How to Troubleshoot a Keurig

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Most Keurig issues are easily and quickly fixed so you can get back to enjoying brewing at home.
Image Credit: Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/GettyImages
See More Photos

As Keurig coffee makers have advanced, so has their ability to help their owners maintain them. While all Keurig brewers need a bit of attention now and then, the more advanced models tell you when it's time to perform a descaling or add water. No machine is perfect, however, and you may find yourself facing a problem when you would rather be enjoying a caffeinated beverage. Fortunately, many of the problems encountered during normal usage can be fixed quickly.


Video of the Day

Machine Shuts Off

Some units have an "auto off" button that tells the machine to shut down after 2 hours of inactivity. If this button is lit, simply pressing it once will turn off this feature. The Keurig mini will turn itself off after 90 seconds of inactivity. You cannot change this on the mini, so you'll simply need to press the power button to turn the unit back on. On more advanced units, you'll need to navigate the menu options to disable the auto-off feature.


If your Keurig coffee maker shuts off unexpectedly at random, it may be failing to detect the water reservoir. Your machine uses a magnet to detect the presence of the water reservoir. This magnet sometimes shakes loose as the machine brews and vibrates. Try turning the machine off and gently tapping or shaking it to seat the magnet. If that fails, remove the water reservoir if you can, thoroughly clean it, then reinstall.


Check the power to the machine as well. Try the unit in a different electrical outlet and make sure a tripped circuit breaker isn't the cause of your unexpected shutoff.

Coffee Maker Won't Brew

More advanced Keurig coffee makers have an automatic timer that lets the machine automatically brew a cup of coffee so it's ready when you are. If this feature is set, you can't brew a cup of coffee until the set time has passed. To stop the automatic process, simply lift up on the K-cup holder handle. This terminates the previous programming and allows you to brew a cup of coffee on demand as you normally would.


Coffee Mug is Empty or Low

If you brew a cup of coffee and find your mug empty or far less full than it should be, it's possible the water lines or the needle in your machine have become clogged. Remove the K-cup holder from your unit, take it apart and wash it thoroughly. Pay special attention to the needle that pierces the top of the K-cup during brewing to make sure it isn't clogged.


If cleaning the K-cup holder fails to fix the problem, descale the brewer. To do so, disable the machine's auto-off feature. Empty the water reservoir and refill it with distilled white vinegar. Run the machine through a large cup brewing cycle, but do so without placing a K-cup in the unit. When the brewing is done, discard the contents of your coffee mug. Repeat this process three times. Leave the machine sit turned on for four hours, then empty the water reservoir and refill it with fresh water. Run the machine through several brewing cycles until the water reservoir is empty to rinse it before brewing a cup of coffee.



Descaling is also recommended if your coffee starts to taste odd or unpleasant.

When All Else Fails

If you spend any time around computers, you'll quickly learn that turning a device off and then on again fixes a surprising number of glitches. The same is sometimes true for Keurig brewers, which are basically electronic devices that brew coffee. If you have a basic unit, try resetting it by leaving it unplugged for a few hours after removing the water reservoir. Later, plug the unit back in, turn it on and replace the water reservoir. This resets the machine and may fix the problem.


If you have a more advanced unit with a display, the reset procedure is a bit different To reset these machines, press the "small" and "medium" cup buttons and then release them at the same time. Immediately press the "menu" button. You have it right when the display reads "6:09." Press the "menu" button again. This will change the display readout to "brew 0:00." Then, press and hold the "medium mug" button while pressing and releasing the "menu" button followed by the "small mug" button. Unplug the machine and plug it back in again several times.

If the reset procedure fails, it's time to contact Keurig customer support at 1-866-901-2739.