My Ninja Coffee Maker Keeps Saying Add Water (Solved!)


Is your Ninja coffee maker constantly displaying an “add water” error, despite a full water tank? This can be frustrating, but it’s a common issue with straightforward solutions.

In this guide, I’ll provide all the steps to fix a Ninja coffee maker that persistently signals ‘add water’, so you can get back to enjoying your coffee without interruption.

How To Fix A Ninja Coffee Maker That Keeps Saying ‘Add Water’?

  1. Make sure the water tank is full and correctly seated. If the ‘add water’ light doesn’t go off, try removing and replacing the tank multiple times.
  2. The exit spout and screen in the tank might be blocked. Use a toothbrush, vinegar, and a straw or pencil to clean the screen and push the small ‘x’ on the bottom of the spout inward.
  3. If the problem continues, reset the Ninja coffee maker. Unplug and disassemble the coffee maker, clean all the removable parts, reassemble, plug it back in, refill the water tank, and see if the ‘add water’ light turns off.
  4. Lastly, run a descaling cycle with a vinegar-water solution. Ninja coffee makers offer a quick 30-minute clean or a thorough 4-hour deep clean. After cleaning, rinse the coffee maker and run a clean cycle twice with just water.

Let’s dive into some more detail on how to do this below!

ninja coffee maker add water light stays on

Ensure That The Water Tank Is Seated Properly

Firstly, always check if your water container has sufficient water.

If your Ninja coffee maker continues to display an “add water” alert even when it’s full, the water container might not be properly seated. Ninja coffee machines have sensors that can tell if the water tank is not placed correctly.

If you’re confident that the water tank is in the right position but the add water light is still on, the next thing you could try is taking it out and putting it back a few times in a row.

This is because, occasionally, the ‘add water’ light doesn’t turn off immediately when you first place the water tank on the coffee maker.

The Exit Spout Needs To Be Unblocked And Cleaned

The issue may be a blocked exit spout in the water tank.

Inside the water tank, there’s an exit spout that has a screen. Underneath this screen and within the spout itself, things like minerals, old coffee grounds, and mold can build up, potentially causing a blockage in the spout.

When you remove the water tank, you can see the spout from underneath. It has a small cross, this cross is meant to be pushed in when the tank is placed on the Ninja coffee maker.

Due to all the build-up and debris, this cross might not be able to push in properly. This could lead the Ninja coffee maker to mistakenly believe that it needs more water.

Here is how you clean and unclog this spout and screen:

  1. Remove the water tank from your coffee maker.
  2. Use a toothbrush and vinegar to clean three sides of the screen. Get rid of as much dirt and residue as you can. One side might be hard to reach with this method.
  3. Find the small ‘x’ on the bottom of the water tank. Use a straw or pencil to press this ‘x’ inward a few times, then blow out the screen to get rid of any remaining dirt.
  4. Put your coffee maker back together when the screen and spout are as clean as possible.
  5. Fill the machine with water and make coffee. Check if the “add water” warning message is gone.

Make coffee a few more times to wash out any remaining vinegar and to ensure that everything’s working fine. You could also use the descaling function to make sure it’s completely clean, you can scroll down to read how to do this.

Here’s a video that shows you how to do these steps:

Reset Your Ninja Coffee Maker

If the previous two solutions didn’t work and your Ninja coffee maker is still not recognizing the water, your next step could be to reset your Ninja coffee maker. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. First, unplug the machine and leave it unplugged for about 15 minutes.
  2. During this time, start disassembling the machine. Remove the water tank and filter.
  3. Clean all parts of the machine that you can remove.
  4. After cleaning, put the machine back together. Be sure to put everything back where it belongs.
  5. Once the machine is fully assembled again, plug it back into the power source.
  6. Fill the tank with water, and check if the ‘add water’ light is off.
  7. Finally, try to make a cup of coffee.

Occasionally, the Ninja Coffee Maker may malfunction, displaying unnecessary lights, like the add-water light or the clean light. Resetting your coffee maker this way should help the Ninja coffee maker to function properly again.

Run A Descale Cycle

After you’ve cleared any blockages in the water spout and screen as explained earlier, it’s always a good idea to run a full descaling cycle.

Ninja coffee makers offer two cleaning options: a quick 30-minute cycle or a thorough 4-hour deep clean cycle. You can choose either one.

Here’s an easy guide to cleaning and descaling a Ninja coffee maker:

30-Minute Cleaning Cycle

  1. Empty any water currently sitting in your reservoir.
  2. Fill the reservoir with white vinegar to the “half-carafe” line.
  3. Fill the remainder of the reservoir with water, up to the “clean cycle max fill” line.
  4. Turn the knob to “full carafe”. If you don’t, the machine will start beeping and won’t allow you to proceed.
  5. Press the “clean” button. The machine will begin pulling a bit of the solution into the system, effectively immersing all parts.
  6. Wait for 30 minutes as the machine descales.
  7. Once the 30-minute cycle finishes, all the vinegar-water solution will have been run through and the reservoir should be empty.
  8. Dump out any remaining solution, and rinse out the reservoir.
  9. Fill the reservoir with clean water up to the max fill line, then run the “clean” cycle again. Do this twice.
  10. The “clean” light should then switch off, indicating the cleaning cycle is complete.

4-Hour Deep Cleaning Cycle

  1. Fill the reservoir with white vinegar to the “half-carafe” line.
  2. Fill the remainder of the reservoir with water, up to the “clean cycle max fill” line.
  3. Hold down the “clean” button for 5 seconds to start a 4-hour timer.
  4. The machine will slowly run 9 ounces of the vinegar-water solution through the system every hour, in order to deeply clean the machine.
  5. After the 4-hour cycle, rinse out the reservoir.
  6. Fill the reservoir with clean water up to the max fill line, then run the “clean” cycle again. Do this twice.
  7. The “clean” light should then switch off, indicating the cleaning cycle is complete.

Note: It’s important to distinguish between the “clean cycle max fill” line and the “max fill” line. For these cleaning cycles, always fill to the “clean cycle max fill” line.

Only fill it to the “half-carafe” line when doing the cleaning cycles with fresh water. This will let the machine sense that you’re not trying to brew coffee.


The persistent ‘add water’ alert on a Ninja coffee maker can often be resolved through a few careful steps.

Checking the proper seating of the water tank, cleaning any blockages in the exit spout, resetting the machine, and running a descaling cycle are key methods to address this issue.

By following these practical and straightforward solutions, you can ensure that your Ninja coffee maker functions smoothly, free from unnecessary alerts, and continues to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

If you are experiencing any other problems with your Ninja coffee maker, be sure to check out the in-depth troubleshooting guide that I wrote specifically for Ninja coffee makers.

Thanks for reading!