What is the best plant-based milk for frothing? If you love a good frothy coffee or cappuccino but without the harm from dairy, then you’ll want to read on for the answer.
I’ve tried several kinds of plant-based milk options, from soy to almond to macadamia to hazelnut and oat milk. I also used to drink cow’s milk before I learned the truth behind dairy. The good news is, that you can get just as much creamy foam from plant milk as you would from ‘regular’ milk.
Plant-based alternatives are actually the best option. Not only for our health but most importantly, for the animals.
So grab your frother and get ready to create your best froth in your next cup of Joe or matcha latte. And while you’re at it, you can have fun creating some latte art too!
10 Plant-Based Milks for Frothing
Frothing plant-based milks has become increasingly popular among coffee and tea drinkers who prefer non-dairy options. These milks made from nuts, or seeds, offer a creamy and satisfying texture that can mimic traditional dairy milk.
However, not all plant-based milk froth equally well. Some may require specific techniques or equipment to achieve the desired texture. Below we will explore the best non-dairy milk for frothing and tips for achieving the perfect froth.
Frothing Oat Milk
This dairy-free alternative has gained popularity not only for its taste but also for its sustainability. It makes it a top favorite if you’re looking for a more eco-conscious and cruelty-free latte or tea experience.
Plus, the creamy texture in oat milk makes this plant milk ideal for frothing. It comes the closest to whole milk where creaminess is concerned. Adding a creamy, dairy-free touch to your favorite coffee or hot beverages.
The natural composition of oat milk as well as its higher carbohydrate content compared to other plant-based alternatives, lends itself perfectly to frothing.
Whether you’re using the steam wand from your espresso machine or a handheld frother, the key is to gently heat the oat milk first. You can even use a saucepan on the stovetop if that’s your personal preference. This warmth helps create a smooth creamier foam as air is introduced during the frothing process.
Whether you’re a barista crafting gourmet coffee creations or simply an oat milk lover, frothing oat milk adds an extra layer of indulgence to your daily brew!
Frothing Soy Milk
Soy milk is a popular option for lattes and cappuccinos due to its high protein content that aids in creating stable froth. Especially if you’re looking for dairy-free vegan milks.
Frothing soy milk is definitely possible and option a creamy texture to your coffee and other hot beverages. Due to its protein content and emulsifying properties, soy milk can create a stable microfoam in the frothing process.
It’s among the most common alternative milks available at coffee shops. It’s also a popular choice if you’re seeking a plant-based alternative that can rival traditional dairy milk in texture and taste.
Frothing Almond Milk
It’s no secret that almond milk’s popularity has gained momentum over the years. With good reason. It’s a healthier
Almond milk is a light and subtly sweet nut milk that froths pretty well. Making it a great way to add a creamy texture to your coffee or hot chocolate, without the added calories of regular milk or cream.
Depending on the brand, it can froth up beautifully. Using a barista milk brand will give you a better almond milk froth yielding the best results.
Unless of course, you make your own almond milk. Which froths amazingly well.
In general, nondairy milks specifically designed for barista use are formulated to froth better than others. This is due to their added stabilizers.
These milk substitutes are typically labeled, ‘Barista Edition’ or ‘Barista Blend’ like the one sold by Califia Farms. Most grocery stores carry these so you shouldn’t have a problem finding them.
To froth almond milk, simply heat it on the stovetop until it is warm but not boiling. Then, use a steam wand, frother, or immersion blender to create the steamed milk and thick foam.
You can also add flavorings like vanilla extract, or a monk fruit sweetener before frothing to add to the deliciousness.
Frothing Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a popular non-dairy alternative to regular milk for frothing in coffee shops.
However, it can be a bit challenging to froth compared to some other plant milk alternatives. Primarily due to its lower protein content and high-fat content.
While it’s possible to froth coconut milk, it may not achieve the same level of frothiness as soy or oat milk. To froth coconut milk, a can of full-fat coconut milk is the best choice. Do not use the thinner, beverage-style coconut milk found in cartons as it will not give you frothy results.
Refrigerate the can to separate the thick cream from the liquid, then scoop out the cream and use that for frothing. Heat it gently, avoiding boiling, and use a steam wand or frother to introduce air.
The result will be a rich, coconut-flavored froth that can add a unique twist to your hot beverages. For a sweetened version, add some monk fruit sweetener which makes a perfect cane sugar replacement.
Frothing Macadamia Milk
Frothing macadamia milk is another delicious dairy-free option for creating creamy and frothy beverages. Known for its nutty flavor and rich texture, macadamia milk makes a good frothing option.
