Eggnog

We grew up with eggnog, the kind you buy in a carton, and every Christmas holiday we kids drank up as much of it as we could. I didn’t even know that eggnog was a “spiked” drink until well into my adult years. So this recipe is only lightly spiked; feel free to increase the rum and bourbon to your heart’s delight, or omit altogether if it’s for the kids. Is eggnog part of your family holiday tradition? If so, how do you like it – spiked or virgin? with whipped egg whites or without?

Eggnog Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 1 quart. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • *4 egg whites (optional)

Method

1 In a large bowl, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat egg yolks until they become somewhat lighter in color. Slowly add the sugar, beating after each addition, whisking until fluffy.

2 Combine the milk, cloves, and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium heat until the milk mixture is steamy hot, but not boiling.

3 Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4 Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, and coats the back of the spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer, but not necessary; if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. (If the mixture does curdle you may be able to save it by running it through a blender.) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves. Let cool for one hour.

5 Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon/rum and brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.

*Optional: Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog. Note, because of the salmonella risk from raw eggs, it is recommended that children, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems refrain from eating raw eggs such as the optional whipped egg whites in this recipe, unless you use pasteurized eggs.

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Links:

Eggnog Pound Cake
Eggnog cupcakes from Nic at Baking Bites
Eggnog pancakes from Amy of Cooking with Amy
Michael Ruhlman's eggnog
Eggnog: a Potent Family Tradition - essay and recipe from Kevin Weeks

eggnog-b.jpg

37 Comments

  1. Jaden

    I just found the pasteurized eggs at Super Walmart this weekend!

  2. June

    We had the cartons of eggnog in the daytime, I would always put milk in my glasses too as it was so rich.

    My special memories are when my Dad used to get this wonderful batter – called Tom and Jerry mix – that he would mix with boiling water. The adults would get brandy and something – the kids would just get whipped cream. It was wonderful stuff. About ten years ago I had with banana rum and it was the best. I can’t find the batter anymore now though, so I might give your recipe a try!

    Thanks for all your lovely ideas – I look forward to seeing what you discover in 2008.

    : )

    June

  3. Paul

    June, I saw your comment on Tom and Jerry punch. It’s funny, but last week I took a wander through Elise’s fabulous site and links to some of her fellow food bloggers. In my travels, I came across a wonderful entry on Tom and Jerry, which I can’t find now (should have tagged it!), but if you search “Tom and Jerry drink” on Google you will find history and recipes.

    Cheers.

  4. Natanya

    I grew up with boiled custard, a Southern traditional alternative to eggnog. Boiled custard was apparently so popular in the south that,according to my mother, prepared boiled custard was available on store shelves in the same way eggnog was available elsewhere in the country. The consistency of boiled custard is much thicker than eggnog and instead of folding in whipped egg whites, you fold in whipped cream, which adds some lightness to the drink but leaves it creamy. The spiked version uses Kentucky Bourbon of course – and once I was old enough to have adult beverages, I came to appreciate boiled custard even more.

  5. Kristalina

    I didn’t drink the eggnog before. We have some egg drink recipe in my family. It’s eggs with milk and honey. Every winter when I caught a cold my mum force me to drink it. Since then I hate it. Now I have two children and every winter when they catch a cold I remember that egg drink and want to give it for them but the recipe have been lost. Hope that your eggnog (the recipe looks very tasty) will be one of favorite winter drinks for my children.

  6. Christine

    I love eggnog!! I tried this recipe out during the holidays and got rave reviews! I used Southern Comfort and it was delicious! I recommend everyone trying this recipe at their next holiday gathering!

  7. Ranee

    I make homemade eggnog just about every year, and it gets demolished in minutes. We leave it unspiked, but put out kahlua for anyone who wants it. It is very good with the kahlua in it.

    The recipe I use has egg beaters in it, though pasteurized eggs would work, and we now have really fresh farm eggs, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them. We put vanilla ice cream in it, as well as unsweetened whipped cream that is folded in. I like it with lots and lots of nutmeg.

    I like the idea of using it as a base for french toast, I had not thought of that. Usually, if we have any left, we use it in baked goods.

  8. thekevinmonster

    Oooh, I’ll have to give this one a shot. One tip for those who don’t make custards often… I have a double boiler for melting chocolate, and making custard in it is a recipe in patience. I always end up just putting it right on the stove and being careful.

    I’ve never been a fan of spiked egg nog. No matter how good, it always reminds me of Mr. Boston’s. Yuck.

  9. Darby "The Dessert Diva"

    My 4 yr old has noticed the festive cartons of eggnogg in the grocery store lately and is asking me to buy one so he can try it. One day, I gave into his plea and did, knowing that he probably wouldn’t care for it (he’s not much of a sweet eater). Boy, was I ever wrong. I am so very glad that you posted this, because I was either going to have to avoid the dairy section when I had him in tow or I was going to need to buy stock in an eggnog company. Thanks!

