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How to Froth Milk on the Stovetop

There are many fancy gadgets that will help you froth milk for lattes. But, you don’t need them to get good results. With a few items you probably already have in your kitchen, you can froth milk on the stovetop if you follow these tips. (These directions apply to cow’s milk.)

How to froth milk on the stovetop

What You Need

Here’s what you need to froth milk on the stovetop:

  • a metal whisk
  • a small saucepan
  • 2% or whole milk (ultra-pasteurized)
  • a food thermometer (or infrared laser thermometer gun)

A few words about milk. When I first started to froth milk on the stovetop, I couldn’t understand why sometimes I had great results and other times had horrible results. Then, I finally realized that ultra-pasteurized milk (UHT) frothed very well with my method, but pasteurized (HTST) did not. Typically, I use 2% or whole milk. I am not sure how this method works with lower-fat milk.

I have an infrared laser thermometer gun. (Trying saying that three times fast!) I LOVE it. The thermometer gun allows me to easily check the temperature of anything except a person. If you can’t imagine what I mean, you can see one here. It’s also convenient because it doesn’t require any washing afterwards. You can use a cooking thermometer meant for hot liquids, of course.

Steps to Froth Milk on the Stovetop

Here’s how to froth milk on the stovetop.

  • Pour milk into a saucepan. Make sure the milk isn’t so high in the saucepan that it will be likely to spill when you froth it.
  • Turn the burner on medium-high heat.
  • Gently stir the milk with the whisk to avoid hot spots as it warms.
  • Once the milk reaches between 150-160F (65-70C), turn the heat down to low and vigorously (but carefully to avoid burning yourself) start whisking.

I usually get good results in 40-60 seconds of whisking. You can start whisking around 135F, but the bubbles will be larger and the foam less silky in texture.

Fun Ways to Use Frothed Milk

After you froth milk on the stovetop, there are so many ways to enjoy it!

You can:

  • drink the latte plain (or with a touch of honey or other sweetener)
  • enjoy it with a splash of vanilla extract stirred in
  • try my delicious (and pink!) Rose Cardamom Latte recipe
  • add a square, or many squares, of your favorite chocolate
  • add strongly brewed black tea or masala chai (For a caffeine-free “chai milk,” add chai spices directly into the frothed milk.)
  • make a London Fog by adding the froth milked, a teaspoon of vanilla, and sweetener to very strongly brewed cup of Earl Grey tea
  • create a matcha latte by adding it to thick matcha paste

Do you have a favorite way to use frothed milk that I didn’t mention? Please share in the comments!

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