How to make coffee in the microwave?

Photo of a microwave with a cup of coffee inside. How to make coffee in the microwave?

Whether your coffee maker is on the fritz or you are traveling with no coffee maker in sight, you can easily get your caffeine fix with a microwave. Here’s how to make coffee in the microwave!

You can easily make coffee in the microwave. All you need to do is boil the water in the microwave (which takes about 3 minutes). Then spoon your coffee grounds into the water and stir with a spoon. After a few minutes (shorter for weaker coffee and longer for more robust coffee), mix however you want! You can also try variations on this using a coffee filter if you have one. Read on for more instructions!

Is it good to make coffee in the microwave?

The best way to make coffee will be a purpose-designed coffee maker. However, a microwave is a great choice when you want hot, fast-brewing coffee for that early morning.

It’s good, safe, and simple to make coffee in the microwave. You just need to learn how to properly use the right tools and techniques for that hot cup of joe.

Why should you make coffee in the microwave?

It’s a simple enough question with a variety of answers! There are many reasons why you should at least consider making coffee in the microwave for many reasons. Some of the main ones to think about include the following:

  • It’s fast
  • It’s easy
  • It’s cheap (since you need minimal supplies)
  • Don’t need fancy equipment
  • Can make it two ways (or more)

While most people wouldn’t think of making coffee in the microwave if their coffee maker is working, it’s a neat idea to try it out just to see if you like it better!

Pros and cons of making coffee in the microwave

There are pros and cons to making coffee in the microwave, whether it’s a regular or a one-off situation. Let’s look at how they stack up against each other.

Pros of making coffee in the microwave

  • It’s simple and fast
  • You can use a common appliance rather than a purpose-designed one
  • You don’t need a lot of tools or supplies

Cons of making coffee in the microwave

  • It can take some time to get it right
  • Must manually measure your coffee and water the same way for the same taste each time

Whether you’re just curious or in need, learning how to make coffee in the microwave is an excellent experiment for trying something new that you may not have known how to do!


Microwaves can change flavor via overheating. So, take the time to personalize your experience with your specific microwave.

Can I microwave water for coffee?

There are two main methods that you can use to microwave water for coffee, which I’ll discuss shortly. However, both start with microwaving water for coffee. You should boil your water for up to 3 minutes to get it to the right temperature for your coffee. 

The pros to microwaving water for coffee include that it’s fast (much faster than other appliances) and keeps the mug warm since it warms up in the microwave. It’s great for really enjoying that little extra heat to the end of your drink if it often goes cold before you finish it!

There are a few cons to microwaving water for coffee, though. The first is that the mug is so hot that it can be hard to handle. You’ll have to wear oven mitts or be prepared not to touch it at first. The other thing is to leave room in the mug for the water to boil. It expands as it heats and boils, making it easy to have a spill! It may take some time to get used to.

How long to microwave a cup of water for coffee

Most microwaves will take about 3 minutes to boil the water you put in there. So, aim for 2 minutes and extend it slowly to 3 minutes if it’s still not boiling. If all else fails, check your microwave manual and/or look online for brand-specific advice!

How to make coffee in the microwave step by step

There are two ways you can make coffee in the microwave, assuming you have no other equipment (such as a French press, etc.). I’ve outlined them below for you to try out.

Method one:

  • Fill your mug with water
  • Microwave for 3 minutes
  • Spoon in coffee grounds
  • Allow steeping 
  • Mix to taste

Don’t add sugar or milk to the coffee right when it comes out of the microwave and you pour the grounds in. Not only can it curdle the milk, but it also needs to steep first for the flavor.

TIP: If you like your coffee strong, the longer you let it steep, the better. Be careful, though; over-steeped coffee can be very bitter!

Method two:

  • Fill your mug with water
  • Microwave for 3 minutes
  • Spoon coffee into a coffee filter
  • Set coffee and filter in the mug
  • Steep
  • Remove filter
  • Mix to taste

This is the best way to prepare regular drip coffee if you don’t have a coffee maker or it’s not working correctly. Instant coffee is a bit different since it won’t have the grounds left over as classic coffee grounds will leave.

There are other methods, such as using a French press to pour microwaved water into it. Or microwaved water to use as a pour-over maker. However, those all use gear and supplies that I assume you don’t have or don’t want to use.

How do I drink microwaved coffee?

This seems like a silly question, but it isn’t! While instant coffee dissolves, ground coffee doesn’t! You will have leftover coffee grounds at the bottom of your mug, which, if you’re not careful, you can drink by accident — yuck! To avoid this, drink your coffee by sipping and keeping the mug as upright as possible so that the grounds are settled in the mug’s bottom.

Is it OK to microwave cold coffee?

We all have half-finished mugs of coffee somewhere that we discover a bit too late. If you want to microwave it, you certainly can! Inverse warns that microwaving cold coffee can make it more bitter, but it is perfectly safe to warm it up.

The only thing to remember is that your coffee should be in a microwave-safe mug. While we’re all tempted to put whatever mug we like most in the microwave, check its safety instructions. If your mug is not microwave-safe, it can explode from the high heat of the microwave!

How long do you microwave coffee?

As you can guess, it will mostly depend on your microwave’s strength and its specific instructions. Generally, you can microwave it for 30-45 seconds, and you should aim for a power of 8 or even lower. Anything longer and/or higher can burn your coffee and also make it taste horrible from the high heat.

Does microwaving coffee reduce caffeine?

There’s a myth out there that caffeine is destroyed when you microwave coffee, but this is just that — a myth. There’s no difference in the caffeine content in microwaved coffee because its molecules are very strong and have no issue holding up to the high heat of the microwave.

Why should you not microwave coffee cups?

Some believe you shouldn’t microwave coffee cups at all. Why is that? There are several reasons that Thrive Cuisine explains, including:

  • The cup really shouldn’t be microwaved
  • The cup isn’t strong enough to be microwaved
  • The cup isn’t microwave-safe

These all sound simple enough, but let’s go deeper into them to help you understand why you can’t just put any old coffee cup in the microwave.

If you shouldn’t microwave the cup, it’s because it’s most likely disposable. Whether it’s styrofoam, paper, or plastic, it’s designed to do one thing only — hold the coffee in place while you drink it. Its glue and seams of construction materials can’t hold up to the microwave’s power and heat.

Next, old or weak coffee mugs will be more susceptible to the strength of the microwave. If the cups are worn out and cracked, they can explode or otherwise come apart in the microwave or after microwaving them. Use old or damaged mugs with extreme caution!

Lastly, not all mugs are microwave-safe, even in the modern day. They could have metal plating in them, which means they shouldn’t even see the inside of a microwave, much less be heated up for 30 seconds!

So, with some training and practice, you can easily make coffee in the microwave. You should start by boiling water in the microwave, then spooning your coffee grounds directly into the mug of hot water or spooning them into a paper filter and letting the coffee steep like a tea bag. After a few minutes, you can mix and serve it however you prefer!

Do you know a coffee lover in a bind? This article will help them get their coffee even if their machine is out of order!

Avatar photo

Robert Knowlton is an expert barista with more than 15 years of experience. Robert's main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee regardless of their skill level.