You want a creamy hot chocolate on a winter day, and you turn to your Keurig. Can you put milk in a Keurig?
Surely that water tank can also take milk, right?
The quick answer is no. In fact, using milk in a Keurig machine is actually a bad idea.
But you deserve the full answer. So, keep reading to find out how a Keurig makes coffee and what will happen if you add milk to a Keurig reservoir tank. I’ll also help you know what you can do to save your Keurig coffee maker if someone did put milk into it.
Keurig 101 Summary
A single cup Keurig coffee maker is one of the most convenient ways to brew coffee. The brewing process is fast and easy, which is no doubt the secret to its success. How does a Keurig work?
Just pop a single-serve coffee pod into the Keurig machine, press a button, and wait a couple of minutes as the little machine serves you your coffee. It’s like having a barista in your kitchen.
What is in a K cup coffee pod? If you look inside the small plastic K cup, you’ll find a paper filter with coffee grounds. The K cup is then sealed with a layer of aluminum foil.
When you insert the coffee pod into a Keurig machine, a needle punches a hole in the aluminum foil at the top. That’s where the pressurized water will enter. Of course, the water also needs to exit once it’s brewed. So another needle creates a similar hole in the bottom.
Keurig machines extract water from the water reservoir and force it through the K cup. It then lets the coffee brew and directs it down into your coffee mug.
A single cup brewer like a Keurig has a different brewing process from a regular coffee maker or espresso maker. A regular drip coffee maker has a filter that you fill with coffee. You add fresh water to the reservoir, and a shower head sprays water over the coffee. The coffee brews, and the coffee maker directs the brew down to the carafe waiting below.
A regular espresso maker heats water and forces that pressurized water through ground coffee that has been placed in the metal basket of a portafilter. In less than 30 seconds, hot brewed coffee comes out of the portafilter, and along the way, the pressure creates an intense shot of espresso topped with crema.
Of course, a Keurig machine is more than just a coffee maker. They give you the option of making hot chocolate, tea, and other drinks.
Don’t Put Milk In A Keurig Water Tank
If you have a Keurig, you know it has a water tank. Not a milk tank. There’s a big difference.
Can you put milk in a Keurig? Unfortunately, no. The water tank was not designed for milk. Adding milk in your Keurig will lead to disastrous results.
Some Keurigs do have milk tanks, which is a separate piece of equipment where you can put milk to heat it and froth it.
If you use a Keurig with milk tanks, like a K Café machine, you brew your coffee and then prepare milk in a separate frother. Then you add milk to the drinks you want.
So what does happen if you put milk in a Keurig?
Putting Milk In A Keurig: Consequences
What can happen if you add milk in your Keurig? I’ll go over three common problems associated with putting milk in the Keurig’s reservoir: mold, burnt milk, and damage to the machine.
If you add milk in your Keurig and don’t clean it thoroughly afterward, you’ll find that old milk residues hang around the water tank.
Besides the gross taste that sour milk would give your coffee, you’d also soon find mold growing inside the tank. Mold can start to develop very fast, within just hours in a hot climate. Mold is one of those tastes you don’t want to find in coffee.
No one likes sour coffee, but drinks with sour milk are even worse. And it can make you or your family sick.
Keurig machines are designed to heat water and heat it fast. After all, the reason you have a Keurig machine is to get fast beverages.
Water can be heated at high temperatures without dire consequences. Dairy, on the other hand, is in a different category.
High heat will burn your milk rather than heat it. That scalded, hot milk smells awful, tastes awful, and is not something you want in your cup of joe.
Likewise, the taste of burnt milk in your latte is probably the last flavor you want in your creamy drink.
Even more serious, you might find that the metal components in your Keurig react badly to heating milk. Unlike water, hot milk clings to heating elements.
In the same way, think about the last time you tried to heat milk in a saucepan. In the end, you might have found a film of heated milk on the bottom of the pan. That residue is hard to get off the saucepan, and if you leave it there it will taint the next thing you cook.
The same thing happens inside the Keurig machine. That layer of milk clinging to the heating element is not only hard to detect, but also hard to remove. It can spread throughout the heating system and affect every internal part of the Keurig.
How would you clean up burnt milk?
What To Do If You Have Put Milk In A Keurig
What if your spouse, child, or other guilty family member thought adding milk to the water tank was a great idea?
Perhaps they just wanted to make delicious hot cocoa and didn’t consider the consequences. I’ll walk you through the cleaning process.
First, don’t panic. Then find the owner’s manual so you can follow the cleaning instructions.
Unplug your Keurig machine
Dismantle the machine, following those instructions in the owner’s manual. Your goal is to get to the parts of the machine that have residue on them, such as the water reservoir.
Remove the residue wherever you find it. Work carefully, so you don’t damage the parts.
Add filtered water to a pot and boil the water on the stovetop. Add half a cup of vinegar. Place the water and vinegar mixture in the machine for a few hours. The vinegar will help loosen the residue.
Some people add baking soda to the vinegar to help speed up the process. Keep in mind that baking soda can make a thicker solution that may be harder to work with. Using baking soda is optional.
After you’ve let the pieces soak, drain out all the liquid by disconnecting the internal hose.
Assemble your Keurig. Run it through the cleaning cycle according to the instructions in the owner’s manual.
Now fill the reservoir with plain water and run it through the machine several times. The cleaning process is now done, and you’re ready to brew your favorite drinks.
Does Keurig Have Milk Pods?
Now you know that adding milk to the reservoir of your Keurig machine is a bad idea. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your coffee in a delicious, frothy drink.
You have two basic options if you want to have a creamy drink without the fuss of heating up liquid milk.
The good news is that if you’re yearning for a creamy coffee, you can buy a K Cup or pods that give your drink a milky taste and texture. The pods incorporate the milk inside the pod, with no danger to the machine.
The other option is you can buy a machine with a frother. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
For now, let’s discuss those milk pods. If you choose to buy pods that incorporate milk in them, you have quite a few choices.
Do you want to make hot chocolate with a creamy texture? Buy a Keurig hot chocolate pod. There are a lot of hot chocolate options on the market. If you love milk chocolate, you can get milk chocolate flavored hot chocolate. These types of hot chocolate pods already have milk in them.
The delicious Red Velvet Latte has milk in it.
You can also opt for Chai latte tea, Cappuccino pods, or Vanilla latte. There are also other brands that you can use in your Keurig machine, giving you a wide variety of options.
If you want even more options, you can buy a Keurig K Café machine. It has a built-in heater that will create foamy milk.
The incorporated frother and heater come at an additional cost, but you might find a frother well worth the expense.
It has a water reservoir to brew the coffee, and it has a separate milk tank that was designed to heat up cold milk. You can use it to heat milk for a creamy hot chocolate or tea, too.
As you can see, heating up milk in a Keurig machine is not recommended. The reservoir is made for water, not milk.
If you put milk in your Keurig, you will not only get the taste of burned milk in your cappuccino (which is reason enough for alarm).
You will also find milk residue stuck to the inside of the machine, which causes problems such as mold. That old milk in your Keurig can even make your machine malfunction.
But that doesn’t leave you without options. You can purchase K Cups pods that already have the milky texture built into them. There are many flavors to choose from, so you can make your favorite cup of coffee. You can even make hot chocolate or tea.
Or you can buy a Keurig K Café machine that comes with a built-in milk heater and milk frother. You’ll be able to easily heat up and add milk to your favorite drink without the fuss of heating it up on the stovetop.