How to Make Milk Foam (Without a Frother or a Machine!)

Kitchen Hacks

We love a bit of creamy foam topping our morning coffee, but haven't really wanted to invest the funds or the counterspace in an actual milk steamer. Here's how we get around it with just a jar and a microwave!

What You Need

Fresh milk

Small jar with a lid
Microwave oven

1. Find a jar with a lid and fill it with as much milk as you normally like in your coffee (or other hot beverage!). The milk should fill the jar no more than half way to allow room for the foam.

2. Shake the jar with the lid on as hard as you can until the milk has become frothy and doubled in size. This takes us about 30 seconds.

3. Take the lid off and microwave for another 30 seconds. The foam will rise to the top of the milk and the heat from the microwave will help stabilize it.

4. Pour the milk into your coffee using a spoon to hold back the foam. Then scoop the foam on top!

We first heard about this technique in Harold McGee's book On Food and Cooking, but didn't believe it would work until we tried it. Now we're hooked and make a little warm milk and foam every morning while our coffee is brewing. We usually use 2% milk, but cream and half-and-half make even better foam!

Do you like foam on your coffee?

Related: Coffee Talk: Cafe Au Lait, Cappuccino, Latte, and Machiatto

Post originally published November 9, 2009

(Images: Emma Christensen)