The coffee maker is a staple of every kitchen. But this versatile appliance can do much more that just make coffee. You can use it to cook food. In fact you can cook entire meals with nothing but a simple coffee maker. This can be incredibly useful for college students or anyone without easy access to a full kitchen. In this Instructable, I am going to share just a few unusual ways that you can use this marvelous appliance.
Step 1: A Few Notes on Cooking With a Coffee Maker
Inside a classic coffee maker there is a single heating element. This heating element boils the water that is used for brewing the coffee. It also heats the warming plate that keeps the pot of coffee hot after it is made..
The ability to boil water and apply direct heat makes it possible for you to cook a wide variety of things. The only problem is that the heating element in most coffee makers is small and not very powerful. This means that it cannot reach as high a temperature as a traditional stove or hot plate. As a result your cook times will be longer and you can only cook in small batches at a time.
There are some things that you can do to improve the efficiency of a coffee maker. For instance, you can wrap the pot with foil to help insulate it. You can also reach higher cooking temperature by cooking directly on the warming plate instead of inside the coffee pot. These will help a little. But a coffee maker still probably won't be a practical way to cook dinner for a large family. Most of these applications are really just for fun. So why not try it out and see what creative things you can do with a coffee maker.
Step 2: Poached Salmon
One of the simplest entrees that you can cook in a coffee maker is poached Salmon. Essentially all you need to do is add your favorite seasoning and let the salmon cook in a pot of hot water.
Just cut the salmon into pieces and set it in the coffee pot. Then sprinkle on the seasoning. I used garlic powder, onion powder, salt and lemon juice. Then fill the coffee maker with water and turn it on. Once the hot water has filled the pot, let it sit until the salmon is opaque and flaky. This usually takes 7 to 10 minutes. Finally drain the water and serve.
Step 3: Bacon
The best way to cook bacon with a coffee maker is to cover the warming plate with aluminum foil and cook directly on that. Cut your bacon into pieces that will just barely fit on the warming plate. Once the bacon starts to crisp and brown on the bottom, flip it and cook the other side. When you are done you will have some hot crisp bacon. Using the Aluminum foil eliminates any need for clean up afterward. So you are ready to cook something else with your coffee maker.
Step 4: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs is another meal that you can make in a coffee maker.
First take a serving of your favorite pasta noodles and put them in the pot. Then fill up the coffee maker with water and turn it on. Once the pot fills up with hot water, let it sit until the noodles reach your desired level of doneness. Because the water is not boiling, it may take a while. So I only make it al dente. You can speed up the cooking a little by wrapping the pot in foil. Drain the water out and set the noodles aside while you prepare the meatballs.
Next, take some frozen fully cooked meatballs and put those in the pot. Add pasta sauce until the meatballs are just covered. Let the meatballs and sauce heat up until they are warm. Then add the noodles back in and stir. Let everything warm for a few more minutes and serve.
Step 5: Steamed Vegetables
The filter basket of a coffee maker offers a great place to steam vegetables. Just fill up the filter basket with a vegetable that you want to steam and fill up the water reservoir of the coffee maker. When you turn on the coffee maker, the hot water will run over the vegetables and give them a nice lightly steamed flavor and texture. The more water you use, the more cooked they will be. My favorite vegetables to use with this are asparagus and broccoli.
Step 6: Dipping Chocolate
The low level of heat produced by the warming plate of the coffee maker is ideal for melting chocolates for dipping.
The ideal temperature range for melting most chocolates is between 104 degrees F and 117 degrees F. To achieve this I used two glass bowls. A large bowl is set on the warming plate. Then add a few tablespoons of water to this bowl and place the second bowl inside. This will help to produce a nice even heat at about the right temperature.
Now take your favorite melting chocolate and break it into pieces. Then just place the pieces in the bowl and wait. It make take a while until all the chocolate is melted. Stirring occasionally will help it to heat evenly.
When the chocolate is fully melted, you can dip in strawberries, or marshmallows or anything else that you like.
Step 7: Caramel Dip / Caramel Apples
Just like with the chocolate example in the previous step, a coffee maker can also be used to melt caramel. Because caramel is less temperature sensitive than chocolate, you can just melt it in a single bowl on the warming plate. When it is all melted you can dip in your favorite fruit or anything else.
Step 8: Cheese Dip
Cheese dip is another great snack that you can make with a coffee maker. Cut your favorite melting cheese (or cheese-like product) into chunks and place them in a bowl on the warming plate of the coffee maker. Cover the top of the bowl with foil to help prevent too much water loss. Stir occasionally. Adding salsa is always a good option. When the cheese is melted, start attacking it with chips. If you want the cheese to stay warm for a while, you can leave the bowl on the warming plate.
