Homemade Eggnog

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  • The word eggnog is such a funny word. What is a “nog” anyhow? Regardless of the name, eggnog has become a standard drink during the holiday season.

    angle of homemade eggnog with ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick

    While store bought is easy, it will never have the same flavor and texture as homemade.

    Why it is Called Eggnog?

    I tried to research the origins, but the best I could come up with that “nog” was added from the word “noggin” which meant a wooden cup (not your head).

    Others believe the real name was “egg grog” with “grog meaning a strong beer or ale. I guess they only imbibed with the alcoholic version. LOL. Get your grog on!

    overhead of eggnog with cinnamon garnish

    It has also been known as egg punch or milk punch and has been around for centuries and throughout many cultures around the globe. Must be good if it is that popular.

    What is in Eggnog?

    Many folks have ordered it at a restaurant, sipped it a party or even snagged a gallon at the store, but have never made their own. Any why not?

    ingredients for homemade eggnog

    The ingredient list is simple fridge and pantry staples and the preparation is easy too. The taste and texture of homemade eggnog is unsurpassed.

    • Milk– Whole milk works best, don’t skimp with skim on this one.
    • Cinnamon– freshly grated from an actual stick will give you the most bang for your buck.
    • Ground Nutmeg– same for the nutmeg.
    • Vanilla Extract
    • Egg Yolks– See notes below on egg yolks, they’ve earned themselves a whole section!
    • Sugar– To sweeten the drink. Sugar substitutes can be used.
    • Heavy Cream– To make it extra velvety and rich.

    Does Eggnog Have Raw Egg?

    The answer is yes and no. While many folks cringe at the idea of raw eggs, many of your favorites probably use them. Lots of thick cream sauces are thickened with barely cooked yolks, hollandaise sauce, custards and ice creams– lots of recipes! And tell me you don’t like a nice runny yolks on your fried eggs.

    raw egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl

    This recipe heats egg yolks to a temperature that will be safe to eat, but also still tastes a little eggy. It is EGGnog for goodness sake.

    If you are still a little weary, check your egg section for containers that specifically say “pasteurized” on the carton. These have been heat treated and don’t pose potential risk.

    As always, practice food safety and make sure both the eggs and the eggnog are kept refrigerated when not being cooked or consumed.

    overhead close up of eggnog and whipped cream topping

    How to Make Eggnog

    Making it is simple!

    1. Separate egg yolks from the whites. If a little white gets in, don’t fret, just leave it. Leftover whites can be used to make a nice egg white omelette, added into your scrambled eggs, to make egg cups or meringue desserts.
    2. Next, heat milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a small saucepan on low heat.
    3. Slow bring mixture to a low boil. You aren’t looking for a rapid boil, just little simmering bubbles. Not too hot, or else it will immediately cook the eggs when you add them.
    4. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in a medium-large mixing bowl, about 2-3 minutes. By combining these two before adding to the milk mixture, you reduce the risk of just having scrambled eggs.
    5. Begin by adding a very small amount of the heated milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Do not add the hot milk too quickly or it will cook the eggs.
    6. Continue adding small amounts of the milk to the eggs, whisking constantly until all the milk is incorporated and well combined
    7. Return to sauce and cook over medium heat until slightly thick and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil- only low simmer. Watch closely as milk and sugar mixtures tend to boil over if the temperature is too hot.
    8. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream.
    9. Chill for several hours before serving.
    10. Spike it, if you plan too.
    11. To serve, top with whipping cream and additional ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick or star anise.
    process shots of how to make eggnog

    Spiked Eggnog Recipe

    Eggnog is good, but spiked eggnog is better (in my opinion). Adding booze takes down the sweetness a few notches and warms your belly and your soul.

    I highly recommend drinking moderation in that not only is this safer and more responsabile, eggnog is one of those drinks with high alcohol content that goes down pretty smooth. At the very least, alternate with water.

    two glasses of eggnog with whipped cream topping on plaid linen

    Add alcohol after chilling for maximum impact. If you add it while the mixture is still hot, you’ll retain some of the flavor of your booze of choice, but will lose some of the actual alcohol content. I like to add one jigger (or shot) to each cup opposed to the whole batch so it is equally distributed.