This is one of my favorites! It’s a good option if you like a hint of nuttiness and sweet flavor in your latte or hot cocoa. It’s a perfect fall-type frothing nut milk.
Like almond milk, it’s essential to choose a variety specifically designed for frothing. Typically labeled as “barista” or “barista-style” macadamia milk. These versions often contain added emulsifiers to enhance frothing capabilities.
To froth macadamia milk successfully, heat it gently to just below boiling, on the stovetop. Then, use a steam wand or a frother to create a luxurious microform.
The result is a velvety froth with a delicious macadamia flavor that will boost the taste and texture of your coffee or latte.
Frothing Hazelnut Milk
Known for its sweet and nutty flavor, hazelnut milk creates a unique taste experience in your favorite fall drinks. Hazelnut milk is another one of my favorites. I highly recommend it for your fall drink creations.
It adds a perfect flavor to coffee, lattes, hot chocolate, smoothies, and even baked goods. However, frothing it may be more of a challenge depending on the brand you use.
To froth hazelnut milk, opt for varieties designed for barista use. They often contain stabilizers that help improve frothing consistency. Personally, I prefer the homemade kind as it froths perfectly well in my opinion.
As with the other plant milks, gently heat the hazelnut milk to just below boiling. Then with your espresso machine’s steam wand or a handheld frother, froth away!
Froth until you generate the air bubbles and creamy texture you desire.
Frothing Cashew Milk
Similar to almond milk, its richness creates a decent froth. This is another popular plant milk option commonly used in coffee, tea, or lattes.
Cashew milk is not only a great alternative to dairy milk, but it also helps with lactose intolerance. And while it’s obviously different from dairy milk, it can still produce a nice froth.
Here is a video where I make it in my Nutr machine.
The best way is to use a good frother and heat up the milk at a slightly higher temperature, just below boiling. Then, froth while it is still hot for best results.
Frothing Pea Protein Milk
While this one is a less common option, it still froths impressively well.
Pea milk has gained popularity in recent years due to its creamy texture and relatively high protein content. Making it a suitable choice for creating frothy, dairy-free lattes and cappuccinos.
To froth pea milk, simply heat it up warm but just below boiling. Then, use your steam wand or frother to create a smooth and creamy microform.
Pea milk’s frothing capabilities make it a great option if you’re seeking a protein-rich milk alternative. Offering a unique and delicious frothing experience.
It goes well with coffee, lattes, tea, smoothies, or your favorite drink of choice.
Frothing Rice Milk
This type of milk produces small bubbles that dissipate quickly, making it less ideal for lattes or cappuccinos. Therefore, frothing rice milk can be a bit more challenging in comparison to other nondairy milks.
The reason is that rice milk is lower in the proteins responsible for creating the frothing foam. However, rice milk can still be frothed using a few different methods.
One way is to use a handheld frother or a milk frother machine. Simply heat the rice milk in a saucepan, then use the frother to create the foam.
Another method is to use a French press. Heat the rice milk, then pour it into the French press and pump the plunger up and down until it becomes frothy.
While the result may not be as creamy or long-lasting as some other plant-based milks, it’s definitely worth a try!
Frothing Pistachio Milk
Pistachio plant milk has a mild, nutty flavor with a hint of green. It is also capable of frothing. However, its frothing properties may differ from traditional dairy milk or other nut milk alternatives. It all depends on the brand.
In my experience using Three Trees pistachio milk worked perfectly fine. In fact, it’s one of my favorite brands to use. All of their milks are made with clean ingredients and froth amazingly well.
You can see for yourself in this video.
Froth pistachio milk in coffee, tea, or your favorite latte for a creamy, bubbly yummy beverage option. It’s good stuff!
Frothing Hemp Milk
Hemp milk has a creamy, light texture and makes a great vegan frothing option with larger bubbles that hold up pretty well. It’s a perfect dairy-free option for adding cream and froth to your coffee or favorite beverages.
Hemp milk contains a reasonable amount of protein and fat, which contributes to its ability to froth. Unlike other plant milk, hemp seed milk can easily froth at room temperature.
This plant milk is probably the easiest to make. I often make hemp milk using my Nutr machine which automatically creates a bubbly, creamy foam when done.
It makes a perfect milk and froth without added equipment.
Use this milk in your coffee, matcha tea, or lattes for a delicious creamy ‘additive.”
How Frothed Milk is Made
Milk froth is created by introducing air into milk and transforming it into a light and creamy foam. This process typically involves heating the milk and then using a frothing method to incorporate air.
