Can You Use Instant Coffee In Your Coffee Maker? (A Complete Guide)

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Barry Gray

During my coffee journey, I have had some very decent instant coffees. I have visited friends who believe they are serving me a great coffee, and they are, as it’s served with their best intention. 

However, I know they are only serving me instant coffee in the usual way. Instant coffee in a mug, some hot water poured over it, and you have the finished drink.

But this opens up another question I’d like to investigate. Can I use instant coffee in my coffee maker?

You can use instant coffee in your coffee maker, and it will work well. You can either place the coffee directly into the carafe or you can use the brew basket. The hot water will dissolve the instant coffee granules leading to the finished drink, without it affecting your coffee machine.

In fact, there is a bevy of coffee makers designed explicitly for this very purpose, and many people are happy with them. Yes, I know it sounds surprising, but it’s true.

There are plenty of benefits to using a coffee maker with instant coffee, which include speed, convenience, and sometimes taste! When you think about those three things, it does make using instant coffee seem a bit more appealing than you would initially expect.

But it’s not as straightforward as that. 

Instead, you must know what you are doing to get the best instant coffee to the levels you might be used to. If you fail to do this, expect to be disappointed with the end result.

But don’t stress. I’ve got you covered as I’m about to give you all the information you need to not only use instant coffee in the correct way but also use it with the correct coffee makers.

can you use instant coffee in your coffee maker

What are the Best Types of Coffee Makers That Can Use Instant Coffee?

Most of us know that not all coffee makers are created equal. There are some specifically designed for this very job.

If you have a coffee maker and need clarification, check the coffee maker’s booklet before using it this way. 

In general, any coffee maker with a hot water function can make instant coffee. This includes drip coffee makers, single-serve coffee makers, and even espresso machines.

However, some coffee makers are not really suitable when it comes to using instant coffee, and you do run the risk of damaging your machine. 

For example, coffee makers with a built-in grinder should be used with something other than instant coffee, as the grinder can become clogged with the coffee granules. That’s a disaster and something I recommend you avoid.

Once you have determined whether your coffee maker works with instant coffee, you will want to choose a coffee that works best with this preparation method. Unlike me, who found out by trial and error. 

What’s the Best Instant Coffee For Using in a Coffee Maker?

using instant coffee in espresso machine

Not all instant coffee is suitable for coffee makers. The main issue is how coarsely ground the coffee is; too thick a grind will lead to a weak and poor coffee.

Here are a few tips I think you may want to pay attention to.

When choosing instant coffee for your coffee maker, look for a brand specifically designed for use in coffee makers. It might surprise you that they do exist.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is a great start. I never realized that coffee manufacturers sometimes spell it out for us!

It would be best to read the whole jar or tin, and you may be surprised to discover that there’s more instant coffee out there suitable for a coffee maker than you thought.

But I know you are intrigued as to the difference between this instant coffee and the version that you probably just throw in a mug and pour some hot water over. 

Instant coffee designed explicitly for coffee makers is typically made with a finer grind than regular instant coffee. This is because the finer grind dissolves more easily in hot water. 

This way, you can avoid clogging your coffee maker. Also, it delivers a better tasting cup containing more flavor than you would perhaps expect.

But I get it. The idea of using instant coffee in a coffee maker may still feel slightly alien to you, and that’s perfectly fine. 

So, let me explain why you may find yourself using this type of coffee. 

Why Would You Use Instant Coffee in a Coffee Maker?

using instant coffee in moka pot

The thing I’ve discovered about instant coffee is it’s more versatile than you expect. Actually, I see three main reasons why you may want to use instant coffee in your coffee maker.

  • Convenience: Instant coffee is very convenient. You can make a cup of coffee quickly and easily without measuring out ground coffee or ground beans.
  • Travel: Instant coffee is also a good option for travel. It’s lightweight and easy to pack, and you don’t need to worry about bringing a grinder or ground coffee.
  • Cost: Instant coffee is typically less expensive than ground coffee.

