The Keurig coffee maker is one of the most popular single-cup brewing systems available. It’s a great way to make a quick, hot cup of coffee at home or in the office. Many people wonder, though, can you put milk in a Keurig?
While it might seem like an obvious thing to do, using milk instead of water in your Keurig machine if you’re attempting to make some hot chocolate or other type of milk-based coffee drink, it can cause damage and even ruin your machine. If you want to brew with milk, there are other options that don’t require tampering with your perfect little pod brewer.
Let’s learn more about our friend the Keurig single-cup coffee maker, and why it is a really bad idea to be putting milk instead of water in the machine. But take heart, we’ll also look at some alternatives that will give you the result you’re seeking!
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How a Keurig Machine Brews a Cup of Coffee
Let’s first think about how a Keurig machine works as it brews a cup of hot, tasty coffee.
You’ll make sure there is water in the reservoir with water, which is quite handy because you don’t have to put fresh water in each time you want to brew a cup of coffee.
Your Keurig may have one or more buttons to choose from, to determine the strength and size of your cup of joe.
When you push the button, the water will be forced at pressure into the heating chamber via the hoses inside the machine.
When the water reaches the right temperature, 192 degrees Fahrenheit for many Keurig models, it will pass through another hose that’s located in the top of the coffee maker.
Meanwhile, your little K-cup has been waiting patiently while the water is heating. When you placed the pod in its compartment and closed the lid, a sharp needle pierced the top and bottom of the cup.
The top needle is the spray nozzle, and the bottom needle is the discharge nozzle.
The heated water is forced with a good deal of pressure (that is how it brews so quickly) into the top of the K-cup, and the brew flows out of the hole in the bottom of the K-cup and into your coffee mug.
This whole process only takes just a couple of minutes to complete until you have a delicious cup of joe.
Easy peasy. That’s what we love about our Keurigs.
What happens if You Use Milk Instead of Water in a Keurig Coffee Maker?
So, if you decide that your coffee, or your hot chocolate, will taste oh-so-much better if its made with milk than with plain old water, and you discard the water in the reservoir in favor of milk, what will the result be? Can you put milk in a Keurig?
Well, if you have put milk in a Keurig in place of water, it is going to heat up very quickly. What happens to milk when it’s heated quickly? It scalds.
- The burning milk can become stuck to the internal hoses and heating reservoir, potentially damaging them.
- Milk that is left in the reservoir will spoil quickly because it is left at room temperature.
- The next time you brew coffee after running milk through the Keurig, the resulting beverage may be cloudy and unappetizing due to the remaining milk residue.
All in all, it’s not a good idea to let your Keurig brew your beverage with milk in place of water.
If you want to make hot chocolate with your Keurig, or another type of beverage that would typically have you add milk, here are some options in K-cups that are more user-friendly!
Are There Keurig Coffee Makers That allow Using Milk to Make Beverages?
If you want to enjoy the option of including milk with your coffee drink, there are some higher-priced Keurig models that will let you do just that!
Keurig K-Café models are designed to create a variety of coffee drinks, and include milk frothers:
- quickly brew coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos
- a SHOT button will brew a concentrated shot of coffee from your favorite K-cup pod
- milk frother is dishwasher safe
- brew 6,8,10, and 12 ounce cups of coffee and coffee drinks
How to Clean the Machine if You’ve Added Milk to Your Keurig
If you’re researching the answer to the question, can you put milk in a Keurig, because you’ve already put milk in your Keurig machine, here are some potential remedies to clean out your Keurig and minimize the damage:
- Read the instructions for your specific model to know how much water to use for cleaning, and clean with it.
- Hand wash any removable parts.
- Use a vinegar and water solution to remove milk residue from the inside of the machine. Using equal parts vinegar and water (remove used pod from machine first), run through the machine until the water reservoir is empty. Then run several full reservoirs of fresh water through before brewing coffee again.
- Try a milk frother cleaner, as that is designed to break down milk protein fat and calcium build up
- Use a descaler solution for your Keurig before you brew coffee again
Hopefully, one or more of these remedies will save your Keurig, and help restore it to proper working order.
If you have put milk in a Keurig more than once or twice, your machine is likely permanently damaged. Ouch.
Can you put milk instead of water in a Keurig?
Well, you can, but you don’t want to. Keurig coffee machines are created to function properly with water only in the reservoir. Any other liquid including milk may damage the inner workings of the machine.
Will milk break a Keurig?
If you put milk in a Keurig coffee maker it may not break it, but it could cause it to function at less than optimum capacity. The milk should be emptied from the reservoir and the machine should be thoroughly cleaned, using one of the options noted in this article. And, if you continue to put milk in a Keurig it might cause permanent damage.
Can I put milk in my Keurig to make hot chocolate?
No, that is not the way to make hot chocolate with a Keurig. There are K-cups available that will brew hot chocolate and give you the result you want without putting milk into the Keurig. Please don’t do that.
Sum It Up: Is milk in a Keurig machine a good idea?
Well, my friend, I believe we’ve answered the question, can you put milk in a Keurig, completely and comprehensively. Of course, the short and simple answer is no…don’t do that. But we’ve also given you some options to consider going forward, so when you have a hankering for a coffee drink with milk, or some tasty hot chocolate, you know the right way to make that happen!
Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You’ll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