Eggnog Recipe

8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Eggnog is a rich and creamy holiday drink made with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and bourbon. It’s EASY to make and the perfect treat to serve on Christmas eve!

We love the holidays and we’re enjoying this Hot Toddy snuggled up with some Bread Pudding and Award Winning Gingerbread Cookies.

Homemade Eggnog Recipe Eggnog Recipe

Traditional Eggnog is a creamy spiced cocktail that is one of my all-time favorite Christmas traditions (especially topped with a bit of rum!).

You can use bourbon, brandy, whiskey, rum or amaretto for this eggnog recipe, or leave the alcohol out entirely for a non-alcoholic version. I usually make a boozy version for the adults, and a kid-friendly one without the extra bit mixed in.

For those of you concerned about the safety of consuming eggnog, rest assured we are not working with raw eggs here. We will be cooking the custard at a temperature just below a boil, but well about the temperature at which we would have any food safety concerns.

There are some eggnogs that are sold or homemade eggnog recipes that are made that call for raw eggs.

You can certainly make them if you feel comfortable doing so but there are many people who are immunocompromised and as someone who is certified in food safety I must tread carefully and recommend we work safely.


We create an egg yolk custard in a saucepan over a low simmer until we have a beautiful vanilla sauce, then we allow it to cool, thin with half and half (or heavy cream), add vanilla and bourbon and serve!

For a garnish you can top with a cinnamon stick, a dash of ground cinnamon or you can grate some fresh nutmeg.

In a classic egg nog recipe you’d be using heavy cream. I chose to use half and half because in testing everyone felt better mouth feel drinking it and felt better half an hour after drinking it without the extra weight of the heavy cream. You can absolutely substitute out the half and half for an equal amount of heavy cream.


Most people would not recommend freezing homemade eggnog, but since we are not using raw eggs you can freeze this recipe. Be sure to allow room for expansion and just expect that there will be some change in texture when thawed, so perhaps a spin in the blender would be a good idea upon thawing.


Eggnog will last about 2-4 days in the refrigerator when tightly sealed. This recipe is still made from eggs, so you don’t want to go past that, even if you’ve added alcohol and you are not using raw eggs.

If you chose to either use another recipe which does use raw eggs or you topped your eggnog with raw egg whites in this recipe you can only keep this eggnog in your refrigerator for 24 hours.


Don’t leave eggnog out of the refrigerator for more than 2-3 hours. If we’re going to be serving this at a party, I usually put the bowl on top of some ice to keep it cold. If the eggnog is under 40 degrees, then it is not in the danger zone for food safety.

Eggnog Recipe


Keep homemade eggnog in a tightly sealed container, better yet if the container is not see through as dairy breaks down in see through containers faster.


This recipe is best served cold, so I recommend making the eggnog the night before and refrigerating it until it is fully chilled.
The foamier parts of the eggnog will rise to the top but you can stir it right before serving for the creamiest texture.
Be sure not to bring the mixture to a boil or it will curdle which will make you have to start over.
Once you’ve made the base and before you add in the alcohol split the amount into two containers to cool so you can keep some non-alcoholic eggnog for non-drinking guests and for kids.
The recipe contains many egg yolks because you’re essentially creating a custard (or, really, an ice cream base). Do not substitute whole eggs in place of the egg yolk to prevent waste. Use the egg whites in another recipe or for breakfasts.
Homemade eggnog is not as thick as store-bought as synthetic emulsifiers are used in the store-bought varieties. We use a homemade custard that is thickened over time instead.
There is no fears of salmonella in this homemade eggnog recipe since we are cooking the egg yolks over medium heat.
If you want a frothy top to your egg nog you can also use the egg whites that you have left over from your recipe and beat them to soft peaks or stiff peaks and just fold them into a bit of eggnog and spoon them onto the top of your drink as a garnish with some whipped cream. If using these egg whites I suggest using pasteurized eggs because your egg whites can not be cooked before the egg whites are whipped, it will break down the egg whites ability to aerate.
Do not use a low-fat milk or a non-fat milk in place of a whole milk. Milk contains milk fat that is necessary in emulsifying the mixture and creating a creamy drink. If you substitute a lower fat milk you are creating a different drink altogether and a store-bought version will likely suit you better because they’ll use an artificial emulsifier that doesn’t depend on milk fat to thicken.

My best tip I can give you personally? Skip the whisky, go with the rum and grate some fresh nutmeg all over the top! It’s a personal nog favorite for December 25.


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Eggnog Recipe

Eggnog is a rich and creamy holiday drink made with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and bourbon. It's EASY to make and the perfect treat to serve on Christmas eve!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup bourbon , optional
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Add the milk, cloves, vanilla and cinnamon into a saucepan over low heat and whisk constantly until it comes to a hint of a simmer (tiny bubbles on the edge start forming).
  • In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) add the eggs and sugar until they lighten in color and get fluffier and like ribbons, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Slowly add the egg mixture into the milk mixture, whisking while adding it in (careful not to let it boil).
  • Strain, cool, add bourbon (if using), half and half, vanilla and nutmeg and refrigerate overnight.


Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 349mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 347mg | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 1015IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 302mg | Iron: 0.9mg

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Why is there two vanilla extract items in your egg nog recipe ? Which is added when ?
    I’m 84 and unable to camp, hike, and canoe, so I’m writing some how-to-get-started notes to give to a few young couples I know. I’ve included suggestions for some of the camp meals that were great to make at camp. Egg nog was always a favorite at toboggan and x-country ski parties.

    1. I add it in both places. I find it makes a deeper flavor to cook a bit of it first, but the biggest flavor punch comes from adding more at the end that is uncooked. Love that you’re writing these for younger couples! How sweet!