Do Your Oatmeal A Huge Texture Favor With Boba Pearls

Humble oatmeal has undergone a makeover in recent years, becoming a staple of overnight meal prep. Now, the grain shines in easy overnight oats, as well as in a slow cooker. It's nutritious, easy to make, and a breeze to transport.

But even if you've overcome all the usual oatmeal cooking mistakes and have your routine down pat, you may find yourself tired of the same old taste. No matter if you're a diehard steel cut fan or an overnight obsessive, there comes a time when your morning meal gets stuck in a rut. To combat the breakfast food's monotony, top your bowl with one of the most fun textures out there.

Boba pearls, tiny beads of tapioca or cassava starch, are chewy, sweet, and endlessly surprising. Why not try swapping in the honeyed spheres for a sprinkle of brown sugar to shake up your morning porridge? We would dare to say the move takes breakfast from gruel to grool (and yes, that's a "Mean Girls" reference).

Making boba-inspired breakfast at home

Though you can make the pearls yourself, it's far easier to buy premade, dried boba online or in a grocery store. Of course, tapioca boba is also available in shelf-stable bags to prepare at home. Though you can use the plain white tapioca balls, we suggest using the black or brown globes, which are typically cooked in a brown sugar syrup before drying. They're a common choice for drinks and will look striking against the grain.

We wouldn't suggest cooking the two ingredients in the same pot, tempting as it may be. The pearls are prone to sticking and need to be stirred as they cook, then cooled in cold water. To protect the stretchy, sticky texture of the pearls, as well as the water-to-oat ratio, boil the tapioca on its own before using it as a topping.

You can boost the sweetness of the pearls by scooping them into a sugar syrup after they're cool. Let the boba sit in a few tablespoons of honey, a brown sugar syrup, or warm sugar water to infuse while you finish preparing your oatmeal. To capture the creaminess of boba tea, top fresh-made oatmeal with the honeyed pearls and a splash of warmed milk.

Oatmeal, fully loaded

If you're more of an overnight oats person or you prefer fruit flavors, there are plenty of other ways to take inspiration from the drink. Bubble tea menus might feature taro, green tea, or ube-flavored pearls. These different tastes can complement your usual fresh strawberry or banana toppings. If you're hoping to test out a fresh option from your local store, you can even try ordering the boba sans tea to take home for later — just ask the shop how they think you should store your pearls.

Don't stop there. We suggest testing out coconut, lychee, or almond jellies, which can add another sweet element and softer texture to make breakfast feel like a dessert. You can take inspiration from a Cantonese favorite, the almond-flavored Jello-O and fruit cocktail, and add canned fruits, as well. The silky addition will make the porridge more decadent and add welcome creaminess.

Fruit fanatics will also enjoy popping boba, which are chewy spheres filled with a flavored liquid — think mango, blueberry, and other bright flavors. Though similarly pearl-shaped, these balls (available online) are ready for use as soon as you open them. Since they're prone to melting in hot foods, they're better paired with refrigerated oats or even overnight chia breakfast pudding.