How to Make a Latte at Home

Updated: Apr. 11, 2023

Skip the coffee shop and make a delicious latte in the comfort of your own home.

When it comes to morning routines, coffee is the first priority for most people, including myself! But if your drink of choice is anything beyond basic drip coffee, the cost of treating yourself to a morning espresso drink can add up.

We have good news: You can learn how to make a latte—aka one of the most popular coffee drinks—at home and save hundreds of dollars throughout the year. Plus, you can stay in your pajamas and still have a warm, coffee-shop-worthy latte in your hands.

What Is a Latte?

A latte consists of espresso, steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top. Because it’s about 1 part espresso to 3 parts steamed milk, it ends up feeling like a much creamier drink than a cappuccino (which has more foam than milk). As one of the simpler espresso drinks, it’s a great one to try at home even if you don’t have an espresso maker. You can also add a flavored syrup—chocolate, hazelnut, caramel—to kick it up a notch.

Cappuccino vs. Latte

A cappuccino is similar to a latte, with less steamed milk and more frothed milk. A traditional Italian cappuccino will have a 1:1:1 ratio of one shot of espresso to equal parts steamed and frothed milk. They are traditionally 8-oz drinks, so a large cappuccino will actually end up being a latte.

Macchiato vs. Latte

Macchiato, which means “stained” in Italian, is an espresso with just a dash of foamed milk. The name refers to the way the milk stains the color from a deep black to milky brown. The macchiatos that a lot of people know nowadays have a much higher milk ratio, but that would more technically be known as a latte macchiato.

Flat White vs. Latte

A flat white is an Australian drink that is very similar to a cappuccino, but without the foam. A flat white is espresso and steamed milk, and it tends to be slightly smaller than a latte.

How to Make a Latte

How To Make A Latte At HomeRisa Lichtman For Taste of Home


Tools You’ll Need

  • Drip coffee maker: A basic coffee maker is all you’ll need for this recipe. If you’ve been looking into updating your current one, take your pick of great drip coffee makers from our roundup of favorites.
  • Small saucepan: A 1 qt. saucepan is a great size for heating up your milk. It’s small and will heat your milk quickly so that your latte will be in your hands as quickly as possible on busy mornings.
  • Milk frother: A handheld milk frother will take your latte from a basic at-home drink to something out of a coffee shop! This will get your milk to foam up just the way many coffee drinks require.


Step 1: Make coffee (or espresso)

How To Make A Latte At Home Step 1Risa Lichtman For Taste of Home

Brew a cup of coffee according to the instructions for your coffee maker. Measure out 1/3 cup of coffee.

Alternatively, if you do have an espresso machine, pull 1-2 shots. (These are our Test Kitchen’s favorite espresso machines.)

Step 2: Froth milk

How To Make A Latte At Home Step 2Risa Lichtman For Taste of Home

Warm your milk over the stove until it’s hot and tiny bubbles begin to form around the sides. Be careful, milk will boil over very quickly, so remove it from the heat once those little bubbles appear.

Hold the frother at an angle and move it up and down just under the surface of the milk for about 20 seconds. You’re looking to make very small, foamy bubbles here. When done, tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any bigger bubbles.

Step 3: Pour milk over espresso

How To Make A Latte At HomeRisa Lichtman For Taste of Home

Pour the coffee (or espresso) into a coffee cup, then pour in the remaining hot milk. Spoon foam over top and serve immediately.

FAQs About Making a Homemade Latte

How do you make a latte without an espresso machine?

No espresso machine? No problem! Use any coffee machine—including a Chemex or a French press—to brew a fresh batch of coffee and follow the above directions.

How do you froth milk for a latte?

There are many ways to froth milk for a latte. If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine at home, chances are it features a milk frother. You can also purchase a handheld milk frother. To use a frother, pour milk into a glass measuring cup or mug, and immerse the frother into the liquid. Turn it on and whisk it around in the milk until it’s frothed to your liking.

How do you make a latte without a frother?

There are a couple tricks to froth milk without a frother. Use a metal whisk and hold the handle loosely between your palms, rubbing your hands back and forth. Use a spoon to remove foam to a small measuring cup as it forms. Continue whisking until the foam measures 1/8 to 1/4 cup; then set your whisk aside.

You can also use a French press to froth your milk. Pour the warm milk into the container and place the lid with plunger on top. Vigorously (and carefully) pump up and down, making sure to hold down the lid. The milk will expand as it is frothed, so be sure not to fill it up too high.