This article will cover how to make milk tea and cook boba with an air fryer. From my experience it is better than doing it in a pot or pan on the stove. I used the same ingredients I usually would for making milk tea any other way. The results when air frying the milk tea was way better. The tea taste was more prevalent than using a pot or pan to make the tea (and I love tea).
The tapioca pearls that were air fried came out about the same as they would in a pot on the stove. I also air fried the cooked boba pearls afterwards. Keep reading below to see the results!
Here we will provide the exact time, ingredients, and the temperature for air frying the milk tea and air frying the boba pearls. Also, all the equipment needed to air fry the milk tea will be listed too.
This is the equipment that you will need:
- An air fryer
- A loaf pan (preferably 9 X 5 inches, perfect size to fit in air fryer, and make the milk tea)
- A heat resistant spoon
- Measuring spoon
- Measuring cup
- Mesh strainer or tea infuser strainer
- An 18 ounce or more drinking cup (preferably heat resistant)
These are the ingredients:
- 2 Cups of milk of your choice (preferably whole milk, soy milk for vegans, 3 tablespoons of non-dairy creamer powder for lactose intolerant)
- 1 Tablespoon of loose tea leaves of your choice (preferably black tea leaves)
- 1/2 Cup of water
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar (preferably brown sugar)
- Ice (optional for cold milk tea)
How To Make Milk Tea In The Air Fryer
Making the milk tea in the air fryer is really simple once you have all the equipment and ingredients. There isn’t really anything specific to watch out for, just don’t spill your water in the air fryer.
1. Put 1/2 cup of water into the loaf pan.
Use hot water if you can. It will make the sugar easier to mix into the water later.
2. Put 1 tablespoon of brown sugar into the loaf pan.
I used powered cane sugar for my milk tea, but many prefer to use brown sugar for all of their milk tea/boba drinks. Either way, it will taste great in the end.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of tea leaves into the loaf pan.
Put 1 tablespoon of your loose tea leaves into the pan. This is more than enough for this amount. There is no need to use more than this, but it is up to you. My milk tea still had a very prominent tea flavor with just 1 tablespoon worth.
4. Mix it all together.
Thoroughly mix it all together until the sugar is dissolved. I noticed that when I put the water in first, then the tea leaves, then sprinkled in the sugar, that the floating tea leaves attached to the powered sugar and immediately absorbed into the leaves and the water. The water should cover the bottom of the pan completely, and the tea leaves should all be in the water.
5. Heat the air fryer up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pan of tea leaves in the air fryer for 12 minutes.
Once the air fryer is heated, place the tea leaves inside of the air fryer to fry. It will boil the water and also air fry the top of the water, and the tea leaves floating on the top at the same time.
6. Pour 2 cups of milk into the pan and stir it all together.
Once the 12 minutes are up, the tea leaves should have a slight simmer and be well air fried. Take the pan out and pour 2 cups of milk into the pan.
I used 3 tablespoons of non-dairy creamer powder instead to make a lactose intolerant whole milk. I just put 2 cups of water more into the pan with 3 tablespoons of non-dairy creamer and gently stirred it in.
7. Place the pan back into the air fryer for 15 minutes.
Let the milk tea mixture cook in the air fryer for another 15 minutes at the same temperature. The loose tea leaves’ flavor will really steep into the milk after cooking it the second time through.
8. Strain the milk tea.
Take the drinking cup and fill it with ice, then set a mesh strainer over it and pour the milk tea into the cup.
The mesh strainer will prevent the loose tea leaves from getting into the cup so that it is drinkable without them. The amount of milk tea that was air fried will strain and fit perfectly into an 18 ounce drinking cup with no ice.
If you have a tea strainer, then use that instead to separate the tea leaves, then pour the milk tea into the cup after it is strained.
You can now dispose of the loose tea leaves after the milk tea is strained. You can also make a bubble tea with this by placing cooked boba pearls at the bottom of your cup/glass before placing ice into the cup. So it would be boba first, then ice, then strained milk tea poured on top.
How To Air Fry Tapioca Pearls
The main thing to avoid when air frying the tapioca pearls was the hard texture in the middle of the boba pearls. This is avoided by making sure that the boba pearls are cooked long enough. Of course, this is for air frying original tapioca pearls, not instant boba.
1. Heat the air fryer up to 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The air fryer needs to get pretty hot for this one, similar to the temperature of the stove top on high setting when the pearls are in a pot.
2. Take the loaf pan and fill it with water.
When you fill the pan with water, make sure it is atleast half filled, but do not fill it too much; to avoid spillage. We are going to heat the water just like we would on the stove top for a pot of water for tapioca pearls.
3. Put 1/3 of a cup of uncooked tapioca pearls into the water in the pan.
You can put more than 1/3 of a cup if you like, but all of the boba needs to be able to freely move in the pot, and they have to all be able to submerge under the water. Also be aware that too many can make the water rise out of the pan.
4. Place the pan of boba pearls into the air fryer and turn the temperature down to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Cook the pearls for 30 minutes, stirring them after 15 minutes.
The pearls will begin to float in the water while they are cooking. After 15 minutes have passed, stir the cooking boba and let it continue to air fry in the water for 15 more minutes.
6. Leave the pan in the air fryer and turn the temperature down to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the temperature is turned down, stir the cooking boba again and let it continue to air fry in the water for 30 more minutes.
7. Let it cook for 30 more minutes.
It needs to cook like this for an additional 30 minutes inside the air fryer. Removing them from the air fryer and letting them set outside of the heat will result in the boba being hard in the middle.
8. Remove the tapioca pearls from the air fryer and strain them.
Strain the boba pearls by pouring them in a mesh strainer in the sink. Rinse the tapioca pearls with cold water for 1 minute.
9. Place the cooked boba in a bowl and mix sugar in with them.
Put sugar in the bowl of tapioca pearls and gently mix it in until it is completely mixed. I used a ratio of 1:1 for the amount of sugar to the boba.
There is a detailed troubleshooting guide for making great tapioca pearls if you need any additional help.
Air Frying Cooked Tapioca Pearls
Place the cooked boba unto aluminum foil or in a sheet pan and air fry the tapioca pearls for 5 to 6 minutes on 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This has to be done after the boba has been mixed into sugar; after it has been cooked. It will be placed in the air fryer while it is coated in the sugar mixture.
After about 5 minutes, the air fried pearls will be done. They will have a bouncier texture to them than before. The sugar mixture will also cook into the boba pearls better and make them sweeter than the regular pearls mixed in sugar without air frying. The longer the pearls fry in the air fryer, the better the results.
The cooked boba will begin bubbling inside the sugar mixture after 4 to 5 minutes. However, if they are left in the air fryer for too long, then they will begin to melt and become like easy to chew gummy candies. They may also begin to stick to the aluminum foil or the pan they are frying on. It needs to be cooked in the sugar mixture.