An electric milk frother is a mains powered appliance with a range of automatic settings which allow you to make hot or cold foam for frothy coffees including cappuccino and cafe latte. You can also use it to warm milk.
Frothing milk adds a touch of elegance to any drink. There are plenty of tools to help with the job, but a milk frother is easily the best option. As the name suggests, these appliances add air to milk to create air bubbles and thicken the milk.
You can use the thick milk foam for everything from cappuccinos and lattes to hot chocolate to get a delicious drink without having to wander down the high street to Starbucks.
If you are looking for a frother companion for your kitchen, then you should consider an electric milk frother so you can make any number of delicious frothy coffees.
What are electric frothers?
Also labelled as an automatic milk frother it does the same job as other frothers, but with a lot less effort on your part. Which can’t be a bad thing. An electric or automatic frother is exactly what it sounds like. It froths and heats milk with the press of a button. And, because everything is automatic, you’ll get perfect light warm foam from the first time you use it.
And of course, an electric device is powered by the mains, so you never have to worry about running out of charge. Some units are cordless with a chargeable power base while most others stay connected to the mains.
Electric milk frothers have two distinct parts – the stainless steel non-stick jug and the electric base. The steel jug has markings that indicate the max level for heating and frothing milk.
When pouring milk into the frother you should remember that frothed milk doubles in volume. So, a 400ml jug for example should only be filled to the 200ml level of milk. Any more and your cup will truly runneth over.
Typically, electric frothers don’t have a large capacity and you’ll only make enough silky foam for one sometimes two cups of frothy coffee. However, there are some automatic frothers which do have a larger capacity though usually foam for one cup is the best way to make your coffee drinks.
How does an electric milk frother work?
Electric frothers typically have three functions.
You can create hot foam, cold foam or you can choose to heat milk without frothing it.
Electric milk frothers typically has whisk attachment. This coiled whisk is placed on the bottom of the ‘jug’ and spins to create the foam. The whisk is used regardless of whether you are making hot or cold foam.
But the whisk attachment (sometimes called a frothing disk) is removed if you are simply warming the milk.
Some electric frothers have multiple programmes all of which warm the milk to the desired temperature for different beverages including cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate etc.
How to froth milk with automatic frothers
While some appliances may vary, most milk frothers follow the same basic steps:
- Ensure the appliance is plugged into the mains
- Place the container or glass frother on the base
- Choose a function for the frother – heat milk, froth cold milk, or frothing hot milk
- Fill the milk container to the fill limit indicated on the wall of the jug. The milk will spill out when frothing if you add too much. Remember to leave room in the container for the increase in volume.
- Select your setting and press the power button. Then simply sit back and let the frothert can on with the frothing. Electric milk frothers have an automatic shut off so you will never burn the milk and it will always deliver the foamed milk at the same temperature – usually between 65-70 degrees. So you just turn on the frother and wait until it turns itself off.
You’ll then have perfectly frothed milk to add to your espresso to make a whole range of drinks from cappuccino to dalgona coffee.
What is frothed milk?
Frothed milk is milk with air pushed into it – or through it – to create a bubbly foam. You need a frother to make this foam. Not only is frothed milk creamy and delicious, but it also adds a foamy touch to tea, coffee, and other drinks.
Frothing milk adds an extra dimension to coffee. The froth adds extra texture and richness to your drink, which alters how it tastes and lets you do fun things like make coffee art. Though that is just a bonus. But frothed milk definitely tastes sweeter. The best milk to use is full fat. We explain more here.
Different types of milks
Nondairy milk has a higher fat content and froths better than skimmed or 0% fat milk.
This is why I suggest you always use whole milk or semi-skimmed (2%) milk in your frothy coffee. Which isn’t any use to vegans or vegetarians.
If you drink non-dairy milk as a lifestyle choice then you will be pleased to know you can use plant-based varieties such as soy milk, oat, coconut, and almond milk in your electric frother.
However, you should be aware that those milks will not create as much of a creamy froth as non-dairy milk.
But you can use barista blend milks which will give a similar result to full fat whole milk. And almond milk latte tastes wonderful.
As to the quantity of milk used, no matter which type of milk you’re using, you will usually use 225ml or 7.6 fluid ounces of milk but if you have a large capacity electric frother and are making foam for more than one drink you can use more.
Why use an automatic milk frother?
Convenience. Which pretty much sums it up. These frothers are easy to use and will create foam or warm milk in just one to two minutes. Which is pretty nifty.
The joys of having frothed milk and adding it to drinks is why you should use an automated milk frother. Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and wondered how they make such lovely frothy and sweet tasting coffee?
