How To Make Boba Milk Tea Cookies – Recipe

Apr 20, 2020 | Recipes | 7 comments

We are all still social physical distancing — and because we can’t easily go out to get boba, Brian and I wanted to try our hand at making Boba milk tea at home. 

If you don’t already follow us on TikTok, please do– we post some SUPER sped up short-form content on there, including our Boba adventures so go check us out HERE

@borderlandsbakeryShops are closed so we made our own.. ##boba ##milktea ##pearlmilktea ##bobabae ##quarantinesnacks ##socialdistancing ##fyp ##drinks♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

What started out as an attempt to make some delicious drinks for ourselves turned into an adventure exploring how we were going to utilize these tapioca pearls to make them into other desserts. 

I did a little bit of Googling and saw that Boba milk tea cookies have been done before (so obviously not inventing anything new), but I wanted to use my existing cookie knowledge to make my own. 

boba milk tea cookies

As always, I don’t like to give you a long essay before sharing recipes, so here we go. These Milk Tea Boba cookies are a milk-tea flavored base with chewy tapioca balls nestled in the dough– such a fun treat! And to cover myself– this post contains affiliate links– if you choose to make a purchase via these links, I get a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you– this is a great way to support Borderlands Bakery while following your regular purchasing patterns. 

Recipe: Milk Tea Boba Cookies

This recipe yields 15 large cookies. Each cookie dough scoop is 4 TBS or ¼ cup

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (and more for eating) Boba – I get mine from the local Asian grocer, but if you can’t, these are the ones I recommend on Amazon and you can also check out the rest of my recommendations from the Amazon shop. I grew up with the black ones, but the white ones work fine. I like to buy the softer kind– not the hard, super dry kind. I find that the softer version cooks so much easier! 
  • 4 packs (about ⅓ cup in volume of powder, or 4oz by weight) of instant milk tea powder — I recommend THIS or THIS  — Just make sure it is INSTANT milk tea, not like.. Actual tea leaves… It’s not a HUGE deal if you put actual teal leaves in it but you might end up picking them out of your teeth
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour 
  • 6 oz (1.5 American sticks), salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk (save the egg whites for Macarons or Meringues)
  • 110 grams white granulated sugar 
  • 160 grams dark brown sugar for the dough + 2-3 tbsp extra for the boba pearls in a separate bowl. You can also use honey to mix your cooked bobas in!
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Boba Milk Tea Cookie Ingredients

How to make them:

  1. Make and cool your tapioca pearls. 
    1. Measure out your balls, take 4x the amount of water and dump it into a pan, bring to a rolling boil
    2. Make a water vortex with a slotted spoon or ladle, see YouTube Video
    3. Drop-in your boba and stir them around to prevent them from sticking to the bottom, occasionally stirring
    4. Simmer at a low boil for 12-15 minutes– until balls are cooked through and chewy– not mush! The only way you’ll know is to take one out for a taste 
    5. When done, drain your pearls and immediately stir them into the brown sugar, set aside while you make your cookie dough… try not to eat them all.. 
  2. Make your Cookie Dough
    1. Place your milk tea powder and sugars, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add in your melted and cooled butter to your sugars, mix to combine. 
    3. Add in eggs, mix until you get a grainy caramel-like base. 
    4. Add in flour (sift it if has sat for a while or it’s lumpy)… mix it up and before all the flour gets incorporated…
    5. Stir in Boba. I added the whole cup. It’s about enough… 
    6. Portion out your dough. I like to scoop them with a 4TBSP scoop and put 6 per standard half sheet cookie tray. 
    7. Cover with plastic wrap– freeze until you’re ready to bake to preserve the texture of the tapioca balls.
    8. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350/360 degrees F. — make sure you use an oven thermometer because of our ovens are off– this hugely affects your bakes! 
    9. Bake cookies from frozen, for approx. 13-16 minutes. Keep your eye on it. The second it starts to puff in the middle, they are done!
    10. Remove, use a circle cutter to adjust the shape if needed for a nice, aesthetically pleasing circular cookie, and let cool completely on the cookie sheet.

boba milk tea cookies dough

Make sure you watch the video below on how to make them!! 

Notes/tips/modifications, etc.

  • The worst thing about these cookies is how shitty they are to store. The tapioca balls harden within 24 hours of being baked so… my two cents is to eat them fresh or keep the unbaked cookie dough in the freezer (which seems to pause that hardening effect)
  • Please (please, PLEASE)  invest in an oven thermometer and food scale. I’m a broken record when it comes to this but– consistency in your recipe (weights) is super crucial for good baked goods and knowing the actual temperature of your oven can make or break your goodies as well. 
  • A few people have suggested sandwiching ice cream between two cookies. I have no doubt that would be amazing! 
  • The version I made in the video had like …. 1 tbps of oats in the batter. Thats were left over from a previous recipe, already mixed into the flour and I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting them, so that’s what you’re seeing in the video…
  • If you want to actually put these boba pearls in drinks, make sure you grab yourself some thiccccc straws 
  • I measure by weight. It’s more consistent than volume (cups, etc.) read why HERE , and then grab yourself a food scale.

Are you going to try to make these?! I would love to hear your insights below! Would also love to hear how else you think we could use tapioca pearls? 


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  1. Jen

    Interesting recipe! Do you think substituting tapioca pearls with tiny Black mochi balls would work? I’m hoping to try and make the cookies with them so they would store better in the fridge. I heard that’s what’s used in boba milk tea ice cream so it stays chewy even after being inside the freezer.

    • Lisa He

      Haven’t tried– so can’t speak to it 🙂

  2. curious person ?

    Love this recipie. I want to make it soon ! But, one quick question, can I store the dough in the fridge for on demand use up to like 2 months or so? And will the boba balls harden in that time in the fridge, or will they become soft/ chewy again after baking (even after being in the fridge for over 6 hours) ?

  3. anonymous

    hey, I loved this recipe but had some quick questions ? How long would this be freezer proof ? And will the boba balls harden in the fridge if I leave it in too long (say like over 6 hours to like a month in the freezer)? And when I bake the cookies, will the boba balls harden after a specific amount of hours? Additionally, does the amt of time in the fridge affect whether or not the boba balls will be soft when baking? Thank you !! I think I already left a message but I’m not sure. Get back to me when you can !

    • Lisa He

      Hi, somehow I missed your messages.
      I have not tried a freezer test for anything over 1 month, so can’t say. But it was fine for the month.

  4. Riyy

    Hello, I am a student of Bakery and Pastry. This semester we have the subject of Manufacturing and Innovation of Pastry Products. We should make our own innovation product, while I was wondering what product I should make, I had an Idea to make milk tea flavored cookies. I saw your recipe and I was wondering if I could use your recipe for my project. I might change the recipe a bit…but I have one question, what happens if I don’t use boba in the recipe? Will the taste be the same or change? I want to replace boba with something else. I hope you see this comment 🙂

    • Lisa He

      You may use it but please give borderlandsbakery.com credit for it. It will change the texture if you omit boba.


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