Can You Microwave Milk? The Best Way

Before going to bed, most people have some sort of ritual that they do before hitting the sack, however, they may not exactly call it that. These rituals can include yoga, stretching, or even just the routine tasks like putting on pajamas and brushing one’s teeth.

Whilst I personally enjoy drinking tea, drinking warm milk before bed is also a popular pre-bedtime ritual.

While the scientific proof is not definitive, there is some evidence that milk can help you fall asleep. This is because it contains a variety of amino acids and tryptophan specifically (ya know, the one that everyone talks about around Thanksgiving) that gets converted to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

However, the amount required (similar to when eating turkey) is too high to really have any effects. But, all that really matters is if it’s relaxing and works for you.

So, if you’re planning to warm up milk, how should you do it? Can you microwave milk? Yes, you can!

Keep reading to learn more.

Is it Safe to Microwave Milk?

Yes, you certainly can microwave milk. The Dairy Farmers of Canada even agree. While microwaving milk isn’t the only way, you may use a microwave to make a cup of coffee or heat milk with no trouble at all. Microwaving milk is simple when done gently, which is actually something that you should do to avoid burning it or heating it unevenly. 

Apart from using the microwave to warm milk for treats or to warm it with another mixture, you can always use it to improve the flavor of milk by removing the chill.

You can safely microwave your milk after taking a few simple measures because there are some things you should know so you can avoid them if you don’t follow the “best practices” of microwaving the milk. There are two in particular. 

First, the milk in the bottom of the container may burn and develop a sour or burnt flavor, contaminating your milk if you don’t stir it throughout the process. Second, the milk could curdle or leave a film on the surface. Although mildly scorched milk can be consumed, the flavor will be unpleasant.

But, this isn’t meant to deter you from warming milk in the microwave. Because when made properly, microwave milk is totally safe to consume and can be used to make any beverage you like. And it’s super easy and convenient as well. 

Best Way to Warm Milk in the Microwave

As I briefly mentioned, it’s critical when heating milk to proceed carefully, regardless of the tool you’re using. If you try to speed up the procedure, you’ll wind up with boiling milk splattered all over your microwave.

When you stop to stir your milk every fifteen seconds, this process can take a little longer. If you’ve ever had burned milk boil over in your microwave or on your stovetop, you know how important it is to heat slowly and steadily. ​Here’s the best way to warm milk in the microwave:

  • First, fill a microwave safe container, mug, or cup halfway with milk. If you’re making hot chocolate in the same container, make sure there’s at least an inch of space at the top.
  • Then, set the microwave to medium-high and 15 seconds on the timer.
  • Remove the jar with care and gently mix the milk.
  • After that, microwave for another 15 seconds on medium-high before removing and stirring.
  • Continue this process, pausing every 15 seconds to stir.
  • When you notice steam coming out of your milk, it’s ready to go. 

When warming milk in the microwave, another thing to consider is how quickly it can boil over, which is pretty easy.

So, to avoid having to clean up a mess of milk in your microwave, make sure to keep an eye on it and to take it out and stir every 15 seconds. 

How Long Should You Heat Milk in the Microwave?

How long you should heat milk in the microwave can depend on a couple of things like the container and how much milk you’re microwaving.

The more milk you are heating, the longer it will take.

But, for rough estimates, one cup (250 ml) should take about 45-60 seconds to prepare using the above approach. However, take care to remove it every 15 seconds to stir to avoid uneven heating or overheating, which can result in burning or the production of a “skin” on the top.

Microwaving Milk for a Baby

If you’re warming a bottle of milk or a baby formula-milk mix for a baby (in the bottle), it’s vital to stir the milk.

This is because microwaving a bottle can cause “hot spots” in the liquid, which can burn the baby’s mouth. Any meal for a baby that has been heated in the microwave should be allowed to cool for at least half a minute before being drip tested on a wrist or other sensitive area by an adult to ensure that the liquid temperature is no higher than lukewarm. 

Microwaving baby bottles and baby food, in general, should only be done when all other options have been exhausted. Warm bottles from the outside-in whenever possible, either by running them under hot tap water or warming them in a water bath. ​

How Long to Microwave Milk for Hot Chocolate

Again, how long to microwave milk for hot chocolate depends on how much milk you’re heating up. But, using the same estimate as above, one cup will take about 45-60 seconds to prepare. However, for the best results, the whole process will likely take closer to two minutes or so.

You can microwave the milk before adding the cocoa or chocolate (or even some exciting extras like cinnamon or sugar if you like). Or, conversely, you can add it midway through the process. But, either way, you should still take it out about every 15 seconds to stir it so it can evenly warm. 

And, if you’re feeling really in the mood to treat yourself, don’t forget about adding some other exciting extras like whipped cream and sprinkles on top as well.

However, if you plan on going to bed soon after, perhaps all that sugar isn’t the best idea. But it sure tastes good!

Other Ways to Warm Milk

Of course, there are a few other ways of heating milk. Microwaving is perhaps the quickest, easiest, and requires the least amount of clean-up. But, if you prefer some more “old school” methods, then there are a few that you can try too: 

Classic Stovetop Method

This one brings it back to the basics of using the stovetop and is the second-easiest method besides the microwave. 

  • First, pour the cold milk into a deep pot. It shouldn’t be too full so it has room to bubble and crawl up the sides (only slightly). 
  • Then, turn the heat to medium. 
  • Stir the milk frequently until it starts to steam. 
  • It’s finished!

When using this method make sure to keep your eyes on it. If you’re using a gas stove it can quickly heat up and boil over. Also, you should stir it continuously so the bottom layer doesn’t burn. 

Double-Boiler Method

This method requires a bit more work but does a better job to prevent the bottom part from burning. 

  • First, bring a little amount of water to a low-simmering temperature. A saucepan will only need a couple of inches (three or four centimeters) of water. Set the heat to low and place it on the stove. Slowly heat it until it begins to simmer.
  • Then, over the simmering water, place a heatproof bowl. Place a glass or stainless steel bowl in the saucepan so that it sits inside the pot but is not in contact with the heating water. Between the bottom of the bowl and the top of the water, there should be at least an inch of space.
  • Finally, fill the heatproof bowl halfway with milk. Maintain a low heat setting so that the water in the pot continues to simmer. Pour the milk into the glass or stainless steel bowl with care. Stir constantly and heat until little bubbles appear around the bowl’s edge and steam rises from the milk.