Eggnog

DrinkHolidayEggnog

Homemade Eggnog is EASY to make! Plus, it doesn't have all the fillers of the store-bought stuff. Just cream, sugar, eggs, and spices. Enjoy it spiked or without alcohol for a kid-friendly version.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A traditional holiday drink dating back hundreds of years, eggnog is made with eggs (hence the name), milk, cream, spices like nutmeg and vanilla, and fortified with rum, whisky, and/or brandy.

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!

Even now, I prefer my eggnog only lightly boozed, if at all. 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.

2 Glasses of Homemade Eggnog Drink

Eggnog Preparation & Heating

The eggnog base starts by beating egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy. Then you slowly whisk in hot milk that’s been infused with cloves and cinnamon, which tempers the eggs so they don’t curdle.

Finally, you warm the eggnog on the stovetop until it thickens. It’s essentially a custard.

How to Use Raw Egg Whites Safely

For a traditional eggnog you also whip up some egg whites to stiff peaks, and then fold those into the eggnog mixture, making it light and fluffy.

The egg whites are not cooked and these days people avoid eating raw eggs because of the salmonella risk. If you want to incorporate beaten egg whites, one way to get around this is to use pasteurized eggs.

I’ve also just reheated the combined mixture (eggnog base with beaten egg whites mixed in), until it reaches 160°F, and then let the mixture chill again. That works too if eating raw eggs is a concern for you.

  • Need an egg-free version of eggnog? Try coquito! It’s the Puerto Rican answer to eggnog, made with condensed milk, coconut, spices, and rum.

How to Make Eggnog

What’s Your Eggnog Tradition?

Is eggnog part of your family holiday tradition? If so, how do you like it – spiked or virgin? with whipped egg whites or without?

Looking for More Ideas for Holiday Cocktails?

Updated December 16, 2018 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe itself.

Eggnog Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 1 quart, serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks (decrease to 4 egg yolks if you would like it less rich)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (decrease to 1/2 cup if you would like it less sweet)
  • 2 cups milk (we use 2% milk)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (lightly packed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • 4 egg whites (optional)

Method

1 Beat egg yolks, beat in sugar: 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. Beat at high speed or whisk until fluffy.

2 Heat milk with cinnamon and cloves: 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 until eggnog mixture thickens: Cook the eggnog 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.)

5 Remove from heat and stir in the cream.

6 Strain and chill: Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves and any curdled bits that may have formed. Let cool for one hour.

7 Stir in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon and rum (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.

8 If you you want to include egg whites (optional): Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog.

Note that 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.

You can also reheat the combined eggnog and egg white mixture until it reaches 160°F, then remove from heat and let cool, then chill. The mixture will lose some of its fluffiness from the beaten egg whites, but not all, and the eggnog will be much airier than without the egg whites.

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Products We Love

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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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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55 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • BECKY

    This is the BEST! We made it up until chilling the Egg Nog in the fridge, along with sealing and chilling the Egg Whites. The next day we picked up where we left off right as company arrived to watch us whip up and fold in the Egg Whites. What a show, and we all enjoyed it very much, even those who thought they didn’t like Egg Nog loved it. This will be a Holiday Tradition from now on! BTW we let each person add booze if and how they liked it. It tasted great with or without it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Lori

    Delicious! Would it be possible to reheat this in a milk steamer for lattes? With the egg whites too?

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Robbie

    Perfect mix. Add alcohol to taste, definitely. I did 3/4 cup spiced rum Capt morgan. Boom! Exact taste we wanted.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Steve

    I’ve been using this recipe for years now and it’s amazing. Traditionally us Brits don’t have eggnog but I was curious about it after seeing it in movies and tried it out. Glad I did as we love this festive treat and enjoy it each Christmas.

    Thanks Elise!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jimmy

    Amazing receipe! Brought to a tailgate and blew everyone away – now I am making more for XMAS!

    Question: Do you add the egg whites, and then let it sit overnight in a jar? Or, do you only add egg whites to each drink before serving?

    xxxxxyyyyy

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