You might not have heard of agar boba, but we bet you’ve seen them before. The term refers to the white pearls you’ve probably seen in your bubble tea that are an alternative to tapioca pearls. Today we’re going to talk all about crystal boba and why you need to give them a go. We will cover how to make plain crystal agar boba, brown sugar agar boba and a fruit-based watermelon agar boba. You can make your own agar boba based on the three types.

agar boba|

What’s agar boba?

Agar boba (also known as agar agar boba or crystal boba) are bean-shaped pearls made from plant-derived white agar powder or the konjac plant. Other ingredients can include sugar, brown sugar, gelatin, and fruit juice. The name crystal boba refers to their clear white color, compared to the black hue of tapioca pearls. They’re also called agar jelly boba because they have the same soft jelly-like texture as tapioca pearls but are slightly chewier.

Agar- the magic vegan gelling agent

Agar (or agar-agar) is a jelly-like substance that is derived from red algae. Agar can be in the form of powder and strips. It absorbs water quickly and melts at temperatures above 85°C.

We are using agar powder this time. It does not have any flavors, so we add extra sugar for some of the agar boba. The agar powder is mixed with water or fruit juice, then heat for melting. After that, we set the mixture aside to cool. In this process, the cool liquid turns into a jelly-like solid with a semi-translucent texture.

crystal agar boba |


100 grams of crystal boba contains 70 calories of carbohydrates and no fat.

Is agar boba healthy?

Agar boba doesn’t have enough nutrients to be classified as healthy. However, the pearls are healthier calories-wise compared to tapioca pearls. As mentioned, they have 70 calories per 100 grams, while tapioca pearls contain 358 calories.

agar boba |

Different types of agar boba

Here are just four different types of agar boba:

  1. Crystal boba: Also known as plain agar boba, this is the most common type of agar boba, which we’ve explained in detail above. You can also use coconut water or coconut juice to make crystal boba.
  2. Brown sugar boba: Just like regular boba, this is when the white pearls take on a brown or black hue when they’re caramelized in brown sugar. Brown sugar agar jelly boba is extremely similar to tapioca pearls, besides a slightly sweeter taste.
  3. Fruit-flavored agar boba: To make flavored agar boba, we substitute the water for fresh fruit juice and combine that with the agar powder. In today’s video, we’re transforming watermelon juice into watermelon agar boba. Mango, strawberry, and lychee are the top fruity choices for agar boba.
  4. Coffee agar boba: This is when we combine agar powder and instant coffee to make coffee-flavored boba.
three types of agar boba with sprinkle water

Agar boba ingredients

To make crystal boba, you only need three main ingredients:

  • Agar powder: Agar is our gelling agent for the boba and you can use strips too.
  • sweetener: Some of the fruit liquid needs extra sweetener. For example, for plain crystal boba.
  • Water: Use filtered water for the best results.
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Tools needed

We will need the following tools for homemade agar boba.

  • Measuring spoons and kitchen scale – for a more precise recipe.
  • Saucepan – A saucepan is used to boil water and then mix in the agar and sugar.
  • Mini round silicone mold – The mini silicone mold gives the boba its characteristic spherical shape after we pour the agar liquid mixture.
  • Scraper or spatula- A scraper is a tool to spread the liquid to fill each small hole in the mold.

Cook’s Note

Use a scraper or a spatula to spread the liquid to fill each of the small holes in the mold. Be quick for this step.

key tip, use a spatula to spread the liquid to fill each of the small holes in the mold.

Soak the agar boba in iced water can enhance the texture of the agar boba.

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How to make agar boba at home in three different flavors

You’re going to be so surprised when you see how easy it is to make agar boba at home. Here are three different flavors of homemade agar boba: plain crystal boba, watermelon agar boba and brown sugar agar boba
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
cooling time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


crystal agar boba

  • 300 ml water or coconut water
  • 6 g agar powder
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Brown sugar agar boba

  • 300 ml water
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 g agar powder

Watermelon agar boba (we don’t use sugar for this version)

  • 300 ml watermelon juice
  • 6 g agar powder


Crystal boba

  • Combine agar powder, sugar, and water in a measuring jug.Whisk ingredients together until the sugar dissolves and then pour the jug contents into a saucepan.
    agar boba|
  • Continue to whisk the mixture as it comes to a boil onto the stovetop for around 3-4 minutes to ensure all the agar powder is well dissloved.
    agar boba|
  • Pour the boiling mixture into a boba mold. Use a spatula to make sure every mold is filled, then set it aside for 15 minutes to cool down.
    agar boba|
  • 15 minutes later, the boba should be set. Place your hands under the mold to pop the pearls out and into a bowl of ice-cold water. Use a strainer to remove the ice from the water and then use it again to remove the pearls.
    agar boba|

Brown sugar agar boba

  • Place instant brown sugar, agar powder, and water in a measuring jug and whisk the ingredients together.
  • Once the powder dissolves, pour the jug contents into a saucepan. Bring this to a boil on the stovetop, stirring constantly.
  • Pour the hot mixture into your boba mold immediately, using a spatula to ensure every mold is filled.
  • Set this aside for 15 minutes and then use your hands to pop the pearls out of the mold into a bowl of ice-cold water. Use a strainer to remove the ice from the bowl and then the cooled pearls.

Watermelon agar boba

  • Place watermelon juice and agar powder in a measuring jug and whisk the ingredients together. Once combined, transfer the mixture into a saucepan. Bring this to a boil while constantly stirring.
  • Pour the boiling contents into your boba mold and use a spatula to push the mixture into each mold. Then let this sit for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, place your hands under the mold and push each pearl out and into a bowl of ice-cold water. Use a strainer to remove the ice from the bowl and then use the same strainer to remove the watermelon agar boba from the bowl.


Agar boba vs regular boba (tapioca pearls)

Here are the key differences between agar boba and regular boba:

  • Appearance: Crystal boba is clear and white in color, while tapioca pearls are typically black as they’re caramelized in brown sugar.
  • Taste: Agar boba has a slightly sweet citrus taste from the plant used to make the pearls, while tapioca pearls have a neutral flavor.
  • Texture: Both types of boba are soft and spongy in texture.
  • Size: They are both shaped into small one-centimetre balls.

Agar boba vs popping boba

Now let’s look at the differences between agar boba and popping boba (also known as popping pearls or bursting boba):

  • Appearance: Crystal boba is clear and white, but the color of the popping boba depends on the flavor. For example, strawberry popping boba is red and mango popping boba is orange.
  • Taste: Crystal boba always has a slightly sweet citrus flavor while popping boba comes in a variety of fruity flavors. When you bite into bursting boba, your tastebuds will be hit with a burst of flavor.
  • Texture: Both have a soft chewy texture.
  • Size: Both pearls are similar sizes.
brown sugar agar boba

How can you use crystal boba?

You can use crystal boba in any milk tea or bubble tea recipe instead of tapioca pearls. Another option is to simply enjoy them in a glass of soda or sparkling water. They make a boring glass of water much more exciting! Choose from one flavor or try it with a combination of all three. Your drink, your rules.

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