Can You Put Milk in a Coffee Maker?

Nicole Austin

Learn the best, safest ways to add milk to your coffee.

A few years ago, I tried to get into black coffee.

I was looking for a way to cut calories and sugar in my diet, and having black coffee seemed to be the simplest way to begin.

After years of parenting, unusual work hours, and the need to simply power through life on little to no sleep, coffee wasn’t something I was willing to give up.

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Coworkers told me it would take a week or so and then I’d get used to it and enjoy it.

So, I gave it a shot.

And I came to the realization that I like my creamy coffee. Like, a lot.

I have come to accept the fact that I want at least cream or milk in my regular coffee, even if I am willing to cut back on the sweeteners.

I’m not alone.

Statistics show that the majority of women prefer cream and/or sugar in their coffee, and both men and women prefer it over black coffee.

With so many people indulging in coffee with cream or milk comes the question of how to expedite or improve the coffee experience — can you add milk to your coffee maker?

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Can You Put Milk Into a Keurig?

My kids love their hot cocoa made with milk rather than water.

It’s creamier, thicker, and just seems to taste better. I

t’s easy to imagine making coffee with a milk base to improve the overall experience and to possibly save time.

With all of that in mind, you may wonder if you can put milk in your Keurig coffee maker.

Keurig seems an intuitive choice for something like this, as it is single serve and users love making their drinks to their own specifications with a range of coffee pods and other products.

From how much water to add, to what pod they will use, Keurig has made having a customized cup of coffee from home simple and affordable.

However, adding whole milk or any type of dairy product to a Keurig machine is a bad idea.

You may be envisioning a thick, creamy coffee that’s ready to enjoy and tastes amazing, but what you’ll get is a spoiled mess that can seriously damage your machine and your cup of coffee, both now and later.

You cannot put milk in a Keurig. In fact, you cannot put milk in any other drip coffee maker, either.

This type of coffee maker runs water through various chambers and hoses, and heats it to very high temperatures.

The intricate system inside of your machines is why cleaning your coffee maker regularly is essential, as bacteria and mold can form if the machine is neglected.

And that’s just with using water.

The milk residue left behind is also a primary reason that it is not recommended to put milk in a kettle.

Milk in a drip coffee maker will stick to the inner workings of the machine in places that are impossible to completely clean, even with some of our best cleaning methods.

And, unlike water, milk will go sour.

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Hot milk is a delicate beast all on its own, as it can burn and scald easily, but milk left in nooks and crannies?

Well, as any parent who has stumbled across a sippy cup that they didn’t know had gone missing can tell you, it’s not pretty.

The smell, the taste, the appearance? No thanks.

Milk is, in fact, so detrimental to the components of a coffee maker that it is recommended to run your Keurig on empty after using any pod that may contain dry milk, such as hot chocolate pods, in order to remove the residue.

For the best results, make your Keurig or drip coffee as usual, with water, and then add hot milk directly to the cup.

If you’re looking for a way to add milk that is new and exciting, you do have some options.

And this goes for everything from full-fat milk to alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy milk options.

Don't worry, though — below we'll outline your best options for adjusting the taste of your coffee, regardless of the type of milk you prefer in your morning cup of coffee.

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Can You Put Milk in a French Press?

A French press, also called a cafetiere, is a manual coffee-making device that is easy to clean, store, and operate.

This is an immersion brewing method, which means that coffee grounds are immersed directly in water, rather than water passing through them to form coffee, as in the case of a drip machine.

People love the versatility of a French press because you can create hot or iced coffee in minutes and better control the strength and balance of your coffee flavors.

Where the French press is not a drip coffee maker, you may wonder if you can add milk to your French press.

The answer is yes, but it’s not how you may be thinking.

French press coffee will first need to be made using the traditional method of adding hot water to your carafe that contains a mesh filter and delicious coffee grounds just waiting to be transformed.

Once your finished coffee brew is transferred to your desired mug of choice, you can now froth some milk to add to it using your French press!

How to Froth Milk in a French Press

You'll love the outcome, and it isn't hard to do!

  1. For a standard sized French press, fill an empty microwave-safe mug ¾ full with cold milk of your choice. (2% or whole will work best). For a smaller sized press, such as a 3-cup press, you will fill the mug halfway with milk. The key is that you will want to leave space for it to double in volume inside of the French press, so adjust amounts accordingly.
  2. Microwave the milk for 35 seconds. If you don’t have (or don’t prefer) a microwave, you can heat the milk on the stove in a pan on low-medium heat while stirring constantly. Be careful not to let the milk boil or burn.
  3. Carefully pour your heated milk into the empty French press pot and attach the plunger and lid.
  4. Rapidly raise and plunge the plunger to force air particles into the milk. Continue until milk has doubled in volume, which will take about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the lid, then pour the frothed milk into your coffee. You may need to play around some with the amount of milk or time in the microwave. The important key to making frothed milk in your French press is to allow room for air to circulate.
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Frothed milk is the easiest way to add a velvety, fine texture to your coffee.

You can also froth milk without a French press.

Instant Pot makes a milk frother that will effortlessly make foam for your hot drinks.

Or, a handheld milk frother is available as a less expensive option that is easier to store.

Frothed milk is an excellent way to thicken coffee as it is airy and fluffy and will make the coffee feel more robust.

What is the Difference Between Frothed Milk and Steamed Milk?

While both frothed milk and steamed milk are used in coffee, especially in machines such as a single serve coffee, latte, and cappuccino makers, they are not the same thing.

It can be confusing, because certain drinks such as a cappuccino or a latte use both steamed and frothed milk.

Steaming and frothing both give the milk a lot of foam, but the methods and techniques used to achieve this result are different.

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Steamed Milk

* Steamed milk exposes milk to pressurized steam and relies on heat for the finished results.

* It's always hot.

* A steam wand is placed just below the surface of the milk.

* Steamed milk creates a more delicate type of foam called a “microfoam.”

* It's heavier and has a velvety texture.

Frothed Milk

* Frothed milk is sometimes called “dry” milk by baristas because it does not get steamed.

* It's foamier than steamed milk.

* Frothed milk keeps its shape.

* It can be hot or cold.

*It's lighter and has an airy, thick texture.

Steamed and frothed milk are both great additions to your cup of coffee, and while you do not add them while the coffee is brewing, adding them just after will give you a steamy, rich coffee that you’ll love!

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Just remember, coffee lover: it's never a good idea to try and create your milky coffee by putting any kind of milk directly into your coffee machine (save for the French press approach we outlined).

That's a great way to create a breeding ground for bacterial growth and is just generally unsanitary.

You have plenty of other options — follow the steps above, using your personal preference for different types of milk, to create a delicious cup of coffee, risk-free!

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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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