12 Things You Didn't Know Your Keurig Could Do

Keurig machines are a great way to make coffee fast, but coffee isn't the only thing these gadgets can do. For one thing, in addition to coffee, you can buy K-Cups filled with tea, fruit juice, or even soup mixes. But it doesn't have to stop there. Since it takes less time to heat water with a Keurig than it does to boil it on a stovetop or in an electric kettle, a Keurig is also a great way to get hot water fast. Some Keurig models have a dispenser specifically for hot water, but if yours doesn't, all you have to do is add water, lift the top as you would when putting in a K-Cup, close it, and let the machine run. In a minute or so, you'll have water that's not quite boiling but is still very hot. This opens up countless possibilities, from hot drinks to instant meals.


Knowing this, you can transform your Keurig from a one-note coffee maker into a cooking whiz. Here are 12 different things you can make with a Keurig. (And before we get started, keep in mind that you can save money — and help the environment — by purchasing reusable K-Cups.)

1. Make hot or iced tea

When you think of a Keurig, it's easy to get stuck on coffee. But what about that other beloved hot drink, tea? Whether you've got a head cold or just love a good cuppa, your Keurig can be used to make hot tea in three ways. First, there are nearly 40 different kinds of tea K-Cups. Just pop one into your machine and proceed as you would with a coffee pod.


You can also make tea with your Keurig by putting unpacked, loose-leaf tea into a reusable K-Cup. Not only is this an environmentally friendly solution, but it also gives you complete tea control, since you can fill the cup with your favorite brand and blend. The third option is similar: Place either a tea bag or a strainer filled with loose-leaf tea in a mug, and then run your Keurig without a K-Cup. Your mug will be filled with hot water much faster than if you wait for a kettle.

You can also make iced tea with your Keurig. Just follow any of the methods listed, and either wait for your tea to cool before adding ice, or get the job done even faster by adding lots of ice to your hot tea. In fact, many Keurig iced tea recipes suggest filling a glass with ice and letting the hot tea from your K-Cup pour directly over it.


2. Make a (quicker) bowl of instant oatmeal

For many people, instant oatmeal is a go-to fast, healthy breakfast (though not quite as healthy as regular oatmeal). Fortunately, your Keurig can make the "instant" part of instant oatmeal even faster. Since a Keurig heats water more quickly than kettles and stovetop burners, it'll give you hot water for your instant oatmeal as quickly as possible.


Make sure your instant oatmeal is waiting in a bowl before you set your Keurig in motion. In about a minute, the hot water will pour out of your Keurig, and voilà! You'll have a warm bowl of oatmeal ready to go. For an equally streamlined process, you can try oatmeal K-Cups from the Nature Valley brand. If you want to upgrade your oatmeal's taste or nutritional benefits, keep some add-ons like dried fruit, applesauce (or apple slices), and chia seeds ready to go. And in case you were wondering, yes, you can use your Keurig's hot water to quickly make instant baby cereal, too.

3. Make iced coffee

Although iced coffee has been around since the 1840s, most historians agree that its current popularity in the U.S. began in 1995, when Starbucks added its now-beloved Frappuccino to the menu. Since then, eateries and coffee shops around the world have been brewing their own iced coffee creations — and you can, too, with your Keurig's help.


Making iced coffee with your Keurig is easy: Just fill a glass with ice and place it beneath your Keurig's dispenser. Add a K-Cup of your favorite coffee flavor and press "Start." Soon, the freshly brewed coffee will flow over the ice cubes in your glass, and you'll have a delicious iced coffee that costs a lot less than one you'd buy at your local coffee place.

If you're getting tired of your everyday iced coffee, there are plenty of easy ways to upgrade it at home, like adding spices or flavored syrups. You could even take a journey back to the beverage's roots and make a mazagran. Created in Algeria in the mid-1800s, this was the first known type of iced coffee to make waves around the world. Don't be intimidated by its long history, though; it's essentially just iced coffee with lemon juice, so it's super easy to make.


