Sonic Popping Boba Transform Summer Sips

In the summer heat of 2023, Sonic, the famous American drive-in fast food restaurant, took the beverage world by storm, introducing a new line of drinks featuring popping boba or “bursting bubbles” as they are often called. These exciting new offerings featured Sonic’s delightful and flavorful syrup encased in a thin candy exterior that yield and pop with a burst of flavor with every sip, transforming the simple act of sipping a drink into a delightful and sensory experience.

Popping Boba: A New Trend in the Fast Food World

The popping boba trend began in 2021 when Sonic still led the way among American fast-food restaurants to add this Asian-inspired ingredient to their menu. This marked an exciting transformation in fast-food offerings. Popping boba, or “sweet bursting bubbles” as they are also known, come in several flavors and colors. These orbs of sweet delight have flavored syrup encased in a thin candy exterior that yield and pop with light pressure. This makes them an exciting addition to any drink or slush, bringing a burst of flavor with every sip.

2023 Limited Time Sonic’s Popping Boba Drinks comeback?

Sonic’s Popping Boba drinks were available in several enticing flavors, adding a refreshing twist to the classic slushes and iced drinks. Cherry flavor and blue raspberry flavor were the top favorites among customers. Sonic’s Cherry Burst Slush and Blue Burst Slush became the talk of the town during hot summer days in 2023, whereas popping boba was a delightful new addition that made Sonic a popular summer destination.

Bursting Boba Vs. Traditional Tapioca Pearls

Traditionally, boba refers to the chewy tapioca balls most commonly associated with bubble tea. Boba needs to be kept hot to keep their chewy texture. However, popping boba is generally easier to manage in a fast-food setting like Sonic. Popping boba can just be placed in some ice water for holding without affecting the texture. This has resulted in more and more restaurants, like Sonic, opting to add popping boba to their menu as traditional boba needs to be kept hot. Sonic Bursting Pearls proved to be quite popular for fans of the chain and Sonic ended up bringing this drink back as a seasnonal menu item.

Sonic’s Experiment with Popping Boba

Sonic experimented with popping boba in 2021 and again in 2023. The Cherry Burst Slush and Blue Burst Slush quickly became customer favorites. Despite their popularity, as of August 1, 2023, Sonic announced that they would no longer be offering these sweet bursting bubbles. The reasons behind this decision were not made public, although fans have speculated it may have been due to logistical challenges with supply and storage of the bursting bubbles.

Flavor Profile of Sonic’s Bursting Bubbles

When Sonic first introduced its “Popping Boba” drinks in 2021, it was a transformative moment for the American drive-in fast food restaurant chain. In the summer of 2023, Sonic’s new Bursting Bubbles became an absolute sensation, leaving an indelible mark on customers with their novel textural experience and a burst of flavor with every sip.

The star of the show in these unique slushes was undoubtedly the popping boba, little orbs of sweet syrup encased in a thin candy exterior. In contrast to traditional boba tea, where chewy tapioca pearls are the norm, these popping boba were an entirely different offering. Instead of having to be kept hot to maintain their chewy texture like tapioca, these bursting bubbles could just be placed in ice water for holding without affecting the texture. This made them an excellent addition to Sonic’s icy slushes and drinks, as they added a delightful pop of flavor without getting soggy.

Featured in several beverages, these popping boba came in several flavors and colors, with cherry flavor and blue raspberry flavor standing out as customer favorites. Sonic’s Blue Burst Slush and Cherry Burst Slush became a testament to the brand’s creative menu. These flavors were encapsulated in flavored syrup and were encased within a thin, edible outer layer. This design allowed the bursting bubbles to yield and pop with light pressure, such as when sipped through a straw, releasing the encapsulated flavored syrup.

Whereas popping boba was a departure from the fast food chain’s usual offerings, these innovative summer sips quickly became the go-to refreshments on hot summer days. The “Popping Boba” drinks offered an exciting burst of flavor, adding a unique twist to the menu. The excitement wasn’t merely limited to the burst of flavor either. The sensation of the bursting bubbles added an enjoyable textural element to each sip.

From carhop to burgers and cheese coneys, Sonic has always been a beloved summer destination, and the addition of these sweet bursting bubbles elevated the experience further. Whether you prefer the cherry flavored burst or the delightful blue raspberry flavored ones, Sonic’s popping boba drinks were a symphony of flavors, textures, and colors that transformed each sip into a delightful experience. Despite being a divergence from traditional boba, Sonic’s bursting bubbles are a testament to the brand’s creativity and willingness to experiment with trends. These drinks are a vivid memory of the summer of 2023, a tribute to the innovation that Sonic still brings to its offerings.

The Future of Popping Boba at Sonic

While Sonic’s Cherry Burst Slush and Blue Burst Slush were a hit during the summer of 2023, the future of these drinks at Sonic is uncertain. With the discontinuation of these drinks, Sonic may be looking for a new and exciting burst of flavor to add to their menu. However, the legacy of Sonic’s Popping Boba drinks lives on, and perhaps the success of these drinks will encourage Sonic and other fast-food chains to continue experimenting with these and other exciting flavors. 

