Does Popping Boba Have Gelatin?

Boba, also known as bubble tea, is a popular drink that originated in Taiwan. One of the most popular toppings for boba is popping boba, which is known for its unique texture and burst of flavor.

Many people are curious about the ingredients that make up popping boba, and one of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not it contains gelatin.

If you’re a boba fan, you may have also wondered if the popping boba topping is vegan-friendly or contains gelatin. Because, after all, gelatin is made from animal byproducts, so it’s understandable to be skeptical.

Let’s take a closer look at popping boba and if they contain gelatin.

What is Popping Boba?

Popping boba – small edible balls filled with flavored juice that burst when bitten into. They come in various flavors and can be added as a topping to bubble teas or other drinks.

The consistency of the outer layer is similar to jelly, which is probably why many people have been asking if popping boba contains gelatin or any other animal product.

Popping boba is made from various ingredients, including common ones like sodium alginate (seaweed extract), water, sugar, fruit juice, calcium lactate, and sometimes malic acid, potassium sorbate, coloring, or fruit flavorings are used.

These ingredients, but often not all, are combined to create small balls of boba that have a soft exterior and a burst of flavor when bitten.

How Is Popping Boba Made?

Popping boba is made through spherification, which involves creating small balls of liquid with a soft exterior and a burst of flavor when bitten.

  • The first step in making popping boba is to combine the ingredients, which typically include seaweed extract (sodium alginate), fruit juice, water, and calcium lactate. The first two ingredients are mixed until they are well combined, and the same with the last two ingredients.
  • Next, the juice mixture is dropped into a calcium lactate solution, which causes the liquid to solidify and form small balls.
  • The balls are then removed from the solution and rinsed to remove any excess calcium chloride.
  • Finally, the popping boba is ready to be added to a tea or other beverage as a topping.

That’s how you make popping boba at home. For more detailed instructions, take a look at my popping boba recipe.


It’s important to note that this is a simplified version of the process and that the recipe and the ingredients may vary depending on the recipe, the brand, and the type of popping boba.

Does Popping Boba Contain Gelatin?

The short answer is no; popping boba does not typically contain gelatin as an ingredient. While some recipes may suggest using gelatin as an option, it is not commonly used in the production of popping boba.

Instead, the texture and burst of flavor in popping boba are achieved through ingredients such as water, fruit juice, sodium alginate (seaweed extract), and calcium lactate.

These ingredients work together to create the unique texture and flavor that makes popping boba so popular.

Ingredients Vegans Should Watch Out For

Now we know that popping boba pearls typically does not contain any animal products. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be careful.

While ordering a bubble tea with a popping boba topping, it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredients used in bubble tea. Usually, they add additional ingredients, such as milk, syrup, or honey, that could make them unsuitable for vegans.

Additionally, while buying premade popping boba pearls, it’s important to read the label carefully and ensure that none of the non-vegan ingredients are included in the recipe before purchasing because some brands may use milk powder or non-vegan emulsifiers such as beeswax or shellac in their recipes.

In addition to checking for non-vegan ingredients, it’s also important to ensure that the brand you choose has not been tested on animals – many companies still test their products on animals even though it is no longer necessary due to advances in cruelty-free testing methods.

Finally, if you want your popping boba to be organic, ensure that you look for organic certification from an accredited agency such as USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.


Popping boba does not typically contain gelatin as an ingredient. Usually, popping boba is made from a variety of ingredients, such as seaweed extract, water, sugar, fruit juice, and calcium lactate, but not gelatin.

Some recipes suggest using gelatin as an ingredient, but actually, it’s just an option to use instead of some other ingredients.

In summary, popping boba does not typically contain gelatin as an ingredient. Some recipes suggest using it as an option, but I don’t.

Leave a Comment