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How to Make a Latte at Home

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Let’s learn how to make a perfect latte at home! If you’ve got the gear, you’ve got to give it a try. Not only is this homemade latte recipe very simple, but I’m here to walk you through it step-by-step. I’m not a barista, but I make espresso drinks every day and I can say with confidence that a good latte is totally doable at home. 🙂

I’m sharing a few latte variations below, but I also have a few other latte recipes already on my site: dirty chai latte, lavender latte, and this iced matcha latte. Serve up this latte with toast (avocado toast or ricotta toast are perfection!) or homemade brown sugar oatmeal if you want a cozy, warming meal.

Hand holding cozy latte.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

What is a latte?

A latte is technically a 1:3 ratio of 1 part espresso to 3 parts steamed milk and it’s topped with a thin layer of milk foam. The combination makes a caffeinated and creamy beverage.

Cappuccino vs latte – what’s the difference?

I’m so glad you asked as I love to talk about cappuccinos at every moment possible (it’s my favorite drink!). Most of the differences in espresso drinks have to do with the ratio of steamed milk and foam.

Cappuccinos are made with a 1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, equalling out to 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam. As mentionend above, a latte is a 1:3 ratio. The cappuccino is darker in color, richer in espresso flavor, and has a layer of stiffer foam on the top.

Hand pouring steamed milk over espresso for a latte at home.

What You’ll Love About Lattes at Home

  • Freshest you can get
  • Can be easily customized
  • Sweet and smooth milk and rich espresso
  • Don’t have to leave the house for your coffee fix
  • Big $$$ savings!
  • Made with just 2 ingredients


  • Espresso – Grab your favorite coffee beans in an espresso roast. I use a few different varieties, which are all local to me, so they are the freshest beans. The espresso roasts are designed to be paired with milk. Since I love light roast coffee, I will also sometimes experiment with a lighter, more subtle roast, and I love that too.
  • Milk – We stock whole milk, so that’s what I use for my coffee drinks, but you can really use whatever your favorite milk is. Cow’s milk has a naturally sweet flavor and gives a little protein boost but you can also use oat milk, almond milk, or any other non-dairy milk alternative. I would recommend using the “barista versions” of the milk alternatives.
  • Optional – If you want to sweeten or flavor your latte, you’ll need sugar or a syrup. To make a vanilla latte, follow the directions in this sweet ceam cold foam recipe for vanilla bean syrup.
Ingredients you'll need to make a latte at home.

How to Make a Latte with an Espresso Machine

This is an overview on how to make a latte, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Prep espresso. If you’re using an espresso maker, you’ll need to grind your beans and rake and tamp grounds so you can make the espresso right after steaming the milk. Add any syrup if using to your mug so it’s ready to go.
Espresso handle with ground coffee beans.
Steam milk. When you are making a latte, you want just a touch of thicker foam, but most velvety smooth steamed milk. The microbubbles can be made by creating a whirlpool effect by holding the steam wand into the milk pitcher at an angle. Be careful to not foam too much milk at the surface of the milk (this creates a stiffer foam), you want the wand submerged.
Milk being steamed.
Brew espresso. Once your milk is steamed, you’ll want to quickly brew your shots of espresso. You can brew it in a shot glass or right into your mug.
Espresso maker brewing espresso for latte recipe.
Assemble latte. Holding cup at an angle, slowly pour milk into mug over espresso. Finish with the thin layer of foam.
Hand pouring steamed milk over espresso for a latte at home.

Latte Variations

How to make a latte with a nesprsso machine

A nespresso latte recipe is essentially the same, though you will probably have an automatic milk frother instead of a steaming wand. Prep the milk, then brew your espresso into your mug and pour steamed milk over the top.

How to make a latte at home without a machine

I haven’t personally made a latte at home without a machine, but this article outlines how you can use an aero press, moka pot, or even a French press to make espresso at home. You could also use strong coffee for a similar alternative.

How to steam milk without a steam wand

Coffee shops use a professional grade steam wand and many at-home espresso makers also have a steam wand to use. But, if you don’t have one of those, you have other options. The easiest way is to use a frothing pitcher but if you don’t have one of those, gently warm your milk and then use a handheld milk frother or a mason jar (with lid!) and shake the warm milk until it’s a bit frothy. It won’t be a traditional latte, but it will still be simple, creamy and delicious.

What type of milk should you use in a latte?

You have so many milk options that you can use in your own latte. You can use soy milk, coconut milk, skim milk, whole milk, and virtually any milk in between. 🙂 I also share other options above in the ingredient list.

How to make an iced latte

The process to make a homemade iced latte is virtually the same, but even easier, because you don’t have to steam the milk. Pour milk over ice in a glass, adding syrup if you’re using, brew the espresso, and pour over milk. Stir and sip.

Flavored latte ideas

Once you know how to make simple syrup, the possibilities are endless! Here are some other flavored latte ideas (pumpkin spice latte is obviously included on the list!), as well as links to syrups that are ready to go.

Hand holding latte mug.

Cheater Latte Art

Ok, while learning how to create beautiful images with steamed milk is on my to-learn list, I’m not there yet! I actually think steaming milk is one of the harder parts of espresso machines to master.

But, I do have a cheater method! Pour the foam in a small circle. With a toothpick, drag through the top of the circle, down through the bottom andn it will create a faker heart. It works. 🙂

What to Serve with Homemade Lattes

I’d say this latte recipe needs some breakfast! Here are a few breakfast recipes to try:

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Finished latte in a mug.

More Coffee Drinks

If you like latte recipes like this one, be sure to try my other coffee drinks:

Let me Meal Plan for you!

In a dinner time rut? Overwhelmed with the task of meal planning? It’s time to hand over meal planning to a pro!

This done-for-you plan can easily be customized and your grocery list is made with the click of a button – all while you sit in the school pick up line.

You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and go into meals calm instead of stressed. Your dinner is planned and your grocery list is made and everything is conveniently delivered to an app so you can print it out, access from your phone, or computer.


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Hand holding cozy latte.

How to Make a Latte at Home

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Let’s learn how to make a perfect latte at home! Not only is this homemade latte recipe very simple, but I’m here to walk you through it step-by-step.


Units Scale
  • 12 shots of espresso
  • 6 oz. milk
  • flavored syrup (optional)


  1. Prep espresso if necessary.
  2. Steam milk for a latte (mostly microfoam steamed milk with a small layer of foam for top).
  3. Brew espresso.
  4. Pour brewed espresso over syrup (if using) in a mug and gently stir.
  5. Pour steamed milk into mug and top with foam.

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