Brown Sugar Boba Ice cream – Is it worth the Hype? [Review and Recipe]

I think you will agree with me when I say,

 No one would have imagined how delicious boba ice cream is! 

When the boba tea trend came about, we thought that was where it would end. Just the beautiful tiny tapioca pearls floating away in your favorite drinks. Oh, boy, were we wrong. The boba trend is constantly evolving and giving way to new forms of itself. Not that we are complaining.

Who doesn’t like ice cream? When paired with delicious boba, it is hard to say no to. The Brown Sugar Boba Ice creams bars have hence been skyrocketing in popularity. First started in Asia, this boba ice cream is the perfect whirl of sweet, creamy ice cream and soft, chewy boba pearls.

If you have been curious about this ice cream, fret not, for we have reviewed the original one from the Taiwanese company Shaoi Mei. We will judge it based on its taste, texture, and look. If you don’t have access to this ice cream, you can just as quickly DIY your boba ice cream! We have included recipes for you to follow.

Please sit back and relax as we take you through the guide that will definitely leave you craving some boba ice cream.

If you are interested in boba and its variations, check out What is Popping Boba and How is it Made? and How To Make Boba At Home – Ultimate Guide To DIY Boba.

What is a Boba Ice Cream Bar?

A boba ice cream bar is a combination of ice cream with boba tea. A creamy, delicious boba popsicle is made with a beautiful marble effect with tons of soft tiny tapioca pearls frozen inside. Boba tea is a milk-based tea containing these tapioca pearls, which can be sweet or tasteless based on the variety. These bubble tea pearls make a home inside an ice cream bar and give the ice cream and extra OOMF!

Originating from Taiwan, a brand called Xiao Mei developed this idea. People liked the idea so much that the boba ice cream bar became viral instantly. Now, more brands like Tiger Sugar and Yi-Mei have hopped on this bandwagon and come up with their varieties. There are many flavors available in this ice cream trend. Our flavor is the brown sugar boba ice cream, so that is the one we are reviewing and teaching you to DIY!

Let’s dive in!

How to make Boba Ice Cream Bars?


  • Brown Sugar: we prefer to use Taiwanese black sugar for a better caramel flavor
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: This is perhaps the most essential ingredient of all. It will keep your tapioca pearls soft and chewy even when they are frozen. The regular tapioca flour will lead to your boba being hard and inedible in the ice cream.
  • Condensed milk
  • Corn Starch
  • Heavy Cream
  • Water


Popsicle mold (we prefer to use silicone molds because they are easier to take the ice cream out of and clean. But you can use anything you want)

Boba Ice cream Recipe

1. Prepare the brown/black sugar syrup

  • Take some water in a saucepan and heat it.
  • Add the sugar when the water is warm and stir it in until thoroughly combined.
  • Bring the solution to a boil. Be careful not to let any sugar on the bottom burn.
  • Add some cornstarch to a small amount of water and dissolve it. Add this mixture to the cooking sugar solution to thicken it.
  • Cook until it reaches the consistency you want
  • Let it cool to room temperature.

Note: you can add more cornstarch instead of increasing cooking time if you feel like your syrup isn’t thick enough.

2. Make the boba

You may have wondered how to make the boba. Most people are the most scared of this part. Don’t worry; it is straightforward!

  • Add the glutinous rice powder and some brown sugar (to taste) into a bowl and pour in some warm water. Mix the ingredients to form a dough
  • Put the dough on a flat surface and knead it with your hands until its consistency changes from hard and heavy to somewhat spongy.
  • Break off pieces of dough to form tiny boba pearls about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Make as many of these as you can with your dough. You can sprinkle some loose rice flour to prevent them from clumping together.
  • Alternatively, roll the thought into a long snake-like shape. Then make cuts about 1/4 inch away and roll them up. This ensures rounder boba pearls.
  • Add the balls in boiling water and boil. This is to soften the balls.
  • Drain off the boiling water and pour in brown sugar. Mix the balls in brown sugar until all of them are fully coated.
  • Alternatively, you can drain out the water and cook the bobas into some brown sugar syrup. This will make them absorb more flavor and turn a deeper, richer color.