  10. Andi

    I absolutely hated eggnog (store bought version) until last year when I tried Alton Brown’s recipe. He has 2, one cooked, like this one, and a “raw” one using pasteurized eggs and whipped eggs whites. I tried the uncooked version with lots of bourbon and lo and behold, I liked eggnog! Apparently, it also makes a good ice cream base, can’t wait to try that. I also think it would make a tasty bread pudding with pannetone – yum!

  11. Susi from Germany

    I’m confused about the letting it cool for an hour part – do you drink eggnog cold? I always assumed it would be a hot drink – especially considering that from what I know you drink it in winter/when it’s cold outside. We have a similar drink in Germany – “Eiergrog” – which is definitely meant to be a hot drink. Could you please explain to the German girl? :-)

    All the best from Munich!

    I’ve always had egg nog cool, not hot. That said, my father remembers that people would drink egg nog spiked and hot where he grew up in Minnesota. ~Elise

  12. jonathan

    Let me see if I understand this correctly…
    You’re saying that children shouldn’t be given eggnog with alcohol in it?

    I think I now understand why I repeated third grade.

    Seven times.

  13. jjmcgaffey

    My Dad always makes eggnog for our caroling party, from the 1964 Joy of Cooking ‘eggnog in quantity’ recipe (I think that was one of the recipes left out of the 1975 and later editions). Yum. It does have raw eggs – also immense amounts of powdered sugar and evaporated milk (instead of cream). He also whips the whites and sort of floats them on top – I prefer them folded in, but I can do that when I serve myself. And we serve it unspiked with assorted alcohols available so people can adjust it to their liking. And what doesn’t get drunk, I get!

  14. Trillion Grams

    In 2007, I started caring what actually goes into my body. By Christmas of that year, my new-found will power went out the window and I was drinking eggnogg.

    This year, a few weeks ago, I looked at the nutrition label of carton eggnogg for the first time probably ever. I actually cringed and sadly put it back on the shelf.

    Then a few shelves down, I found my savior. Soy Egg Nog. While it’s still no dark-leafy-green salad, it’s much MUCH less awful for you than traditional.

    And while it doesn’t have that viscous gooey thickness that comes from traditional eggnogg in a carton, it has staved my cravings and helped me stay on track in my new healthy (well, healthier at least) lifestyle.

    (oh, and I also didn’t know that eggnogg was a spiked drink until I was an adult ^^ )

  15. i love this

    Thank you. Is this for kids?

    Yes, if you omit the alcohol and egg whites. ~Elise

  16. Hillary

    I love homemade eggnog and use a recipe similar to yours. But, in a pinch (and to add to my daily latte this time of year) I use the Organic Valley brand. It tastes much closer to homemade than any other store-bought version I’ve tried. Compare the ingredients on the carton to others — the difference will blow you away.

  17. LindaB

    We always had homemade eggnog for Christmas morning breakfast (not spiked :) with grilled English muffins & jam. We just threw eggs (whites and yolks), milk, vanilla ice cream, sugar, vanilla extract and nutmeg in the blender. We never had the kind in a carton and when I finally tried it as a young adult I didn’t like it – too thick!

  18. Lucy

    We made this recipe this year and it turned out wonderfully – thick, rich and delicious. I also imagine that if I transferred this to my ice cream maker it would make wonderful delicious ice cream. Thank you for the great recipe!

  19. Nancy Long

    Oh, thank you. This reminds me of my father’s eggnog when I was growing in the 50’s. Friends would bring over the makings on Christmas Eve, including a Jewish friend for my father to make batches of eggnog for them. He was famous for it.

    Also, remember the clear pink pitcher setting on the sideboard of my grandmother’s boiled custard. Yum!

  20. Randi Lynne

    I made this tonite and it was a wonderful treat. I folded in the egg whites and used bourbon. Thanks for this great recipe. I want to make it a yearly family tradition.

  21. AlchemistGeorge

    I’ve found that adding some peach brandy moderates the ‘hot’ taste of the alcohol, making it much more palatable to people who don’t like the taste of bourbon, rum, etc.

  22. Calij

    I love homemade eggnog. I had it every Christmas and New Year as a young child. I have kept the tradition. My children enjoy it as well. My recipe is similar, however I don’t use cloves. I add the milk mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and cook on a low fire. I beat the whites until they form a peak and add to the hot mixture. Yummy, yummy.

  23. Anna

    I buy eggs from a local woman who has a backyard flock of laying hens. I’ve been serving these raw eggs to my family for years without issue. So I make egg nog very quickly with raw eggs, raw cream, and a hand held “stick” blender – often for breakfast! It’s a tasty and easily digested protein energy drink that’s just about as easy to make and clean up as any “instant” breakfast drink, and it keeps hunger at bay for hours if I keep the sweet level very low (I use a drizzle of real maple syrup usually).