Step 9: Rice Krispies Treats
Rice Krispies Treats are a great snack that is easy to make with a coffee maker. Start by melting 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot of the coffee maker. Then add in 10 oz of marshmallows. As this heats up, stir frequently to mix the marshmallows and butter and help melt the marshmallows evenly. Once the marshmallows are melted, slowly add in 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal stirring constantly as you add them. After everything is mixed together, transfer it to a large heat resistant bowl. Press down on the top with a spoon to compress the mixture. If you like your Rice Krispies Treats warm and gooey, you can cut and serve immediately. Or if you prefer them to be hard and chewy, refrigerate them for an hour before serving.
Step 10: Hot Dogs (Boiled)
Hot dogs are another great food that you can prepare with a coffee maker and there are two distinct ways that you can prepare it. The first method is boiling. Just put the hot dogs in the pot, fill the coffee maker with water and turn it on. Let the hot dogs sit in the hot water until they reach the desired level of doneness. The drain and serve.
Step 11: Hot Dogs (Fried)
The other way that you can cook a hot dog with a coffee maker is by frying it. To do this you will cook it directly on the warming plate. To avoid getting food caked on your warming plate, I recommend covering it with aluminum foil. The warming plate on my coffee maker was not big enough to fit a full hot dog. So I cut mine in half to get them to fit. Place the hot dog pieces directly on the warming plate and wait. Once you start to get a little browning on the bottom side, turn them and wait some more. Once the hot dogs are cooked the way that you like them, put them in a bun and enjoy.
Step 12: Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast food to make in a coffee maker. Put 1/2 cup of oats in the coffee pot and pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. When you turn it on the hot water will fill up the pot and cook your oatmeal. If you are using instant oats, this will take about 2 minutes. If you are using "old fashion" oats, it may take 4 to 10 minutes. If you would like to make slow cooked over-night oats, increase the water to 1 1/2 cups.
One awesome trick that you can do when preparing oatmeal is set it up with an outlet timer to automatically cook the oatmeal for you so that it is ready and waiting for you when you get up in the morning. Just set the timer to turn on on the coffee maker a few minutes before you get up.
Step 13: Instant Grits
Instant grits is another great breakfast food that you can make in a coffee maker. Put 1/4 cup of instant grits in the coffee pot and pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. When you turn it on the hot water will fill up the pot and cook your grits.
Like with the oatmeal trick in the previous step, you can automate the cooking process with a simple outlet timer so that it is ready and waiting for you when you get up in the morning. Just set the timer to turn on on the coffee maker a few minutes before you get up.
Step 14: Coco Wheats
Yet another easy breakfast food that you can prepare with a coffee maker is Coco wheats (or other hot wheat cereals). Put 3 tbsp Coco wheats and 1 tbsp sugar in the coffee pot. Then pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. Turn it on and the hot water will fill the pot and start to cook your Coco wheats. Let it sit for a few minutes to finish cooking and stir. Then serve and enjoy.
Step 15: Instant Noodles
Instant noodles are another great quick and easy food that you can cook in a coffee maker. Ramen is the most popular kind of instant noodle but there are lots of other varieties that you can use. I really like udon noodles.
All you have to do is put the dry noodles in the coffee pot with any flavorings. Then fill the water reservoir with the amount of water recommended for your style of noodles (2 cups for ramen).Turn on the coffee maker and wait a few minutes for the noodles to cook.
Step 16: Couscous
Couscous is a great side dish that you can make in a coffee maker. Put 1 cup of grits in the coffee pot and pour 1 1/4 cups water into the water reservoir. Turn it on and let it start cooking. You will want to stir the couscous periodically. I also like to add salt and butter for flavor. You can also add dry powdered chicken bouillon to add a little more flavor.
Step 17: Instant Mac and Cheese
Instant Mac and Cheese is another great food that you can make in a coffee maker. Pour the noodles and flavor powder into the coffee pot. Then fill the cup with water to just below the water fill line on the cup. Normally when you fill the cup with water, it would have the noddles in it taking up some of the space. So if you filled an empty cup up to the water fill line, you would end up with too much water. Pour the water into the water reservoir on the coffee maker. Then turn it on. Let the mixture sit in the coffee maker until the noodles are cooked and tender. Then stir and serve.
Step 18: Fried Spam
Spam is a very versatile food and of course, you can cook it with a coffee maker. The best way to do this is to fry the spam on the warming plate. To make clean up easier, cover the warming plate with aluminum foil. Turn the coffee maker on and wait for the bottom side to start to brown. Then flip and repeat. Once both sides are cooked just the way that you like them, serve and enjoy.