3. Make the ice cream

  • Add the heavy cream into a mechanical whisk and beat away until soft peaks form
  • Pour in the condensed milk while whisking until combined

4. Combine the prepared components to make a boba ice cream bar

  • Pour the rice flour balls you made into the heavy cream mixture
  • Fold them in until homogeneously combined
  • Put the mixture in a ziplock bag and cut an edge big enough to let out a boba
  • Take your brown sugar syrup and swirl it in the mold before adding your ice cream mixture
  • Add your ice cream mixture to the mold and stick in an ice cream stick

Well, it wasn’t that easy! Now let’s look at a few tips to ensure you reach the maximum potential of this recipe.

  1. You should use thick sugar syrup for the outer coating, or else it will give an icy texture to your creamy boba popsicle.
  2. Make the balls small enough not to cover most of the area of your ice cream. You want them to add something to the ice cream, not be the ice cream itself.
  3. When you fill the molds, tap it a few times to release any caught air bubbles.
  4. Don’t forget to use glutinous rice flour instead of tapioca flour. Also, steer clear of ready-made tapioca pearls. These will turn solid hard when frozen in the ice cream.
  5. To help with taking the ice cream out of the mold, briefly dip the mold in warm water to loosen the ice cream in the mold. It will come right off!
  6. You can add different flavoring like green tea to the heavy cream to make any boba milk tea ice cream you want
  7. Cover the pearls with a damp cloth when not using them to prevent them from drying out
  8. Cover the ice cream mold with plastic to prevent the ice creams from developing a freezer stench.
  9. Always smooth out the top of the ice cream that is exposed in the mold. This will ensure a cleaner look and will make your brown sugar boba ice cream even more perfect!

Alternative Vegan Recipe

All the people who avoid animal-based products, you can just as easily make this recipe with coconut ice cream rather than the one made from high-fat milk. If you don’t know how just wait and we will show you!

The most critical factor to ace the coconut-based ice cream is to use coconut cream or high-fat coconut milk instead of the regular or low-fat varieties. This will ensure that the milk has enough fat to become creamy instead of just being watery. Trust me; you do not want an icy boba ice cream. A good rule to remember is to buy coconut milk that has at least 60% fat. The more, the better!

Another thing that will help you ace your coconut ice cream is the sugar content. You will have to use more sugar in these because sugar helps the ice cream from completely freezing. This ensures a more creamy than icy texture. You should use at least a 1:6 ratio of sugar to coconut milk to get the optimum results.

Simply take your coconut milk and add in the sugar. It would be best if you whipped the cream using an electric beater. Keep on beating until it forms soft peaks and becomes light and fluffy. The rest of the process remains the same.


The Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar Reviewed

Now that we have established how to make this treat let us look into how the read-made variety adds up. Let’s dive in

The Appearance:

This appearance was probably one of the prettiest I have ever seen on a popsicle. Brown sugar boba is already quite gorgeous, with the brown caramel tones intertwining with the creamy white ones. It is almost like tiger boba tea in frozen form. The caramel color is appetizing, and you can even see some dark spots where the boba pearls are peeking through. Based on the looks, no popsicle even comes close to this one.

The Texture:

Let me just say that the texture of this ice cream was softer than I expected. You usually don’t see ice creams this smooth. While some may prefer this, we simply didn’t. It felt soft like melted ice cream, which was hard to lick. Despite this, the creaminess did make the bobas stand out more!

