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Is Boba Keto Friendly? [BUSTING Bubble Tea MYTHS!]


written by

Husein Gradasevic

is boba keto friendly

Who doesn’t love a refreshing bubble tea at the end of an exhausting day? You can experiment with tons of different flavors and bases to suit your needs! But is boba keto friendly?

Tapioca pearls or Boba are made using tapioca starch which is very high in carbohydrates. That is why boba tea is not considered keto-friendly.

However, you can make your own version of keto-friendly boba by replacing Tapioca with gelatin.

Boba shops are a great hang-out spot since they are open till late and provide affordable food options. So what do you do when your friends are sipping their favorite boba tea?

is boba keto friendly

No, you can’t just look at their faces and curse your keto diet!

But you can definitely customize your bubble tea to suit your low carb diet.

In this article, we’ll find out whether you can have Boba on keto, and how to make low-carb boba pearls without using starchy Tapioca!

Suggested: Is Cassava Keto?

What is Boba?

In literal sense, “boba” refers to the Tapioca pearls found inside a bubble tea.

Bubble tea is a sweetened beverage that can be made using milk, fruit, tea, or even coffee. But bubble tea and boba are the two terms which are often used interchangeably.

You must be thinking that bubble tea get’s it’s name from boba, which is shaped like a bubble, right?


bubble tea on keto

The bubble tea is called so because it forms bubbles on top when its shaken (bet you didn’t know this!).

Boba tea is a Taiwanese drink that was first made in the 80s. The boba balls don’t have a particularly strong flavor but they blend really well with the syrups inside your drink.

Over the past decade or so, boba has enjoyed a huge burst of popularity, thanks to its aesthetic appeal and plethora of customizations.

When it comes to toppings, the possibilities are literally endless! But tapioca pearls and tapioca jelly remain the most common additions in bubble tea throughout the world.

Usage of Boba isn’t just limited to bubble teas! These tiny spherical balls also come in ready-to-eat packages, filled with fruity and sugary solutions.

MORE: Best Keto-Friendly Soda

Boba Nutrition

According to USDA, a half-cup serving of dry Tapioca pearls contains:

  • Calories: 272
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0.8mg
  • Carbohydrates: 67.5g
  • Fiber: 0.7g
  • Sugars: 2.5g
  • Protein: 0.1g

Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient present in boba, thanks to the tapioca starch. It is void of any significant vitamins and minerals.

Clearly, boba has little to offer in terms of health benefits! It is essentially just candy dissolved in sugary syrups!

milk bubble teas

These spherical balls come dry packed in large packets. But once it’s cooked, boba becomes extremely chewy and a little bit sweet.

But that’s not where the “sweetness” ends, the vendors further add a ton of syrups and solutions to enhance their taste.

That’s why having boba on keto seems like a far-away dream! So what’s the real truth?

Is Boba Keto Friendly?

So far we know that Boba and bubble teas have humungous amounts of sugar! And guess what – sugar is the biggest enemy of the keto diet.

I’ve grown up in southern California and milk tea is really a big thing in this side of the country. Boba and bubble tea shops are a great hangout spot.

But ever since I started keto, I had to say no to my friends. Initially, I feared even setting my foot in a milk tea shop thinking I’ll be really tempted to cheat!

Drinking bubble tea is a whole new experience with so many flavors and bases out there!

The reason behind boba being really high-carb are those tiny marble-sized chewy pearls made from tapioca starch.

And that’s not all! Most bubble teas having boba are also loaded with a ton of sugary syrups that inflate their carbs.

Can you have boba on keto

Boba is devoid of any nutrition, making it a ball of pure carbohydrates. To top it all, there’s no fiber content. This means that your body will quickly absorb all the sugar present inside your beverage.

So the traditional boba tea is not keto in any way.

A keto diet is a very high-fat, and super low-carb diet. Our main goal is to starve the body for carbs and transition to burning fat for energy.

You can consume a maximum of 20-25g of carbs per day to stay in ketosis. On the contrary, a single serving of bubble tea can have anywhere between 50-70g of carbs!

That’s why boba isn’t such a great idea for keto-ers!

