How to boil milk for a cup of coffee without a pot?

Kettle sounds reasonable, but it's difficult to clean it after use.

  • 1
    Do you have a microwave? Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 13:58
  • 1
    A microwave is best. If you use a kettle or a little immersion coil you will never get the milk off it.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Minnow In local cafes they never use water (e.g. Starbucks, Nero, Eat), but only hot milk.
    – kenorb
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 17:30
  • 1
    I done learned something today. Guess what I'm going to try tomorrow!
    – Minnow
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 2:06
  • 1
    @Duncan: nope, not true - I'm in the UK and most of the coffee I drink, apart from cappucinno is what's called Americano - black with a dash of milk or cream. A common choice in order to avoid all that unhealthy milk...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 16:35

3 Answers 3


Microwave is your best bet. If it exploded last time, it might have been the container. First, get a new container and test that it's microwave safe. Add your milk and a few coffee grounds to create a non-uniform volume so it won't get superheated. Nuke until boiling.

If you don't want to go the microwave route, I can think of an alternative but it takes a while and won't technically boil the milk but it will get it pretty close. Put your milk in a container and place that inside a larger container (like a cup inside a big measuring bowl). Boil water through your favorite means and pour it into the large container. Stir a bit and wait for the heat transfer. Repeat with fresh boiling water until the milk is hot enough. I use this to heat frozen breast milk - not to boiling, of course - and it works but it's tedious. Microwave is still the way to go for a daily routine.

  • 2
    I microwave mine all the time. I also take a balloon whisk, put it in the milk and roll the whisk between my hands, frothing the milk up really well.
    – Jason D.
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 1:26

My favourite method, in absence of microwave, is to place your mug directly onto electric oven stove.

For example to make a coffee, add instant coffee and pour into your mug boiled water (e.g. kettle) to warm your mug (1/3, 2/3 or optional), pour the milk (other rest), place the mug on the stove and set the heat to minimum power (otherwise your mug could break of heat) and relax. It's a bit slower method, but having your whole mug hot, your coffee stay warm for longer. See example: set it and relax

Or if you don't have electric oven, buy a alcohol stove (such as Zelph Starlyte Stove).

The StarLyte Stove The Starlyte with a 10cm IMUSA mug and Zelph's lid

Or create your own. Here are the instructions:

Super Cat Alcohol Stove

  1. Find or buy some small cheap food in aluminium can, e.g. cat food.

    Fancy Feast - Tender Beef & Chicked Feast Classic

  2. Empty the container (by giving to your neighbour's cat if you don't have) and make some small holes as below.

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  3. Add some fuel or alcohol (e.g. spiritus) and set on fire (on some safe ground).

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Source: Super Cat Alcohol Stove at Frontage Roads

See also:


Try powdered milk. Boil the water in the microwave in a cup, then add the powdered milk afterward. Usually, powdered milk has a poor taste only when drinking it straight. When used as an ingredient or mixing there is usually no poor taste.

  • Does it dissolve well? As good as Coffee-mate or as bad as flour in water?
    – Green
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 8:34

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