A Keurig coffee maker can help you brew your favorite coffee with ease, no matter the time of day. Not to mention the abundance of flavors and options there are!
So when you are craving hot chocolate or do not have time to froth your milk, it is easy to wonder: can you put milk in a Keurig?
We bring the facts to the surface and help you know how best to handle your coffee maker.
Why You Shouldn't Put Milk In A Keurig Coffee Machine?
There are days when only a creamy hot chocolate will do.
Whether you want a latte or hot chocolate, steamed milk is a necessary element.
When in a rush, it is all too easy to wonder if putting milk in the water tank could get you a Keurig hot chocolate in half the time, especially if you're Keurig frother is broken or you don't have one.
However, if your machine does not have a milk tank, we cannot recommend putting cold milk in your Keurig machine.
Unless the instructions explicitly state that you can, it could cause damage to both the machine and you while providing a poor cup of hot chocolate.
Most Keurig machines have a convenient water reservoir that runs water through the machine and heats it up fast to bring you excellent coffee.
These are not designed for milk, so as milk is thicker than water, it will get stuck to the hot metal piping inside your machine.
This can spoil and damage your parts over time, causing a hazard for yourself and the Keurig water reservoir.
Additionally, milk does not dissolve well in water, meaning that it will likely taste of metal or burning in your mug. This is not exactly the best way to create your favorite coffee.
What Happens If You Do Put Milk In A Keurig?
As milk is thicker than water, not all of it will come out of the Keurig water tank.
As it heats through the internal piping, parts of the milk can scorch or get stuck to them as it travels through.
Unlike water, which cannot spoil after a day or two, this milk will go bad inside your machine, just as if you'd left a cup of milk on the counter for too long.
Each Keurig machine does get hot, with a temperature reaching about 192F. That's not hot enough to kill bacteria inside the machine.
They do get warm and damp enough to encourage any stuck milk to spoil and potentially mold if not cleaned quickly.
This could cause a nasty smell in your machine at best and food poisoning or a Keurig machine with problems at worst. Not to mention a place for more bacteria to flourish and multiply!
Each Keurig machine is designed to heat distilled water or bottled water fast.
This hot water can easily move through the machine without issue to create your regular coffee.
However, when you use milk instead of water, any milk inside the machine can burn or become spoiled milk.
This burned milk residue creates a hard milk crust that can clog parts of the machine, causing it to overheat and create a sharp smell and taste in your single-serve coffee.
When you add milk to anything other than milk tanks, it can get burned or stuck in your machine.
Areas that are particularly vulnerable to milk residue include small holes and the heating element. This milk will scorch and burn, causing your machine to stink as it spoils and overheats.
While it is possible to clean your Keurig of any whole milk or almond milk left inside the machine, they are hard to take apart.
This means that you may not be able to access certain parts that need a deeper clean.
When you want frothed milk for all your favorite milk-based drinks, we recommend heating the milk separately from your Keurig unless it has a designated milk tank or frother.
How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?
So how does a Keurig brewer brew coffee so perfectly every time?
Once you add water to your Keurig’s water reservoir and pop in a K-cup, the brew button causes the water to be sent through the machine.
As it moves through the machine, the heating element causes the water to get hot fast. This hot water is then run through the K-cup and brewed to bring you your favorite coffee.
As this happens, you can heat your foamy milk separately and add it to your cup for the perfect milky drink.
Depending on the Keurig model, you can froth or heat your milk as part of the Keurig brewing process, but these are the basics.
How To Make Hot Milk For Coffee Drinks
Still need your milky drinks in the morning but need help with how to get perfectly frothed milk every time?
There are a few ways to heat the milk and make hot chocolate without damaging your Keurig.
For those who want effortless warm milk, you can get milk pod K-cups.
A milk K-cup pod is filled with high-quality milk powder that dissolves in the hot water provided by the machine.
The machine will then pour milk into your cup, ready for any coffee pod milk or additional powders you may want to add.
If you find yourself regularly making hot chocolate, you can purchase hot chocolate pods that work the same way as K-cups.
A hot chocolate pod has both chocolate powder and milk powder inside it to bring you the perfect hot chocolate for less effort.
The Old Fashioned Way
To save your Keurig water tank and other internal components from getting damaged for a single cup, you could try the old-fashioned way! What’s that?
Set your Keurig to brew a small cup of coffee from your coffee pods or K-cups. As your machine is brewing coffee, you can heat milk in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
We recommend heating your milk slowly and mixing it regularly to avoid getting burnt milk and a bitter-tasting beverage at the end.
However, the old-fashioned way ensures that water remains the only liquid in your machine while providing you with delicious hot cocoa.
The key to the perfect latte is the frothy milk on top. Instead of putting whole milk that will curdle into your appliance, we recommend trying out a milk frother.
You can buy a Keurig brand model or another cheaper one to froth milk as part of your coffee brewing routine.
Alternatively, you can select a Keurig machine that is specifically designed to froth milk.
There are quite a few Keurig coffee machines that can froth or heat milk without running it through the internal system.
What To Do If You Put Milk In Your Keurig?
As we have discussed, running milk through your Keurig can easily damage the interior, making it such a bad idea.
Still, maybe your or your curious children have already attempted to run milk through your Keurig reservoir.
You may be able to save your Keurig with some proper cleaning.
- 1Turn off and unplug your coffee maker
- 2Take it apart according to manual instructions
- 3Soak any removable metal or plastic non-electrical parts in a solution of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda
- 4Fill the Keurig’s reservoir in the same solution
- 5Scrub any stubborn milk residue spots with the sponge or toothbrush
- 6Inspect the K-cup holes, using the end of your paperclip to clear any clogged holes
- 7If necessary, blow air through the water line with a straw to remove any warm milk
- 8Scrub any parts that you cannot remove with Q-tips or the sponge, and clear any hot milk still in the system
- 9Let everything dry completely
- 10Reassemble according to manual instructions
- 11Plug in and turn on your coffee maker
- 12Run a 1:1 water and vinegar solution or a descaling/cleaning solution through your machine on a brewing or cleaning cycle. Do not add a K-cup.
- 13You may have to repeat step 12 multiple times for a completely clean machine
- 14Once it is clean, fill the water reservoir with just water and run multiple cycles without a K-cup to remove any cleaning residue
If this does not remove the milk or smell, we recommend that you go to Keurig’s site or contact their customer service team to schedule a cleaning or maintenance check.
Common Questions About Milk In Keurig
Is there a Keurig that steams milk?
While we did say that adding milk to your Keurig is a bad idea, there are some models that allow you to put milk in a Keurig. Some Keurig coffee makers that have ways of adding milk alongside coffee grounds include:
If you find yourself needing to make hot chocolate often, we recommend purchasing a milk frother or a specially designed model.
Can you put anything other than water in a Keurig?
For most Keurig machines, water is the only liquid that you should put inside it besides a cleaning solution. A milk tank model can let you add milk but do not do so unless it is specifically designed for milk.
Still wondering, 'can you put milk in a Keurig?' In short, unless you have a specialized Latte making model, the answer is no for most Keurig coffee makers.
The rapid heating process for ones like the Keurig Rivo causes the milk to burn and spoil, creating headaches for you and damaging your machine.
If you do accidentally put milk in your Keurig Mini, clean your machine immediately and contact the customer service team if you need further assistance.