But let me remind you, the world of health and fitness is a grey area! There is no black OR white, but things are rather both black AND white!

With the right type of customizations, you can enjoy your favorite boba tea without being kicked out of ketosis!

(Craving desserts? Check out Enlightened keto ice cream!)

How to Have Boba on Keto?

Unfortunately, you can’t have even a single glass of traditional boba on the keto diet.

Luckily, you can replace the original ingredients with the keto substitutes to enjoy a refreshing bubble tea even on the low carb diet!

After all, we all deserve an occasional treat while following such a disciplined lifestyle.

Today I’m going to share with you my biggest Keto hack that’ll help you enjoy bubble teas while staying in ketosis!

Simply follow these guidelines:

  • Replace sugar with erythritol or liquid stevia.
  • Ditch the regular milk and opt for a combination of half & half and heavy whipping cream.
  • Here’s the most important point: Make your own boba pearls using gelatin (recipe shared below).
keto boba pearls with gelatin

There are times when you are just stuck at a boba shop with your friends. What do you do?

Instead of staring at their faces with envy, you can order an unsweetened clear tea for yourself (without boba pearls). Avoid any fruity ones as they contain a ton of sugars.

Here’s a tip: Carry a pack of stevia to flavor your unsweetened drinks whenever you head out.

You’ll spot boba tea in many restaurants and coffee shops nearby. Lately, milk tea shops have become a trendy hangout spot for youngsters, thanks to their affordable menu choices.

Boba shops are quite flexible in terms of customizations. So even if they don’t have an unsweetened tea on their menu, simply request one without any hesitation.

They’ll be more than happy to serve your requirements!

While we only talked about boba tea, you should also be careful of “bursting boba” on keto. They come in a lot of fruity syrups and are jam packed with sugar.

In a nutshell, you can have boba tea on keto with a few smart tweaks. Substitute tapioca with gelatin, milk with heavy cream, and sugar with any keto-friendly sweetener.

Trust me, there are thousands of ways to customize your keto boba tea while staying in your daily carb limit!

MORE: Are Bai Drinks Keto?

How to Make Keto Boba Pearls

Your favorite boba pearls are made using the tapioca starch, which sadly, has a shitload of carbs!

But here’s a hack: You can use Gelatin in place of tapioca to replicate that delicious chewy-soft texture without the added carbs!

We only need coffee and gelatin to make a batch of these soft little pearls. It will be completely sugar-free and carb-free.


  • A cup of coffee
  • 2 tbsp beef gelatin
  • One syringe or dropper
how to make keto boba


  1. First, make your regular black coffee and set it aside.
  2. In a medium pot, pour over your coffee and slowly introduce the gelatin inside.
  3. Put the pot on medium heat and stir gently. Wait until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  4. Keep the mixture aside and let it cool down for the next 4 minutes.
  5. Using a dropper, put small drops of the mixture into tiny ice ball molds. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

And voila! Your super keto-friendly boba pearls are ready to serve!

Feel free to add any sugar-free sweetener of your choice to enhance the flavor. What’s more, you can even use it as a bursting boba topping on some of your favorite keto desserts!


This recipe yields 4 servings of boba. Each serving contains:

  • 14 Calories
  • 3g Protein
  • ZERO Fats
  • ZERO Carbs
  • ZERO Fiber

The gelatin used in keto boba pearls is packed with a ton of health benefits!

It is also rich in Glycine, an amino acid that supports peaceful sleep and enhances cognitive functions.

Enjoying boba on keto is no longer an unachievable dream! You can try different bases and toppings to make endless number of variants.

If you really love milk teas, opt for some almond milk and make sure you factor in those carbs!


Is Boba keto friendly?

You can’t have traditional boba on keto since it’s purely made up of starch. When stuck at a boba shop, your best pick is an unsweetened tea without any boba pearls!

It’s super-easy to make keto boba tea at home! Simply replace tapioca with gelatin, sugar with a sweetener, and dairy milk with half and half or almond milk.

Simply follow the recipe in this article to make those delicious soft and chewy keto boba pearls!

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