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How To: Froth Milk Without Fancy Machines

When it comes to coffee, I’m a snob. 

I spend up to 30 minutes every day making coffee in my coffee press and frothy milk in my manual milk frother.

I usually have up to 3 coffees per day, and spend about 10 minutes each time preparing it. 


I don’t even use water that has been boiled. 

When I’m out, I know where to go to get a coffee I like. 

And, believe it or not, I’ll skip ordering a coffee from a cafe if my favorite barista isn’t there. 

Yes, it’s true.  I’m a fully-fledged coffee snob.

You may be wondering how on Earth I spend 10 minutes preparing a cup of coffee. 

Well, it includes

  • prepping my coffee press and manual milk frother
  • waiting for the water to reach the right temperature
  • waiting for the coffee grounds to steep
  • preparing the milk froth
  • microwaving the milk froth
  • then finally pouring the coffee, milk, and froth into my cup. 

Then, I quickly disassemble the coffee press and milk frother to clean it and leave the parts on a rack to dry until the next time. 

Then I enjoy my coffee.

Yes, I am really dedicated to my coffee.  Coffee isn’t something I prepare to drink willy-nilly. 

I make it to relax with and enjoy. 

First thing in the morning, when the kids are still in bed.  As soon as I get back home from leaving the kids off at school. 

And sometimes just before I pick the kids up from school.

I love my coffee.

Recently, I remembered how I used to have to trouble getting frothy milk. 

And whenever I did get some good milk froth, it just bubbled away before I could finish my coffee. 

So annoying. 

While looking at FoodGawker one day, I saw a recipe for a lavender and honey steamer (I just love the Hummingbird High blog!). 

The milk froth in the lavender and honey steamer was stabilized in the microwave.  Hm…

I tried it out with my manual milk frother (which was $15 from Target). 

I pumped the plunger in the carafe up and down to get a good amount of froth. 

Then I microwaved it.  It took a bit of trial and error to get it just right (not too hot, still not cold), but I ended up on 30 seconds for the perfect temperature. 

And guess what? 

The milk froth was indeed stabilized and every bit of it stayed until the very last sip of coffee. 


Because I always like to spoon out the last of the cocoa powder-coated milk froth!

So, I just thought I’d share my method of getting cafe-style milk froth without a fancy machine. 

It’s really easy, and all you’ll need is chilled milk, a manual milk frother (I’ll link to some choices at the bottom of this post) and a microwave. 

No previous experience required! 😉

Here is a picture tutorial I put together; just click the image for a larger, clearer version.


I’ll outline the steps above in more detail below.

Before you begin frothing the milk, you should already have your coffee prepared and in your cup.

First, use chilled milk. 

Warm or hot milk does not froth as well.  You can use either low fat or full fat milk, but you’ll get better froth with full fat milk.

Second, the carafe of your milk frother will probably have a “max” line. 

Do not fill past this line or the milk may splash out.  You have to fill to the “max” line, however, to get a good froth.

Third, now, pump the plunger up and down quickly and sort of vigorously, but not too crazily, for about 30 seconds. 

A good amount of froth should magically appear. 


In the photo above, I had only done about 10 seconds, so there’s not too much froth at that point. 

The froth will have large bubbles and will be a bit loose, not like cafe-style froth. 

And yes, I know, I spelled vigorous wrong in the picture tutorial.  Sorry.

Fourth, remove the plunger from the carafe and tap off any excess milk froth from the plunger back into the carafe. 

Place the carafe in the microwave. 

Do not microwave the plunger as it has metal and plastic pieces.  Only microwave the glass carafe – and make sure the instructions say it is safe for the microwave. 

Microwave, on high, for 25-30 seconds.  My microwave is 1100 watts. 

Adjust your time accordingly, erring on the lesser side so as not to get your milk too hot.

Fifth, take the carafe out of the microwave carefully so as not to burn yourself (just in case you got it too hot). 

You’ll see that the froth has changed to fine bubbles, and is rather stiff. 

This is what you want.  A lovely, silky froth that will stay until the last sip of coffee.

Sixth, if you haven’t already done so, pour your coffee into your cup and use your sweetener of choice. 

Grab the carafe full of milk froth and a spoon. 

Use the spoon to hold back the milk froth as you pour the milk into your coffee. 

Once you’ve got all the milk in, remove the spoon and pour in the froth.

Seventh, ta-da!  It never fails; lovely, silky milk froth every time!

Eighth, top with some hot cocoa mix – I use Vittoria Chococino – if you like, and enjoy.


Oh, and just to prove that the froth will last until the last sip….







It’s almost finger-licking good!

This method works for hot cocoa, as well. 

I make my daughter hot cocoa with a layer of frothy milk by mixing the hot cocoa mixture and cold milk in the carafe.

Then I follow the above steps above to make it frothy and microwave it for 30 seconds.

I then stop the microwave so the froth doesn’t get too high, then microwave again for another 10-15 seconds to make it a kid-friendly warm temperature. 

She loves it!

Okay, so you want to froth your own milk but can’t fork out hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for a fancy espresso machine? 

Check out these manual milk frothers below.