  24. Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    I didn’t grow up drinking egg nog, but started making it because my husband is an egg farmer and I wanted to create a “real Christmas” in Japan. But as the years went on, we got older and less able to drink hard alcohol or take the big calorie bomb (me). I stopped making eggnog for a few years, but had already decided to revive the “tradition” this year. Why? Because my son is home from college and because once again I will serve it to our friends as our traditional Christmas Eve dessert with gingerbread cookies. I’m all for the idea of simplifying these days. I use the Joy of Cooking recipe and love the combination of raw egg yolks, organic sugar, heavy farm cream, lots of rum and whipped egg whites. The raw, the sweet, the luxurious cream and the strong alcohol are irresistible. And of course some fresh grated nutmeg.

  25. Leah

    I used to make an eggnog recipe that was basically pasteurized, but I decided that it’s way too much effort. Like you said–if you overcook the eggnog, it curdles. That happened to me, and I had already spent so long stirring it that I found it depressing.
    So this year I tried the aged eggnog recipe from Chow.com. http://leah10x10.blogspot.com/2010/12/aged-eggnog.html

  26. Jayme J.

    Is it possible to use ground clove seasoning with this in place of whole cloves and straining it out? iF SO, What would amount would you recommend?

    Hi Jayme, cloves are so so strong, I would use just the tiniest pinch. And then add to taste. ~Elise

  27. Mimsey

    This is the best eggnog recipe I’ve tried & it is going in the “Favorites” book. I used pasturized eggs & followed the recipe, except for using the tiny pinch of ground cloves instead of whole cloves. The whipped egg whites added a lot to the thick creaminess of the eggnog & held up well for 3 days in the fridge (stir before serving). I like the zing of the alcohol & used all brandy. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  28. MF

    Can you substitute ground nutmeg spice for freshly grated? by how much?

    Yes, typically you would need to use more if you are using nutmeg that is already ground. Just add to taste. ~Elise

  29. J

    I made this on Christmas! I have been drinking eggnog since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Until this here I have never made my own I following a recipe. We had a tradition that we purchased the first container that we saw each year.

    After making this I have now decided that I will never buy egg nog by the carton again instead I will make this fabulous fabulous recipe. This was truly the best tasting egg nog I have ever consumed. Thank you for shatradition, it is now a part of my christmas tradition.

  30. Zombiemommy

    I highly recommend cooking your eggnog. I used Alton Browns recipe this year and did the uncooked version.

    My husband was quite sick for about a day and a half.

    Next year I will do the cooked version. Lesson learned.

  31. Jennifer Jo

    I made this for Christmas and we’re going for round two tonight (New Year’s). Sooooo delicious. http://bit.ly/ftUEqn

  32. Jocelyn

    I found this recipe two years ago while looking for a good, easy recipe to replace the store bought stuff my husband liked. I have not looked back since. This year my two year old gets to partake also. Thanks for posting a great recipe!!

  33. Christine

    I am spending my first holiday season in Africa… my heart sank when I remembered eggnog and the fact that I would not be able to go to the store and get any… nor would anyone be able to send it in a care package! Then gritty determination kicked in, and voila! Simply Recipes to the rescue. Can’t wait. Will make it tomorrow for our Thanksgiving feast. Thank you from one northern Californian foodie to another.

    And for our German friend: When I was in college I worked at Starbucks and got hooked on hot steamed eggnog. I had no idea that this was the old-fashioned way, but if we could put it in a latte, one could just have it straight, ja? Maybe since we began storing the stuff in refrigerators, people lost touch with the hot and fresh kind. Thanks for sharing the cultural roots!

  34. Hillary

    Elise, this looks delish! How far in advance do you think you could make it – to prep for a holiday party? Thanks for your insight.

    I don’t know. We’ve only made this the day of. Though I do know people who make highly alcoholic versions that they then let sit for weeks in the fridge. ~Elise

  35. Peggy

    I loved this recipe thank you so much for posting it! They don’t have eggnog here where I live, so thank you thank you thank you, it turned out really good and nice and creamy!

  36. Dan

    Nice recipe. A little sweet for me, but heaps better results and texture than when I attempted a homemade version of Baileys Irish Cream.

    Where I live (in Thailand) decent thermometers are hard to come by. Is there any way to check the temp without a thermometer? (as in, “you’ll know the eggnog is approaching 160 degrees when you insert a finger and it burns like hell, but your skin doesn’t melt”?)

    When the mixture slightly thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, it’s ready. ~Elise

  37. Dana R.

    I made 1/2 batch last night. Delicious!! A little to “eggy” for me, so next time I’ll just up the milk/cream. My egg whites didn’t form peaks, so I tried one glass with frothy egg whites – it was okay, but I preferred it without.

    I’ll be taking this bad boy over to a game night tonight, should be a hit!

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