How to froth milk without a frother

Admit it. Like me you have seen baristas at work in Starbucks and thought – “I’d like to that.” Well, you can. When it comes to making a tasty frothy coffee at home, there are some special pieces of equipment you might need.

While not all of these are essential, they can play a significant role in making your life much easier. One great example of this is the milk frother.

While there are ways that you can froth milk without one, we have to ask whether the alternatives are worth it.

In this article, we are going to be exploring the many ways that you can attempt to get that beautiful frothy milk without a milk frother. That said, we’ll also discover the benefits of a milk frother and why we would always recommend making this your go-to option.

Can you make frothy milk without a milk frother?

If you don’t have a milk frother to hand perhaps yours has broken or gone missing, or maybe you’re yet to purchase one, there is some good news. You can make frothy milk in other ways.


Typically, all of these methods can be done using things that you will already have in your kitchen, so if you’re at a loose end, you’ll be able to do at least one. The results won’t be as good as you’d achieve with a milk frother but you can still use these techniques to make great foamy coffee.

Using a hand whisk

Using a hand whisk to froth your milk is one of the most common alternatives to a milk frother. Before we look at how to use this method, it’s important that we understand why.

Frothing milk causes air to enter the liquid which results in tiny bubbles being formed. This is what gives foamy milk its texture. Knowing this helps us to better understand how to use our hand whisk to achieve results that are similar to a milk frother.

In short, you will need to keep the whisk in the top part of the liquid towards the centre to maximise the air that can blend in.

You’ll need to pop your milk into a bowl and as you whisk, make sure that the bowl is tilted to one side slightly. This method can take up to two minutes to get the best results so it’s significantly longer than using a dedicated milk frother.

Must read article – Should I get a milk frother?

That said, how long it takes will depend on several factors. For example, whole milk will froth more easily than skimmed milk and the speed at which you whisk will have a notable effect. Once you have achieved your desired result, you simply need to microwave the milk to ensure the froth doesn’t dissipate; this should take around ten seconds on high power.

Using a small blender

Blenders are excellent kitchen tools that many of us rely on for a whole host of mixing needs. If you’re keen to get frothy milk without too much fuss, this is a viable method. You will need to make sure that you don’t fill the blender cup to the top as the milk will expand and there is a risk of it spilling out of the top.

While most methods require you to warm the milk after frothing, when using a blender, it is best to start with warm milk and be sure to remember to put the lid on the blender or cover it with a towel.

You don’t need the appliance at top speed, a medium setting will work well. This is a very reliable method if you want uniform air bubbles that are comparable in size to those you would get using a frother.

Shaking in an airtight jar

As we have learned, when you froth milk, it will increase in volume so when you are employing this method, you must make sure not to fill your jar anymore than about a third of the way up. Pop on a lid and make sure that it is screwed on tightly, ensuring that no air can get in or out.

You can now begin to vigorously shake the container. It may take a little time but within around thirty to sixty seconds you will start to see the milk doubling in volume. This shows that the process has worked; but you’re not finished just yet.

Next, you will need to take off the lid and heat the milk in the microwave. Thirty seconds is all that is needed but this is an important part of the process since it will help to stabilise the foam and keep the milk frothy.

It is important that we point out that the milk may begin to overflow, in which case, you will need to stop the microwave and allow it to settle before beginning the timer again. However, in most cases, the foam may rise an inch or so above the top of the jar before it spills, so just be sure to monitor it through the process.

Using a French Press

One of the most well-loved options for frothing milk is using something that you will already have lying around to make your coffee; a French press. With the plunging action of the press, milk can be frothed relatively quickly and effectively.

When we use a French press, warm milk works best so you should heat it in the microwave beforehand or pop it on the stove to simmer. As with the other methods, you must be sure to avoid overfilling the press to avoid milk spilling over the top as it expands.

Read more – French Press vs Milk Frother

When you’re ready, begin plunging the press as quickly as you can into the milk repeatedly. Typically, it will take around ten to fifteen seconds to get your desired results but this will vary depending on the type of milk you use and how fast you are plunging. When you’re done, you can simply pour the milk into your cup with your coffee and you’re ready to enjoy a delicious hot drink.

portrait of young woman with cappuccino coffee
Best way get this? Buy a milk frother

Why you should buy a milk frother instead

Using one of the methods we have looked at in this guide is ideal for times when you don’t have access to a milk frother but if you’re a coffee lover, it is best to invest in one of these dedicated frothing tools.

For starters, milk frothers are not expensive. If you are concerned about having to fork out unnecessarily, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how affordable they are. These are small appliances that will barely take up any room in the kitchen and are incredibly easy to use.

Moreover, a milk frother will save you a lot of time since many are battery or electric powered and work very quickly plus it is a lot easier to use since it is designed specifically for this purpose. In a nutshell, for serious coffee lovers, buying the correct tools is a must. And that means a milk frother.

Want to know more? Check out this in-depth guide – What is a milk frother, how to use it and FAQs.

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