What Are Some Good Coffee Makers to Use With Instant Coffee Makers?

I mentioned earlier that instant coffee is not something you should use with every type of coffee maker. There are certain coffee makers that can handle this job.

While it’s not a definitive list, I see three different machines as really standing out.

  • Drip coffee makers: Drip coffee makers are a classic choice for making coffee and a good option for instant coffee. These machines are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and they can make a pot of coffee quickly and easily.
  • Single-serve coffee makers: Single-serve coffee makers are another excellent option for using instant coffee. These machines are designed to make a single cup of coffee at a time, perfect for people who live alone or don’t drink a lot of coffee.
  • Espresso machines: Espresso machines can also be used to make instant coffee. These machines are more expensive than drip coffee makers or single-serve coffee makers. Still, they can produce a more flavorful cup of coffee.

But I know not every make and model of those coffee makers will still be suitable for instant coffee. However, the majority will work fine.

To give you an idea of what to look for, here are a couple of examples of coffee makers that work well with instant coffee.

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker: This famous drip coffee maker is easy to use and affordable. It has a hot plate that keeps your coffee warm after it’s brewed, and it also has a timer so you can set it to brew your coffee ahead of time.

Breville Infuser Espresso Machine: This is an espresso machine that’s a good option for people who want to make a more flavorful cup of coffee. It has a built-in grinder and a variety of settings, so you can customize your coffee to your liking. This is on the higher price range side of things. 

Why You Might Not Want to Use Instant Coffee in a Coffee Maker

black coffee from instant coffee in coffee maker

I won’t tell you that all instant coffee works well in a coffee maker. Actually, there are a few reasons why you may not want to use it.

  • Flavor: Instant coffee has a less rich or complex flavor than ground coffee. This is because the brewing process for instant coffee strips away some of the flavor compounds from the coffee beans.
  • Texture: Instant coffee can have a grainy or gritty texture. This is because the coffee granules are less finely ground than ground coffee.
  • Residue: Instant coffee can leave a residue behind in your coffee maker. This residue can build up over time, making your coffee maker harder to clean.

Ultimately, it depends on your own personal preference and the way you like your coffee. 

My Tips For Using Instant Coffee in Your Coffee Maker

Considering there’s a possibility of you feeling somewhat disappointed with the quality of the coffee when using the instant version in your coffee maker, you may want a couple of tips.

  • Use a good quality instant coffee.
  • Use the right amount of instant coffee. The instructions on the package will tell you how much instant coffee to use per cup of water.
  • Preheat your coffee maker before brewing. This will help to ensure that your coffee is hot and evenly extracted.
  • Clean your coffee maker regularly. This will help to prevent the buildup of residue.

The tips may be simple, but they can be a real game-changer when using instant coffee in your coffee maker.

My Recap on Using Instant Coffee in Your Coffee Maker

Using instant coffee in a coffee maker is more popular than you think. But keep these key points in mind to produce a better coffee than anticipated.

  • Use a good quality instant coffee
  • Use one with a finer grind
  • Clean your coffee maker to reduce residue
  • It works well with both drip coffee machines and espresso machines
  • Preheat your coffee maker to get a better end result
  • Read the instant coffee instructions to see if it’s suitable
  • It costs less than other types of coffee, so it works well on a budget
  • Don’t scorch your coffee to avoid a poor taste

Ultimately, deciding whether to use instant coffee in your coffee maker is up to you. At the end of the day, everyone’s idea of a great cup of coffee is loaded with variables and personal taste. 

My Conclusion

I always find it fun to experiment with different ways to make coffee, and I admit I was surprised at what I could achieve with instant coffee in my coffee maker. However, I would certainly avoid using cheap instant coffee due to its poor quality and larger granules.

Get the best instant coffee you can find, and make sure it’s that fine grind to give you something that tastes better. Also, experiment with different types of instant coffee as their flavor changes, and you may enjoy the end result.