    Best Alcohol for Eggnog

    Most people tend to go for darker and amber colored liquor, but don’t limit yourself. There are plenty of creamy and clear alcohols that will complement this holiday cocktail just as much.

    two glasses of eggnog ready to serve

    These are our favorites:

    • Bourbon
    • Rye
    • Aged rum
    • Irish whiskey
    • Blended Scotch whisky
    • Brandy
    • Peppermint Schnapps
    • White Chocolate Liqueur
    • Bailey’s Irish Cream

    Eggnog Bar

    With all of these options, it begs to have an eggnog bar! Set up a few pitchers of virgin eggnog and then on the side, a variety of alcoholic options.

    Also set up garnishes like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, candied cranberries, mini candy canes, marshmallows, cloves, allspice and ginger.

    Adding a shot of espresso or coffee, chocolate or caramel syrup or even maple syrup are also fun additions. Whipped cream is always a favorite.

    serving homemade eggnog

    No eggnog bar is complete without these classic moose cups from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. These are made from acrylic, so virtually indestructible from children or adults who had one too many.

    Also include eggnog baked treats like Eggnog OREO Truffles, cookies, fudge or even cake.

    Make Ahead & Storage

    Eggnog can be made ahead of time up to 2-3 days. Just give it a really good stir before serving to distribute all the spices and flavors.

    When serving, it can be left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours. I recommend putting out a small pitcher and refilling it. Eggnog can be served warm or cold, but room temperature nog is kind of gross. As is watered down eggnog if you are serving with ice.

    Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Since this is homemade, it doesn’t container the preservatives that other store bought versions do.

    I do not recommend freezing eggnog. The flavors are muted and it waters down a lot after thawing.

    You can also use eggnog as an ingredient in so many other holiday recipes!

    close up of glass cup of eggnog with cinnamon stick and whipped cream
    The holidays are rapidly approaching, and while holiday get-togethers may not look the same as every other yearthe entertaining, food and drinks are still just as important.  These simple entertaining ideas are sure to help.  Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Appetizer from Chipa by the Dozen Christmas Appetizer Tree from Design Dazzle  Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip from Devour Dinner Cranberry Brie Bites from Fresh Coast Eats Easy Holiday Bar from Hoosier Homemade Sausage Balls from House of Nash Eats  Spinach Artichoke Dip Wonton Cups from J Z Eats  Dried Beef Cheese Balls from Marty’s Musings  Cherry Cream Cheese Puff Bundles from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia  Christmas Crunch Popcorn Snack Mix from Rose Bakes Eggnog from Savory Experiments  Blue and White Tablescape from Sondra Lyn at Home  Cranberry Goat Cheese Tarts from Tastes of Homemade  Mushroom Puff Pastry Bites from The How to Home  Classic Deviled Eggs from What’s Cookin’ Chicago 
    pin for eggnog from scratch
    angle of eggnog with cinnamon
    Print Recipe
    5 from 8 votes

    Homemade Eggnog

    Easy instructions for how to make homemade eggnog, spiked eggnog and also a fabulous eggnog bar!
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time15 mins
    Total Time20 mins
    Course: Drinks
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: boozy eggnog, homemade eggnog
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 470kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola



    For Serving & Garnish:


    • Separate egg yolks from the whites in a small bowl.*
    • In a small saucepan, combine milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, bringing to a simmer.
    • In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk for 2-3 minutes or until they pale in color.
      egg yolks with sugar in a bowl
    • Begin by adding a very small amount of the heated milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Do not add the hot milk too quickly or it will cook the eggs. Continue until it is all incorporated.
      tempering eggs with hot liquid
    • Return to saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil.
    • Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream.
    • Chill before serving.
    • To serve, add whipped cream, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick or star anise if desired. If you'd like to add alcohol, stir in 1 jigger or ounce per cup, stir well.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!



    *Leftover eggs whites can be used to create meringue desserts, added to omelets or egg cups or in casseroles. They can also be frozen for future use. 
    **Best alcohols for eggnog include: 
    • Bourbon
    • Rye
    • Aged rum
    • Irish whiskey
    • Blended Scotch whisky
    • Brandy
    • Peppermint Schnapps
    • White Chocolate Liqueur
    • Bailey’s Irish Cream


    Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 387mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1462IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 216mg | Iron: 1mg
    overhead of two mugs of eggnog
    image of jessica formicola

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