Homemade eggnog recipe is a creamy and delicious drink that is perfect for the holidays. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup or honey, this healthy, from-scratch version will be a family favorite.
I’m not sure why eggnog is always reserved for Christmas, although they make an amazing custard pie perfect for the holidays. Eggs are more expensive during the winter here in the Midwest, because chickens want to work in the cold about as much as we do: as little as possible.
Fewer local eggs means we have more eggs shipped in, so we’re paying more for old eggs from some chicken 1,000 miles away. Also, eggnog is typically served cold, yet during the winter, we all want hot drinks.
Except, of course, eggnog. In the words of Rocky, “Figures.”
Not Rocky Balboa. Rocky from Paw Patrol. Guess what’s on repeat at my house?
Eggnog is more efficient to make during the summer, what with more affordable and higher-quality eggs, but we still need it around Christmas, so the obvious conclusion is that eggnog should be enjoyed year-round.
To be real, it’s super cheap to make anytime of year, but let’s make a case for year-round eggnog. For that to happen, you’ll need to learn to make it yourself, because stores won’t be stocking eggnog in June.
The Homemade Eggnog Saga
So, Amy came over to make eggnog last week, but we were too busy talking and wrangling children, which resulted in both, yes, both batches getting ruined.
Curdled egg whites from poor timing, lack of attention, and high heat meant an entire gallon’s worth of eggnog only got to be enjoyed by the kitchen sink.
I prepared a smaller batch the next morning with far more focus. The result was a creamy, absolutely delicious eggnog, sweetened with honey.
After running the two jars of eggnog to Amy’s to snap photos for you all, we finished off most of one jar.
That left one more jar for me and the husband to enjoy in the peace and silence after the storm of putting the children to bed.
It was a great plan, except when I was unloading the car that afternoon, attempting to carry absolutely everything inside at one time, that sweet little jar of eggnog slipped quietly and tragically from its precarious position between everything and everything else in my arms.
Goodbye, eggnog. Hello, glass shards and sticky, dairy, egg explosion on the garage floor. I guess I didn’t need the calories anyway.
Even though it’s much easier and more convenient to buy eggnog in the store, I hope you attempt the DIY version. It tastes really heavenly when homemade, plus you’re getting a fresh batch, and you’re avoiding the extra ingredients that are prolonging the shelf life of the store eggnog.
There’s no need for prolonging eggnog’s shelf life at home. If your friends and garage floor don’t drink it all, you certainly will.
Tips For Making Homemade Eggnog
- Making eggnog at home takes some focus. You don’t want to be distracted while trying to make it, or you may end up with curdled eggs. Ask me how I know.
- If you don’t have maple syrup or honey, you could use regular ol’ sugar.
- Always try to use farm-fresh, pastured eggs from a reputable source. If you’re not confident in your source for eggs, I’d recommend buying pasteurized eggs for eggnog. This is simply because the egg whites aren’t fully cooked in the end, which hasn’t ever posed a problem for me, but I could understand the concern if you’re working with weeks-old eggs from Kroger or Wal-Mart or something.
- You can make this dairy free by swapping out the half and half and milk with a dairy free alternative, like coconut or cashew milk. It cannot be made vegan, though, because it contains eggs. However, eggs are not dairy.
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How long does homemade eggnog last?
It will last about 2-3 days in the fridge, whereas store-bought eggnog can last as long as 5-7 days in the refrigerator after opening.
What alcohol goes with eggnog?
While we always make this alcohol free, you can definitely add some. Brandy is the most common alcohol added to this holiday drink, but you could also use rum or bourbon.
Can eggnog be frozen?
I’ve read some places that suggest you can freeze eggnog up to 6 months. I’ve not personally tried this myself. If you try it, you will want to leave a few inches of head space to allow for expansion. No one wants exploded eggnog all over the freezer.
Tools you may need or find useful:
- Liquid measuring cups
- Egg separator (optional)
- 1/2 gallon mason jar
- Candy thermometer
Homemade Eggnog Recipe Ingredients:
Half and half – gives it an extra rich creaminess.
Whole milk – helps balance the half and half while adding richness.
Honey – naturally sweeten this recipe using honey or maple syrup. Regular sugar would also work.
Salt – brings out the flavor.
Eggs – four eggs, separated. You can do this with an egg separator, or by passing the yolk back and forth between the shell. Or, some people crack the egg over their fingers, catching the yolk.
Vanilla extract – make your own or purchase real vanilla extract.
Nutmeg – use a microplane to grate fresh nutmeg (best option), or buy already grated nutmeg.
How To Make Eggnog
- On the stove top, warm the 2 cups of half and half, 2 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of honey, and salt.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, setting the whites aside.
- Whisk the yolks and temper them with the warm milk mixture. To temper the yolks, add a small amount of the warm milk mixture to the yolks, stirring the yolks constantly. The goal is to gently bring the temperature of the yolks to the temperature of the milk, avoiding cooking the egg into a solid.
- Using a candy thermometer or a similar tool, monitor the temperature of the yolks and milk until 160 degrees F is reached. Once 160 is achieved, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.
- Whip egg whites until stiff, then gently fold them into the slightly-cooled eggnog. If you wanted to add alcohol to this recipe, now would be the time.
- Serve warm, or refrigerate until cooled completely.
- Garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.
Other delicious holiday recipes:
- Vegan Fudge: Easy Decadent Dessert
- Creamy Custard Pie: Easy Dessert Recipe
- Lace Cookies With Pumpkin Spice
- How To Make Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe: Quick Pie Crust Recipe
Homemade Eggnog Recipe
If you try this recipe and love it, I would love if you could come back, commented on the post, and give it 5 stars! Please and thank you.
- 2 cups half & half
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- dash of salt
- 4 eggs separated (use pasteurized eggs if you're concerned with uncooked, whipped egg whites)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg plus more for garnish
On the stove top, warm the 2 cups of half & half, 2 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of honey, and salt.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, setting the whites aside.
Whisk together the yolks, and temper* them with the warm milk mixture.
Using a candy thermometer or a similar tool, monitor the temperature of the yolks and milk until 160 degrees F is reached. Once 160 is achieved, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg.
Whip egg whites until stiff, then gently fold them into the cooled eggnog.
Serve warm, or refrigerate until cooled completely.
Serve in a beautiful glass, garnished with freshly-grated nutmeg.
*To temper the yolks, add a small amount of the milk mixture to the yolks, stirring the yolks constantly. The goal is to gently bring the temperature of the yolks to the temperature of the milk, avoiding cooking the egg into a solid.
Originally published in 2016, this post was updated December 2019.