Ditch the tea shops and make your own Boba (bubble) tea. Use the Instant Pot and FIVE simple ingredients to make this recipe in a jiffy!
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Boba Tea or Bubble tea is a popular Taiwanese drink made from ingredients like milk or cream, a sweetener, a flavor mix and chewy tapioca pearls.
This is a SUPER popular drink and it can be made at home using a handful of ingredients and JUST 2 minutes or cooking time. Save a LOT of $$$ and enjoy freshly made tea; without any artificial flavoring powders!
What is Boba?
Tapioca starch from cassava root and water combine to make large black/gray pearls known as Boba. They are chewy and taste best in teas and desserts.
A lot of frozen yogurt stores have popping boba too; pearls that pop and ooze out a fruit juice. Those are different from the traditional honey boba; but boy they are addictive!
Boba is used in various milk teas, fruit teas and Asian desserts. They make all these recipes super delicious and add a lot of texture to them.
How to use the Instant Pot to cook Boba?
There are plenty of boba brands and most of them define how long they need to be cooked on the stove top. I have tried that several times and can say that the method is not foolproof. Sometimes the boba are chewy and sometimes they disintegrate.
Cooking them in the Instant Pot or Mealthy Multipot is not only easy, it is foolproof. Buy your own Multipot here. Remember you can get $10 off on any product from Mealthy (above $59.95) using the code HERBIVORECUCINA. Or get yours from Amazon.
For most of the brands that I have tried, 2 minutes makes them perfectly chewy but not uncooked. My favorite boba brand is this one!
I have tried a couple of methods of cooking the boba in the instant pot. One is to cook the boba in just water. Once done, drain and add them to a separately made sugar syrup. I am not a fan of this method as the boba do not taste sweet inside.
I also tried adding sugar to hot boba. As the water is hot, the sugar melts easily but again the boba do not taste sweet when bitten into.
Finally cooking them in a mix of sugar and water is the BEST way to make them. The boba absorbs sugar water while cooking and they taste way better this way. Plus, storing them in the sugar syrup is easy and works perfectly!
Making Instant Pot Bubble Tea
Once the boba is cooked in the Instant Pot, the next couple of steps are super easy! Remember that boba does not store very well so make just enough for that day.
Given that it takes barely any time to make; they can be made fresh every time you crave some tea!
For the drink you will need some freshly brewed tea. The stronger the tea the better it tastes. Oolong tea or similar works best.
The Thai tea from the super market has some orange color added to it. I try and skip that and make so with a slightly faint color. However, Thai tea can be used too.
For the sweetener, if you like the tea at anything above 50% sweetness, add some sugar or honey to your tea. However this is completely optional. I skipped it in this recipe.
The milk in the tea has a couple of options too. Make the tea with half and half or full fat creamer. Else use regular milk or skip it completely to make some black boba tea. All these options work great. I have used whole milk here.
Apart from the essential ingredients in the recipe; it is fun to have some large straws that are made for boba tea. I always have a bunch of them in the house, you never know when you would crave a glass of bubble tea, right?
If you like bubble tea and other Asian desserts, do try these: Hasselback Apples, Tapioca Pudding and Honey Toast. These deserts are addictive yet simple to make!
Tips to make the BEST Boba tea
Cooked boba does not store well. Make the boba at the time when you want to make the tea.
Storing boba in sugar syrup keeps them from drying out. However placing them in the refrigerator changes the texture to super chewy. So avoid refrigerating boba overnight.
When adding water in the Instant Pot to cook the boba, make sure every boba is covered with water. If you are using a larger Instant Pot like the 8 qt one, add some extra water.
When opening the Instant pot after cooking, be careful. A few boba pearls might have become super big and might be jumping around. They settle in a few minutes.
Use tea that is strongly brewed. The ice and milk will water down the tea by a great extent. Oolong tea works the best for this recipe!
I used 4 tea bags of Oolong tea with ½ cup water. Heat water, turn down the flame and add the tea bags. Let steep for 7-8 minutes. Loose leaf tea can be used too.
Steps to make Boba Tea
1- In the base of the Instant Pot add boba.
2- Pour in water.
3- Add the sugar.
4- Set mode to 'Pressure Cook' and time to 2 minutes. The pressure setting should be high.
5- Close the lid and set vent to sealing. Let the cooking complete and let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and release the remaining pressure and open the lid.
6- Let the boba cool in the pot or in another container.
7- In a glass add half the ice. Pour half the boba.
8- Add in half the brewed tea. Add sweetener/ sugar if using.
9- Fill up the glass with milk and enjoy! Totally recommend getting these extra wide straws to sip the tea!
For the Boba
Large Boba 1 cup
Water 1 ½ cups
Sugar ¼ cup
For the Tea
Strong Brewed Tea 2 cups
Sugar (or sweetener of choice) 2 tablespoon (optional)
Milk 1 cup
Ice Cubes 1 cup
For the Boba
In the base of the Instant Pot add boba, water and sugar.
Set mode to 'Pressure Cook' and time to 2 minutes. The pressure setting should be high.
Close the lid and set vent to sealing. Let the cooking complete and let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and release the remaining pressure.
Open the lid and let the boba cool in the pot or in another container.
For the tea
In a glass add half the ice. Pour half the boba and Brewed Tea. Add sweetener/ sugar if using. Fill up the glass with milk and enjoy!
Totally recommend getting these extra wide straws to sip the tea!
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