A festive holiday treat, silky sweet homemade eggnog is warmly flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. It’s delicious with or without alcohol. 

Small glass of eggnog with another one in the background. Festive Christmas ornaments scattered around.

Deck the halls with this heavenly homemade eggnog! Yuletide celebrations aren’t complete without a cup of traditional eggnog. Spiked or not, raise a cup of traditional eggnog to toast the season!

If you’ve never had homemade eggnog, you’re missing a real treat. I usually avoid eggnog at holiday parties because the store bought stuff is pretty bad. Take a look at the ingredients on the carton and you’ll see things like high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, annatto, turmeric. While turmeric is great in curry, I’m not sure I want it in my eggnog, replacing the golden yellow of real egg yolks.

Quite frankly, there’s really no comparison. Homemade and store bought don’t even taste like the same product. I encourage you to give this homemade eggnog recipe a try.

My son, who’s notoriously picky, took a very small sip, and said, “It tastes like pudding!” He proceeded to drink it all and ask for more. My mom, who’s notoriously not picky at all, didn’t even want to try it, being burned out on lousy eggnog. She braved a sip, and loved it! Wait ’til Christmas, mom, when the brandy comes out. 

Overhead view of two festive cocktails garnished with cinnamon sticks.

A (Brief) History of eggnog

People have been drinking eggnog for a thousand years. It’s thought that the drink originated in Britain, was served warm, without alcohol, and was called “posset.” The colonists in America had plenty of milk and eggs, so they adopted the tradition, adding rum which was inexpensive and widely available. George Washington even wrote a recipe for Christmas eggnog. His recipe included lots of alcohol: brandy, whisky, rum, and sherry, mixed with cream, milk, eggs, and sugar. At the end of the recipe, he advised, “Taste frequently!” “Tis the season!

Close up of a glass of homemade eggnog.

About this homemade eggnog recipe:

You may add as much or as little alcohol to your eggnog as you like but this luscious homemade eggnog easily stands alone as a delightful creamy beverage. It’s not difficult to make but takes a little bit of time.

What supplies you need to make eggnog:

  • blender
  • saucepan
  • fine mesh strainer

What’s in eggnog?

You’ll love the simplicity of the natural and wholesome ingredients in eggnog. Perhaps all of the ingredients are already in your pantry and fridge!

  • Milk: use whole milk for this recipe
  • Eggs (just the yolks)
  • Sugar
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves (both ground spices and whole spices)
  • Pure vanilla extract

Overhead view of ingredients needed to make eggnog.

How to make eggnog:

Making eggnog is pretty easy. Add the ingredients to a blender and blend until they’re nice and creamy.

Blender with eggs and sugar, whisk, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, and milk.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan, add the cinnamon stick and whole cloves, and slowly, slowly, slowly cook for about 10 minutes. Don’t try to hurry it along over high heat. Low and slow is the key here. Why? If you boil the mixture, the eggs cook too quickly and you’ll get curdled, lumpy eggnog. Not what we’re looking for here!

Uncooked eggnog being poured into a saucepan.

Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat, and strain out the cinnamon stick, cloves, and any bits of cooked egg.

Eggnog in a pan.

Chill overnight, if you can wait that long. We usually sample a bit (okay, maybe quite a bit) after an hour or two of chilling. Remember George’s advice, “Taste frequently.”

To serve, pour into small glasses or cups and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon. A bit of whipped cream on top (or stirred in) is wonderful, too. 

Two glasses of eggnog sprinkled with ground spices.

Wondering what to serve with eggnog? For those with a sweet tooth, a plate of cookies like Snickerdoodles, Brigadeiros (fudge balls), ginger sparkles, or double cinnamon crinkle cookies would be perfect. Or try more savory treats like baked Brie with cranberries and bourbon pecans, sausage pinwheels with apple, sage, and Gruyère, or easy kale and spinach dip bites.

What alcohol goes with eggnog?

Brandy, rum, or whiskey (bourbon) are most commonly added to eggnog. Each has its own unique flavor so experiment to see which one you like the best. Begin by adding a small amount — you want the wonderful flavor of your homemade eggnog to shine. 

For best results, stir in the alcohol of your choice with the vanilla, and chill. 

Two cocktails made with egg and milk in a festive holiday scene.

How to make this eggnog your own:

  • Make it lactose free by replacing the milk with almond milk.
  • Substitute honey for the sugar, if desired. Use the same amount.

Storage Tips

Store eggnog in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep three to four days.

Toast to the season!

Looking for more festive holiday beverages? Try:

 

Two small glasses of egg nog garnished with candy cane ornaments.

Homemade Eggnog Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes

A  festive holiday treat, silky sweet homemade eggnog is warmly flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. It's delicious with or without alcohol. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus additional for garnishing
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus additional for garnishing
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • about 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add milk, egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon to a blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until creamy. 
  2. Pour mixture into a saucepan over low heat; add cinnamon stick and cloves. 
  3. Cook the eggnog slowly for about 10-12 minutes after it starts to steam, stirring frequently until mixture starts to thicken. Slow is important! If you cook it too quickly, the mixture will curdle. Keep the heat low and do not simmer or boil. If you think the mixture is getting close to simmering or boiling, take it off the heat and stir vigorously to bring down the temperature.
  4. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Strain the mixture using a fine-mesh strainer to remove the cloves and cinnamon stick.
  5. Place the mixture in an airtight container and chill for 7-8 hours or overnight.
  6. Pour into glasses and sprinkle a little nutmeg and cinnamon on top before serving.

Notes

  • If desired, stir in brandy, rum, or whiskey of your choice with the vanilla extract before chilling.
  • Make it lactose-free by substituting almond milk for the whole milk.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 5g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram