This homemade eggnog infused with vanilla, allspice, and fresh nutmeg is as easy to make as simple custard. No raw eggs, and the alcohol is optional.
While Christmas may have lost some of childhood's glory (i.e. receiving dozens of gifts from your entire adoring family without the stress of reciprocating with anything better than school-made macaroni-and-paper tree ornaments), there is one aspect of the holidaze in which being an adult is preferable: boozy beverages. This is the one time of year when one can drink spiked cider, wassail, glügg, mulled wine, hot buttered rum, Irish coffees, and anything else you can get your lushy mitts on with impunity. Isn't that what the holidays are really about?
I quite enjoyed eggnog as a kid, and really, what isn't to like? Essentially melted ice cream flavored generously with nutmeg, it goes down easy. I recall even being allowed to drink it for breakfast. Now that's a holiday tradition I can get behind!
Homemade Eggnog Without Raw Eggs
Homemade eggnog is worlds better than the storebought stuff, and it's actually incredibly easy to make. While most recipes rely on raw eggs (ick!), my preferred version is made using the same method as crème anglaise. Just whip the eggs with sugar until light and fluffy, add the hot dairy, and cook until the eggs reach the bacteria-killing temperature of 165ºF.
In Search of the Best Homemade Eggnog Recipe
I tried making homemade eggnog for the first time many years ago in pastry school. Our holiday party was coming up and we had just learned that champagne wouldn't be allowed by the school's owner (ironic as she was notorious for liking the sauce.) I devised a clever plan and asked my teacher, Claire, if I could make eggnog for the party. She happily agreed under the condition that I spike it heavily.
I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that first time, and it was a hit. They tested versions with both uncooked and cooked eggs, and preferred the mouthfeel of the cooked kind. When I made their eggnog recipe the following year at home however, I found it overly eggy, at 3 eggs and 1 yolk to 2 cups of dairy. The eggnog also tasted heavy on the salt, and the flavor of the nutmeg felt muted.
Other eggnog formulas call for egg yolks rather than whole eggs, but I dislike having loads of extra egg whites laying around the fridge if I can help it. So I compromised, using 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks for 3 cups of dairy. I added a few allspice berries and vanilla bean to the hot milk for depth of flavor. Instead of heating the nutmeg with the milk, I took a cue from Simply Recipes and added it to the cold cream. This preserves its peppery-floral flavor better.
Boozing Up Homemade Eggnog
Brandy is the traditional tipple to add to eggnog, but I also tested cups spiked with dark rum (too heavy tasting) and whiskey (too tart). I did like the taste of gold rum here, which gives the eggnog a Rompope vibe,which is the Mexican version of eggnog.
Homemade Eggnog Without Alcohol
Not into the booze? Just leave it out! This homemade eggnog tastes just as delicious without alcohol.
Homemade Eggnog Anytime
With its judicious sweetness and light, creamy texture, you could even enjoy this drink for breakfast; it is the holidays, after all. Whether you try this recipe spiked or virgin, for breakfast or dessert, American or Mexican-style, I hope it will become a favorite tradition. More so even than macaroni Christmas tree ornaments.
Looking to use up the extra egg whites from this recipe? Try these:
- Almond Poppyseed Meringues & Cherry Eton Mess
- Gluten Free Poppyseed Plum Financiers
- Classic Financiers
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this homemade eggnog recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Looking for more DIY drinks? Try these recipes:
- Homemade Horchata with Maple, Spice, & Pumpkin Seeds
- Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
- Homemade Tonic Water
Homemade EggnogPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract)
- 8 whole allspice berries, lightly crushed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup brandy or gold rum (optional)
- extra nutmeg, for grating over the top
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla pod and scrapings, and allspice. Heat over a medium flame, swirling occasionally, until bubbles form around the sides and the milk is steaming. Cover and steep for 20 - 30 minutes.
- Place the heavy cream and nutmeg in a large bowl or measuring cup and place a fine-mesh strainer over the top.
- In another large bowl or in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, vigorously beat together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt with a sturdy wire whisk until thickened and pale, 3 - 5 minutes. This helps the eggnog cook faster and gives it a thicker, more voluptuous mouthfeel.
- When the milk has finished steeping, heat it again until steaming, then slowly dribble the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof silicone spatula, until the mixture reaches 165º on an instant-read thermometer, 3 - 5 minutes. (Or, if your milk was hot enough, you may not need to cook it at all.) Immediately strain the milk mixture into the heavy cream.
- Chill the mixture over an ice water bath until cold, then stir in the brandy (if using) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least one hour and up to 3 days.
- To serve, pour into small glasses and grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top.