How to Make Frothy Steamed Milk

by Zora Hughes
You can make a frothy cappuccino at home -- for mere pennies.

You can make a frothy cappuccino at home -- for mere pennies.

You might think that the steamed milk and thick froth that make latte and espresso drinks great is tough to duplicate at home without the professional equipment that the coffee shops have. You can save money and come pretty close to what you'd get from a coffee shop, however, when it comes to frothy, steamed milk. You only need a jar with a lid to create frothy, spoonable milk foam, although you can also purchase milk-frothing products that are easy to use at home.

Jar Method

Fill a jar halfway up with milk. This should be a microwave-safe glass jar that has a lid. You can use any type of milk you prefer, although dairy milk tends to froth better than non-dairy milks, such as soy or rice milk.

Seal the container with its lid tightly sealed, and then shake it vigorously until the milk inside starts to get foamy. The milk should double in size while it is still in the container.

Remove the lid and place the container of foamy milk in the microwave, heating it on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until the milk is hot, but not boiling. The foam above the liquid will be slightly firmed up.

Spoon out the foam to use, as you wish. If you are making a coffee drink, strain the hot milk from the foam, pouring it into your coffee, and then spoon the foam on top.

Frothing Tool Options

Use a milk-frothing pitcher. A wide number of manual- and electric-milk frothing pitchers exist that will heat and froth milk. With an electric-milk frother, you can pour cold milk into the pitcher, as the electric frother will heat the milk as well as froth it. With a manual frother, you will have to use a pumping mechanism to aerate the hot milk manually, creating the froth. A French press, if you have one works in much the same way.

Use an electric, hand-held milk frother. Generally, hand-held frothers look like a slim, wire version of an immersion blender with a rounded wire-frothing wand at one end. To froth milk, stick the frothing wand at the tip into the warm milk and press the on button or switch. It should start making your milk frothy in 30 seconds or so, depending on the amount.

Use electric beaters or a wire whisk. If you are in a pinch, you can use electronic beaters to foam hot milk, much as you would to make whipped cream. You can also use a hand-held wire whisk, although it will take quite a bit of time and arm strength.

Items you will need

  • Milk
  • Jar
  • Microwave
  • Milk frothing pitcher
  • Hand-held milk frother
  • Electric mixer
  • Wire whisk


  • Non-dairy milks, such as soy and rice milk will get frothy, but not as frothy as dairy milk.


  • Do not put the jar of milk in the microwave with the lid still on. Most glass jars have metal lids that are not safe for the microwave and the contained heat of a closed jar could cause the glass to shatter, if heated too high.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images