A single-serve coffee maker like a Keurig machine is a reliable way to brew a hot cup of coffee whenever you need one. Sometimes, you might prefer to get your caffeine fix from a cold drink. So let’s explore how to make iced coffee with Keurig, so you can skip the coffee shop and save some money when you brew delicious coffee at home!
What you will need for making iced coffee at home
The essential ingredients for K-Cup iced coffee are a K-Cup, ice, and milk. Keurig is known for the ease of making coffee without even dealing with coffee grounds that most other brewing methods require.
However, when you prepare iced coffee with a Keurig coffee maker, there are some specific details you need to consider. A Keurig brews hot coffee, so you must strategize around the reality that heat tends to melt ice and make your coffee taste watery from the get-go.
Ingredients for iced coffee
Some K-Cups are designed for iced coffee. For example, the “Brew Over Ice” K-Cups are specially crafted to make coffee strong enough to maintain its flavor despite ice melting into it. If there is another kind of K-Cup you really like, though, you can use it anyway, as there are other ways to keep your Keurig iced coffee strong.
- Ice cubes
You will need ice cubes prepared in advance to make iced coffee. Plain ice cubes from the ice tray in your freezer will work, but you can also use frozen coffee cubes. If you have concerns about the taste or quality of the tap water in your area, you may want to pour bottled or filtered water into your ice tray.
- Cold milk
Adding milk, cream, or a non-dairy substitute like almond milk can turn your iced coffee into an iced latte. While milk isn’t always a mandatory part of iced coffee, I recommend using it for Keurig iced coffee. Cold milk helps the hot coffee cool down quicker, absorbing the heat and preventing ice cubes from melting too quickly.
- Sweetener (optional)
Sweetening iced coffee is optional. If you prefer sweet coffee, you should use something other than standard granulated sugar, as it doesn’t easily dissolve in cold coffee. Condensed milk is often sweetened, so you could use that to sweeten your iced coffee. Other options include simple syrup, maple syrup, or flavored syrup. Also, lactose-free or almond milk can add subtle natural sweetness to your beverage.
Experiment with adding different syrups and flavors to your Keurig iced coffee to imitate your favorite coffee shop treat or create an original coffee drink! Read on to find the iced coffee recipes I included in this article.
- Keurig machine
Some Keurig machines, like the Keurig K-Elite, have an iced coffee function, so you are ahead of the game if you have one of these models. The Keurig iced coffee function calibrates the brewed coffee’s strength and temperature to make it less likely to get watery when it begins to melt the ice. If your Keurig coffee maker doesn’t have this feature, it might have a Strong setting or an Espresso shot function, which would get you a stronger brew.
- A glass or a tumbler
You want a tall glass or a tumble big enough to accommodate ice, milk, and coffee.
How to make iced coffee with Keurig
This is a straightforward summary of making iced coffee with a Keurig machine. Depending on your taste and the capabilities of your Keurig model, you may have to add some extra ingredients to make your Keurig iced coffee stronger.
1. Heat your machine (optional)
A key tactic for making iced coffee with a Keurig machine is brewing the coffee stronger than usual. This will ensure it will stand up to being diluted by the inevitable melting of the ice.
One way to help this happen is to preheat the machine by running a no-coffee brew cycle (just like you’d do when you prime your Keurig). You fill the reservoir with cold water, set up a mug to catch it, and brew a large cup without inserting a K-Cup. Dispose of the resulting hot water after brewing. Then, when you run a new brew with a K-Cup loaded, the preheated machine will push through very hot water that will help extract as much coffee flavor as possible.
However, there are other ways to nudge your Keurig to make a more potent brew than usual. If you are satisfied with the strength of your Keurig iced coffee without doing this, it is a step you can skip.
2. Set up your cup of ice
Fill three-quarters of a large cup or glass with ice. For iced coffee, you need a bigger cup than you usually use with your Keurig machine, so you may need to remove your Keurig machine’s drip tray to get your cup to fit where it needs to go.
3. Add milk
Pour the milk over the ice cubes into the glass. Even though many people brew coffee over ice first and then add the milk last, doing it the other way around will help the ice stay cool when the coffee brew lands on them.
You can leave the milk out if you prefer to have your iced coffee black, but be aware that hot coffee will dilute the ice cubes fairly quickly, and it may be harder for you to keep your coffee strong. You might need to use some of the tricks described later in this article to get around that, like using coffee ice cubes.
If you want to add a flavored coffee syrup or liquid sugar equivalent to your drink, you can pour it in at this point before you add the coffee. Then, when you have all the ingredients in your glass, put it under the Keurig.
