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.

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


  • 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)


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.

Egg whites and yolks in separate bowls Eggnog ingredients being mixed together

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.

Cinnamon and Milk in Sauce Pan

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.

Pouring Milk Mixture into Beaten Eggs Mixing and Heating Eggnog Ingredients

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.

Wooden Spoon Stirling Thickening Eggnog on Stove

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.

Pouring Cream into Eggnog on Stove

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.

Pouring Eggnog mixture Through Strainer

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

Adding vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon and rum to Eggnog

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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  • Rhonda fergerson

    Soo good. I substituted one of the two cups of milk with international delight vanilla creamer….very rich!



    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.


  • Lori

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


  • Robbie

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


  • 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!


  • 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?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jimmy! Whip the whites just before serving and fold them into the eggnog. It’s best to fold them into the whole batch of eggnog and then serve, rather than adding to individual cups. Enjoy!

  • Beth

    Super lovely recipe! I’ve made this three times so far this month (hey, one cannot argue with pregnancy cravings!) With a lil one on the way, I’ve decided to avoid uncooked egg whites altogether, so as a substitute, I’ve found equally lovely foaminess with extra whipping: whipping the egg yolks with the sugar until super thick and fluffy- as well as whipping the cream and vanilla at the end until soft peaks, then folding it in. It’s like drinking a cloud, equally good warm as it is cold. This one’s definitely a keeper.


  • Kagan

    Not to be a heel, but… Why would you chill the eggnog? Isn’t it a winter drink, meant to be served warm/hot?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Kagan! I think you can serve eggnog any way you prefer! Traditionally, it’s served in a giant punch bowl with the eggnog slightly chilled or at room temperature. You can definitely warm it up if you like, though!

  • Wilma

    Fantastic recipe— I used the embedded recipe to pasteurize the eggs — easy! A really large pan helped keep the water temp more constant.
    To save time, after beating the yolks with less sugar and before the milk in the saucepan got warm, I added the blended egg yolks and whisked the mixture to the recommended temperature. The strained result blended with some whipped egg whites is excellent! Be sure to let it sit in the fridge overnight- it gets better.


  • Pia

    I made this the other day and it was really easy and tastes wonderful. Will probably use less sugar next time, but I’ll never buy ready made egg nog again.


  • Lanie

    Is heavy cream more fat than whipping cream?

  • Jonathan Schaefer

    I used to make eggnog, simply putting 4-6 eggs in a blender and adding brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, milk and cream and blending till it was a bit foamy. Chill and serve. It is DELICIOUS, but I never put booze in it. Sounds like it might be good with a little brandy, or whiskey.

    • Jamie

      Is it Possible to have Your Whole Recipe please! I would really like to try Yours! Thank you

  • Alejandra Terroba

    A friend of mine makes this recepie, but instead of using the egg whites, she uses whipped cream and it comes out delicious.

  • Josette

    We have been making this recipe for a few years now. Love it!! I have also used the egg whites and has turned out great. Thanks for the excellent recipes:)

  • Steve

    As a British man, i have watched American movies all my life and often wondered what eggnog was like up until a few years ago. I found this recipe and fell in love with it. Now each year we have eggnog to accompany roast chestnuts and you could say it’s our new family tradition. Thank you for this recipe!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • Jennifer Jo

    I made this for Christmas and we’re going for round two tonight (New Year’s). Sooooo delicious.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!


  • 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!

  • 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.

  • i love this

    Thank you. Is this for kids?

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

  • 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 ^^ )

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

    : )


  • Jaden Hair

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