How to make Keurig coffee when you're out of K-Cups

If you don't have a filter basket for your Keurig and you've run out of K-Cups, you're not entirely out of options. Use this simple trick to keep the coffee flowing.

Taylor Martin CNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Taylor Martin
3 min read
Taylor Martin/CNET

Keurig and other single-cup, one-button-press coffee makers aren't exactly known for amazing coffee. Rather, they're praised for their convenience.

But what happens when you're out of K-Cups and you have no other way to brew your morning coffee? You get creative, of course.

Learn how to brew coffee with the Keurig even when you're out of pods.

What you will need

While making coffee is a reasonably simple process, you will need a few items to pull off a makeshift K-Cup.

  • A used K-Cup pod
  • Aluminum foil
  • Whole bean coffee or coffee grounds

Additionally, you may need your own coffee filter. Some K-Cups use instant coffee, which do not require a filter. If you do not see a filter inside the pod, you will need to grab one from the stack for your drip machine or pour over cone.

Also, if you have a Keurig 2.0, this will not work without installing a Freedom Clip first, which allows you to circumvent Keurig's DRM and brew anything you want.

Making your own K-Cup

Hopefully, you didn't have to dig a used K-Cup out of the trash. Either way, you will need to remove the foil from the top of the K-Cup, dump the coffee grounds into the trash and thoroughly rinse out the pod.

If there is no attached filter inside, take a #4 pour over cone filter or a standard drip machine filter and cut it to size. Just make sure the filter reaches the top of the K-Cup. It's even alright if the filter is a bit too tall and is wrapped over the rim of the pod. This makes cleanup easier, as it should lift all the grounds out of the cup.

If you have whole bean coffee on hand, grind approximately 14 grams (0.5 oz) of coffee medium fine and pour this into the K-Cup. If, instead, you have pre-ground coffee, simply fill the K-Cup to just below the rim of the cup.

Next, cut a piece of aluminum foil, approximately 2 by 6 inches (5.08 by 15.24 centimeters). Fold this in half, lengthwise, and wrap the foil over the top of the K-Cup as tightly as you can.

You may have noticed that there is a puncture hole in the bottom of the K-Cup from the first time you ran it through the Keurig. Line this up with the barb inside the K-Cup slot in the Keurig.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Since I made the ill-advised decision to purchase a Keurig VUE, I have to use a Vue pod to K-Cup adapter. This adapter also has the barb to puncture a hole in the bottom of the K-Cup.

Turn on the Keurig, insert the K-Cup with the proper orientation and once the machine is ready to brew, select 8 ounces (237 milliliters) and press Brew.

This certainly won't make the best tasting cup of coffee you've ever had, but it will keep you from having to run out to pick up some K-Cups and it even gives you the opportunity to experiment with different coffee, grind sizes, filters and other options with your Keurig that you didn't have before.