  • Norpro Glass Froth Master
  • Bodum Milk Frother, Latteo Milk Frother with Glass Handle, Clear, 8 Ounce
  • Ninja Easy Frother (CFFROTH)
  • Bialetti Manual Glass Milk Frother
  • Bodum Chambord Milk Frother, Medium, 5-Ounce, Chrome
  • BonJour Coffee Glass and Stainless Steel Manual Milk Frother, 16-Ounce, Caffe Froth Maximus
  • Bodum Latteo Glass Milk Frother with Handle and Black Lid, 8 Ounce
  • GROSCHE FROTHEE Hand Operated Milk Frother with Stainless Steel Froth Mechanism (13 oz froth – 5 oz milk)
  • BonJour Caffe Froth Monet Milk Frother, Black
  • Bodum 11653-18 Chambord Classic Milk Frother, 5 oz, Copper
  • Bodum Chambord Tall Milk Frother

Tell me, what’s your favorite coffee?  Mine?  Cappuccino! 🙂

31 thoughts on “How To: Froth Milk Without Fancy Machines”

  1. Great tutorial—I use my french press for frothing hot chocolate, but I now need to test it out for coffee.

  2. I found your site while doing some research and just had to say “hi” from one coffee snob to another! Thanks for this tutorial, I’ll be giving it a try 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for this post! I’d wanted a frother, but had no idea hand frothers were a thing. I was in TJMaxx poking around their kitchen section and saw this one and had no idea how to use it since it had no instruction!

    I actually googled “hand milk frother” on my phone while standing in the aisle and came across your article.

    I bought it and just tried it. Thanks again!

    • I was like you a gadget that was so cute, but with no instructions. I am so excited to make “Starbucks-a-like” coffee at home at a fraction of the cost.:)

      • Hi RP, I have listed links in my post above to Amazon.com where you can buy hand-operated milk frothers – no batteries needed.

  4. I am so glad I found your tutorial! I recently bought a “hand mixer thing” for 39 cents. It was a cute gadget, but I had no idea what to do with it. I was out of town last week and happened to see a demonstration at Kroger of a similar gadget.
    The guy used it to make froth. When I returned home, I excitedly used mine and made froth. Woo hew!!! I am hooked, but I wanted warm froth. I will try what you suggested. Thank you so much.

  5. Nice tutorial. I am using Cafe Luxe Professional Milk Frother which is very easy to use. It allows me to froth either hot or cold milk quickly. You can check this website for more interesting information on how to make a delicious latte. http://www.cafeluxe.com/

  6. Hi. Just tried this trick and loved it! Your 30 seconds thing worked great for me too. I’m happy that I could serve my family a good greentea latte with nice frothy milk on top. Thanks!

  7. This is a brilliant tutorial. Unfortunately I’ve just bought a milk frother recently so just got here a bit too late. Having said that, a milk frother does save a lot of time and is quite cheap in most shops. That’s why it’s probably been worth it so far…

  8. […] to Froth Milk/Make Milk Foam at Home Without a Fancy Machine:The Microwave/Mason Jar MethodThe Manual Milk Frother MethodThe French Press MethodThe Battery-Operated Wire Whisk MethodThe Immersion Blender Method (this is […]

  9. I have a metal frother, so I frothed 2% milk then poured it into a mug and microwaved for 30 seconds. I was happy before with my first few sips before my milk froth melted, now I am happy to the end!!! Thanks for the great tutorial!!

  10. I recently bought a pod espresso machine (Starbucks Verismo) and needed to find a way to froth milk (without using the milk pods they make for the machine). Since I do not have a microwave, what is working for me is to heat the milk in a small saucepan, then when it reaches the desired temperature, I hit it with my stick blender. It creates a surprising nice foam, then all I have to do is give the stick blender a quick rinse and wash out the saucepan. Since I don’t make a lot of lattes, so far this method is working great for me.

  11. Thanks for sending this info. I really didn’t know about froth milk make without fancy machine. I always made this with machine. Now I should try to make this without machine. 🙂

  12. This certainly interesting, since I didn’t know how to foam milk. Its great we can make our own frothy milk at home. With no fancy gadgets and a little arm strength.

  13. […] be served (with frothed milk, latte, etc.). Frothed milk is easily made at home with an inexpensive glass with manual plunger or a small electric hand-wand […]

  14. Its great knowing how to froth milk to make great coffee without a proper milk frother. Although I do use an electric milk frother I could use this on the road etc as we do travel a lot. Thanks for a great article.

  15. I found this froth maker with flavored creamer (love Hazel Nut) already to go at Walmart, all you do is pump it and out comes the foam. No fuss, no mess keep it in the freg and you can heat it if you like, just throw it out when it’s empty. Have you tried it? What do you think? I have a Capitano coffee machine with steam frother (a pain IMOP) a cold filter coffee maker, an antique Pyrex peculator which was my mothers that I think makes the best coffee and for quickies a Keurig.

  16. Great site and a great topic as well. I think these are really some of the important tips that you have shared.
    I Got some good idea about how to froth milk without fancy machines. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  17. Wow! This milk frothing hack is absolutely amazing! I’ve tried it a couple of times now (even with soymilk) and it’s been good every time. The foam is majestic, sturdy and tasty! Thanks so much for sharing this tip with us, coffee drinking at home will never be the same.

  18. Hi, Thanks for your informative article. I didn’t know about froth milk make without a fancy machine. I always made this with the machine. But these tips are interesting. I will try it for sure.


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