Easy Korean Strawberry Milk with Sago

Creamy, refreshing, and delicious — homemade Korean Strawberry Milk with fresh strawberry puree and chunks is a summer ESSENTIAL! With Sago bubbles, this easy drink is even more fun!

Summer weather means one thing in my house: it’s time for Korean Strawberry Milk!

What is Korean Strawberry Milk?

Korean Strawberry Milk is a popular South Korean drink. Made from fresh strawberry puree, strawberry chunks, and milk — it’s cold, creamy, and so refreshing! Also called a Strawberry Latte, it really hits the spot on hot summer days.

My no-cook puree is especially easy to make. Make the strawberry puree and store in a big jar. Scoop a few spoonfuls into a cup and pour cold milk on top. My kids’ favorite summer drink! And honestly, mine too!

Unfortunately, the flavor of Korean milk can’t be fully replicated here in North America (they have a different pasteurization process). But use either whole milk (full-fat, homogenized) or your favorite plant-based milk to make it dairy-free. It’s still refreshing and creamy.

What is Sago?

Sago are tiny, white, plant-based starch balls that come from the pith of various tropical trees. When cooked, they turn clear or translucent. The texture is slightly bouncy and chewy. The taste is neutral.

Sago is commonly listed on Bubble or Boba Tea shop menus. Adding Sago (instead of brown tapioca or boba balls) lends a very different texture and vibe. So squishy and chewy!

For the home cook, Sago is easy to cook and store. I keep it on hand for Coconut Sago with Mango, an easy dessert. I also use it for Peach Yakult Sago, a fun drink during peach season.

When I started adding Sago bubbles to Korean Strawberry Milk, my kids agreed — it made this Korean-style drink truly spectacular! Like Korean Strawberry Bubble Tea!

Note: Sago is not a traditional ingredient for this Korean Strawberry drink. If you prefer, leave it out.

Ingredients:

A simple recipe with only 5 ingredients:

  • Strawberries. Take advantage of summer-sweet strawberries.
  • Milk. Any kind of milk works. Whole Milk (homogenized, full-fat) is especially delicious. But you’ll need more strawberry puree to balance the creamy richness. My current favorite is Oat Milk — mildly sweet and milky, the flavor of the strawberry puree shines through.
  • Brown Sugar. For deeper, caramel-y flavor than regular white sugar.
  • Vanilla. Just a splash!
  • Sago. Optional but takes Korean Strawberry Milk to another level!

Instructions:

Make No-cook Strawberry Puree:

  1. Add strawberries to a food processor.
  2. Pulse until mostly pureed with a few chunky bits.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar.
  4. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Rest overnight.

*Feel free to add the brown sugar and vanilla directly into the food processor, if you prefer. I find that it’s easier to pulse the strawberries to achieve the right texture first, then add the brown sugar. But do what’s easier for you.

Cook Sago (optional but recommended):

  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Add sago to boiling water.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
  4. Drain and rinse in cold water.

*The sago is fully cooked when it turns from white to translucent. It’s ok if there’s a few white centers here and there but the majority should be fully clear.

Assemble:

  1. In a tall glass, add strawberry puree.
  2. Add Sago.
  3. Add milk of choice.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

Watch how to make it:

How to store in the fridge all summer long:

To enjoy Korean Strawberry Latte with Sago all summer long, store the fresh strawberry puree and sago separately in the fridge. Assemble right before drinking. So easy!

The strawberry puree keeps in the fridge, tightly sealed, for 5-7 days. Be careful of cross contamination and use a clean spoon every time.

Rinse sago in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water to loosen before serving.

PRO Tips:

  • Keep the puree slightly chunky! The texture is not super smooth. Tiny bits of strawberries are ideal. The right texture should be 50% smooth puree and 50% little bits.
  • Rest puree overnight. Since this no-cook recipe doesn’t rely on heat to concentrate the strawberry flavor to jammy, syrupy goodness, an overnight rest is recommended to bring out the full strawberry flavor.
  • Add Sago to boiling water. Sago can easily disintegrate and turn gummy during the cooking process. To prevent this, add to rapidly boiling water which instantly “seals” the sago and preserves the texture.
  • Adjust sweetness level. The beauty of homemade drinks is that you can adjust according to your personal preference. If you like it sweeter, add more strawberry puree. If you like it less sweet, add less.
  • Use large Bubble Tea straws. Regular straws are too thin; the sago and strawberry chunks will get stuck. Instead, use large Boba tea straws. (I save and reuse straws from Boba Tea shops, which are easy to clean and last a long time.) Otherwise, serve with a small spoon for the sago and strawberry chunks.

