Milk is one of the most common beverages in any household. You can simply enjoy it in a mug on its own; there is nothing better than a cozy mug of warm milk with a couple of cookies on the side after a long, tough day. But it is not the only way to use it.
You can also have it in a cup of coffee or tea or even cook with it. The versatility of milk means that there are a lot of great options for enjoying the beverage. When it comes to heating milk, most people simply boil a pot of milk on the stove.
But there is another option available; through the use of a microwave. Many people assume that milk should not be microwaved as it will likely burn and curdle, others assume you can only heat milk to a certain temperature. But what does my research say?
Can You Microwave Milk?
Yes, you can microwave milk. No matter if you are heating milk to get your favorite mug of hot cocoa ready, adding it to your favorite dishes or cooking mixture, or simply taking the chill off it to improve its flavor, you can use a microwave.
Sure some people may be concerned about their milk ending up burning or curdling, but as long as you follow all the steps outlined in this article, you can be sure to avoid this. If done correctly, microwaving milk can be a huge time saver in your already busy day.
Here’s a short guide on how to heat milk using a microwave:
Pour the milk into a microwave-safe container. Set the microwave to a medium power level and stir the milk every 15 seconds. Continue heating the milk until the steam begins to rise. The milk is now ready to drink or use in your favorite dish.
For a more detailed guide, make sure to read the step-by-step instructions below.
Is It Safe To Microwave Milk? Does microwaving Milk Kill Nutrients?
There’s nothing about microwaving milk that makes it unsafe to consume unless you’re already lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. In fact, some people with dairy allergies may find that heating milk can actually make it easier to digest (1).
But what about the nutrients in the milk? Does microwaving reduce those?
As with any heat exposure, some nutritional content can be lost in the process. However, compared to other alternatives, microwaving tends to have a lower negative effect on the nutritional content of the heated food.
This is because microwaves heat food much more quickly than other methods. Therefore the heat has less time to damage the nutrients in the food.
How Long Does It Take To Warm Milk in the Microwave?
In general, it takes about 45-60 seconds for one cup of milk (250ml) to heat up to room temperature in the microwave, and it takes around two and a half minutes to reach a boiling point. If you want to scald the milk to make yogurt or custards, it will take around two to two and a half minutes.
These times are based on a mid-level cooking power of around 700 watts microwave oven. While a lot of microwaves out there have a wide range of cooking powers, you should adjust the time according to the power capacity of your model.
Many people make hot chocolate by adding milk to their coffee instead of boiling water, which, in my opinion, tastes a lot better.
You have two options when doing this: you can either heat your milk first before adding in the chocolate powder or add it halfway through the microwaving process. But no matter which option you choose, you can expect the whole process to take between 60-90 seconds.
How To Heat Milk in the Microwave
Whether you’re heating a small cup for a quick drink or yogurt using it as an ingredient in a tasty recipe, I’m going to cover all the steps you need to take to ensure that your milk is heated correctly and tastes great.
Things you need to prepare:
- Dairy or plant-based milk
- Glass or ceramic bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Candy thermometer
- Oven mitts or hot pads
- Butter or cooking oil (optional)
1. Get a Microwave-Safe Container
This may be a glass or ceramic container, but if you use plastic, make sure that it is marked as safe for use in the microwave. Also, make sure to use a container that is deep enough, such as a bowl, to avoid it splashing over the sides.
2. Pour the Milk Into the Container
Pour a cup of 250ml of milk into a microwave-safe container. Ideally, you should only heat 250ml of milk at a time to ensure that your milk is heated evenly. If you need to heat more than 250ml of milk, it’s better to prepare a new batch instead of trying to heat too much at once.
Another thing to note is to leave around a 1″ gap between the milk and the top of the container to prevent it from overspilling. You can also apply butter or cooking oil to the edge of your container to achieve the same effect.
3. Put a Non-Metalic Object in the Container Before Microwaving
This is a trick that will prevent your milk from being superheated while it’s in the microwave. Simply put a wooden spoon or chopstick before you start heating to break the surface of the milk and allow air bubbles to escape.
4. Microwave the Milk for 15 Seconds at a Time on Medium Heat
It may be tempting to blast your milk in the microwave, but it’s better to do this slowly so that you’re less likely to scorch or burn the milk. Also, don’t worry about covering the milk while you microwave it, you don’t need to.
5. Remove the Container and Stir the Milk Gently
After a full 15 seconds, take your container out of the microwave and stir the milk with the wooden spoon. This will help disperse the heat through the milk evenly and prevent the milk from a film of protein forming on the top.
Be careful when removing the container. The liquid may be extremely hot, so use oven mitts or hot pads to protect your hands.
6. Check the Temperature of the Milk
Check the temperature of your milk after every 15-second interval. To do this, take a candy thermometer and place it in the middle of the container. Make sure that it is not touching the bottom or sides of your container, or this will give you an incorrect reading.
Hold it there for at least 15 seconds, then read the temperature. If you just want to warm your milk, it should be between 70-80⁰F. If you’re going to scald it, the temperature should be between 180-212˚F.
7. Keep Reheating the Milk in 15-Second Intervals
Keep heating, stirring, and checking the temperature of the milk every 15 seconds until it reaches the desired temperature.
8. Carefully Remove the Milk From the Microwave
Once the milk reaches the temperature you want or when you see steam vapors rising from the surface of the milk, stop microwaving. Take it out of the microwave and let it cool a bit before drinking or using it in your recipe.
Risks When Microwaving Milk
Whether you’re using a microwave to heat your milk or warming it on the stovetop, you’ll likely encounter two potential risks with the milk.
The first is that it will scorch or burn at the bottom of your container and develop a scorched taste. The second is that the milk will form a film of protein on the top.
These changes in taste and color might not be too noticeable if you plan on using the milk for a recipe, but if you’re going to drink it straight, your milk might taste a bit off.
The best way to heat milk in the microwave is to stir and heat it slowly. If you heat it too quickly, it can burn the sugars and curdle the protein.
As you can see, it is safe to microwave your milk as long as you follow the steps laid out in this article. Although there are a few risks, they’re easy to avoid and can be minimized by following the precautions here.
If you’re looking for more information on microwaving milk, be sure to check out our other posts about microwaving almond milk, chocolate milk, and soy milk.