How to froth milk without a steam wand and steaming milk without an espresso machine

Last Updated on July 2, 2021 by YourBestCoffeeMachine

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One of the key components of a good cappuccino is frothed milk but how do you froth milk without a steam wand or get steaming milk without an espresso machine? Without this trademark foam on your cup, cappuccinos would cease to be cappuccinos. Now there are some people who are pros when it comes to making froth milk but unfortunately there are others who find this task very challenging. 

Sometimes you want the foam but don’t have an espresso machine. There are certain techniques that can help you save some money and make frothy milk for cappuccino at home with just the help of utensils every kitchen has. No need to purchase fancy equipment such as a steam wand or espresso machine. If you do have an espresso machine click the next link to learn how to froth milk with a steam wand.

If you prefer to take out some of the muscle required in the options below, then you can buy a relatively cheap, easy to carry milk frother like this one from Aerolatte.


Aerolatte milk frother for milk froth without a steam wand


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How to steam milk without an espresso machine

So what Is Steamed Milk and Why Should I Bother?

Steamed milk generally refers to milk that has been heated often using the steam wand of an espresso machine. It is generally thicker than regular, warm milk, thanks to the addition of tiny air bubbles pushed into the milk by the steam wand. This adds to a better mouthfeel and greater enjoyment of your cappuccino.


Generally you’re aiming to heat the milk to about 60 degrees Celsius (or 140 Fahrenheit) – think warm but not too hot to touch. Heat it too much and the milk scalds and tastes terrible. Here are 3 simple ways to steam milk without an espresso machine (follow the link if you like pictures/videos and a more detailed explanation!).

Using your wire whisk for the perfect frothy milk

Our preferred method is to heat the milk in a microwave first and then use a whisk to get a great milk froth. For this method, here’s what you need:

  • Fresh milk
  • Fresh espresso or strong coffee
  • 2 microwave safe cups
  • Microwave oven
  • Wire whisk

You can prepare strong coffee or espresso ahead of time with your chosen method. Get 2 microwave safe cups and pour milk into the bottom 1/3 of the cup. Place both cups in the microwave oven with the heat on high for about a minute and a half or until you see steam begin to rise from the surface of the milk and then remove the cups from the microwave.

Hold the wire whisk vertically and insert the beater into the cup. Roll the handle rapidly between the palms of your hands and twirl the whisk until you obtain the desired amount of froth. Pour the desired amount of coffee into each cup and serve.

Using a jar and microwave for the perfect frothy milk

If you do not have a wire whisk at home, don’t worry. There is another method of preparing frothy milk.

What you need:

  • Fresh milk
  • Strong coffee or espresso
  • Microwave oven
  • Small jar with a lid

Fill the jar with as much milk as you would like in your coffee but remember not to fill the jar past the half way mark to allow some room for the foam. Put the lid on and shake the jar as hard as you can until the milk has become frothy and doubles in volume. This will take about 30 seconds. Take the lid off and then microwave the milk in the glass jar for half a minute. The heat from the microwave will stabilize it and help the milk rise to the top.

Pour the milk into your coffee and use the spoon to hold back the foam. You can then scoop the foam in top of your coffee and enjoy it alone or with friends.

Stovetop plus French Press

Lastly, if all you have is a stovetop or camping ring burner and your trust French Press you can still get a frothy cappuccino. First, heat the milk on the stovetop to about 60 degrees Celsius (warm but not too warm to touch).

Transfer the warm milk to your French press and pump the plunger handle up and down until you get a froth. Clearly this isn’t an ideal method if you also use your French press to make your coffee unless you like cleaning but in a pinch, it requires less equipment than the other 2 methods.

Do You Now Know How to froth milk without a steamer?

The whole concept behind foam or steamed milk is to push air into warm milk. Cold milk will foam but not as much.  The quality of the foam is determined by how you push air into the milk. Although the best way of doing this is through the steam wand of an espresso machine, you do not necessarily have to go out and purchase an additional gadget. With enough foam you could even try your hand at latte art to rival your local coffee shop.

As you can see from the instructions given above, you can make frothy milk at home without the need for expensive and fancy machines. It may be difficult at first but you will be able to do it more easily over time. For a short video outlining these methods we love this one from Trainer LJ

1 thought on “How to froth milk without a steam wand and steaming milk without an espresso machine”

  1. Make sure that you use good quality filter paper that is acid free and will not affect the flavor of
    the coffee. It’s also best not to use paper filter papers as
    they have usually been processed with dyes and chlorine that can leech out into your
    coffee. The second option is to take the measures that are necessary to
    learn the process of roasting your own java.


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