Eggnog Ice Cream

Adding a couple of tablespoons of a spirit like rum, bourbon, or brandy to the eggnog ice cream base will help the ice cream from getting too icy if you store it for more than a day. You can skip the alcohol, but if you do, you should eat up the ice cream the day you make it.

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Chilling and Freezing time: 12 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 1 quart


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp rum, bourbon, or brandy


1 Infuse milk and cream with spices: Put the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream into a heavy saucepan (2 quart). Add the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and heat until steamy, but not boiling.

Lower the heat to warm, cover, and let spices steep for at least a half hour. Pick out the whole cloves and discard.

2 Add sugar: Stir the sugar into the milk cream base until the sugar dissolves.

3 Put remaining cream in bowl over ice bath: Put remaining 1 cup cream in a metal bowl, resting in a larger bowl of ice water. Place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl of cream.

mesh strainer over the bowl of eggnog cream

4 Temper the eggs with the heated cream milk mixture: Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour about half of the heated cream milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it.

Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Warm Egg Yolks Being Poured into Sauce Pan

5 Heat mixture to make custard base: Return the saucepan to the stove on medium heat, stirring the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. You should be able to run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

The second the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, it should be removed from heat immediately, and poured through the sieve over the ice bath to stop the cooking (see the next step).

Spoon stirring eggnog ice cream mixture Wooden spoon without egg coating

If the custard base doesn't coat the back of the spoon, it's not ready.

Wooden spoon with custard coating Spoon with eggnog ice cream coating

The custard coats the back of the spoon.

6 Strain custard into cream over ice bath, then chill: Pour the custard through the strainer you set up over an ice bath in step 3, and stir it into the cold cream to stop the cooking. Once initially chilled in the ice bath, chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours).

7 Stir in vanilla extract and rum/bourbon/brandy: When it comes time to churn the ice cream, stir in the vanilla extract and the rum, bourbon, or brandy.

8 Process in ice cream maker: Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

9 Transfer to container, store in freezer: Remove ice cream from the ice cream maker and transfer it to an airtight container; store in your freezer for several hours before eating.

Note that the ice cream will be quite soft coming out of the ice cream maker. It will continue to harden in your freezer. If stored for more than a day, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes to soften before attempting to scoop it.

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  • ~Josh

    Haha my mom just mentioned this a few minutes ago. I could just hear the Egg Nog Ice Cream calling my name right now
    ~ Josh

  • marie

    I think I may try this with ready bought eggnog and just follow my regular vanilla ice cream recipe but with eggnog instead of whole milk. And rum flavour instead of vanilla. Think that should work?

  • ch1d3th

    pst…freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen
    would allow you to add alcohol during this step, if you are so inclined

  • Andrew

    If you want to add more spirit but scared it won’t freeze, just heat the spirit beforehand so the alcohol evaporates away leaving the spirit flavour only.

    Also, if the ice cream is too hard, increase the sugar. I also suspect that if you added corn syrup instead of extra sugar that would decrease the excess ice. I’ll test this theory once I get my ice cream machine back off my mother!

  • Gordon

    Is there something I could add that’s non-alcoholic that would server the same purpose (IE.. anti-freeze)?

    Perhaps, corn syrup. Try 2 Tbsp. No idea how it will taste with ice cream, but it works with sorbet. ~Elise

  • George R Hooper, Jr

    Re: ingredient #7, the 2/3 C sugar; I assume it’s added at step 4 or 5?
    Or did I manage to overlook that…

    Yikes! I hate it when I forget to write an obvious step. Add the sugar in step one. I’ve adjusted the recipe. Thanks for pointing it out! ~Elise

  • Megan

    I tried making ice cream out of store bought eggnog last year, and it was only partially successful. Straight out of the machine, it was wonderful, like soft serve. But after a few hours in the freezer, the ice cream became very icy and no longer appetizing.

    The iciness comes from both the lack of alcohol and the lack of egg yolks. A couple Tbps of rum will help. And one could try creating more of a custard base by adding a few (tempered and then heated until thick) egg yolks. ~Elise

  • Carolyn Friesz

    Yummo! Will definately be making this in the next few days; my kids (there are 4 of them from 25, down to 16) don’t ever remember me making ice cream and I have promised myself they will get some homeade ice cream before returning to college! I used to make a coffee ice cream w/rum (which I am still planning on making), in addition, I just have to try the Egg Nog for my 2nd eldest son who has a love for Egg Nog! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Terry

    So if you used store-bought egg nog, how would you alter your recipe? Sounds delicious.

    I might try just churning the egg nog as is, with 2 Tbsp of rum added to it. ~Elise

  • thekevinmonster

    I have made eggnog ice cream several years in a row and it’s always a hit. One tip is not to use a double boiler or else the custard step takes forever.

  • Andrea

    This looks and sounds so good. Every year I say I’m going to make eggnog ice cream, then I get sucked into buying our favorite Turkey Hill eggnog ice cream, which is still very good. The ice cream is all gone, but we still have nog in the frig, so I might be tempted!

  • Matt

    This sounds delicious…for years now I had been stopping myself from buying this $20 Panasonic Ice Cream Maker that looked absolutely perfect. No freezing of parts and salting ice or anything like that. Just pop in batteries and toss it in the freezer. Come back in a few hours and it’s spun and frozen to perfection according to all the reviews on Amazon. You just breifly put me back on to the idea as my diet back in the day said Absolutely NOT! However it doesn’t look like they sell it and I’m not buying the other style I’ve used in the past. Maybe it’s for the best I can’t make this ice cream. Or maybe I’m just ranting to see if another poster knows of a similar unit. Damn subconscious.

  • Amanda

    I worked at an ice cream store in Boston that makes eggnog ice cream as a December flavor. They also make coquito ice cream. (Coquito is a Puerto Rican drink with egg yolks, coconut and rum.) These are both very popular flavors. Yum!

    Egg yolks, coconut, and rum? Sign me up! ~Elise

  • KissTheChef

    This is awesome. I add the bourbon or rum to a caramel sauce for the top so no worries about it not freezing. Best of both worlds..

    Oooo, love that idea. ~Elise