls in your local Asian market or buy them online. I used the boba tapoioca pearls from the brand EFA.