Does a milk frother heat milk?

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Yes, a milk frother does heat milk but ONLY if you have an electric or stovetop model. You should be aware that the most popular devices, handheld milk frothers, DO NOT heat milk. If you have a handheld frother you need to heat your milk separately either in the microwave or a saucepan.

Which milk frothers heat milk?

If you want your frother to heat your milk, you should opt for an electric milk frother.

Electric, or automatic milk frothers as they are also known, heats and froths your milk simultaneously. This is obviously far more convenient than having to heat your milk separately and then having to make the foam.

The important thing about electric milk frothers is that they are multi-functional. If you simply want to heat milk without making a foam an electric frother will do this. This makes this type of frother perfect for when you want to make a flat white coffee.

Most electric milk frothers have three different functions: heat milk, hot foam, and cold foam.

However, when it comes to which milk frothers heat milk you do have another option. You can use a stovetop milk frother.

This is the least popular type of frother and if you are looking for your first milk frother I would avoid a stovetop model.

That said, it will heat your milk. But, unlike an electric frother, heating milk in a stovetop frother is a manual process.

With a stovetop frother you pour the milk into the device’s jug, heat the milk directly on the stove taking extra care not to burn the liquid. Once the milk is heated and removed from the stove the lid with the frothing mechanism is placed back on the jug and pumped up and down to make the foam.

But if you just want to heat milk without making foam then you may as well use a saucepan on the hob.

To be honest I really wouldn’t recommend a stovetop frother for heating milk. So, let’s stick with the best solution – an electric frother.

So, we’ve answered the question – does a milk frother heat milk? And we’ve decided that an electric frother is the best option. But let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

How to heat milk in your frother

You’ll be happy to learn that heating milk in your electric frother is so easy. It’s basically pressing a button. Let me explain.

As I’ve already mentioned, all electric milk frothers, even the most basic, have at least three functions; hot foam, cold foam, and heat milk.

If you simply want to warm milk – you may be using it for instant coffee, hot chocolate or making a milky coffee like a flat white – pour your milk into the body of the frother (usually around 150-250 ml depending on the capacity of the frother), select the heat milk function and press the on button.

Then simply sit back for between one and two minutes (milk frothers do vary in how quickly they warm milk) – the frother will automatically stop when it reaches the optimum temperature.

This is an excellent feature as it means there is no way that you can boil or burn the milk. This is much more efficient than using a microwave or a saucepan on the stove to warm your milk.

One word of warning. If you are using your electric frother to heat your milk but don’t want any foam – remember to remove the whisk from inside the frother. The small whisk is what makes the foam so do remove it if you’re simply warming the milk in the frother.

By the way – if you ever wonder why your milk frother isn’t frothing it’ll be because you forgot to replace the whisk.

Of course, if you’re heating the milk to make a latte or any other frothy coffee, you’ll want to make foam so keep the whisk in place and select the hot foam function on your frother.

By selecting hot foam, the electric milk frother will not only heat the milk but will also make the thick foam you need for a luxurious latte or cappuccino.

How hot is milk heated in a frother?

Most, if not all, electric milk frothers will heat milk to around 65°c. This is considered the ideal temperature for milk to be used when making a coffee. However, there are plenty of people who would prefer a hotter temperature.

I suspect one of the main reasons for manufacturers capping the temperature at 65°c is first to be absolutely sure the milk won’t burn and secondly to minimise the risk of users suffering burns should there be a mishap when decanting the milk from the frother.

The perfect temperature for heated milk?

Whatever the reason, 65°c is the usual temperature that a frother will heat milk to. That being said, there are some electric milk frothers that allow the user to choose from a range of temperatures.

If you haven’t already purchased your milk frother I would highly recommend the Severin SM3587.

This electric milk frother has a range of temperature controls and an amazing 13 functions for heating milk and making foam for a whole range of frothy coffees. This really is a high-quality product.

Read our Severin SM3587 milk frother review for more information.

How to heat milk for a handheld milk frother

If you purchased a handheld milk frother and your first question was “Where do I put the milk” you’re not alone. Thinking that every frother heats milk is a mistake plenty of people have made.

bonsenkitchen handheld milk frother

If you haven’t seen a handheld milk frother before you can see from the image above that it’s obvious you must heat the milk separately.

We go into detail about heating milk for frothy coffees here but briefly you have two choices: a microwave or the traditional saucepan on a stove.

Personally, I always use the microwave. It is so easy, clean, and convenient. It’s also a lot more efficient and dependable than using a pan on a hob.

With a microwave you simply set the timer and sit back. Assuming you’ve got your timing right (I admit this can take a bit of trial and error) heating milk for your frother is quick and easy.

And the big advantage of using a microwave over an electric milk frother is that you can make the milk as hot as you like. I usually go for 75-80°c. This is warmer than an electric milk frother, but I prefer hotter milk when making a latte.

If you are using a saucepan on the hob to heat your milk, you constantly need to monitor and stir the liquid to prevent burning. It’s just too much hassle compared to a microwave.

Whichever method you use to heat the milk once it’s warm you can take your handheld frother and make the foam for your coffee. You can see how this type of frother works in the video below.

Does a manual milk frother heat milk?

A manual frother works identically to a stovetop frother in that the foam is created by pumping the plunger on the lid. However, the milk is heated separately though some manual milk frothers have a heat resistant glass jug which can be popped into the microwave to heat the milk.

Which is the best milk frother for heating milk?

From what we’ve discussed so far, it’s evident that the best milk frother for heating milk is an electric model. There are plenty to choose from and they are very affordable with prices ranging from around £35 ($44) to around £100 ($125).

Electric frothers heat your milk with no fuss, are super-easy to use, and will heat the milk to a consistent temperature every time without risk of burning and ruining the milk.

As I mentioned above, my personal recommendation for an electric milk frother is the Severin SM3587.

Why you need a milk frother thermometer

One indispensable little tool which is useful whether you’re heating milk in a frother, in a microwave, or on the stove is a milk frother thermometer. They’re easy to use, cost pennies and are a wonderful way to make sure you’re not overheating the milk.

milk frother Thermometer

The dials are printed with a temperature gauge and to use the device you simply pop its stem into the milk. Easy.

Read more here about milk frother thermometers.

Previous Post

Is a milk frother good for hot chocolate? Can you use a milk frother to make hot chocolate?

Next Post

What does a milk frother do for coffee?