How to Use a Manual Milk Frother

Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by YourBestCoffeeMachine

In this article, we show you how to use a manual milk frother to get great milk foam for your milky coffee drinks like a cappucino or latte. A manual frother is an alternative solution to consider when frothing hot or cold milk for your coffee beverages instead of a pannarello wand. This human powered milk frother will froth all kinds of milk, is usually very simple to operate and easy to clean. Manual frothers are dishwasher safe and the carafe is made from either stainless steel or glass.

The frother does take a bit more time to froth milk than the battery operated handheld frothers and automatic frothers. Frothing milk normally takes from three to ten minutes, depending on what you want to achieve. If you are wondering which manual frother to get, here’s a review for the 5 best manual milk frothers.

Items to have on hand to froth milk using a Manual Frother

The items that are needed to froth milk using a manual frother are:

  • Milk – The manual frother works well with any kind of milk.
  • Manual frother – there are several makes and models currently available on the market. See the top 5 here.
  • Milk Pitcher, jug or large cup – Additional milk pitcher or large enough cup to place frothed milk in.
  • Saucepan or microwave oven safe container – The saucepan is required to steam the milk on the stove top and the container to steam the milk in microwave before frothing inside manual frother. Milk has to be steamed in the microwave for 40 to 50 seconds before or after frothing and anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds on stove top.
  • Spoon – to place the frothed milk in coffee when the process is through.
  • Espresso thermometer – This item does require extra purchasing and is not required to froth the milk. However, it is a good item to own if you are looking to create that perfect cup of coffee and require the desired temperature of 150 to 155 °F for perfect espresso drinks to be met before using frothed milk
  • Thermometer – You may use a regular thermometer to check temperature of milk if you are unable to locate an espresso thermometer.

Here’s an example of a good milk jug:

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Steps to Froth milk using a Manual Frother

Step 1

Pour desired amount of milk in frother, it can be either be steamed or chilled. Chilled milk does give better results when frothing.

The estimated milk level should be at or below one third the volume of the frothing carafe. It is important not to get too much milk in the carafe before frothing, the milk may seep through the lid or at the top of the cover where the plunger is connected. Some make and models of the manual frothers do have a maximum milk line indication.

If you would rather froth steamed milk, pour cold milk in pan on the stove and turn stove to low heat or pour the milk in a microwave safe container and put in microwave and warm to desired temperature. After the milk is steamed, pour it in the milk frother and continue to step two, three, four and seven.


Check Price of Above Model

Step 2

Return the cover with plunger on top of the carafe and ensure that it is properly placed. This is to ensure milk is not spilled through the sides of the frother while frothing.

Step 3

Pump with the plunger handle up and down vigorously and rapidly while holding the cover for about 25 to 30 seconds to froth milk. The more vigorously and faster you pump the milk with plunger, the more aerated the milk will become.

After about 10 to 15 seconds of pumping you should start to feel the pressure begin to change, at this point the froth is beginning to process. When the frothing process starts you need to apply more pressure when pumping as the process will get more difficult as the milk gets thicker. You may also choose to pump longer to achieve better results and more froth.

You will not be able to see the milk while it is being frothed inside the stainless steel frothers, you will occasionally have to remove the cover and check milk to ensure there is enough froth for your coffee beverage. The glass carafe manual frothers allows you to see exactly how much froth is already produced inside the carafe without removing the cover.

Step 4

Remove, cover with the plunger from the top of the carafe and tap whisk inside the carafe to remove excess froth milk. There will be some large bubbles in milk after frothing. You should shake carafe in circular motion and tap the bottom of the carafe on counter to allow milk to settle properly.

Step 5

Pour frothed milk in a container and place in microwave for 30 to 40 seconds. You do not want to get the frothed milk too hot to the point where it begins to scald or burn. It will not taste great if it gets to that point.

Step 6

Remove the container from the microwave. At this point the larger bubbles that were in frothed milk before will no longer be visible and the frothed milk will be much smoother.


Step 7

Use spoon to take the frothed milk from the top of the container and place in cup with coffee that has been prepared and enjoy your coffee beverage.

Tips to effectively froth milk using a Manual Frother

  • Follow milk level guidelines in frothing carafe before frothing or things can get pretty messy.
  • Do NOT allow the milk that is being steamed in microwave or on the stove top boil. The milk will not foam and it will taste terrible.
  • When the milk is steamed before frothing it will lose the heat it originally had when it is being frothed inside the carafe. You can place the frothed milk in the microwave after frothing for about 10 to 20 seconds after it is frothed.


Learning how to use a manual milk frother to get foamy milk can be a little tedious and time consuming. However, these frothers offer good results when frothing milk and their big advantage is the ease of cleaning.

They produce good quality froth from cold or warm milk for your coffee beverages. Although Manual Frothers require a lot more energy to froth thicker milk (especially with some of the non dairy milks like rice or soy milk) for a low energy, simple solution that won’t break down and can be used anywhere, they are a good option for most able caffeinators.

Just remember, less is more – the more milk you try to froth at once, the less froth will be produced by the manual frothers. We hope you found our article on how to use a manual milk frother useful – if you have any great tips to share with the community, drop them in the comments below.

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