Recipe Review

Finally, a Super-Easy Way to Make Bubble Tea at Home (Thanks, TikTok!)

published Mar 6, 2023
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Someone holding a cup of  jelly milk drink with stainless steel straw inside.
Credit: Justine Lee

I’m a firm believer that drinks have the power to bring people together. Some of my best friendships from teenagehood formed from many laughs and rants shared in between big slurps of tapioca pearls submerged in colorful tea. For my birthday one year a work colleague got me a bag full of milky and fruity bottled Asian drinks from H Mart, and it brought me to tears. So when I learned about TikTok user @williamsengg and how he makes a jelly drink for his girlfriend, I was a little jealous I wasn’t the recipient (although I found it to be quite a sweet and ingenious gesture). The pretty cup composed of milky beverage poured over a solid jelly layer looked like a fun mini project, so I took it upon myself to try and make it for my own soulmate (currently that’s myself). 

How to Make the TikTok Jelly Drink 

Grab a handful of your favorite flavor of gummy candy and place them in an empty cup. I used peach Haribos. Add enough hot water to fully submerge the gummies, about twice the amount of water to gummy candy, and mix until the pieces of candy dissolve. Let it chill in the fridge for five hours. The mixture should be as solid and jiggly as jello. Pour milk or yakult, a Japanese probiotic milk beverage, over the solid jelly layer. Last and most importantly, use your straw to poke holes all over the jelly layer to break it up into small chunks (Owen recommends poking it a million times, and he’s not wrong). Slurp and enjoy. 

Credit: Justine Lee

My Honest Review of the TikTok Jelly Drink  

I had a suspicion this drink would be fun, but I would have never thought it would please me like it did. To me, a good cup of bubble tea has the perfect balance of light tea and chewy tapioca pearls or jellies, the latter of which can truly make or break the entire drink. I went into this taste test with my expectations about the solid jelly layer quite low — how wrong I was! When broken down into small, slurpable chunks, the jelly was surprisingly chewy or QQ, not nearly as much as perfectly cooked tapioca boba, but pretty good for a homemade version. 

In his video, William pours Want Want Hot Kid Milk Drink, a popular canned drink with a flavor similar to condensed milk. I opted for my favorite honeydew milk because the interplay between peach from the gummy and honeydew is a combination I think is criminally underrated. When I went in to drink, I was met with a pleasant, tutti-frutti sweetness that wasn’t cloying. Plus, it felt great to know I paid a fraction of the cost that I would at a bubble tea shop. 

If You’re Making the TikTok Jelly Drink, a Few Tips 

  • Go longer on the refrigeration. The longer you chill, the chewier and chunkier the jelly will become, which leads to a better drinking experience. I went with a six-hour chill time, which is a long wait but I guarantee it’s worth it. 
  • Have fun with it. The only thing that stands between you and a truly fun jelly drink is … yourself! Toy around with different gummy candies, top with flavored milks or milky beverages like Yakult or milk tea for boba energy. 

Get the recipe: Jelly Drink