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How To Safely Heat Up Milk In The Microwave

Heating milk up in a pan can take a while and you may simply not be prepared to stand over it for that long. If you want a quicker, easier way of heating up milk then you may as well use the microwave.

It should be a better use of your time yet there are certain ways you should use the appliance, especially when it comes to milk.

Even with a microwave, you need to give yourself extra time to ensure that the milk is evenly heated.

How To Safely Heat Up Milk In The Microwave

In this guide, we will look at how safe the microwave is for heating up milk and provide a guide on how to heat milk up in the microwave.

How Safe The Microwave Is For Heating Up Milk

As long as you take your time when heating up milk, it should be safe. That’s either in the microwave or in a pan over the stove.

Try your best not to rush it, no matter how short of time you are as you could risk spoiling it and having to start again.

If you do apply too much heat to the milk it can either develop a skin (protein film) on the top or the milk can burn at the bottom.

You can get away with removing the skin on the top of a cup of milk but scorched milk has an unpleasant taste and you would be best off throwing it away.

How safe the milk is may also depend on whether it has been pasteurized already.

If it has, then it should be safe to drink straight away, which includes when it has been heated up or as it is cold from the refrigerator.

As the pasteurization process is incredibly specific and requires various pieces of equipment, it is not something you should try at home so opt for buying pasteurized milk.

Particularly as you need to heat milk up to 145°F exactly and then quickly cool it back down to 40°F to keep it stored long-term, it largely is not worth doing at home. 

A Guide To Heating Up Milk In The Microwave

First, you need to find a microwave-proof container for your milk which should be a typical mug. Remember that you cannot put any metal objects into the microwave.

Your microwave should have various heat settings so you should go for medium/medium-high and slow to avoid the milk burning or boiling in your microwave. 

  1. Pour your milk into the container and leave some room at the top if this is for a drink such as hot chocolate
  2. Avoid the high setting and opt for medium/medium-high for around 15 seconds
  3. Use a spoon to stir the milk gently to make sure that the heat is consistently applied
  4. Repeat this after another 15 seconds at medium/medium-high
  5. If the milk still isn’t as hot as you want, simply heat it again for 15 seconds at medium/medium-high until it is and you see steam

This is an ideal way to heat up a cup of milk in the microwave as it takes care of ensuring that the milk is heated evenly.

You have to be extra careful when preparing a bottle of milk for a baby as any uneven areas of heat or ‘hot spots’ can risk burning a baby as soon as they start to drink it.

Even though the milk may simply seem warm after heating, you should leave it to rest for around 30 seconds before considering offering it to a baby. 

There is also the option of drip testing the milk on your wrist to gauge how warm it is. If you flinch when the milk hits your skin, it is clearly too warm to be served to a baby.

Any liquid served to a baby should be lukewarm. However, for heating up baby food there is no other option than the microwave.

For baby milk in bottles, you could run them under a faucet of hot running water or even in the bath to warm them up. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should It Take To Microwave Milk?

If you use the above method to microwave milk, it should take around 45 seconds to a full minute to get a warm cup of milk.

That largely depends on how much milk you are heating up and those guidelines are for a single cup that holds 250 milliliters.

You may need more time than a single minute as you would need to remove the cup and stir it after every 15-second interval.

If you fail to stir the milk, you may have an unevenly heated cup of milk that could develop a skin on the top or boil over the top and be scorched at the bottom. 

How Long Should It Take To Microwave Milk For A Cup Of Hot Chocolate?

As a guide, microwaving milk in a cup on its own should take around 45 seconds to a full minute of heating up with some extra time for stirring after each 15-second interval.

For making hot chocolate, you should still heat the milk up in the microwave as you usually would. Once it is warm, add your cocoa powder and maybe some cinnamon too then stir it in.

You can also do this halfway through the process so give it all about 90 seconds.

How To Safely Heat Up Milk In The Microwave

How To Heat Up Milk In The Microwave

Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 1 minute

Heating milk in the microwave is super quick. Just pour your milk into a microwave-safe dish, place it into the microwave and heat it. Make sure to stir the milk gently every 15 seconds.


  • Milk


  • Microwave-safe container
  • Microwave


  1. Pour your milk into a microwave-safe container: Pour the milk of your choice into a microwave-safe dish or container. Allow a little bit of room at the top as the milk may rise.
  2. Set the correct microwave settings: Your microwave should be set to medium or medium-high.
  3. Microwave your milk: Place your milk inside the microwave and heat it for 15 seconds. Then stir the milk gently, and heat it for another 15 seconds. Repeat this until the milk is hot.
Jess Smith

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