This homemade Eggnog recipe is rich and creamy and full of festive flavor! Add a splash of bourbon or rum or keep it kid-friendly. Either way, this delicious Eggnog is a holiday classic that is sure to bring warmth and cheer to any gathering!
Our favorite homemade Eggnog Recipe! This is our go-to when we’re craving eggnog – which is often – my boys are OBSESSED with eggnog. Literally, they cannot wait for it to be “Eggnog season” which apparently starts sometime in early September in our house and continues on through March. Good thing it’s so easy to make!
This delicious eggnog recipe is subtly spiced with a perfect blend of rich, creamy flavors. A heavenly combination that results in a velvety smooth, luxurious homemade eggnog that can be served with or without alcohol.
What Is Eggnog?
Eggnog is a classic holiday beverage made with egg yolks, sugar, cream and nutmeg. Vanilla extract, cinnamon and even cloves are sometimes added for spice and flavor. Eggnog can be thicker than cream when served and that all depends on how long the mixture is cooked.
Eggnog can be served warm or chilled (which I prefer) and often has alcohol added to it. Rum, bourbon and brandy are all good options.
The whites of the eggs are often beaten with sugar and served on top of the eggnog (or folded into the eggnog) but that carries an inherent risk of salmonella from the raw egg whites.
Store bought eggnog is made without alcohol giving you the option of adding some before serving. This recipe is much the same way! You can make this eggnog with or without alcohol – or do what I do, and make a batch of both versions!
You can add any alcohol you like for an Eggnog Cocktail but you can’t go wrong with bourbon or rum – or both! Some prefer brandy which is another great option. Shoot, even Amaretto would be delicious!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Perfect for any holiday gathering or sipping on in front of a fire, this eggnog is everything a holiday drink should be!
- Sweet and Spicy: With just the right amount of sweetness (adjust to your preference) and spiced with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg, this recipe is sure to delight friends and family.
- Spiked or Kid Friendly: This recipe can be made with or without alcohol making it perfect for family gatherings or more adult holiday parties.
- Quick and Easy: This recipe takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, to make. It’s a great make ahead option for parties too!
This easy to follow recipe combines egg yolks, granulated sugar, milk and heavy cream, a generous amount of vanilla for amazing flavor and warmth, cinnamon, and nutmeg for an extra cozy feel. Feel free to make with a dash of bourbon or rum. Serve this luxurious, homemade Eggnog at your next gathering and watch it become a seasonal favorite!
Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients needed and, as always, you can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- egg yolks – The egg yolks create the richness in this drink. They provide a luxurious, almost custard like base.
- granulated sugar – Adds sweetness and helps to thicken the mixture. I like my eggnog a bit sweet and use two-thirds cup of sugar. You can reduce to half a cup for a less sweet version or increase to three-quarters cup for a sweeter version.
- milk and heavy cream – This is the base of the eggnog and gives it it’s creaminess.
- cinnamon – I like to drop a cinnamon stick in to infuse it with cinnamon flavor. You can add a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead.
- nutmeg – I prefer to use freshly ground nutmeg if possible but ground nutmeg will work as well.
- vanilla extract – Adds warmth and flavor and enhances all of the other flavors.
- pinch of salt – Helps to balance the sweetness and intensifies the other flavors.
- bourbon or rum – Totally optional, adds a kick to the eggnog and turns it into a cocktail.
Delicious on it’s own, this holiday drink can be extra festive with a few garnishes:
- cinnamon stick
- whipped cream
- fresh grated nutmeg
- ground cinnamon
- star anise
How To Make Eggnog
This holiday classic is not only easy to make but also super customizable. Whether you’re a long-time eggnog lover or trying it for the first time, this recipe promises to deliver the perfect balance of flavor and comfort. Let’s take a quick look at how to make eggnog and, as always, you can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Egg Yolk Mixture. Beat egg yolks on low to medium speed until the yolks lighten in color. Slowly beat in the granulated sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.
- Heat Milk and Cream. Add milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick to a medium sauce pan and heat until steaming but not quite to a simmer.
- Temper Eggs. Add roughly 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the whipped eggs, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing constantly.
- Cook Eggnog. Transfer the tempered egg mixture to the sauce pan and add ground nutmeg. Continue heating over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add Alcohol (Optional) and Vanilla. Remove the eggnog from heat. Let sit for about 15 to 30 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in vanilla extract, pinch of salt and any alcohol if using.
- Chill and Serve. Transfer the eggnog to an airtight, heat safe container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Watch the video in the recipe card below to see how this quickly this recipe comes together!
Make in advance. To make ahead of time, prepare as directed and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Storage. Transfer leftover eggnog to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I do not recommend freezing the eggnog.
Variations To Try
- For a sweeter drink, increase the sugar to three quarters cups. For a less sweet version, reduce the sugar to half a cup.
- Increase the amount of nutmeg or cinnamon for more spice. Consider adding a couple of cloves to the milk while heating for more intense flavor.
- Don’t add the bourbon or rum for a kid-friendly version.
- Whip the egg whites with a tablespoon of sugar and fold into the eggnog or serve on top.
- Garnish with cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, star anise, or freshly whipped cream.
- Use an egg separator to easily separate egg yolks from egg whites.
- Take your time tempering the eggs. Add the hot milk slowly, no more than a few tablespoons at a time, and mix in thoroughly before adding more hot milk.
- Chill before serving to allow the flavors to enhance and meld. This also thickens the eggnog.
- Stir almost constantly to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn on the bottom. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and the sauce pan frequently as well.
How do I know when the eggnog is ready?
You’re looking for 160°F or when it coats the back of a spoon.
What kind of alcohol can I add?
Bourbon and rum are the most traditional choices but some prefer brandy. Use whatever you like!
Can I make this in advance?
Sure! Definitely a few days in advance is a great idea because the flavors only get better with time.
More Amazing Holiday Drinks
- Crockpot Hot Chocolate
- Christmas Cocktail
- Christmas Punch
- Mulled Wine
- Cranberry Mojitos
- Peppermint Eggnog Milkshake
- 6 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar use between ½ cup and ¾ cup depending on how sweet you like it
- 1½ cups milk
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cinnamon stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, OPTIONAL
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg use freshly ground nutmeg if possible
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- ¼ to ½ cup bourbon or rum, OPTIONAL
- Add egg yolks to a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the yolks lighten in color.6 egg yolks
- Add the granulated sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition until fully combined. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Meanwhile, add milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick to a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until steaming but not quite to a simmer.1½ cups milk, 1½ cups heavy cream, 1 cinnamon stick
- To temper the eggs, add roughly 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the whipped eggs, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing constantly.
- Transfer the tempered egg mixture to the sauce pan and add ground nutmeg. Continue heating over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep in mind, the eggnog will continue to thicken as it chills.1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Remove the eggnog from heat. Let sit for about 15 to 30 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in vanilla extract, pinch of salt and any alcohol if using. Transfer the eggnog to an airtight, heat safe container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.1 tablespoon vanilla extract, pinch of salt, ¼ to ½ cup bourbon