Step 19: Instant Rice Mix
Instant rice is easy to make in a coffee maker because it just requires adding hot water. There are a lot of different instant rice that you can buy. My favorite is the pre-flavored mixes like Tony Chachere's. All you have to do is pour the contents into the coffee pot and fill the water reservoir with the indicated amount of water (6 cups in this case). If you want to add a little more flavor you can add chunks of meat like the fried spam from the previous step. Turn on the coffee maker. After the pot fills with water let it sit for a few minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Stir occasionally. Then serve.
Step 20: Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are a great breakfast food. And you can cook it with a coffee maker in two different ways. The first method is to cook it directly on the warming plate. If your warming plate is big enough, you can place a small pan on the warming plate and cook in that. However, it your warming plate is too small for a pan, you can cover the warming plate with aluminum foil and cook on that. I recommend adding a little oil or non-stick spray. to keep the eggs from sticking. As it cooks, use a small spoon or spatula to mix it up so that it cooks evenly.
The second method for cooking scrambled eggs is to cook them inside the coffee pot. This process is a lot slower because the heat has to work through the thick glass bottom of the coffee pot before it can cook the eggs. But it has the advantage of letting you cook a larger quantity of eggs at once. You will still want to stir it regularly to make sure that it cooks evenly.
Step 21: Breakfast Sausages
Now that you have made scrambled eggs, why not make some sausage to go along with it. I highly recommend using fully-cooked or "brown and serve" sausages. Cover your coffee maker's warming plate with aluminum foil and add on your sausage. Turn on the coffee maker and wait. As the bottom side of the sausages start to brown, turn them slightly. Once the sausages are nicely browned on each side, serve and enjoy.
Step 22: Mini Sausages
Mini sausages such as "Little Smokies" can be prepared just like the breakfast sausages in the previous step. Cover your coffee maker's warming plate with aluminum foil and add on your sausage. Turn on the coffee maker and wait. As the bottom side of the sausages start to brown, turn them slightly. Once the sausages are nicely browned on each side, serve and enjoy.
Step 23: Fried Ham
Fried ham is another simple food that you can cook with a coffee maker. Just cover the warming plate with aluminum foil and place a thin slice of ham on top. The thinner you slice the ham, the faster it will cook. Cut the ham to be just as big as a the warming plate because it will shrink some as it cooks. Let the ham begin to brown on the bottom side. Then flip it over and repeat. Make sure that they ham is fully cooked before eating.
Step 24: Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The next dish that you can make is a grilled cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, the warming plate of most coffee makers is not large enough to fit a full slice of sandwich bread. So you will have to use smaller slices of bread or cut a slice of sandwich bread in half. Don't use thick slices of bread. The thinner the bread slices are, the faster it will cook.
Start by buttering both sides of the bread. Then place one or two slices of bread in between the two pieces of bread. Cover the warming plate with aluminum foil and place the sandwich on top. Turn the coffee maker on and wait. Once the bottom side is gold brown and crispy, flip the sandwich and cook the other side. Once both sides are done, serve and enjoy.
Step 25: Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are one of the easiest things that you can make in a coffee maker. First put the eggs in the coffee pot. Then fill the pot with just enough water to cover the eggs. Pour the water in the water reservoir of the coffee maker and turn it on. The water will heat up and fill the pot and start to cook the eggs. Leave the eggs to cook in the hot water until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.This might take a while. So be patient. The actual cook time will vary depending on the wattage of the coffee maker a number of eggs that you are cooking.
Step 26: Instant Pasta Mix
Many instant pasta mixes only require you to add hot water in order to prepare them. This makes them ideal for cooking in a coffee maker. Just empty the bag (or box) of mix into the coffee pot. If the directions on your instant pasta mix also call for milk or butter to be added, put that in the coffee pot as well. Next fill the water reservoir with the amount of water indicated in the directions (2 cups in this case). After the pot has filled with hot water you will want to stir the mixture periodically to help everything cook evenly and to make sure that the noodles don't stick together.
Step 27: Sauteed Mushrooms
Another dish that can cook well with low heat is mushrooms. Take your favorite mushrooms and slice them into sections. Place them in the coffee pot along with 1 tablespoon of oil (or butter) for every pound of mushrooms. Turn on the coffee maker and wait. Stir the mushrooms often to make sure that they cook down evenly.
Step 28: Sweated Onions
Sweated onions are used in a number of recipes. They can easily be prepared in a coffee maker and added to another dish. This will save your stove burners and microwave for other foods.
Chop up a small onion and put it in the coffee pot with a tablespoon of oil or butter. Then just turn on the coffee maker and wait.
Step 29: Split Pea Soup
Soup is one of the easiest dishes to cook and they are perfect for preparing in a coffee maker. All you have to do is put all the ingredients into the coffee pot, fill the water reservoir and turn it on. The ingredients that you choose can be anything. It just depends on the kind of soup that you want to make. One of my favorites is split pea soup.
