7 tips on how to use a handheld milk frother

Handheld milk frothers are such useful devices. Despite their size they are very powerful and can make a lovely dense and creamy foam for cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate and other tasty hot or cold drinks. Cheap to buy they can also be used for other tasks in the kitchen.

But how do you use a handheld milk frother to get the best results? Here’s a handy seven tips to get you started and ensure you have perfect frothy coffees every time.

1 – It’s all in the wrist action

Practice, practice, practice. Which if you’re a coffee lover won’t be any hardship. These frothers aren’t hard to use. But the thickness of the foam you create can vary.

The best way to get that lovely coffee shop style foam is to gently rotate the whisk head and, as soon as the milk begins to foam, lift it a little so the head is always in the top layer of the froth. Try and keep the frother at a 45 degree angle.


After 30 seconds you’ll have a froth those wannabe baristas in Starbucks can only dream about.

2 – Submerge the whisk before switching on… and off

This is something I learned the hard way. Always put the whisk head into the milk before you switch it on. Likewise, when you’ve finished frothing don’t withdraw the whisk until you’ve switched it off. Here’s why.

These little blighters are surprisingly powerful. If you switch your handheld frother on before putting it in the milk when you do so the liquid will fly all over the place. It’s like when you use a blender and forget to put the lid on. The stuff will fly everywhere.

I was going to make a short video to illustrate this but couldn’t face the cleaning up afterwards. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Similarly, when you use the device make sure you use a deep enough cup or milk frothing jug so the froth doesn’t roll over the sides. About one third milk to froth is the ratio you can expect.

Check out our video below to see how easy it is to use a handheld milk frother.

3 – Use the right milk

We all have different tastes and prefer different milk. However, if you’re a frothy coffee fan and need that lovely rich, thick foam on your cappuccino you need to use whole or high fat milk. It’s the proteins in milk which allows air into the liquid to create the thickness. Low fat or non-dairy doesn’t have the fats to create a thick foam. But……

Don’t despair if you’re vegan or just want to use non-dairy or semi-skimmed milk. All milk will forth – just to a different degree. However, there is a superb range of plant-based barista blend milks which have been created especially for use in milk frothers so anyone, regardless of tastes, can enjoy a lovely foamy coffee. We talk about barista blend milk here.

By the same token it doesn’t matter too much if you’re using hot or cold milk. The foam you create will depend more on the type of milk (and the frother) rather than the temperature. That being said, if you want to use warm milk don’t go above 60 degrees. Much warmer than that and the milk will be hard to froth.

4 – Clean after every use

When you use a blender, coffee machine, electric mixer or most other small kitchen appliances they are always a pain to clean afterwards. We all love our gadgets, especially ones that help us with food and drink, but it’s the cleaning that kills the enjoyment.

Which is why you’ll be delighted to learn that cleaning your handheld frother is soooooooo easy.

All you need do is pop the whisk head under a running tap and it’ll rinse clean in seconds. Keep the power on while it’s under the tap and it’ll soon clean itself. Alternatively, pop the whisk head into a bowl of clean water and switch it on. It’s as simple as that.

Some handheld milk frothers have detachable whisks which makes it even easier. Most don’t however, so the only thing you need to be aware of is to make sure water doesn’t get into the battery department.

If the plastic body of the frother needs cleaning just wipe it down with a damp cloth.

The whisks themselves are made of stainless steel so they won’t rust. To dry after cleaning just leave the whisk on a piece of kitchen towel.

5 – Keep fresh batteries handy

Most handheld frothers are battery powered. Just be aware batteries are not included with most – the Bonsenkitchen frother is one exception to the rule. Most take two AA batteries.

Once installed the batteries will last for ages but of course it’d be Sod’s Law that they run out of power just when you’re gasping for a cappuccino. Always keep a spare pair of batteries in the kitchen drawer just in case.

An exception here of course is if you have a rechargeable milk frother. There are more of these appearing on the market now. They are recharged by USB so you can use a charger, your laptop or even your phone to recharge the device. With these frothers it’s advisable to regularly charge the battery so you’re never caught short.

6 – Think outside the box…or the milk bottle

A handheld milk frother is designed to froth milk. No surprises so far. But you can use it for so much more. It can do everything a light kitchen whisk can do.

Beat eggs, whisk cake mixture, mix a mean cocktail, make protein shakes and so on. The number of uses is more or less unlimited.

You don’t have to lock your frother away in a drawer when you’ve had your coffee. It could become an indispensable tool in your kitchen.

handheld milk frother in jug with cappuccino

7 – Don’t flog the horse to death

The build quality of handheld frothers does vary enormously. From the very well made to the very cheap almost disposable models. For the most part the quality of the frother is reflected in the price. The very good ones will set you back £10-£20 while the lower quality models start at a quid or two.

But whichever you buy be aware they are not designed for heavy use. Yes, you can use them for tasks other than frothing milk but your handheld frother won’t last long if it’s in constant use.

Companies like Zulay provide a lifetime guarantee while you should consider the cheap versions as disposable – they’ll only last a few months.

So, I suppose a final bonus tip here is to buy the best quality handheld milk frother you can, one such as the Zulay Milk Boss we mentioned earlier or the best-selling Bonsenkitchen frother. The exception here is if you’ll only be using the frother very occasionally or want a cheap device to take camping with you for example.

You may also be interested in:  Buyers Guide    Frother Reviews    Veletiser Review

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