Variations:

  • Matcha Milk. Add matcha powder to milk before serving. Whisk very well so there are no clumps. The matcha and strawberry combo is delicious with or without the Sago!
  • Milkshake. Make a Korean Strawberry Milkshake by leaving out the Sago and adding ice cream and just a little bit of milk. Thick, decadent richness!
  • Whipped Cream. Make it extra-special with whipped cream on top.
  • Berries. Swap out the strawberries with other berries of choice: raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.

FAQ:

Can I make this without a food processor?

Yes, you can definitely make this without a food processor!

  • Use a hand immersion blender to puree half the strawberries. Finely mince the other half to achieve the right, slightly chunky texture.
  • OR, roughly crush with a potato masher (or fork), making sure to break up big pieces to achieve the right texture and release the juices.
What kind of milk can I use?

Any kind of milk works. I recommend whole milk (full-fat, homogenized) milk for that fresh, creamy flavor. But you’ll need to add more strawberry puree to balance the richness. For plant-based milks, my current favorite is oat milk. You don’t need as much strawberry puree and it’s very light, milky, and refreshing.

Where can I find Sago?

Sago can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Look for tiny, white balls labeled “Sago” or “Tapioca Pearls.”

How long does the strawberry puree keep in the fridge?

The strawberry puree keeps in the fridge, tightly sealed, for 5-7 days. Be careful of cross contamination and use a clean spoon every time.

How do I know when the Sago is completely cooked?

When Sago is cooked, it will turn clear or translucent. Many recipes call for cooking Sago until it’s completely clear without any white. However, I think it’s ok if there are some white centers here and there. As it sits, sago continues to absorb liquid. To avoid sago “bloat” and prevent it from becoming too soft and mushy, I cook until 95% done.

Other refreshing recipes you may enjoy:

glass of korean strawberry milk with a spoon in the cup

Easy Korean Strawberry Milk with Sago

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Creamy, refreshing, delicious — homemade Korean Strawberry Milk is a summer ESSENTIAL! Sago bubbles make it even more fun!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine Korean
Servings 10 (not-too-sweet) drinks

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor
  • 1 Large mesh sieve

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Sago or small white tapioca pearls

To assemble 1 drink:

  • 2-3 Tbsp strawberry puree
  • 2-3 Tbsp Sago (cooked, drained, rinsed)
  • 1 cup cold milk of choice

Instructions
 

Strawberry Puree:

  • Wash, trim, and halve the strawberries. Add to a food processor and pulse until finely minced. The texture should be 50% puree and 50% finely minced strawberry chunks.
  • Transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well. (If the opening to the jar is too small, mix everything in a large bowl instead).
  • *Feel free to add sugar and vanilla to the food processor, if you prefer. I find it's harder to achieve the right consistency that way but it's definitely easier than adding it in later on.
  • Transfer tightly sealed jar to the fridge and rest overnight. This step allows the strawberry flavor to concentrate and intensify.

Sago:

  • Add water to a medium saucepan (2.5 qt) until it's 2/3 full. Bring to a roiling boil. When you see big bubbles breaking the surface, add the sago.
  • Cook Sago until completely translucent, mixing from time to time, about 10-12 minutes. The balls should be mostly clear but it's ok if a few balls have white centers here and there.
  • Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Assemble drinks:

  • In a tall, clear glass, add strawberry puree to the bottom. Add Sago on top. Then add milk of choice. Stir gently with a straw and enjoy!

Notes

*Store extra Sago in an air-tight container, in the fridge. To serve, simply rinse under cold water in a fine mesh sieve to break up big clumps.  Then add to your drink, as per usual.  
**The fresh strawberry puree will keep in the fridge, tightly sealed, for 5-7 days.  
Keyword Milk, Sago, Strawberry
All Recipes, Asian Inspired, Featured, Korean, Snacks

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