4. Heat up instant mac and cheese

Everyone loves instant mac and cheese, from toddlers to college kids to adults looking for an easy, super nostalgic meal. Your Keurig can help you make this iconic snack fast. Pour the noodles and powdered cheese packet into a bowl (or, if your instant mac and cheese of choice already comes in a microwavable bowl, just open the top) and place it beneath your Keurig's hot water dispenser. Then, just start your Keurig and wait. Soon, you'll have a hot, delicious bowl of mac and cheese.


If that's not quite enough, you can even try upgrading your mac and cheese. There are plenty of recommendations out there for flavor and topping additions (just ask your friends and family — they'll probably have opinions). For example, you can always try the classic: breadcrumbs sprinkled over your mac and cheese. Their crunch provides a delightful contrast to the cheesy noodles' iconic squishy texture.

5. Make cozy hot chocolate

So far, we've talked about making tea and coffee (both hot and cold) in your Keurig, but another iconic drink is missing: hot chocolate. There are two easy methods for making hot chocolate this way. The first is to buy a hot chocolate-flavored K-Cup. Many brands have already partnered with Keurig to make these, including chocolate icons like Nestle and Swiss Miss. With a reusable K-Cup, you can easily switch things up and combine mixes from different brands, too.


Another easy way to make hot chocolate with your Keurig is to pour the right dose of hot chocolate mix into your favorite mug. Then, just place the mug beneath your Keurig's hot water dispenser, start a cycle with no K-Cup, and soon enough, you'll have a heavenly cup of hot cocoa waiting for you. Of course, heaven can wait a little while if you want to make your hot chocolate even tastier with classic embellishments like marshmallows or whipped cream (or maybe even both). On the other hand, if you're feeling adventurous, why not experiment with new flavors like salted caramel or chili powder?

6. Mix up a hot bowl of instant noodles

Cup Noodles, Ramen, instant noodles — whatever you call them and whatever brand or flavor you prefer, they're a tasty, fast meal that you can make with your Keurig. Just pour the noodles and the contents of any included flavor packets into a soup bowl (or, if your instant noodles of choice already come in a bowl or cup, just open the top). With your bowl or cup waiting below the hot water dispenser, add water to your Keurig and start a cycle with no K-Cup. In what feels like no time, your bowl will be full of hot water and your noodles will already be softening.


While you wait for your noodles and soup to cool down, consider throwing in additional ingredients to take your meal to the next level. If you like a lot of heat, one option is to add some more chili flakes or another spice. A more complicated option that involves some preparation is to make soy-marinated soft-boiled eggs, a typical ramen ingredient. This involves soft-boiling your eggs, then peeling them and leaving them in a soy sauce marinade. If you don't have time for this, regular soft-boiled eggs can still be a tasty addition to your soup.

7. Make lemonade

When life gives you lemons (and a Keurig), make lemonade! While this beverage is typically served cold, many recipes (at least for the non-instant variety) use hot water, which your Keurig can provide. Put a cup or a large glass container of sugar below your Keurig's water dispenser. Then, use your Keurig to add hot water. Pay attention to proportions — if you're using a large glass container, use the Keurig's largest cup setting. Stir the mixture well. The hot water will help dissolve the sugar, leaving you with a perfectly sweet base for your lemonade. Once you've stirred sufficiently, just add lemon juice and any other ingredients you'd like, such as another kind of fruit juice or, if you want pink lemonade, food coloring. From there, just stir and add ice water at your discretion until the mixture is ready.


If you want lemonade now but don't want to go through the trouble of making it yourself (or if you don't have any fresh lemons or lemon juice on hand), keep in mind that you can also buy lemonade mix in a K-Cup. You can even fill a reusable K-Cup with the lemonade mix of your choice.

8. Make steamed veggies in a pinch

In a perfect world, everyone would own a steamer, or at least a pan to warm up frozen, pre-steamed veggies. But life isn't perfect, and sometimes you find yourself trying to make a healthy meal without those basic materials. Luckily, there's a pretty simple solution: Use your Keurig to make steamed vegetables. You can accomplish this by putting a small amount of frozen veggies into a mug. Add heated water from your Keurig, and let the veggies soak in the hot water for 1-2 minutes before draining. Voilà — steamed veggies in a pinch!


