Refreshing, fragrant and sweet strawberry milk tea made with real strawberries for an intense flavour. This recipe uses only natural ingredients and tastes like summer in a glass. Easy to prepare and can be made with or without boba pearls.
With dozens of bubble tea flavours available, it’s difficult to know which one to choose. I believe that milk teas or all shapes and flavours are amazing, although I do have my favourites.
Summer is the best time to explore natural seasonal flavours and fruity boba milk teas. Strawberry milk tea is the best example of a seasonal drink that boasts tons of flavour and smells divine.
This recipe is made with real, fresh strawberries that are cooked into a delicious strawberry simple syrup. This syrup forms the base of the milk tea, giving it a vibrant and authentic flavour. The boba tea can be made with or without tapioca pearls, although I do strongly recommend using them.
What is strawberry milk tea?
Strawberry milk tea (also known as strawberry bubble tea or strawberry boba) is a type of milk tea made with strawberries. Most bubble tea shops prepare this type of boba using powders or commercial strawberry milk, which can have an artificial flavour. Also, it rarely contains actual tea.
Homemade strawberry boba tea is much more fragrant, naturally sweet and tastes like fresh strawberries. Unlike commercial drinks, you can add green or black tea into strawberry bubble tea, giving it a more authentic flavour.
Is it healthy?
Made at home, strawberry boba is healthier than the store-bought version. This recipe is made with homemade strawberry syrup, which has a high content of sugar. For this reason, strawberry boba tea can’t exactly be considered very healthy.
However, this drink can be made healthier by simply reducing the amount of syrup added. You can also skip the cream and use skimmed milk or unsweetened almond milk to reduce calories.
What does it taste like?
Strawberry boba tea tastes like a homemade strawberry milkshake with a dash of tea. Creamy milk and fresh strawberries work perfectly with the earthy notes of tea. The tea flavour is very subtle, but it does help reduce the sweetness of the strawberry syrup. Boba pearls are added, which bring a lovely chewiness to the drink, making it extra fun.
Overall, this boba drink is very light, fresh, and fragrant, and it tastes like sweet summer.
Why this is a great boba recipe
- Natural flavour: This bubble tea is made using fresh strawberries, which give a very fragrant and natural flavour. Unlike store-bought boba teas which are made from artificially flavoured powder, this homemade version is 100% natural.
- Easy to make: Preparing this recipe requires no special skill or equipment. From start to finish, the recipe takes around 30 minutes to put together. Also, apart from the tapioca pearls, all ingredients can be found in most supermarkets.
- The syrup: Strawberry simple syrup can be made in advance and is extremely versatile. It can be used to make strawberry bubble tea, as well as milkshakes, cocktails, iced teas and much more.
- Can adjust sweetness: In this recipe, sweetness is given by the strawberry syrup. Adjust the level of sweetness by adding less syrup. The strawberry flavour can be boosted by adding 1-2 teaspoons of freeze-dried strawberry powder.
Ingredients used in this recipe are entirely natural and can be found in most supermarkets. Let’s have a look at what’s needed to make it:
- Fresh strawberries – for the most fragrant flavour, fresh strawberries are a must. Preferably, use them in summer when they are in season for the best taste. You can also use frozen strawberries, but they need to be thawed and drained of excess liquid.
- Sugar – Plain granulated sugar works best for making the strawberry syrup. You can also use brown sugar for a caramelised flavour. I do not recommend using artificial sweeteners, as they might not thicken the syrup to the desired consistency.
- Milk – Any type of fresh milk can be used, although I recommend using full fat milk for a creamy texture. For vegan and dairy-free diets, you can also use oat milk or unsweetened almond milk.
- Tea – Green tea or Jasmine tea work best with this recipe, because they are very light and fresh. You can also use black tea for a darker, deeper flavour.
- Tapioca pearls – I recommend using quick cooking tapioca pearls, as they take only minutes to cook to perfection. For a more fun look, try colourful boba pearls.
- Optional: cream – 2-3 tablespoons of cream on top will make the milk tea extra creamy and decadent.
- Optional: dried strawberries – If you’re using less syrup than indicated in the recipe, you should supplement the flavour with some extra natural strawberry powder. Simply mix it with the milk to enhance flavour. You can also use freeze-dried strawberry pieces on top for decoration.
How to make Strawberry Boba Tea from scratch
Strawberry syrup - This recipe is extremely quick to put together once the strawberry syrup is made. For this reason, I recommend making the syrup in advance and storing it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
I’ve covered the syrup recipe in detail in my blog post Strawberry Simple Syrup, but I’ll give you a summary here too.
- Place all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and cook on high heat until boiling.
- Once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer until the fruit becomes mushy.
- Remove the fruit flesh, using a sieve.
- Return syrup to heat and cook until thickened.
