How To Steam Milk Without an Espresso Machine

Make Your Own Frothy Milk Without an Espresso Machine

Maybe you're a big fan of a good cafe au lait. All you need is your favorite coffee and some delicious, frothy milk to top it off. You are adept at making your coffee just the way you want it, but when it comes to the steamed milk, you are at a loss. You realize that espresso machines come equipped with those hand steam wands that will help you create the foamy deliciousness that you are craving. However, since you aren't looking to brew espresso, it seems like a waste to buy an expensive espresso machine for the steam wand alone. So, you continue to buy your cafe au laits at the expensive coffee shop down the street.

Don't despair. There is a way to make tasty, frothy milk at home without a fancy espresso machine steam wand. In fact, you even have several different techniques to try! Here are the low tech, low budget versions that can help you save some serious cash.

Glass jar with a lid

All you need is a 2-cup glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and some cold milk. 2% milk works well because it has plenty of whey protein to create foam. Pour ½ cup of milk into the jar, screw the lid on tight and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Place the jar in the microwave and heat it up for a little while (be sure to remove the lid if it has any metal parts). Presto! Warm, frothy milk!

Wire wisk

Use a wire whisk! Heat up the milk on your stovetop (or in the microwave) and then whip it with a wire whisk for half a minute or so - until it's nice and foamy. Don't be afraid to wield that whisk with some gusto! The foam will not be a glorious microfoam that you could achieve with an expensive espresso machine, but it should be tasty. With the combination of this method and the caffeine from your drink, you should really get your blood pumping in the morning!

Double Balloon Whisk Good Grips Wire Whisk

Electric Frothing Wand

Now, if you are looking to spend a little more money, look into a frothing wand. This kind of gadget has a small whipping apparatus attached to an electric motor by a long stem so it will save you the shaking and whipping in the methods above. It is light, easy to use, and many are battery powered so you don't have to mess around with a long chord. Simply heat some milk in the microwave, submerge the whipping end of the wand in the milk, flip the switch and froth away. There are many types of wands like this available in a wide range of prices. Some of the most popular ones are BonJour Primo Latte Frother and Aerolatte Milk Frother.

BonJour Primo Latte Frother Aerolatte Milk Frother

Manual Frothing Pitcher

You might also consider purchasing a manual frothing pitcher - especially if you often make espresso drinks for a group of friends. They come with a plunger that you pump up and down to produce frothy milk. There are many different models around, some metallic others made from glass. I personally prefer the metallic pitchers since that allows me to steam milk on the stove and then froth it in the same container. They are also nowhere near as fragile as their glass counterparts. Some popular manual frothing pithers that have good customer reviews are BonJour Monet and Bialetti Tuttocrema. A little note about the Tuttocrema: it is quite difficult to find one of these on its own, but you can get one as a part of Bialetti Cappuccino and Latte Set.

BonJour Monet Milk Frother Bialetti Tuttocrema Frothing Pitcher

Electric Frothing Unit

There are also several electrical appliances designed to steam and froth milk - for example Capresso FrothPro, Froth Au Lait Electric Frother or Nespresso Aeroccino. While these electrical frothers have their place, for many people they are just too expensive. For the same amount of money you can get a cheap espresso machine and froth milk the proper way.

As you can see, there are lots of options if you want to learn how to steam and froth milk without an espresso machine. Now you can make yourself a tasty drink at home, just the way you like it, for a fraction of the price. Grab a gallon of milk, and let the frothing begin!

If you own an espresso machine, you may want to read How to Steam Milk using the steam wand.

Further Reading

How To Froth Milk
Making Espresso
Espresso Drinks