Here’s how to froth milk for lattes…the three best ways! You can use everything from a milk frother to a good old whisk.

How to froth milk

Want to make a cafe latte or tea latte at home? Guess what: there’s no need for a fancy espresso machine with a milk steamer! (Though it does come in handy.) You can become a barista extraordinaire in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a little tutorial on how to froth milk and one of three tools. One of them you probably already have on hand! This skill will revolutionize your home coffee and tea experience: you can make drinks like the latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more.

Got an espresso maker with milk steamer? Quick, go to How to Steam Milk!

The best method without a steamer? A milk frother!

The results of our research are in. As much as we hate to say it, but a milk frother is worth the purchase! Typically we avoid single-use tools, but at $10, it’s a pretty mighty machine. A milk frother is the best way to get the perfect frothy foam for a latte. Trust us: we avoided it and used our French press for a few months before we decided to try out the frother.

After testing it out, we were quite impressed. It’s fastest, it’s easiest, and it makes the most frothy foam bubbles. You can also use less milk than the other methods, and the temperature is not as touchy. You can froth non-dairy milk easily, and even cold milk (that’s impossible using the other methods).

  • What’s the best milk frother? This Handheld Milk Frother is $10.90 and works like a charm. You can also use it to whisk vinaigrette dressings. (So it’s not a uni-tasker after all!)
  • What are the next best tools? You can also use a French press or a good old whisk. Keep reading for how to do all of them!
Best milk frother

How to froth milk: important tips!

Do not skip this section! This info is important for getting the best foam on your latte. There are a few things to know before you start.

  • **Most importantly: use fresh milk! Fresh milk is key to getting the best foam. If your milk has been in the fridge for a few weeks, it might not foam! (Trust us, we had this issue.) The best way to ensure good foam is milk that’s as fresh as possible.
  • Whole milk works best, because it has the highest milkfat. 2% also works. You can also use non-dairy milk like oat milk, but it’s the hardest to froth because it has less fat.
  • Heat the milk to scalding first. No matter your method, heating the milk makes for the best results. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat it to scalding or 150 degrees Fahrenheit (measure using a food thermometer). This is hot to the touch, but not simmering.
  • Customize the foam bubbles to your drink. For a latte you’ll want smaller bubbles and thicker milk. For a cappuccino or macchiato you want larger bubbles; this will take slightly longer for froth.

Method 1: How to froth milk with a milk frother

Once you’ve read those general tips, you’re ready to froth! Got a Handheld Milk Frother? Pros of this method: it very easy to use and results in the best foamy bubbles. Another perk: you can use less milk at a time and it works well for non-dairy milk like oat milk. Cons: it costs $10. (To us, it’s worth it!) Here’s how to froth milk with a milk frother:

  1. Heat the milk to scalding (see above).
  2. Place the milk in a tall container. Hold the container at an angle and turn on the frother.
  3. Move the frother up and down until foamy bubbles form, about 20 seconds or so. Tap the container on the counter to break down any large bubbles.
    Important: For a latte, don’t go too far: you want the milk to mix in with the coffee so you don’t need too much froth. (For a cappuccino or macchiato you’ll want lots of foam!) For a latte, let the foam rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute to get the foam to incorporate into the milk and separate slightly.
How to froth milk with a milk frother
The milk frother method is quick and easy

Method 2: How to froth milk with a French press

The next best method for how to froth milk? Using a French press! Perhaps you already have a French press for making coffee? You can use it to make foam too. This method works very well, but it’s not as quick and easy as the frother. It also can be a little temperamental, especially with non-dairy milk. If you’re using oat milk, you’ll need to be careful you don’t overwhip it. Here’s how to froth milk with a French press:

  1. Heat the milk to scalding (see above). Note that you’ll get best results with 1 cup of milk with this method — so it may make more than 1 drink depending on the recipe.
  2. Add the scalding milk to the French press. Pump using quick, short plunges until foamy bubbles form, about 30 seconds. If you’re using oat milk, pump only about 25 times because the foam can deflate when overwhipped.
  3. Pour into a pitcher and tap it on the counter to break down large bubbles.
How to froth milk with a French press
You can use a French press to froth milk!

Method 3: How to froth milk with a whisk

Don’t have any special tools? You can use a whisk to froth milk. But here’s the thing: it takes longer and the foam is not nearly as lusciously bubbly. You’ll also get a little less foam than with the other methods. But if you don’t mind (most of the time we don’t!), then it’s a great method because you don’t have to buy anything special. Here’s how to froth milk with a whisk:

  • Heat the milk to scalding (see above).
  • Use a whisk to vigorously whisk it until foamy bubbles form*.
  • Pour into a pitcher and tap it on the counter to break down large bubbles.
How to froth milk with a whisk
You can also use a whisk!

Drink recipes that use frothy milk

There are so many coffee and tea drinks that use frothed milk! Once you’ve mastered this method, you can play barista with these drinks:

Vanilla chai latte
This cozy vanilla chai latte has perfectly frothed foam

Print
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How to froth milk

How to Froth Milk (3 Best Ways!)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Enough for 2 lattes 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to froth milk for lattes…the three best ways! You can use everything from a milk frother to a good old whisk.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup fresh milk (whole milk works best; milk that is a few weeks old may not froth)
  • Tool for the job: Milk frother, French press, or whisk

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk: Place the milk in a saucepan and heat it to scalding or 150 degrees Fahrenheit (measure using a food thermometer if possible). This is hot to the touch, but not simmering. 
  2. How to froth with a milk frother (easiest and best method): Place the milk in a tall container. Hold the container at an angle and turn on the frother. Move the frother up and down until foamy bubbles form*, about 20 seconds or so. Tap the container on the counter to break down any large bubbles.
  3. How to froth with a French press: Add the scalding milk to the French press and pump using quick, short plunges until foamy bubbles form*, about 30 seconds**. Pour into a pitcher and tap it on the counter to break down large bubbles. You’ll get best results with 1 cup of milk for two drinks. 
  4. Whisk method: Add the scalding milk to a bowl and use a whisk to vigorously whisk it until foamy bubbles form*. Pour into a pitcher and tap it on the counter to break down large bubbles.

Notes

*For a latte you’ll want smaller bubbles and thicker milk; for a cappuccino or macchiato you want larger bubbles (which takes slightly longer). 

**If using oat milk and a French press, pump vigorously until frothy, about 25 times. Do not overwhip, as the foam will deflate!

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Frothed
  • Cuisine: Coffee and tea

Keywords: How to froth milk, Best milk frother

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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4 Comments

  1. I just bought an espresso machine but don’t know how to froth with it.When I turn the handle for steam it shoots the steam downwards on the table

  2. Hope you are willing to clarify. When making a double shot of espresso using a French press with preground espresso roast coffee what is the measure of ground coffee. Your recipe suggested 30 ml, but ml is a liquid measure. What would that translate as dry weight?