Can You Put Milk In A Keurig?

Last updated on September 30th, 2022 at 07:21 am

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With the holiday season upon us, a lovely cup of hot chocolate or latte seems like a good idea to warm your hands and sit in front of a fire.

But getting up and waiting for five minutes for the milk to boil in a pan can seem like a daunting task, so why not put milk in Keurig? At first, this might seem like a good idea; the machine should cut your waiting time, right?

As tempting as this is, you should not put milk in your Keurig. This is because it can easily damage it and it’s near impossible to clean the milk out. So instead of a lovely creamy mug of hot chocolate, you’ll most likely end up with a burnt milk smell and a damaged machine.

Standard Keurigs are designed to only handle the water running through the machine.

For such a multifunctional device, it would make sense that other liquids should be safe too. After all, you can brew all types of liquids other than coffee in a Keurig. So why can’t you run all kinds of liquids through it as well, including milk?

Let’s talk a bit more about; what happens if you put milk in a Keurig, how you should clean your Keurig if you accidentally put milk in it, and what you should do if you want hot milk straight from your Keurig.

We’ll, however, start by discussing how Keurig works. Hence, you get a better understanding of why you should avoid putting milk in the machine. 

How Does A Keurig Work?

Keurig has spearheaded the use of single-serve coffee-pod coffee makers and, as of today, has launched several models with varied features. But all Keurig models basically have the same parts: a machine with a water tank and a single-serve coffee pod with enough coffee grounds to brew a single cup of coffee.

Using the Keurig is relatively easy; all you have to do is pour distilled water into your water tank and place a K-Cup coffee pod into the built-in K-Cup holder. The coffee pod is then punctured by a sharp needle when the cup holder is closed. Depending on the model you have, you may see a message that says “Ready to Brew.”

Once you press the brewing button, the process starts, and the machine heats up the water inside the tank pumping it through the coffee pod via the needle. The brewed coffee will then pour into your cup within a minute.

Why You Should Not Put Milk In A Keurig Water Tank

Keurig coffee makers are some of the most convenient ways to brew your coffee. Now that Keurig has launched hot chocolate pods as well, it might seem like adding milk instead of water in the reservoir is a good idea.

We’ve already discussed that this should be avoided because milk is denser than water and will clog the pipe system and the machine’s interior. Moreover, Keurig machines are designed to heat up a single cup of water in seconds for quick brewing. If you try to run the machine with milk, it severely damages it.

How you ask? Well, let’s talk about what happens when you put milk in your machine.

What Happens If You Pour Milk In Your Keurig

Putting milk in your Keurig can result in any of these three scenarios:


The Keurig allows you to leave water standing in its reservoir until you need to make coffee. However, it’s not recommended to use water that has been standing for twelve hours or more since bacteria can form in it.

However, milk spoils quite quickly at room temperature, and if left in the warm confines of a Keurig water tank, it will not be long before it curdles. Not only does the residue of spoilt milk leave a bad smell, but it is also difficult to clean up.

Suppose you want to make some hot chocolate or any milk-based beverage. In that case, you’ll need to heat fresh, cold milk straight from your refrigerator using a microwave or your stovetop. Just keep the milk away from your Keurig machine.


The Keurig features a heating coil designed to bring the water temperature to boiling point in less than a minute. This rapid heating system will burn your milk, giving you a sour or bitter-tasting beverage if you manage not to damage your machine in the process.

A quick indication that your milk has burned is a strong, sharp odor as soon as you heat up the milk in the Keurig. The smell can be really strong and can spread throughout your entire kitchen and the rest of your home.

Scorched Metal

Once the milk is burnt, it’s likely to curdle and stick to the heating element of the Keurig. This scorches the metal, and the buildup will prevent it from working efficiently.

Moreover, the burnt milk forms a hard crust that is very difficult to remove since you might need special tools to try and get the crust off. The added danger is that you may end up scratching and damaging the internal components of your Keurig.

How to Clean Your Keurig Machines After Adding Milk

What if you accidentally pour milk into your Keurig? Does this mean your Keurig is permanently damaged and only fit for the garbage can? Are you able to clean and salvage the machine?

The good news is that it may be possible to clean it, though it will require quite a bit of time and effort. You can follow the steps below to try and clean your Keurig:

Step One: First of all, do not forget to turn off your Keurig machine as you don’t want to accidentally electrocute yourself while cleaning your appliance.

We recommend that you first go through your Keurig manual so that you’re familiar with the machine and where all the screws are located. This should make dismantling your Keurig machine a lot easier.

Step Two: Assemble all your cleaning tools.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Sponge scrubber
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Now you’ll need to boil some water and then add half a cup of vinegar. You can add baking soda for extra cleaning power, especially if you have some stubborn stains. Place the vinegar and water solution in the water tank and allow it to sit for fifteen to thirty minutes. This should loosen any stubborn milk crust stuck at the bottom of the water tank.

Now you can use your sponge scrubber to scrape off the milk crust from the bottom of the machine. Just remember to be as gentle as possible to avoid damaging any of the components.

Keurig machines don’t come with a drain plug. Still, they feature an internal hose that you can dismantle and let out the liquid solution inside the water tank. Repeat the process until all the milk residue has been removed.

Now you need to reassemble your machine again and run several cleaning cycles. To ensure that the water tank is spotless, we recommend filling it up again with vinegar, water, and baking soda and then running a cycle without putting a K-cup pod in.

Depending on the extent of the damage, one cycle might not be enough to remove the odor from the entire system. You may have to repeat the process several times until the water runs clear and the smell disappears completely.

Run a few cleansing cycles to rinse your machine and remove the vinegar and baking soda.

How Do You Make Hot Milk Straight Out Of The Coffee Maker?

What do you do if you need to make hot milk straight out of a coffee maker? We’ve established that your Keurig Machine will not be able to do this for you, so you’ll need to invest in other alternatives.

You can use milk pods that brew the same way as K-Cup coffee pods do, or you can invest in a K-Café coffee maker or another machine that comes with a milk tank.

If you’re a fan of Keurig products, the K-Café works similarly. It can heat up and froth your milk within a few seconds. It also comes with a built-in milk heater and frother so you can enjoy steamed, foamy milk in no time. Additionally, it gives you the option to make espresso-based beverages like lattes and cappuccinos.

You can also invest in other brands like Nespresso, which feature milk tanks. The machine heats up your milk to give you milk-based beverages and hot milk without you having to heat the milk separately.

Final Thoughts

A Keurig machine is one of the best single-serve coffee with almost no wait time. However, as we’ve established, putting milk in your Keurig machine is not a good idea. It will damage your machine and spoil your milk.

If you need a machine with automatic milk healing features, consider investing in alternatives like the K-Café.  

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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