The Absolute Best Uses For Your Keurig

Coffee is the quintessential breakfast beverage. The Atlantic reports that one in three American homes uses a pod-based coffee maker, and Keurig is certainly one of the most popular. Though it's hard to imagine any office space or a hotel room without one now, Keurig does have its own origin story. Good Housekeeping explains that John Sylvan and his roommate Peter Dragone began their Keurig company in the early 1990s. At the time, they reportedly looked up the word "excellence" in Dutch and named their new coffee company "Keurig" based on that research.

Since then, customers have used the Keurig to brew great cups of coffee, but that's not the only thing a Keurig can do. At its core, a Keurig is a kettle that boils water and combines it with the contents of a K-Cup. A K-Cup is a small pod that can hold whatever you are hoping to brew. If you're making tea or coffee, the K-Cup will contain a powder that dissolves to create your desired beverage. If you are brewing tea or coffee, the contents will steep rather than dissolve. Many brands have gotten into the K-Cup market, but you can also create your own K-Cups with a refillable cartridge.

However, a Keurig has many uses that go far beyond the morning task of making coffee; Keurigs are also ideal for brewing hot water. With everything from preparing your breakfast to treating your dinner guests to the perfect dessert, there's something for all Keurig owners.

Great coffee

Brewing great coffee from the Keurig seems simple: Put the K-Cup in its place and click the size cup you want. However, there are several hacks you can pull to take your okay coffee to great coffee. First, ensure you begin with a clean machine. To do this, fill your water reservoir with vinegar and run cycles with the vinegar (and without K-cups) to cycle the vinegar through your machine. To remove that vinegar taste afterward, fill your now empty reservoir with water and run several cycles.

Great coffee comes from great water, so to brew the absolute best cup, use purified water rather than tap water. You can either use water purified through your fridge, home purification system, or store-bought purified water. When it comes time to make your coffee, brew a cup without a K-Cup to help further heat up your machine. This will help make your coffee a little warmer. Then, to brew an 8-ounce cup of coffee, do not click the 8-ounce button. Instead, run through two K-Cups at 4 ounces. This way, your coffee will not be watered down by the extra water your Keurig would add to the larger size. With each brewing cycle, pull out your mug when the water begins to run clear at the end. This clear water only serves to dilute your delicious coffee. Make sure you have another mug on hand to capture this warm water.


Oatmeal makes a fabulous and nutritious breakfast. The Mayo Clinic explains that this breakfast favorite has beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and blood glucose, thereby helping lower your heart disease and diabetes risk. Though the grocery store shelves are full of oatmeal options, there are certainly some oats that are better than others. For instance, McCann's Imported and Mom's Best make some of the best oatmeal around.

To put your Keurig to work making your morning oatmeal, begin by running one cycle without a K-Cup to help clear out any lingering coffee flavor. Then, add your oatmeal to a bowl that will fit easily under your Keurig spout and brew water without a K-Cup in your Keurig. After your water finishes brewing, let your oatmeal sit between two and three minutes, then stir very well, and add your favorite toppings like bananas, blueberries, honey, and shaved almonds.

You can follow these same steps for baby instant cereal. Since the water will come out quite hot, be sure you cool down the cereal before serving it to your little one.

Instant noodles

In 1971, Momofuku Ando invented Cup Noodle (via CupNoodles Museum). Since then, lunchtime in lunchrooms, offices, and dorm rooms has been full of these favorite noodle cups. Though these instant noodle cups come in dozens of different flavors from many brands, they are all prepared in similar ways. To prepare this delicious lunch with your Keurig, begin by running a cycle of just hot water to get rid of any extra coffee flavor. Then, open your cup of instant noodles, but be sure to leave the top partially attached. Next, put your cup under the Keurig spout and brew 10 ounces of water into the cup. Finally, cover the cup with the top and let it sit for roughly three minutes.

If your instant noodles come in brick form rather than a cup, you can still follow a similar process. Begin by breaking up your noodles into four parts, put them in a bowl or large cup, and then follow the same step with your Keurig.

To take your instant noodles to the next level, add a pad of butter after brewing your water. This little taste of butter will add a little sweetness and balance your soup well. If your noodles are a little too spicy, it will also help balance out that spice.