It’s because they use frothed milk. It takes some practice, but you’ll be having beautiful, delicious-looking drinks in no time with an automatic milk frother on your counter.
To make a delicious cup of frothy coffee with your electric milk frother you will also need an espresso machine, milk frothing jug, and a thermometer. You can read all about frothing jugs in this article.
An automatic milk frother lets you put your milk in and let the machine do all the work. An automatic frother is so convenient, especially if you want to make your drink early in the morning and get on with your day. You can focus on doing something else like making breakfast.
Frothy milk is the key to incredible looking and tasting coffee. Add frothed milk to your drinks for a richer flavour and texture. An electric milk frother is the best choice for frothing milk because they make things simpler and more convenient.
What about the price tag?
They aren’t the cheapest of milk frothers; that label sits with the handheld models. But electric or automatic milk frothers are still terrific value for money.
For a no-frills machine which will warm milk as well as making hot and cold milk foam you will typically be looking at between £35 and £60 ($42 and $72 in the United States). For the usage you’ll get out of an automatic milk frother the price tag is low. And don’t forget a frother will take your coffee making experience to a whole new level.
However, like any other product, there are premium priced models. And a caveat that even a frother offering the usual features like the Nespresso Aeroccino can cost over double the price of more budget frothers. In this case you’re paying extra for the build quality and brand.
But generally, the more expensive electric milk frothers are those which offer more useful features than the basic models.
For example, Severin milk frothers offer up to 13 different programmes including the usual hot foam, cold settings and special pre-set programmes for hot chocolate, protein shakes, vegan drinks, and other useful features. If you have the budget this type of premium electric frother is a great option though you will be paying around £100 ($120).
Other types of milk frothers
Other types of frothers include manual and handheld models. A manual frother operates by pushing and pulling a plunger whereas a handheld frother is a small battery-operated whisk.
Only an electric milk frother lets you froth milk faster and with less effort. But let’s look at every different type of milk frother in more detail.
A handheld milk frother is powered by AA batteries. It has a soft plastic body which houses the batteries and power button and a stainless-steel stem with a coiled whisk at its end.
Despite their small size and being battery powered, handheld frothers are surprisingly powerful. They do an excellent job, and you can make a creamy foam in around 30 seconds.
There are many benefits to using a handheld milk frother; affordable price, easy cleaning, simple to use etc. But there are two big drawbacks.
The first is that you have to do all the work. With an electric frother you pour in the milk, press a button, and settle back while the frother does its thing. But with handheld frothers you must physically hold the frother and move it around to make the foam.
It’s not exactly demanding work but it is just a bit of faffing about which is a pain when you’re in a hurry in the morning. Also, if you have difficulty gripping things (if you have arthritis for example) a handheld frother will be difficult to use. In your case an electric frother would be the better option.
The other drawback when using handheld frothers is that if you want hot milk (and you usually will) you must heat it yourself. This means you must use the microwave or a pan on the stove to heat milk.
All of which is extra work, more time, and definitely more faffing about. Electric models of course will automatically heat and foam the milk at the same time.
One aspect where handheld frothers have the edge is that they are very compact. They can be easily stored in a drawer which is ideal if you only have a small kitchen.
Manual milk frother
As the name suggests a manual frother is… very manual. But it’s the most fun you can have while frothing milk.
You make the froth by rapidly pushing and pulling the plunger – a bit like a French press on steroids. But a manual frother makes brilliantly rich and fluffy foam. It’s amazing how much foam you can make in 30 seconds with a manual frother.
I must admit I really like my manual frother, but I don’t use it too often. That’s because, like the handheld models, you must heat the milk separately. To be fair it’s not much of a hardship and some manual milk frothers have a microwavable jug which you can use to heat the milk prior to frothing.
Some users complain that the plunger handle often breaks. And it will do if you treat it too roughly but there’s no denying that using an electric frother is so much easier and more convenient.
As a final word do bear in mind that because of the very manual nature of these frothers don’t buy one if you have weak wrists or problems with your hands. My wife has arthritic hands and there is no way she can manage to use a manual frother. It’s much easier to simply press a power button on an electric milk frother.
As the name suggests these frothers are placed directly on the hob (they won’t work on an induction hob) to warm the milk. A plunger is then attached, and the foam is created in exactly the same way as with a manual frother.
I don’t recommend this type of milk frother. An electric or handheld frother is much easier to use.
You could, I suppose, use a French press to create foam in much the same way as a manual milk frother does. I’m not sure why you’d bother when you will get far better results using a milk frother that is specifically made for the task but each to their own.
A steam wand is the nozzle which is attached to barista style coffee machines. Once the coffee is brewed the steam wand is inserted into the coffee. It then steams (warms) the milk and creates foam. You’ll have seen baristas in your local coffee shop using these steam wands.