If you don't love how your steamed veggies turn out (or if you just don't like this kind of vegetable in general), adding the perfect sauce or seasoning might help. For instance, stir in a little bit of garlic and butter to make your side dish instantly delicious. You can also mix them with instant rice — another item you can make with hot water from your Keurig.

9. Serve up an Irish coffee

Not every food name is entirely accurate, but Irish coffee is, indeed, Irish, and it dates all the way back to 1943. That winter, chef Joe Sheridan, who was working at Foynes Airbase in Limerick, Ireland, felt bad for a group of passengers whose flight had to return to the airport. To warm and comfort them, Sheridan whipped up what is now known as an Irish coffee. A traditional Irish coffee recipe is made from coffee, Irish whiskey, cream, and sugar. These ingredients (or similar substitutes) can be found in K-Cups from various brands.


You can also make a Keurig Irish coffee from scratch. To do so, just pour some sugar into the bottom of a mug (or, ideally, an Irish coffee glass) and use your Keurig to make coffee. While you might reach for a pod from your favorite brand, cheaper coffee might be the better choice since it will let the other flavors — notably the whiskey — stand out. The coffee will pour into your mug and over the sugar, mixing the two. Finally, just pour in some Irish whiskey, top the beverage with some whipped cream, and enjoy.

10. Make instant mashed potatoes (almost) instantly

Mashed potatoes are among the tastiest and most comforting side dishes ever. They can also be one of the easiest to make, especially if you have a Keurig. Just pour instant mashed potatoes into a bowl (if you're using an instant mashed potato cup, just open up the top). Add hot water from your Keurig, and in no time, you'll have some instant, ready-to-eat mashed potatoes.


While you may just want some plain mash, you can also upgrade your instant mashed potatoes in countless ways. For instance, try adding simple things like butter, salt, pepper, or chopped onions. If you really want to venture off the beaten path, you can even mix in some mascarpone cheese. Instant mashed potatoes can also be added to other recipes. While this is typically done before the dehydrated spuds are mixed with hot water, there are some exceptions. One of these is using a hot, steaming bowl or two to make potato leek soup.

11. Prepare broth for chicken soup

Making your own chicken stock is great, but not everyone has the time. If this applies to you, don't worry — you can still enjoy a bowl or two of comforting chicken soup at home, thanks in part to your Keurig. To make chicken soup broth with your coffee maker, you have two main options. The first is to use a Campbell's Instant Soup K-Cup. Just run the cycle as you would normally; instead of coffee, you'll get a steaming bowl of chicken soup.


Your other option is to dissolve a bouillon cube in a bowl of hot water provided by your Keurig. Be sure to choose the right setting for your cup size based on how much broth you plan to make. If the bouillon cube doesn't completely dissolve, leave it in the hot water for about 30 seconds, then use a spoon to crush it up. You can also accomplish this by encasing the cube in plastic wrap and microwaving it for about 30 seconds. After that, the cube should literally crumble in your hands. Add it to an empty bowl, add the hot water from your Keurig, and before long, you've got broth. You can then add vegetables, pieces of chicken, or anything else you like to your chicken soup.

12. Make your favorite brand of coffee

Keurig offers K-Cups in hundreds of different varieties from many well-known coffee brands. But what if you discover a favorite new blend or flavor that isn't available in K-Cup format? Don't despair — there's an easy way to make any kind of coffee you want with your Keurig. The key is to buy reusable K-Cups, which can be filled with whatever ground coffee you desire. Just fill your reusable pod, insert it into your Keurig, and start the machine like you would with a standard K-Cup.


There are also other advantages to these pods. For one thing, they can save you money since you only have to buy one large pack of ground coffee rather than an entire set of disposable pods. But perhaps the biggest benefit of reusable K-Cups is what it means for the environment. Although K-Cups have been recyclable since 2020, many people may not realize this or feel the need to do so. The reusable variety solves this issue. So, if you invest in a couple of reusable K-Cups and a bag of your favorite ground coffee, you can enjoy a hot (and ecologically responsible) cup of joe whenever you please.