Coffee ice cubes

Iced coffee always presents a difficult problem: How do you cool your coffee without losing any flavor and potency? The answer is quite simple, and with a Keurig, it couldn't be easier: Make ice cubes out of coffee.

To do this, find your glass measuring cup with an easy-pour lip. Put that cup under your Keurig spout, brew up a cup of coffee and let it sit for a few minutes on your counter. If you like your ice coffee black, pour this coffee into an ice cube tray and pop it into your freezer. However, if you always flavor your iced coffee, add some of your favorite sweetener or syrup to your measuring cup. If you want to make your coffee extra decadent and delicious, add some sweetened condensed milk into the cup. This will add creaminess and sweetness at the same time. After adding your flavoring and sweeteners, pour them into your coffee trays.

With these ice cubes, you won't dilute your coffee; instead, you'll enjoy fully delicious iced coffee, even as your ice melts.

Iced coffee

In addition to making great hot coffee, you can also use your Keurig to brew delicious iced coffee. While you may be tempted to put hot coffee in the fridge to cool down, this does not produce great coffee. It'll taste stale and old in no time, and no one wants stale coffee. That'll just get you clamoring back to an expensive coffee shop.

Instead, you can follow a Japanese technique that involves flash brewing to brew fabulous iced coffee. First, fill your cup with ice, then brew your Keurig straight over your ice. To get this right, you'll brew half the size cup you hope to have at the end of the process. For example, if you're aiming for 8 ounces of coffee, set your Keurig to brew 4 ounces.

Iced coffee is delicious at any time in the year, and with your Keurig, this process of flash brewing is very easy. If you're aiming to eliminate any loss in strength at all, use those coffee ice cubes along with this flash brewing process.

Hot cocoa

Like coffee, you can find plenty of K-Cups for hot cocoa. However, if your preferred hot chocolate does not come in a K-Cup, you can use any powdered hot cocoa too. If you are using a K cup meant for hot cocoa preparation, you'll prepare it the same way you would your coffee. To prepare hot cocoa with powder, you'll need to follow a few extra steps. First, pull out your favorite hot cocoa mug. Orange mugs have the best-tasting hot cocoa, so if you're in the market for a new favorite mug, think orange (interesting, right?). Otherwise, anything you have will do. Next, pour your powdered cocoa into the cup and then brew hot water on top of it. You could brew coffee on top of your hot cocoa for a delightful coffee and hot chocolate combination.

If you're looking for an extra special, adult's only hot cocoa, consider a Grand Marnier Hot Chocolate. At the bottom of a mug, add chili powder, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, black peppercorns, and allspice berries. Then, brew your K-Cup hot chocolate on top. Stir and allow these ingredients to mingle for a few minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer. Add Grand Mariner on top with whipped cream, and enjoy.

Irish coffee

Since Keurigs do an excellent job brewing hot water, they are also perfect for preparing simple syrups that you could use in coffees or cocktails. After all, simply syrups are normally hot water and flavoring. A Keurig is also the perfect tool for preparing excellent cocktails.

The Dead Rabbit's Irish Coffee would be the perfect addition to any St. Patrick's Day celebration or morning cocktail for a snowy day inside. Begin by preparing a demerara syrup by stirring together one part of hot brewed water from your Keurig and two parts of demerara sugar cubes. Set this aside because you'll use it soon for your Irish coffee. It will also keep in the refrigerator for one month, so you can use it in your future cocktails and coffees too. After preparing your syrup, brew 3 ounces of coffee and stir in Irish whisky and your demerara syrup until everything is well combined. After whipping up a little whipping cream, add that on top for a delicious garnish.


In addition to great coffee, Keurigs also brews excellent tea without the extra fuss of a kettle, tea bag, and steep time. Even still, tea has a long and storied history, steeped in tradition and colonization. The UK Tea and Infusions Association states that the origins of tea come from a legend in which Chinese emperor Shen Nung sat below a Camellia sinensis tree in 2737 BC. While perched beneath the tree, a leaf fell into his hot water as his servant poured the water. Being an herbalist himself, he gave the mix a try, and tea was born.

