Does A Milk Frother Heat Milk?

Curious about buying a milk frother? Unsure of how it works? Learn the answers to your pressing questions, like “does a milk frother heat milk?”

Does A Milk Frother Heat Milk
A lot happens to make the final result of foamy coffee as delicious as what you get at the coffee shop

If you’re a coffee connoisseur like me, you know the value of having perfectly frothed milk. However, when it comes to creamy, foamy coffee, a lot happens to make the final result as delicious and craveable as you get at the coffee shop. 

One of the best ways to deliver a perfect cup is with a milk frother. If you’re new to this device, you might have some questions about it, such as “does a milk frother heat milk?” Yes, a milk frother does heat milk, typically to around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The answer to do milk frothers heat milk is more complex as the temperatures can change. You can adjust the heat settings based on your needs, such as the type of milk you’re using. The purpose of heating the milk is so that it will aerate more efficiently and create thicker foam. 

The Science Of Milk Frothing

Most milk contains three primary elements: protein, fat, and carbs. These elements are why milk works so well for frothing. Cow’s milk contains two types of protein – casein and whey. When heating the liquid, the proteins are what create the bubbles, meaning that more protein equals thicker, richer foam.

So, milk options with less protein (i.e., almond milk) form smaller bubbles. Since the smaller surface area of these bubbles doesn’t collapse as easily, low-fat and protein milk foam can stay stable for longer. 

Which Milk Is Best For Frothing? 

a frothed milk in a cup with bread beside it
Choosing the best milk for you coffee depends on what you are trying to do with it

The answer to this question depends on what you’re trying to do. Whole milk can create a much thicker, creamier foam, while almond milk is ideal for microfoam. For example, if you want a massive clump of foam on top of your coffee, whole or two-percent milk will be best. If you’re trying to create latte art, nonfat or non-dairy milk will work better. 

What’s The Difference Between A Milk Frother And A Milk Steamer?

The essential difference between the two is that a steamer only heats the milk while a frother aerates it. Steamed milk works well for many coffee drinks, but it will mix in with the rest of the beverage rather than sitting on top. 

Milk steamers can create microfoam, but the bubbles won’t be very noticeable without mixing the liquid. That said, some people may use the term milk frother and milk steamer interchangeably, as many electric steamers also froth. 

Do I Need A Milk Frother To Create Foam?

No, you can do this process at home with just a glass jar and a microwave. Follow these steps: 

  • Pour the milk into the jar and cover it with a screw-top lid. 
  • Microwave the milk for about 30 seconds. Too long, and you could burn the proteins, creating a smoky and slightly unpleasant taste
  • Shake the milk once it’s out of the microwave. Shake for another 30 seconds or so until you see thick foam. Then, you can pour it out into your coffee. 

Which Coffees Use Milk Foam? 

espresso and cappucino coffee
Milk foam is such a great addition to Cappucino coffee

If you enjoy any of the following beverages, you should maybe invest in a milk frother: 

  • Cappuccino
  • Latte
  • Espresso
  • Americano
  • Macchiato
  • Mocha
  • Hot Chocolate

Keep in mind that many espresso machine models will have a milk frother or steamer built-in, so you might not have to buy a separate device. 

The Final Word On Does A Milk Frother Heat Milk

If you plan on making lots of high-end coffee at home, a milk frother is a valuable device. These machines can deliver coffee-shop quality beverages quickly and reliably. Best of all, you can find tons of electric milk frothers online at retailers like Amazon. If they’re dishwasher-safe, you can save a lot of time and energy from cleaning. 

FAQs about Do Milk Frothers Heat Milk

What temperature do milk frothers heat to?

Typically, these devices will heat the milk to 100 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The type of milk you use will affect your heat level. 

Should milk be hot or cold for frothing?

You want to use cold milk for frothing. As milk gets warm, the fat and proteins start to break down, making it harder to create foam. 

What is the best way to heat milk?

Ideally, you’ll be able to tell the temperature as you heat your milk. So, a handheld milk frother with a thermometer is perfect. However, if you don’t use a device, a microwave is the next best alternative. If you heat your milk over the stove, it could burn on the bottom and stay relatively cool on top. A microwave heats the liquid evenly.


  • Jonathan

    Jonathan is an avid coffee drinker, although he's known to knock back a few energy drinks too. He's been a writer for over seven years, which is why caffeine runs through his veins. Find Jonathan on WriterAccess.