With a bit of practice, you can easily make the perfect frothed milk for a top-quality coffee at home. If you have an espresso machine with a steaming wand or a handheld frother ready, then you’re set. If not, you can still froth milk and achieve barista style results without them using the steps below. Exact methods for frothing milk vary depending on the coffee, but this guide covers the basics of creating delicious texturised milk.
How to froth milk
How to froth without a frother
If you don’t have a frother at home, you can still get professional barista quality results with these methods below. For best results, heat your milk on the stove to between 55-62 degrees Celsius.
How to froth milk in a jar
This method is a quick and easy way to froth milk. Pour your warmed milk into a jar so that it’s halfway full. Screw the lid on tight and shake the jar hard until the milk is frothy and roughly doubled in volume.
How to froth milk in the microwave
The microwave adds another step to the jar method. The jar creates the froth and the microwave stabilises it so it doesn’t collapse in on itself as quickly. To do this, shake the milk in a jar. Take the lid off and microwave the milk for about 30 seconds until it rises to the top.
How to froth milk using a French press
Pour the warmed milk into your French press. Make sure you don’t fill it too high as the milk will expand. Hold the lid down with one hand and pump up and down vigorously with the other for about 10 seconds. Let the frothed-up milk rest for about 1 minute before pouring.
How to froth milk using a hand whisk
Pour the warmed milk into a bowl. Whisk the milk vigorously in a back-and-forth motion until it becomes frothy. The bubbles won’t quite resemble that of a barista’s cappuccino but they’re luxurious all the same. Alternatively, you can whisk the milk as it's warming in the saucepan but take care not to let it boil.
How to froth milk using an electric mixer
Heat the milk to the recommended temperature. Take your hand mixer and whisk the milk at low speed until you achieve your desired frothiness. This method gives you slightly better froth than whisking by hand. It requires less elbow grease too.
How to froth milk using an immersion blender
Heat your milk in a deep saucepan. Place your blender in the milk and make sure the blades are immersed before turning it on. Whisk the milk on a low setting until it’s frothy to your liking. This method creates a nice foam, but it can get messy.
How to froth milk at home using a handheld frother
There are two pro tools you can use to froth milk at home: a handheld milk frother and a steam wand on an espresso machine.
When using a handheld frother, start by heating the milk to 55-62 degrees Celsius. Pour it into a tall container and turn on the frother. Move the frother up and down for about 20 seconds until you have a nice froth.
How to froth milk using the steam wand on an espresso machine
This is slightly more complicated but leads to the silkiest results of all.
1. Pour the milk into a small metal pitcher. For the best froth, make sure the milk is cold before you start.
2. Place the pitcher underneath the steam wand of your espresso machine.
3. Place the wand in the milk so the tip is just below the surface. Then turn the steam output dial to allow steam into the milk.
4. Next, you want to create a vortex in the milk. To do this, make sure the steam wand is close to the side of the pitcher.
5. Move the pitcher up and down and around the wand so enough oxygen can get into the milk. Any large bubbles should start to get smaller.
6. Once the milk has increased in size, close the dial and remove the pitcher from the wand. If you’re making a cappuccino, aim for double the volume and if it’s a latte it should be about 1 ½ times the volume.
7. Clean the steam wand with a cloth or kitchen towel to prevent milk drips.
8. The froth in your pitcher should be smooth and silky. If any stubborn large bubbles remain, tap the pitcher sharply against a countertop and give the froth a quick stir.
9. Pour the frothed milk immediately into your coffee, using a spoon to scoop the foam on top.
How to froth milk FAQs
What’s the ideal milk frothing temperature?
The best temperature for frothing milk is between 55 and 62 degrees Celsius. If you go over 70 degrees, the proteins in the milk start to denaturise and ruin the texture and flavour. Use a coffee milk frothing thermometer to help you
How do you froth oat milk?
Whichever method you choose, make sure you buy the barista-grade oat milk. This means that the milk has the ideal ratio of protein to fat for a full and creamy froth.
If you’re using a steam wand, follow the steps as if you’re steaming cow’s milk but try to incorporate more air at the beginning as it will improve the texture. Oat milk can also take longer to froth than cow’s milk as it has a lower protein content.
If you’re using one of the alternative methods above, be careful not to over whip or over whisk otherwise the bubbles can deflate. For example, if you’re using a French press, only pump 25 times so the foam stays light and frothy.
Do you froth milk hot or cold?
If you’re using a steaming wand, cold milk is best for froth as you’re adding the heat. It won’t froth otherwise.
If you don’t have a steaming wand then you should heat up the milk in a saucepan first to get the best flavour and texture