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How to Froth Milk in a French Press (Step by Step)

Frothy coffee is incredibly popular for good reason! The silky smoothness of steamed, frothed milk is to die for. You may see your local barista steaming a jug of milk when making your favourite latte, thinking ‘if only I could reproduce that at home!’. 

Well, not everyone owns an espresso machine with a milk steaming wand, but that doesn’t mean that milk can’t be frothed in other ways! 

In fact, your humble French press can do a great job of making hot, steamed milk from the comfort of your own home. So, let’s take a closer look at how to froth milk using a French press, step by step.  

Why Do People Froth Milk Anyway?

Hot, steamed milk and strong, punchy coffee have gone hand in hand for generations. There’s something about the velvety, creamy texture of steamed, frothy milk that pairs so well with bitter espresso

So many popular espresso based drinks use frothy milk. Think cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites and cortados

However, hot, steamed, frothy milk doesn’t have to be reserved for your local coffee shop! Using a French press to froth your milk is an easy, inexpensive way to incorporate air into your milk of choice. 

How to Froth Milk in a French Press (Step by Step)

So, here is your step by step guide for frothing milk with a French press yourself! 

What You’ll Need

  • French Press
  • Milk (full fat works best, but use your milk of choice)

Step 1: Heat Your Milk

The first step in creating the perfect frothy, steamed milk from home is to heat up your milk so it is nice and nutty. Warming up milk releases a natural sweetness and nuttiness that goes perfectly well with strong coffee! 

You can use the stovetop or the microwave to heat up your milk. I’d recommend using the stove top and stirring the milk throughout the heating process, as this gives you greater control. 

Sometimes, if you heat milk too vigorously and quickly, you can end up splitting it or forming a skin on the top, and we don’t want that in your cup of joe

If you are using a microwave to heat your milk, warm it for 20 seconds at a time and stir, as this will reduce the risk of overheating your milk. 

If you are using a thermometer or probe to check the temperature of your milk, the ideal range for steamed milk sits between 55-62 Celsius, or 155-165 Fahrenheit. 

Step 2: Pour Milk Into French Press

Once your milk is heated up, simply pour it into your French press, being careful not to burn your fingers or make a mess! 

The amount of milk you need will depend on how many cups of frothy coffee you’re trying to make. But, bear in mind that you don’t want to overfill your French press as we are going to plunge it vigorously to make that milk frothy! 

Fill your French press up halfway, and froth your milk in batches if you are catering for a large audience. 

Step 3: Pump the Milk With Plunger

Here is the fun part! 

Once you have your French press filled up halfway with your hot milk, it’s time to plunge and make that milk frothy! 

Place the lid and plunger on top of your French press, and slowly press the plunger down to the bottom of the container, and then raise it back up again. 

The aim here is to get as much air into the milk as possible, so start off slowly and then increase the speed as you go. 

Make sure to hold the lid on securely with your other hand whilst you are plunging your hot milk, as you can easily make a mess when frothing milk in a French press! 

Continue to pump your milk until you can clearly see foam bubbles forming and the volume has increased. Just how frothy you want your milk is up to you, and will depend on the type of coffee you’re making. 

For example, if you are making a cappuccino, you’ll probably want more frothy milk with more foam than if you are making a flat white! 

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy! 

Finally, once you have your freshly frothed milk in your French press, it’s time to serve and enjoy! 

You can add your frothy milk to any freshly brewed coffee you choose. Espresso tends to cut through dense milk quite well, but if you don’t have an espresso machine to hand, check out these 7 ways to make espresso without a machine

Top Tips For Frothing Milk in a French Press

Here are a few tips to make sure you get your French press milk frothing right every time!

Don’t Overfill Your French Press

The first top tip when frothing milk in a French press is to not overfill your container, or you could make a big mess! 

Remember, you are dealing with hot liquid here, so it is important to not overfill your French press when plunging, as the milk could easily spill over and burn you. 

Don’t Let Your Milk Boil!

Another tip is to warm your milk gently and don’t let it boil or simmer aggressively. This will ensure your milk doesn’t split or form a skin on the surface, as no one wants that floating around in their coffee! 

Alternative Ways to Froth Milk

Using a French press to froth up your milk may not be the first method that comes to mind, so here are a couple of alternative ways to get perfectly fluffy milk! 

Electric Milk Frother

Electric milk frothers take the work out of frothing your own milk! They are an all in one solution that heats, spins and froths your milk perfectly at the touch of a button. 

They aren’t cheap, but you can find some of the best electric milk frother prices on Amazon here

Hand Milk Frother

Hand milk frothers are an inexpensive alternative to electric frothers, and give you a great deal of control over the amount of air you are incorporating into your hot milk! 

You still have to heat up the milk yourself, but once you’ve done that you can whizz it up and create the perfect texture for you. 

Check out these handheld milk frothers on Amazon!


Overall, frothing your own milk doesn’t have to be a laborious process that makes a mess. Using a French press to froth your own milk from the comfort of your own home is an easy, quick and inexpensive way to take your coffee to the next level! 

So, give it a try for yourself! 

Related Questions

Is French Press Frothed Milk Better? 

Whilst an electric milk frother is an all in one solution for heating and steaming milk easily, a French press is a great way to get plenty of air into your milk if you are on a budget! 

Should You Heat Milk Before Frothing It?

Yes, heating your milk first makes sense as it makes the milk more susceptible to incorporating air (microfoam) into the liquid. 

How to Make a Latte With a French Press? 

Simply follow the steps above to create perfectly frothy milk, and pour in some of your favourite, freshly brewed coffee to combine! Then, pour into your serving cup and enjoy! 

Can You Froth Half and Half?

Yes! Using half and half in your frothy coffee gives it even more creaminess and a thicker consistency. You can follow the steps above and simply replace your milk with half and half, no problem. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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