The only big downside is that if you eat it out on a hot day, it may slip off your ice cream stick before you have a chance to save it. Moreover, this also means that you need to take it out the exact second you want to eat it unless you want it to feel liquidy,

The Boba:

Now, this was the part that had us the wariest. The boba had to be REALLY good for me to like it. After all, it was the main attraction of this whole boba dessert—the star of the show. I expected the boba to be slightly harder in texture like regular boba turns when you put it in an iced tea. To my pleasant surprise, the boba stayed very soft and chewy despite being frozen. The only negative I have about the boba is their amount. If I’m buying boba ice cream, I want a larger quantity of them!

The Taste:

Right off the bat, I absolutely loved the caramelized brown sugar on top. It added a lovely roasty caramel element to the taste. Apart from that, the taste wasn’t all that special. If you are a fan of plain vanilla, you will love the taste, but the taste was a bit bland for me. It promised a taste of tea, and yet I couldn’t detect the tea flavor that strongly. This may be preferred by some people, just not me!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to keep boba soft in the ice cream?

As we have mentioned before, simply alternating glutinous rice flour instead of traditional tapioca flour will do the job. The traditional tapioca flour will lead your pearls to be hard and inedible in the ice cream, while the pearls we taught you to make stay soft and chewy.

What do boba ice cream popsicles taste like?

Well, the ice cream can state however you want it to be. Usually, it is sweet and creamy with chewy boba pearls in some bites. It may feel a bit like having gummy bears in your ice cream, just less chewy.

Can I use store-bought tapioca pearls?

In short, NO. You will ruin your whole recipe if you try to avoid the extra step of making the pearls. Store-bought tapioca pearls will harden when frozen.

However, we don’t recommend it, but the store-bought tapioca pearls may be usable if you cook them in boiling water to the point of overcooking them.

Where to buy the brown sugar boba ice cream bars?

Most Chinese grocery stores and Costco have them. Now that they are increasing in popularity, you may find them elsewhere too. Let us know in the comments where you get them from.

How can I roll Tapioca pearls faster?

We know how time-consuming making these tiny pearls is. Well, there is no real hack to make the process easier. However, we did find a method that can help. Simply take a wire rack measuring 1cm x 1 cm. Roll out the dough to the thickness you want and place the wire rack on this dough. Now press down until the dough forms small pieces, which you can now roll-up. Make sure not to use a wire rack with larger holes because this may lead to your pearls being too big. Simply roll up the excess dough and keep repeating.

Why shouldn’t I add my pearls to cold water instead of boiling?

If you add your boba pearls to water that isn’t boiling, instead of softening, the starch in the pearls will simply start to dissolve in the water, compromising the integrity of your boba pearls.

How long should I cook my boba pearls?

Many recipes on the internet recommend 10 minutes. However, I would have to say a solid 15-20 minutes. This is because you need your pearls to cook thoroughly from the middle. You do not want your pearls to end up stiff and solid in your ice cream. To make sure they are done, simply take one out, let it cool and bite it from the middle. If you see a white doughy texture in the center, it needs some more cooking. Overcooking the pearls is always better than undercooking them in this regard.

Can I use regular brown sugar?

You can definitely use regular brown sugar in this recipe. It will work just fine. However, Taiwanese black sugar is much more intense in taste and will lead to more delicious boba ice cream. It is not hard to find and will be available at any Asian grocery store.

What to do if my brown sugar syrup doesn’t freeze?

Most liquids high in sugar content don’t freeze well. This is avoided by adding cornstarch slurry to thicken the syrup. So if your sugar syrup isn’t freezing, you are most likely not adding cornstarch slurry or adding too little of it.

A tablespoon of corn starch dissolves in a tablespoon of cold water should do the trick.


So there was it, one of the most fabulous creations of the food industry made easy. You should definitely try this at home. Maybe serve them to your guests the next time you have a gathering and hear the wows in people’s voices as they devour these ice cream bars. We hope you enjoyed reading this recipe. Let us know in the comments below how it turned out for you.

On the other hand, if you bought the store-based variety, let us know what you thought of that too. Personally, I would definitely repurchase it!

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