Kitchen Gear: Ikea milk frother

My Ikea milk frother consists of a coil of wire attached to a rod attached to an electric motor. Looks cool, though.

Frothing milk with an espresso machine’s steaming wand is not particularly difficult, once you get the hang of it. It is, however, messy.

There’s a wand to clean, a steaming pitcher to take care of, etc. If I’ve got friends over, or if I’m in the mood for a tasty cappuccino, sure, it’s more than worth the effort. But what about when I just want a single bowl of café au lait to enjoy with my morning newspaper?

Battery-operated milk frothers have always intrigued me. Instead of whipping up foam with steam, as does a traditional espresso-machine steaming wand, they whip air into the hot milk, providing a simple milk foam for similarly simple drinks.

To be clear, a battery-powered milk frothing wand can’t replace the careful artistry of crafting the perfect foam for a decadent cappuccino. If that’s the kind of beautiful, steamed-to-perfection foam you’re looking for, you’re going to need to invest in a real espresso machine with a real steaming wand.

What the Ikea milk frother does do, however, is make one hell of a quick batch of foam for a bowl of café au lait. Just heat the milk in the microwave to the desired temperature, insert the tip of the milk frother into the hot milk, turn it on, and watch as it spins around, magically churning up a layer of foam. It doesn’t take long at all.

The downside? Build quality. This thing not only IS cheap, but it FEELS cheap, too. The little metal wand sometimes comes apart from the motor unit, and the battery compartment is very specific about which AA batteries it likes. It’s finicky, but that’s what you get when you pay $4 for a milk frother.

BONUS! NEAROF!’s quick and easy café au lait recipe

  1. Brew some strong coffee. Dark roasts are ideal.
  2. Fill a café au lait bowl (or other type of bowl) a bit more than a third full of milk.
  3. Zap milk in the microwave until it reaches the right temperature (in the 150 F range).
  4. Submerge the tip of the frothing wand in the hot milk, turn it on, and build the volume of the foam so that the bowl is a little more than half full of milk and foam.
  5. Top up the bowl with coffee. Add sugar, if that’s your inclination.
  6. Enjoy your morning newspaper. (Or newspaper website. Or iPad edition. It’s all good.)
A cafe au lait in a bowl, prepared with the help of an Ikea milk frother. Newspaper optional, but highly recommended.


Cost: About $4. For realsies.

Value for cash money: Great, even though the build quality is cheap. Don’t expect it to last you the rest of your life (unless you live dangerously).

Availability: Ikea, obviously. Other brands can be found at kitchen shops.

The verdict: Absolutely worth it for what it does. As long as you don’t expect it to produce the same results as an espresso machine, it’s not a bad little kitchen gadget.

In terms of kitchen gadgets, the Ikea milk frother is cheap and simple, and it does a good job, as long as you don't expect anything too grand.


  1. I bought one for my hubby (I’m not much of a milk in my coffee drinker) and he loves it. great bang for the buck.

    • The $4 price is what really sells it. Others can cost around $15 or $20, which is more of a risk if you’re not sure you’re going to use it. If milky coffee isn’t your thing, try using it to froth some milk for a chai latte. I’m a Canada Chai devotee (drink local!), but that’ll be the subject of a future post, no doubt. 🙂

  2. How do I cAhnge the batteries?

    • The batteries are a pretty tight fit, aren’t they? I seem to remember either shaking it a bit until a battery starts to come loose, or using something like a bamboo/wooden kebab/satay skewer to pry it out a bit, making sure I don’t bend anything inside.

  3. We used pliers with pointy tips to get the batteries out.

  4. I hace son Ikea Milk Frother and one day it accidentally fell off the countertop and it stopped working, how can I fix it? I usted it every da y to mix muy children milk. Please help me!!!

  5. Do you know what type of battery does it use? i bought one and cant use it! aa nor aaa wont work!

  6. I like it but i think im not using it the right way.somebody help me pls