Fast-forward to today, and tea is a popular beverage around the world, and could not be easier to make, thanks to Keurig. Simply add your tea K-Cup to the machine and choose your desired brew size. Note that the larger the size you select, the more mild your tea taste will be. After brewing your tea, consider adding maple syrup instead of honey or other sweeteners. Maple syrup amplifies the flavor of your tea, mixes great with iced and hot tea, and even won't settle at the bottom of your mug or glass like honey sometimes goes.

Chai cocktail

In addition to making great tea, Keurig also makes delicious tea cocktails. Consider making The Stowaway to treat yourself to something special. This cocktail relies on chai to make it extra special. Reader's Digest describes chai as a black tea with milk, sugar, and a collection of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, peppercorn, nutmeg, and cardamom. Chai has its origins in India but became the chai that is more familiar to tea drinkers today in the 20th century with British colonization.

This cocktail is warm and spicy, and may even show non-chai drinkers just how delicious this spicy beverage can be. In The Stowaway, the spices and citrus will do an excellent job of softening up the kick of your rum. To make this chai cocktail, begin by putting a cinnamon stick in the bottom of your mug or thermos. Then, brew two 6 ounces servings of chai tea using a total of two chai K-Cups. On top of the brewed chai, add your rum, vanilla, lemon, and honey. Keep the cinnamon in to continue adding that delicious flavor, or remove it once you're happy with the cinnamon taste.

Watermelon lemonade

In addition to great tea, coffee, and cocktails, a Keurig is also helpful in whipping up the perfect lemonade. If you're looking for something a little more refreshing, watermelon lemonade may be just the ticket.

To begin, add sugar, lemon zest, and mind sprig in a large mug. Then, on top, brew half a cup of water. Allow this to steep for several minutes before straining and removing the solids. Let this liquid cool down entirely before moving on so that you don't run into problems when moving to the blender in the next steps.

While your liquid is cooling, prepare your next ingredients by cubing 4 cups worth of watermelon. For the best lemonade, be sure you take special care to choose a ripe watermelon at the store. Then, in a blender, combine your cooled water, the cubes of watermelon, lemon juice, remaining water, and lemon juice. Blend until you're happy with the consistency, and serve. To garnish, rim glasses with sugar, add a small slice of watermelon on the side of the glass and place a sprig of mint in each one.


Affogato is a delightful mix of espresso and vanilla gelato. This deceivingly simple dessert is easy to make but impossible to forget. The Gelato Village says that the Italian word "affogato" translates to "drowned" in English, meaning that a shot of espresso drowns out a scoop of gelato.

Using an espresso roast K-Cup from your favorite brand, you can create a perfect affogato at home. Plan ahead for this one a little and begin by freezing your serving dish. This way, your gelato won't melt completely, even with the hot coffee. When you're ready to serve this after-dinner favorite, scoop your gelato into the chilled dish. Next, brew your espresso roast coffee using your smallest coffee serving. Just before serving, pour your espresso over the gelato. You should end up with a coffee drink of espresso and milk. And with the ice cream, your drink will be at the perfect temperature.

Once you have the basics of preparation, feel free to mess around with different coffee flavors and gelatos. Though vanilla gelato and espresso will be a traditional affogato, you'll find that there are many more delicious combinations you can create. Consider changing up the flavors to match the season, for example. A pumpkin spice affogato may just be the perfect after-dinner drink at Thanksgiving.

Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and, according to Mental Floss, the origin story for mashed potatoes stretches over 10,000 years. From the Andes mountains to your kitchen countertop, you can even create this favorite side dish with a Keurig. To begin, run a cup of just water to rinse out your Keurig and remove any coffee taste hanging about. If it's been a while since you've cleaned your Keurig, you may need to run two cycles before making your mashed potatoes, just to be safe. Then, take a mashed potato cup and brew hot water from your Keurig to the fill line on the cup. Stir, then allow the dehydrated potatoes and water to sit and combine.

In addition to making a quick side dish, instant mashed potatoes make a great pantry staple for a quick bite and several cooking hacks. For instance, instant mashed potatoes make an easy and delicious soup thickener. You can also use them in loaded baked potato soup, as the topper for shepherd's pie, and even as an ingredient in mashed potato rolls.