Homemade Eggnog is the ultimate holiday treat. It’s creamy, rich, and easier to make than you think. With our simple recipe, you’ll never buy store-bought versions again.
Eggnog is one of the quintessential drinks of the Christmas season. Admittedly, I’m guilty of buying a carton or two each year for my kiddo.
Not too long ago, John reminded me that we haven’t made homemade eggnog in a while. So this year, I decided not to buy the store-bought version and make our homemade version instead.
Y’all, I forgot how good it was! Our homemade eggnog recipe is rich, creamy, and has just the right amount of nutmeg. You can make it alcohol-free by leaving out the bourbon, but I like to add a little for flavor.
If you’re looking for other Christmas drinks to get you into the holiday spirit, try our Chambord and Prosecco, Snickerdoodle Martini, or an eggnog latte. Or, serve a mug of our eggnog with a slice of eggnog pie or eggnog bread pudding!
Substitutions and Variations
- Whole Milk: If you don’t have whole milk, you can use 2% milk or even almond milk. The almond milk may change the taste a bit, but it’ll still taste really good.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream makes the eggnog rich and creamy. If you don’t have it, use half-and-half or even coconut cream or coconut milk. Using coconut products will give the eggnog more of a coconut flavor.
- Bourbon: Bourbon is what makes eggnog for grown-ups! But if you don’t want alcohol or are making it for kids, just leave it out. If you are using alcohol but don’t have bourbon, try black or dark rum. Try to steer clear of spiced rum, because the flavors don’t always mix well with the other flavors in the drink.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg gives this drink its classic holiday taste. If you don’t have ground nutmeg, use ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Our old fashioned eggnog recipe uses a handful of kitchen appliances. Some may seem a little unconventional. I’ll leave some other options, so you can choose which are best for you.
Here’s what I use (Amazon affiliate links included):
- Stand Mixer with Heat-Safe Mixing Bowl: This is by far the easiest way to add hot liquid to the eggs and sugar for tempering. Let the mixer do the whisking while you slowly drizzle in the hot liquid. Just make sure your mixing bowl is heat-safe (check the owner’s manual), and make sure not to slosh hot liquid. If you’d rather use a large, heat-safe bowl and a whisk to mix the eggs and liquid by hand, that’s a great option, too!
- Large Pan: You’ll need a large pan for cooking the eggnog.
- Mesh Strainer: Optional, but great for straining the cooked eggnog to remove any scrambled eggs or solids that may have formed.
- Heat-Safe Bowl + a Second Large Bowl: This is for making an ice bath. While this step is technically optional, I find that it’s good to slowly lower the temperature of the eggnog. You’ll need a heat-safe bowl to pour the hot eggnog into. I prefer metal here. Then, you’ll set that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice so the eggnog can cool.
- Instant Read Thermometer: The eggnog needs to cook until the temperature reaches 160°F. The best way to guarantee you get the right temperature is to use an instant read thermometer.
- Measuring Cups (both liquid and dry measure), Measuring Spoons, Whisks.
Store leftover eggnog in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Mix the Sugar and Eggs Properly: Add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until it’s completely mixed in. The mixture should be well combined and light in color.
- Heat Milk Gently: Warm your milk and cream in a pot over low-medium heat, but don’t let it boil. Boiling can cause the dairy to scorch and separate.
- Combine Slowly: When you add the warm dairy to the egg mixture, do it slowly while whisking the egg yolks. This is called tempering. It keeps the eggs from cooking too fast and turning into scrambled eggs.
- Cook over Low Heat: After everything is mixed, cook it over low to low-medium heat and stir often. Don’t let the mixture boil. The goal is to get the eggnog to 160°F. It will thicken slightly as it cooks and even more so as it cools.
- Add Bourbon Last: If you’re using bourbon, add it after the mixture cooks and is removed from heat. This keeps the alcohol from evaporating.
- Chill Before Serving: Eggnog needs to chill to thicken. Let it cool completely to set and allow the flavors time to marry.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, plus extra for garnish
- ⅓ cup bourbon, or black rum (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.6 large egg yolks½ cup granulated sugar
- In a large saucepan over low-medium heat combine the milk, cream, and nutmeg. Stir often until the mixture begins to steam and tiny bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat.3 cups whole milk1 ½ cups heavy cream½ teaspoon nutmeg
- While whisking, add small amounts of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Repeat, adding small amounts at a time until the egg mixture and the milk mixture are the same temperature. This is called tempering.
- Pour the tempered eggs back into the saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Stir constantly until the mixture is just slightly thickened or until it reaches 160°F on an instant read thermometer. Don't let it come to a boil! It should coat the back of a spoon and be slightly thicker than milk when it's ready. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
- Remove from heat, and pour the hot eggnog through a mesh strainer into a heat-safe bowl. Stir in the bourbon if using. Cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap touches the eggnog.⅓ cup bourbon
- Optional: place the covered bowl of eggnog into a larger bowl filled with ice to create an ice bath. This will help cool it down before transferring it to the fridge. Let it sit in the ice bath for about 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate the eggnog until completely chilled, about 2-3 hours. It will thicken a little more as it cools.
- Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. Scroll up and see the post for tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and storage information.