Boba pearls - Separately, cook the tapioca pearls. Once cooked, toss them in the hot strawberry syrup to make them sweet. If you made the syrup in advance, simply heat it up in a saucepan for a few minutes or microwave.
Tea - Prepare your tea of choice as indicated on the packaging, then let it cool down completely before chilling in the fridge.
Assembling the milk tea – Once all ingredients are ready, we can assemble the drink:
- Place the cooked boba and syrup at the bottom of the glass.
- Add tea up to half of the glass.
- Separately, mix cold milk with strawberry syrup and combine well. Pour it over the tea.
- Optional: top with cream and dried strawberries.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Fresh strawberries: For the maximum flavour and fragrance, use fresh, seasonal strawberries.
- Prepare syrup in advance: This recipe is much quicker to prepare if the syrup is made in advance. Make sure you reheat enough syrup later to toss the boba pearls in it.
- Preparing the tea: Ensure you follow the instructions on the packaging for whatever tea you choose to use. Steeping the tea for too long or at the wrong temperature can make it taste bitter or burnt.
- Soak boba in syrup: Most tapioca pearls don’t have much sweetness, so tossing them through syrup is essential to make them sweet. Make sure the syrup is hot when doing so.
- Don’t make it too sweet: An overly sweet drink will take away from the amazing flavour of the strawberries. Only use 1-2 tablespoons of syrup for optimal sweetness.
- Serve immediately: Boba should always be served within maximum 2 hours, before it goes tough. For the best texture, make sure you serve this drink as soon as you’ve assembled it.
- Stir before drinking: Sugar syrup is quite heavy, so it will fall to the bottom of the glass. Make sure you stir everything well before drinking the milk tea.
- Use bubble tea straws: Reusable bubble tea straws are a great way to enjoy bubble tea at home.
How to store
Once the drink has been assembled, it should be served immediately. However, you can store some of the components before assembling the drink.
Strawberry Syrup – great for making ahead and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. It can also be frozen for up to 3-4 months.
Tea – can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Boba pearls – once cooked, they need to be consumed within maximum 2 hours. If left longer, they become tough and unpleasant to eat.
Frequently asked questions
This drink contains strawberry syrup made from fresh strawberries, milk, and tea. Tapioca pearls can also be added to turn it into bubble tea.
Homemade strawberry bubble tea contains approximately 400 calories. This includes 2 tablespoons of syrup and tapioca pearls. Store-bought strawberry boba can contain upwards of 600 calories, much more than the homemade version.
This recipe contains caffeine because it’s made with Jasmine tea. For no caffeine version, leave out the tea or replace it with decaf tea.
Using fresh strawberries makes the texture of this drink closer to a smoothie than to a milk tea. Strawberry syrup ensures the drink remains smooth, without any fruit bits
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Strawberry Milk Tea Recipe
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled & chopped (300 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- ⅓ cup water (70 grams)
- ¾ cup quick cooking tapioca pearls (100 grams)
- 3 cups water (700 grams)
Milk Tea Base
- 2 teaspoons Jasmine green tea, loose leaf (or 2 teabags)
- 1 cup water, filtered (225 grams)
- 2 cups milk, cold (480 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoons cream, optional
- 2-3 teaspoons freeze dried strawberries, optional
- Hull and wash the strawberries, then dice them into small pieces. Combine the chopped strawberries and sugar into a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until the strawberries begin to turn soft, for about 5 minutes or until the water starts bubbling. Stir frequently to prevent the strawberries from burning. The syrup should be sticky, but still liquid.
- Use a sieve to drain the hot syrup. Save the strawberry flesh as it can be used as topping.
- Leave half of the syrup in the saucepan, and reserve the other half.
- Boil water to 175°F (80°C). Place the tea in a teapot with infuser, then pour the hot water over it.
- Cover and steep for 3 minutes, then remove the tea leaves.
- Let the tea cool down completely, then refrigerate.
- Cook tapioca pearls as indicated on the package. Once cooked, drain, and discard the water.
- Place the cooked boba pearls into the hot strawberry syrup in the saucepan. Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes, to allow the tapioca pearls to soak up the sweetness. If the syrup was prepared in advance, heat it before adding the boba into it.
Assembling the drink
- Mix the remaining strawberry syrup into cold milk, combining everything well.
- In two tall glasses add the cooked tapioca pearls and strawberry syrup.
- Pour the strawberry milk on top of the boba pearls, then top with cold Jasmine green tea.
- Optional: Top with some cream and sprinkle freeze-dried strawberries over it. Enjoy immediately with a bubble tea straw!
- Use boba pearls immediately after cooking them.
- Adjust sweetness by adding more or less strawberry syrup.
- Nutritional value is estimative and it's calculated per serving (this recipe makes 2 servings) with tapioca pearls and 2 tablespoons of strawberry syrup.