Homemade Eggnog Recipe

Classic Homemade Eggnog

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
393 Calories
22g Fat
22g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 393
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 12g 61%
Cholesterol 239mg 80%
Sodium 130mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 147mg 11%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 218mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eggnog is a classic Christmas cocktail that adds to the festive spirit of the holiday season. This creamy, comforting drink, often spiked with bourbon, brandy, or rum, is pretty simple to whip up from scratch. While there are several ways to make it, this recipe follows the traditional approach, and your made-from-scratch eggnog is sure to outshine any store-bought version.

If you know how to beat eggs and have a few kitchen essentials, you can produce crowd-pleasing homemade eggnog. You'll make the base with egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, and nutmeg, then add the liquor and dairy ingredients. Folding whipped egg whites in just before serving provides a lusciously frothy finish, and a dusting of nutmeg completes the drink's charm.

You'll have a nice eggnog after just an hour of chilling or you can serve it right away. It's also an excellent make-ahead drink; letting the creamy yolk base rest for a few days creates a silkier texture with a more uniform flavor.

Enjoyed by holiday revelers for centuries, eggnog is perfect for parties. The recipe makes six one-cup servings (some guests may prefer less), and it's easy to double for a larger group. While it does include raw eggs, eggnog is safe to drink if you follow some essential tips, and there's a cooked eggnog variation that is equally delicious and customizable. If you like, switch to brandy or rum, make nonalcoholic eggnog, or add flavor with a simple addition or two.

"This is classic eggnog at its best. It's creamy, just sweet enough, and just boozy enough. I used a mix of bourbon and aged rum which made for a well-rounded, delicious drink." —Laurel Randolph

Homemade eggnog/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, separated

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, more for garnish

  • 1 pinch kosher salt

  • 1 cup bourbon whiskey

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for homemade eggnog
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  2. Beat the egg yolks, then slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt, and continue mixing until it is very thick and pale yellow.

    Beat egg yolks
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  3. Slowly beat in the bourbon, then the milk and heavy cream.

    Set in pan
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  4. Cover and chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

    Cover and chill
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  5. Shortly before serving, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.

    Beat egg whites
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  6. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat the mixture to soft peaks again.

    Gradually beat sugar
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  7. Add the egg whites to the chilled egg yolk mixture, folding it in gently.

    Mix in brandy
    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  8. Serve the eggnog in mugs, Irish coffee glasses, punch cups, or stemless martini glasses and grate nutmeg over the top for a garnish.

    Classic Homemade Eggnog

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.

Tips

  • Make sure you're using the freshest eggs when making drinks with raw eggs. With proper attention to the freshness and quality of your eggs and how you handle them, you reduce the risk of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella, and your eggnog will likely be perfectly safe for guests.
  • The USDA recommends pasteurized eggs for any food or drink that uses raw eggs. The pasteurization process kills any bacteria that may be inside the shell, though some people find that there's a loss in flavor.
  • Making traditional eggnog requires a lot of vigorous mixing. While you can do it all with a whisk, using a stand or hand mixer whenever possible makes the task much easier.
  • There are three popular liquor options for eggnog: bourbon, brandy, and rum. Many people prefer bourbon, brandy is the traditional choice, and aged rum adds a similar oaky sweetness. For more dimension, try equal parts of bourbon and either brandy or aged rum.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace nutmeg with cinnamon or split the two spices when making the eggnog base.
  • Make nonalcoholic eggnog and allow guests to spike their own glass. Simply skip the liquor in this recipe, and you'll have five cups of eggnog. For a one-cup serving, add a 1-ounce shot of alcohol to each glass, then top it with about seven ounces of prepared eggnog.
  • Make eggnog by the glass in a cocktail shaker when you're not hosting a large party.
  • Skip the eggs and dairy and go with vegan eggnog.
  • Add simple flavors to the eggnog base with a few extra ingredients. For instance, Fireball eggnog adds a shot of cinnamon whiskey, while the gingerbread eggnog recipe relies on molasses and a handful of spices.

How to Store Eggnog

In a well-sealed container, the eggnog's creamy yolk base will last for two to three days in the fridge because the alcohol acts as a preservative. Hold the egg whites until you're ready to serve; either refrigerate them in an air-tight container for a few days or freeze the egg whites for longer storage. Let the whites reach room temperature before whipping. Drink nonalcoholic eggnog within a day.


Some people enjoy the taste of aged eggnog. It's an old-fashioned method that stores the eggnog base (no whites) for a long time to let the flavor develop further. When doing this, be extra diligent about egg safety, increase the recipe's ratio to two parts dairy and one part liquor, and store it in a glass jar with a tight seal. Keep it refrigerated for up to two weeks. The extra alcohol extends the shelf life, and you can always add a bit of milk or cream if it's too potent.

How Strong Is Eggnog?

Eggnog has a reputation for being too strong. In most cases, that's due to a generous host who adds a little too much booze, or guests who enjoy too many glasses. If you pour 80-proof liquor in this eggnog, the alcohol content falls around 6 percent ABV (12 proof). It's equivalent to the average beer and an ideal range for any punch-style drink.

How to Make Cooked Eggnog

The trick to cooked eggnog is to temper the eggs by adding the warm dairy ingredients to the egg yolks so the temperature rises gently and prevents scrambled eggs. The entire mix is then brought up to 160 F, the minimum temperature for eggs that destroys bacteria. The secret to success is to keep stirring whenever you're working with the warm mix.

  • Beat the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt according to the recipe.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir constantly and gently warm the milk and heavy cream until steaming, but not to a boil.
  • While whisking vigorously, very slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolk bowl.
  • Return the mixture to the saucepan, stir continually, and cook over medium heat until it reaches 160 F on a thermometer. The mixture should thicken slightly but not be allowed to curdle.
  • Remove the eggnog base from the heat, pour into a medium mixing bowl (through a fine-mesh strainer, if desired, to remove any film or curdled bits that may form), and let cool to room temperature.
  • Stir in the brandy. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.


With this method, you can eliminate the egg whites and enjoy creamy cooked eggnog—it yields about four cups or four standard servings. If you want the foamy top, you can fold in the whipped egg whites then reheat the entire mixture to 160 F before chilling it again. Alternatively, whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream and fold it into the cooked eggnog base.

Is eggnog served hot or cold?

Eggnog is often served chilled or at room temperature, though some people enjoy slightly warm eggnog. If you'd like to try it, let the finished eggnog reach room temperature, then gently it in a saucepan while constantly stirring just until it begins to steam.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shell Eggs From Farm to Table. Food Safety Education; USDA.gov. 2019 Nov.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What You Need to Know About Egg Safety. FDA.gov. 2021 March.