Alternatively, you can brew your coffee into a separate cup and pour it into the glass with ice and milk.
4. Brew your coffee
Put your K-Cup in the Keurig machine, and wait until the machine is ready to brew. Select that if your Keurig has an iced coffee function, a Shot function, or a Strong setting. Ensure you have enough water in the water reservoir to brew the coffee.
If your Keurig does not have any of those features, select the smallest cup-size setting for brewing. The trick is keeping the coffee flavor concentrated, knowing that the ice will melt to some extent and dilute the coffee. Telling the Keurig machine you want a small cup gives you a higher grounds to water ratio, which helps to produce a more concentrated flavor.
5. Brew a second K-Cup (optional)
When you want a large or extra-strong iced coffee, you might want more coffee than the small cup or shot setting can give you. In that case, you can brew a second K-Cup using the same settings.
You might want to stir your iced coffee before drinking it, especially if you added any sweetener or coffee syrup. Et voilà! Sit back and enjoy your iced coffee!
How to make a Keurig iced coffee taste stronger
The major challenge when making iced coffee with hot coffee is that the ice can quickly melt, watering down and weakening your coffee. Of course, you need to expect this to happen to some extent, no matter what you do. However, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot the process to find a better way to address this challenge.
Use frozen coffee cubes
To make coffee ice cubes, use your Keurig machine to brew a K-cup of your choice into a mug. Then, pour the brewed coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze it, just like you make regular ice cubes with water. However, remember that coffee cubes will take three to four hours to freeze in a home freezer, so you need to plan this.
When your coffee cubes are ready, add them to your glass, pour cold milk over the top, and brew a K-cup over it. The frozen coffee cubes will still melt, but they won’t weaken your iced coffee, as they will simply release extra coffee.
An extra trick would be using one kind of K-cup to prepare your coffee ice cubes and another kind to brew iced coffee over the frozen coffee cubes. That way, you could enjoy the mix of two complementary flavors of coffee for a unique treat.
Use two K-Cups
You can achieve a more robust cup of iced coffee by brewing two K-Cups into the same tall glass. For example, using two four-ounce K-Cups might give you a stronger brew than one eight-ounce K-Cup because the grounds to water ratio would be higher.
Your Keurig model might also have a Strong setting, enabling you to get a more potent brew. Feel free to use that on both K-Cups to get the most out of this trick.
If it does turn out that the approach of using two K-Cups is what works best for your Keurig iced coffee, you will go through K-Cups quickly. You may want to invest in reusable coffee cups for your Keurig.
Put your coffee in the fridge
This method defeats the Keurig machine’s reputation for speed and convenience. Still, it may be worth a try to see what yields the best results for you. You can brew a K-Cup into a mug and then stick it in the fridge to chill for about half an hour. Then, you can pour the cooled coffee over the ice in your glass. It will especially work for those who prefer their iced coffee without milk.
Exciting variations on Keurig iced coffee
After you have figured out a basic process for brewing Keurig iced coffee, you may be ready to perfect your craft by making a more elaborate beverage. Starbucks could have serious competition once you discover your favorite iced coffee recipe!
Iced caramel macchiato
If you love the Starbucks iced caramel macchiato, here is an easy way to make a Keurig iced coffee equivalent:
- Brew a dark roast K-Cup at the Shot setting (or the smallest cup size your Keurig machine has) into a mug and set it aside. You can even let it cool for a bit.
- Pour vanilla syrup into the glass you want your iced caramel macchiato to be in.
- Put ice in the glass with the vanilla syrup.
- Add about 1 cup of cold milk to the ice and vanilla syrup.
- Pour the coffee into the glass.
- Top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
Iced mocha is a nice refreshing drink for chocolate lovers. Some K-Cups come with chocolate flavor, so using one of those is the easiest way to make an iced mocha at home. However, chocolate syrup will make your iced mocha taste more similar to those you drink in cafés.
- Brew coffee using your preferred K-Cup at the Shot setting. Set it aside.
- Drizzle some chocolate syrup onto the inner walls of the glass. It will make your coffee look pretty, and the syrup will mix in with the milk and coffee easier.
- Add ice to the glass.
- Pour cold milk.
- Add previously brewed coffee.
- Top it up with whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate.
You may have to experiment with different tricks to find the best way to make the perfect glass of iced coffee with your Keurig coffee maker. However, don’t give up if you don’t reach coffee shop quality on your first try. Practice makes you perfect, so keep brewing and improving your home barista skills. And if you feel like experimenting further, why not make cappuccino with your Keurig?