If you like to keep your small kitchen appliances on display, you’re in luck. Milk frothers take up very little space. Many automatic frothers are well-designed and look really nice on a kitchen countertop.
They are typically smaller than a kettle so you should be able to find space though they are easy to tuck away in a cupboard.
The ideal scenario is to keep your milk frother next to your coffee machine though they are light enough to be easily moved around if necessary.
Do bear in mind that the electric base of the frother will need to be within reach of a mains socket and the power cables are usually short.
Can you make hot chocolate with an electric milk frother?
Yes and no. As I’ve mentioned some (but only a very few) high-end electric frothers do have a hot chocolate function. With machines like the Severin 3587 you can put chocolate flakes directly into the frother with your milk. But this is very much the exception and not the rule.
Most electric milk frothers are unable to make hot chocolate and manufacturers warn against putting chocolate flakes in their frothers. You could of course quite safely use cocoa powder or instant hot chocolate.
Just remember to use superior quality coffee beans to make the base ingredient for all your hot frothy drinks.
Using a frother with an espresso machine
To get the most from your milk frother you need a good coffee maker. I always use an AeroPress, but you can use any espresso machine.
You can of course buy coffee makers with attached milk frothers like the Nespresso Citiz but if you already have a coffee machine then you can buy a standalone milk frother to go with it.
Espresso is used in all frothy coffees. You brew either one or two shots of espresso and add your hot milk foam to make any number of delicious milky drinks.
And of course, when you need a real caffeine hit you can use it as intended – for espresso drinks or tall black coffees like an Americano.
Which Coffee drinks can I make with an electric milk frother?
The world is your oyster as they say. You can make any frothy coffee you wish from crowd pleasers like latte and cappuccino through to Cordato and even iced frappe for a hit day.
You can find out more on our milk frother recipes page but don’t be afraid to experiment. Especially when making latte as you can use all kinds of different syrups and milks to make wonderfully different drinks.
Replace your daily trip to the coffee shop
If you can make a delicious, sweet, and hot cappuccino at home which is at least equal to but usually better than what you get in a coffee shop why are you still travelling, queuing, and paying top dollar for something you can make at home in your own kitchen?
When you visit Starbucks or the cute but overpriced coffee shop on main street do you have a favorite barista? Well, you can become a barista at home quite easily with an espresso machine, milk frother, and a handful of good-quality coffee beans.
You’ll make great tasting hot drinks at a much lower cost, and you’ll have fun doing it. You can even practice latte art if that’s what floats your boat.
It all makes the small cost of an electric milk frother seem even more attractive, doesn’t it?
What is the best electric milk frothers?
Because an electric milk frother has a heating element it’s great for heating milk as well as creating perfect foam every time. Coffee lovers can make creamy foam for their morning latte in the comfort of their own kitchen and have Starbucks quality coffee every time.
But an automatic model can also make cold froth so if you fancy a frappe instead of a latte it’s all available to you at the press of a button. What could be easier or more convenient?
But what are the standouts – the best electric milk frothers? After all, there are so many different ones to choose from.
Here’s this week’s best-selling electric milk frothers
- ☕【One Touch fulfills 4 requirements】The latest milk frother in the Bonsenkitche can...
- ☕【Fast and quiet operation】 Heats and prepares exquisite milk foam in less than 2 minutes...
- ☕【Large Capacity】The milk frother has a bigger capacity than most frothers and can froth...
- The Milk Easy will beep twice to tell you it’s finished.
- Maximum capacity for milk frothing 120 (internal level indicator: foam) ml
- Maximum capacity for milk heating 180 (internal level indicator: milk) ml
- 4 in 1 Function Milk Warmer and Frother - This latest milk frothers is able to create warm milk...
- Fast & Quiet & Auto-Off - Our electric milk steamer operates quietly and fast, thus you can get...
- Large Capacity Milk Frother Machine - Large milk foamer is designed with 350ml that is bigger...
- 【World Leading Magnetic Technology】Unlike the mechanical electric milk frother, the milk...
- 【5-in-1 Multifunctional】Highly versatile electric milk frother offers 5 modes, allowing you...
- 【Smart One-Touch Control Button】With its simple one-touch button design, you only need to...
- DUAL FUNCTION MILK WARMER AND FROTHER -- Choose to heat only, froth milk into a delicious foam...
- LARGE 300ML CAPACITY MILK WARMER -- Heat enough milk for a couple of mugs of coffee or a...
- EASY CLEAN NON-STICK COATING -- The PTFE coating makes this milk frother and heater easy to...