One common technique is to steam the milk using a steam wand on an espresso machine, which simultaneously heats and froths the milk. Alternatively, milk can be heated separately and then frothed using a whisk, frothing wand, or even by shaking it vigorously in a jar.
The result is a delightful frothy texture that enhances the taste and presentation of beverages like cappuccinos, lattes, and hot chocolates. This adds a silky foam to these classic-style drinks.
Temperature Needed to Make Milk Foam
The temperature needed to make milk foam effectively for coffee or espresso drinks is typically between 150°F to 155°F (65°C to 68°C).
This temperature range allows the milk proteins to denature and create a stable microform. In turn, this results in achieving a creamy and velvety texture in your foam.
General Guideline for Frothing Dairy Free Milk
Heat the Milk: Start by heating your milk in a small saucepan or steam pitcher. Heat milk to around 150-155°F (65-68°C). Be careful not to overheat it, as it can scorch or taste burnt if it gets too hot.
Frothing Process: Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the heat source. Next, insert a steam wand from an espresso machine or use a milk frother just beneath the milk’s surface.
Froth the Milk: Turn on the steam/frothing wand and position it so that it creates a whirlpool effect in the milk. This helps distribute the foam evenly.
Froth the milk until it has expanded in volume and reaches your desired foaminess. Keep the steam wand submerged to continue heating the milk slightly during this process.
Temperature Control: While frothing, monitor the milk’s temperature using a thermometer or the built-in thermometer on some espresso machines.
Ideally, you want to maintain the milk’s temperature between 150-155°F (65-68°C) throughout the frothing process. (This is not an essential step but is useful if this is all new to you.)
Pour and Serve: Once you’ve achieved the desired foam and temperature, pour the milk foam into your coffee or espresso shot and enjoy your drink.
Remember that different nut milks and brands may froth slightly differently. Experimentation may be necessary to find the ideal frothing temperature and technique for various plant milks.
Additionally, make sure to clean your steam wand or frothing wand thoroughly after each use to maintain hygiene and prevent milk residue buildup.
What do you need to make frothed milk?
To make frothed milk for coffee or other beverages, you’ll need a few essential tools and ingredients:
1. Milk: Choose non-dairy milk of your choice, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk for example.
2. A Milk Frothing Pitcher or Steam Pitcher: This is a small, stainless steel pitcher designed for frothing milk. It usually has a narrow spout, which makes pouring the frothed milk easier.
3. A Steam Wand or Frothing Wand:
If you have an espresso machine: Most espresso machines come with a steam wand that you can use to froth milk.
If you don’t have an espresso machine: You can use a handheld milk frother or a countertop milk frother, which typically comes with a frothing wand.
4. A Thermometer: This is optional but can be helpful for achieving the right frothing temperature (around 150°F to 155°F or 65°C to 68°C).
5. A Coffee or Espresso Maker: You’ll need to make coffee or espresso to pair with your frothed milk.
6. A Cup or Mug: To serve your coffee or espresso with frothed milk.
When it comes to frothing plant milk, the key is using the right nut milk brand or making the milk yourself. I typically make my own milk unless I use a brand like Three Trees that makes it just the same.
It makes a big difference when you use straight-up ingredients versus those with additives and other junk stuff that reduce the nutritional content.
Unless you want to get fancy with an espresso machine, all you really need is a frother. Or, an all-in-one machine like the Nutr to create yummy foamy drink recipes. Your drink will turn out perfect every time!
FAQs about Frothing Plant-Based Milk Alternatives
Why do some types of milk froth easier than others?
The two biggest reasons why some milks froth better than others is due to its protein and fat content. When you use commercialized plant milk versus homemade, you’re getting more water than ‘milk.’
Making your own nut or seed milk retains all the frothing properties needed for a silky, foamy, and creamier froth.
Which milk substitute is best for frothing?
The best milk substitute for frothing is typically going to be oat milk. It’s among the preferred of many coffee drinkers. But any of the other plant-based milks mentioned work just as fine.
I’ve had chagaccino coffee several times using macadamia, almond, and oat milk. And each time, the froth has come out creamy and foamy enough to even add latte art.
Here’s a frothy latte recipe you might want to try. It’s a perfect treat for fall if you like pumpkin!
Is oat milk or almond milk better for frothing?
Your best bet is going to be oat milk which makes a big difference when it comes to creaminess. It’s also most often the preferred choice for even the avid coffee drinker.
Which plant-based milk is most like dairy milk?
Soy milk is often considered the most similar to dairy milk in terms of texture and composition. It has a mild, neutral flavor and a creamy consistency that closely resembles cow’s milk.