Winter Melon Milk Tea is made with earthy jasmine green tea, creamy oat milk, and crisp winter melon. It's ready in 10 minutes and can be enjoyed hot or cold!
Ever since I was a kid, I was always so excited about new foods. Whether it was a new kind of cereal, a rose strawberry, or something that looked super cool but had no clue what it was, I always wanted to try these exciting new ingredients and foods.
Fast forward to Dan and I walking around the Asian market (which is the best place to get coconut milk, just FYI), we saw a winter melon. It was massive, even being cut in half, but looked very similar to a honeydew melon. It was the only one at the store and we had heard of them before so we obviously brought it home with us.
Upon tasting it we realized that it tasted like a slightly sweet cucumber, how cool! We had just finished testing our Honeydew Milk Tea and we immediately knew that this winter melon would be the next milk tea. And don’t worry, if you can’t find winter melon, cucumber will work great too!
What is Winter melon Milk Tea?
Winter melon milk tea is a combination of milk tea and crispy and slightly sweet winter melon. It has a long history of popularity in Asian cultures and winter melon is very common due to its medical properties.
Milk tea is a broad category of tea lattes that has also become known as boba tea or bubble tea because it is often served with tapioca pearls (boba) that resemble bubbles.
Winter melon is often used in soups, in addition to drinks. Many folks will boil the winter melon to create a winter melon syrup that can be used for weeks down the road. While we are not doing that, our method yields the same bright flavors of a classic winter melon tea in much less time.
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted
Winter melon: Winter melon is basically a huge, slightly sweeter, cucumber. It is the wax gourd family and is known for having medicinal benefits.
Substitutions: One-fourth of a cup of syrup, juice, or dew can be used in place of fresh wintermelon. Otherwise, cucumber or butternut squash can be used. Butternut squash will closely mimic the caramel-like flavor that the winter melon produces, while cucumber will be more light and refreshing.
Oat Milk: Oat milk is mild in flavor which helps to not overpower the flavor of winter melon. We use unsweetened oat milk, regular (not low fat or barista).
Substitutions: You can use any unsweetened milk with a milk flavor. Almond milk, rice milk, cow’s milk, or hemp milk would all work. Coconut milk can be used but due to its strong coconut flavor, it has a tendency to overpower the winter melon.
Green Tea: Green tea is great for getting that afternoon caffeine fix because while it has some caffeine, it is a lower dosage that releases in the body much more evenly than coffee or other caffeine drinks. This is why green tea is less likely to cause a crash.
Substitutions: We used Green Jasmine tea bags but you could use any green or white tea you have. You could use black tea, but reduce the quantity to one teabag so as to not overpower the fresh winter melon flavor.
Honey: Honey provides a little extra sweetness and goes super well with wintermelon.
Substitutions: Agave nectar or simple syrup can be used if you do not have honey. I love to use floral-infused honey to compliment the winter melon!
Boba: These are just plain fun! Boba pearls are chewy tapioca balls that are sold dried. To make them, you just boil them and wait for them to float. Just like cooking gnocchi! These boba are what we used.
Substitutions: We used clear or white tapioca pearls, but you can use black tapioca pearls, flavored gels, or any other fun add-in you like. These can also be left out.
How to Make this - Step by Step
This bubble tea recipe is seriously so easy to make. It only takes 10 minutes and 6 ingredients to have your very own wintermelon bubble tea at home! Read on for how to make easy winter melon milk tea at home!
Step one: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add the green tea bags to the hot water and remove from heat. Let these steep for 5 minutes.
Step two: While the tea steeps make the boba by bringing water to a boil in another small saucepan. Add the boba and cook until it floats to the surface. Strain out the cooked tapioca pearls and put them into the bottom of the serving glass. Add a few drops of honey to the boba and stir. This helps to keep them from sticking to each other.
Step three: Remove the tea bags from the tea. Add tea liquid, honey, and winter melon to a blender and blend until smooth. This could be done in a small blender or food processor.
Step four: Strain the melon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup with boba. Use the back of a spoon to push the liquid through the sieve.
Step five: Add ice cubes and milk and stir. Enjoy with a wide straw (for the boba, of course!)! This can also be enjoyed hot - to do that, heat the milk, skip the ice, and combine the hot milk and melon mixture in a mug with boba and enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
After cooking boba, add a splash of honey, agave, brown sugar, simple syrup, or other sweetener liquid. This keeps the boba from sticking to each other (which happens very quickly!).
Facts and Common Questions
What does this taste like?
This wintermelon tea has a weirdly caramel-like flavor. Because it is a type of squash, the sugar content in it and its fibrous makeup likely lead to the caramel flavor, similar to baking with a butternut squash or other squash.
What kitchen tools do I need to make this?
This recipe is super easy thanks to two useful kitchen tools - a mesh strainer and a blender. Both of these are by far my most used kitchen tools, like I used the blender 4 times yesterday and the strainer twice. But, if you do not have a mesh strainer, you can use a thin kitchen dish towel or cheesecloth to strain the honeydew mixture. Unfortunately, you will need a blended or food processor of some kind to make this milk tea.
How do I pick a good winter melon?
Typically, these are sold pre-sliced or cut in half. Look for one that is firm with whitish skin. If the skin is showing signs of turning yellow, then it is not fresh or is on its way out. They only keep for 4 days in the fridge, so it’s important to look carefully when buying sliced winter melon.
Can I use winter melon milk tea powder?
Yes, but it is often of lesser quality and flavor than using raw winter melon, juice, or wintermelon syrup. This is because milk tea powder has many additives to keep it shelf-stable. But, in a pinch, powder will work great and is far more convenient. Just try to find one that has a lower percentage of creamers and sweeteners.
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
Fridge: This can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. I recommend removing the ice and boba before saving. The mixture will begin to separate due to the melon pulp. As the drink sits, the pulp will float to the top. To enjoy later, mix well to combine, add ice (or heat up) and boba and enjoy!
Winter melon is a vine plant that grows similar to cucumbers but is actually a gourd. It is in season in the winter and is originally from South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is a nutritional gold mine! It is loaded with Vitamin B1, B3, and C. It has tons of minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium. Its potassium content is so high, that it is sometimes used to help manage blood pressure. It is made up of 96% water, making for a refreshing and hydrating bite. (source)
More Joyful Recipes!
Try these other delightful drink recipes!
- 1 cup winter melon rind removed
- 2 green tea bag
- 1-¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup oat milk
- 2 tablespoon boba pearls
- ½ cup ice optional
- Bring water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add the green tea bags to the hot water and remove from heat. Let these steep for 5 minutes.
- While the tea steeps, make the boba by bringing water to a boil in another small saucepan. Add the boba and cook until it floats to the surface. Strain out the cooked tapioca pearls and put them into the bottom of the serving glass. Add a few drops of honey to the boba and stir. This helps to keep them from sticking to each other.
- Remove the tea bags from the tea. Add tea liquid, honey, and wintermelon to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Strain the melon mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a cup with boba. Use the back of a spoon to push the liquid through the sieve.
- Add ice cubes and milk and stir. Enjoy with a wide straw (for the boba, of course!)! This can also be enjoyed hot - to do that, heat the milk, skip the ice, and combine the hot milk and melon mixture in a mug with boba and enjoy!