Although Sonic has decided to discontinue these drinks as of August 1, 2023, the flavor of their bursting bubbles still lingers on the palate of their patrons.

How Many Calories in Sonic Popping Boba?

According to Fast Food Nutrition, there were five different sizes of Sonic boba drinks with different calorie counts.

  • Mini – 140 calories
  • Small – 200 calories
  • Medium – 280 calories
  • Large – 430 calories
  • Route 44 – 590 calories

These values are taken from the Cherry Burst Slush and are shown per single drink.

If you’re ever looking for the calorie content of the Sonic Popping Boba drinks then now you know that sonic bursting pearls are actually relatively similar in calorie count to other well known bubble tea drinks.

Sonic Popping Boba Slush Recipe – Make your own Sonic Popping Boba!

Memories of the summer of 2023 are incomplete without the mention of Sonic’s Popping Boba drinks. These vibrant, tangy drinks, with their delightful boba surprises, became an instant sensation among fast food lovers. If you’re reminiscing about the taste and want to recreate this unique experience at home, here’s a comprehensive recipe that will guide you through the process of making your very own Sonic-style Popping Boba Slush.


For the Slush:

  1. 2 cups of ice
  2. 1 cup of flavored soda (Cherry or Blue Raspberry)
  3. 2 tablespoons of sugar

For the Popping Boba:

  1. 1/2 cup of flavored fruit juice or syrup (matching the flavor of your slush)
  2. 1/2 cup of water
  3. 2 tablespoons of sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon of agar agar powder
  5. Vegetable oil (enough to fill a deep bowl)
  6. Cold water (for rinsing)


Step 1: Preparing the Slush

The initial step is to prepare the icy slush, the backbone of your drink. This simple procedure involves blending the ice, flavored soda, and sugar together in a high-powered blender. The aim is to achieve a finely crushed, snowy consistency, reminiscent of the slushes offered at Sonic. This process should take around 2-3 minutes, depending on the power of your blender. Once you’ve achieved the desired texture, place the slush in the freezer to maintain its cold temperature while you focus on the next step – creating the popping boba.

Step 2: Preparing the Popping Boba

This is where the real magic happens. The popping boba, a true standout feature of Sonic’s drinks, require a bit more effort, but the end result is well worth it. Begin by pouring the flavored juice or syrup, water, and sugar into a saucepan and place it on medium heat. Stir this mixture diligently until the sugar dissolves completely.

Next, sprinkle in the agar agar powder. This vegan substitute for gelatin will act as the gelling agent that gives the boba their characteristic pop. Stir the mixture until the agar agar powder fully incorporates and begins to thicken the liquid. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Following this, remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

Step 3: Forming the Boba

In the meantime, prepare for the next stage by placing a deep bowl of vegetable oil in the freezer. The cold temperature of the oil will play a crucial role in shaping the boba. After the oil has chilled for around 10 minutes, retrieve the saucepan containing your slightly cooled boba mixture.

Using a dropper, carefully release droplets of the boba mixture into the cold oil. Upon contact, these droplets will solidify into tiny orbs, similar to the popping boba you remember from Sonic’s drinks. Repeat this process until all of the mixture has been used. Take your time here, and make sure to drop the mixture slowly and at a consistent pace for evenly sized boba.

Step 4: Rinsing and Storing the Boba

Once all the popping boba has been formed, strain them out of the oil and transfer them into a bowl of cold water. This step ensures that no residual oil remains on your boba, and also helps maintain their solid structure. After a thorough rinse, strain them once again and store them in some of the leftover fruit juice or syrup. This keeps the boba hydrated and adds an extra burst of flavor to each one.

Step 5: Assembling the Drink

Now comes the fun part – assembly. Retrieve your slush from the freezer and prepare a glass. Layer in the slush and your homemade popping boba alternately, ensuring an even distribution of boba throughout the slush. The aim here is to give every sip of your drink an exciting burst of flavor.

There you have it! Your very own homemade Sonic Popping Boba Slush. This delightful beverage, besides being refreshingly cool, offers a delightful burst of flavor with each sip. It is not only a perfect drink for the summer, but also a great way to reminisce about the summer of 2023 and the iconic Sonic popping boba trend. Experiment with different flavors of soda and fruit juice to make your custom version of the slush. So, why wait? Gather your ingredients and let’s get blending!

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you experiment with the process, the better you’ll get at making popping boba, and soon enough, you’ll be able to enjoy this delightful and refreshing beverage whenever you like. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a little bit of Sonic, even when the nearest American drive-in fast food restaurant is miles away.<scri

About the author

My name's Chris, an avid Bubble Tea lover, I try my best to provide some of the best information on Bubble Tea along with bubble tea reviews, boba recipes and boba guides to make your own bubble tea!