Basic Steamer

Basic steamer drink

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Total: 6 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
287 Calories
5g Fat
57g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 287
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 150mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 57g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 301mg 23%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 380mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A steamer is a hot milk-based drink that's flavored and sweetened with syrup. While it's very popular in coffee shops, this basic steamer recipe will show you how easy it is to make at home. You can create steamers in many flavors and use non-dairy milk to create soy or other vegan steamers. This recipe makes one serving, but it can easily be adjusted to make a larger quantity.

To make a steamer, you will need to steam milk. If you have an espresso machine, the frothing wand makes this a quick and easy task. However, a full machine is not required because you can also steam milk on the stovetop with a whisk or milk frother. Another low-tech option is to shake warm milk in a Mason jar for about a minute. With either of these options, you want to avoid scalding the milk, so use gentle heat and be patient. You also won't get the superfine bubbles that a frothing wand creates, but the drink will be just as enjoyable.

By switching out the flavored syrup, your steamer can take on different characteristics. Popular steamer flavors include caramel, Irish cream, mint, chocolate, and vanilla. If you're making a fruit-flavored steamer, add the milk gradually to avoid curdling or add vanilla syrup along with it to prevent curdling. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, use a sugar-free flavored syrup. While you can buy flavored syrup, it's also simple to make many syrups at home, which offer even more customization options for your steamers.

Unless the syrup you use includes caffeine, the steamer is a caffeine-free drink. This makes it an excellent choice for a comforting evening beverage, and they're a delightful alternative to coffee or tea any time of day.

"This was so easy and so delicious! I prefer a light touch when using flavored syrup, so I only used 2 tablespoons. I love whipped cream, but this steamer was so frothy and creamy that I didn't feel like I needed it." —Diana Andrews

Basic Steamer/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup milk, or milk alternative

  • 3 tablespoonsflavored syrup, or to taste

  • Whipped cream, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make a basic steamer

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Using a frothing steam wand or on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a frothing wand , steam the milk or milk alternative.

    Steaming milk on a stove top burner

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the flavored syrup into the bottom of a large mug or cup. Pour the steamed milk into the glass and stir the drink, if needed. Add the whipped cream, if using, and enjoy!

    Basic steamer drink topped with whipped cream

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • For the syrup, 3 tablespoons is equal to 1 1/2 ounces, or three squirts from a Torani dispenser. You can also use the syrup manufacturer's recommended quantity.

Recipe Variation

  • Skip the dairy milk and use your favorite milk alternative, such as soy milk or almond milk.