To make a simple split pea soup take the following ingredients and throw them in the coffee pot.
1 cup dry split peas
1/4 pound of ham
1 small onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Then pour 4 cups of water into the water reservoir of the coffee maker and turn it on. Now you just have to sit and wait for several hours for it to finish cooking. Yeah. Because the coffee maker is so low powered, it acts like a slow cooker and will take several hours to finish cooking the peas. If you don't have that long to wait, check out the next step for a faster option.
Step 30: Condensed Soup
For those of you who don't have the time or patience to spend several hours slow cooking a soup from scratch, you can also use a coffee maker to heat up a can of condensed soup.
Pour the can of condensed soup into the coffee pot or a large bowl. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup of water. Then turn on the coffee maker. The water will heat up and drip into the condensed soup. This will both heat the soup to the correct temperature and dilute it to the appropriate concentration. This should give you a soup ready to eat in just a few minutes.
Step 31: Instant/Powdered Mashed Potatoes
It is possible to make traditional mashed potatoes from boiled whole potatoes. But this would take a really long time. So I tried making instant mashed potatoes from powdered/flaked potatoes. To do this put 1 cup of powdered instant potatoes into the coffee pot and fill the water reservoir with 1 cup of water. When you turn on the coffee maker the hot water will drip into the pot and mix with the potatoes. Stir the mixture. Then let it sit for a while to fully re-hydrate.
I have to admit that the taste and the texture are not quite as good as traditional mashed potatoes. But it is a lot faster and a lot less work.
Step 32: Lentils
Lentils are a great food. They are cheap, have lots of protein and have a really long shelf life. They are also really easy to cook in a coffee maker.
Whenever cooking lentils you should always look through them in case any rocks or anything else made it's way into the bag. Then rinse 1/2 cup of lentils and put them in the coffee pot. If you want to add a little flavor you can add 1 tsp of granulated chicken bouillon. Fill the water reservoir with 2 to 3 cups of water and turn on the coffee maker. Then pot will fill with hot water. Let this sit for at least an hour (or two depending on how chewy you like your lentils to be. When they have reached the desired level of doneness, drain any excess water and serve.
Step 33: Jello
In a list of things that can be cooked with hot water, you can't forget Jell-o. Empty the packet of mix into the coffee pot and pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. Turn on the coffee maker and wait for the hot water to drip into the pot. After the hot water is finished dripping, stir it to make sure that all the Jell-o powder is dissolved. Then add 1 cup of cold water. This will help to cool it down faster. Stir it again to make sure that everything is well mixed. Once the mixture is cooled to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator for a least 4 hours to fully set the Jell-o. Finally divide into individual serving dishes and enjoy.
Step 34: Corn on the Cob
Fresh corn on the cob is a great summer food. There are a lot of ways that you can prepare corn on the cob. Probably the simplest method is to cook it in boiling water. This is yet another thing that we can do with a coffee maker.
In order to fit the corn into the coffee pot, you will probably have to cut it in half first. Add 4 cups of water to the water reservoir and turn it on. Once the hot water fills the pot, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then turn the corn over so that it will be cooked on all sides. Repeat this until it reached your desired level of doneness. I prefer mine to be only a little cooked. So I take the corn out after 20 minutes.
Step 35: Hot Chocolate
There is nothing better than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Once again your coffee maker has got this covered. Put 3 tbsp of hot chocolate powder into a cup. Pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. Then turn it on. Once the hot water fills the cup, stir and add marshmallows.
Step 36: Instant Cider
Another great winter drink is apple cider. Empty the packet of powder into a mug. Pour 1 cup of water into the water reservoir. Then turn on the coffee maker. When the hot water fills the mug,stir it to make sure that all the powder is dissolved. Then just sit back with a good book and enjoy your cider.
Step 37: Tea
Because a coffee maker is called a "coffee" maker, people often forget that it is perfect for making tea as well. You could just make a simple pot of tea by putting several tea bags in the pot, adding the appropriate amount of water to the reservoir and turning it on. And this will make a fine pot of tea. But what a coffee maker is really great at is brewing loose leaf tea.
If you have never made loose leaf tea, it is essentially the same tea leaves that you would find in a tea bag. But the leaves are usually much larger and higher quality. You can make loose leaf tea in a coffee maker just like coffee. Put a coffee filter into the filter tray. Then put a few spoonfuls of loose leaf tea into the filter. Fill the reservoir with 2 cups of water for every spoonful of tea leaves. Turn on the coffee maker and the hot water will begin to drip over the leaves and fill the pot with brewed tea. This will produce a very lightly brewed tea. To make a stronger tea. Put the leaves directly into the coffee pot and let them steep for 5 minutes. Then to remove the tea leaves, pour the pot of water and leaves through the filter. This will give you are great cup of tea.