There are two things that remind me of the holiday season from my childhood. The first are those cherries covered in chocolate. You buy them by the twelve pack. They are cheap and probably not good for you but back in the day I could house a pack a day. The second thing is eggnog.
Until I got into cooking more, I had never had real homemade eggnog. I grew up on the stuff in the carton. Carton-nog. And I absolutely love that stuff. I can drink it to this day without a problem. But the store-bought eggnog and the real stuff are almost not even the same drink.
Let’s dive in and talk about why you should take the time to make your own eggnog and I’ll give you my best homemade eggnog recipe!
Store-bought versus homemade eggnog
The store-bought eggnog is sweeter, thicker, and richer. Companies that make eggnog have to pasteurize the eggs so it ends up with a thicker texture. They also skimp on the spices to save money.
Also, no booze!
The homemade eggnog in the above picture is light, spicy (nutmeg), alcoholic (Holidays!), and has just a touch of sweetness. So you might think that you don’t like eggnog, but you might just not like carton-nog. The real stuff is an entirely different beast.
Is Homemade Eggnog Safe?
Traditionally eggnog is made with raw egg. This bothers some people due to the risk of salmonella (read more on the CDC site). So the version I made here solves the problem by tempering the egg yolks. If done correctly, you can’t really tell the difference. This version still has raw egg white in it though. If you want to be even safer, you can use pasteurized eggs!
At least once a year I will make a truly traditional eggnog with raw egg though and I’ve never gotten sick or anything from it. Do it at your own risk, I suppose. I always tell myself that alcohol kills any issues, but I’m pretty sure there is zero science behind that!
If you want to try it with all raw egg though, just skip the step about tempering and combine everything together. However you make it, this perfect homemade eggnog should be on your table during the holidays.
Ingredients for Eggnog
Homemade eggnog has just a few ingredients! I would make sure to get good quality stuff though for each thing since it really does matter. Find good eggs, use good quality heavy cream and milk, and fresh nutmeg. You don’t have to use a high-end bourbon, but don’t use a really cheap one. You could add other ingredients like vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, or rum if you wanted to change it up!
Tempering the Eggs for Eggnog
The first thing you need to do for homemade eggnog is separate your yolks. They make tools for this, but I would include that in my ever-growing list of useless kitchen appliances. Just break the egg in half and slowly roll the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves. Do this over a tiny bowl to catch the white.
Then pour the yolk in one bowl and the white in another. Now. Why can’t you just do all of the eggs over one bowl and catch all the whites at once? You can if you are a gambler. Because if just one drop of yolk infects your whites you have to start all over. They will never whip up. Why? Because fats and whites don’t mix. It’s science. I know because I’m a gambler.
Put the whites in the fridge and start with your yolks.
If you don’t have an electric mixer then get your favorite whisk, but man you are going to have a tired forearm by the end of this. Mix the yolks and sugar together until they lighten a bit in color and grow in volume.
Now combine your milk, cream and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and put it on medium heat. If you don’t want to pasteurize your yolks, skip this step entirely. Heat this to just below boiling temperature. Probably around 170 degrees. You shouldn’t be able to keep your finger in it. If you have a nifty instant-read thermometer, you can use that!
Don’t boil the milk mixture or it will burn.
Then for the tempering part. Slowly drizzle in a cup of the hot liquid into your eggs. Keep mixing the yolks while you do this. Whisk constantly while you pour in the milk mixture.
Then once your cup of hot liquid is mixed in with your yolks, your yolks will be up to temperature and you can slowly add them back to your saucepan. If you don’t bring your yolks up to temperature, your eggs will cook when they hit the hot liquid. Scrambled eggnog is horrible.
Now put this back on the burner until it reaches 160 degrees. Keep whisking it and it will only take a minute or two. You can then be assured that your eggs are safe. Add in your brandy or bourbon if you are using it and stick the mixture in the fridge to chill out.
As a shortcut, you can place the mixture in a mixing bowl and put it in a larger bowl with ice water. Whisk the hot mixture and it will cool down rapidly.
Finishing the Homemade Eggnog
It’ll take an hour or two to chill the hot milk mixture and then you need to prep your egg whites. These are even easier assuming you didn’t contaminate them with any yolk. Just mix them up with a mixer until they are fluffy.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to wash your mixers really well before you do this. The little bits of yolk from the earlier job will wreak havoc on your success.
Once the whites start forming little peaks, add in that extra tablespoon of sugar and keep mixing until you get stiff peaks.
Finally, once your milk base is chilled, fold your whites into your milk base and you have the best eggnog ever. Super light and delicious.
One more note. If you mix your whites an hour or two in advance that is okay. Just be sure to whisk them together for a minute or two before you add them to the milk base because some liquid will probably separate out.
Don’t forget the bourbon also!
- Want a different cookie for your holidays? Try these Salted Dulce de Leche Cookies!
This recipe isn’t that hard and is truly the best homemade eggnog, and it produces a drink that is vastly different from store-bought nog.
Homemade Eggnog a great way to celebrate the holidays and your guests will be very thankful.
- 4 egg yolk
- ⅓ cups sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Teaspoon fresh nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
- Bourbon or brandy, optional (sort of)
- Separate your yolks and whites for four eggs.
- Put the whites in the fridge and start with your yolks. Whisk yolks until they are light in color. Add in sugar and continue to mix or whisk.
- Now combine your milk, cream and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and put it on medium heat. If you don’t want to pasteurize your yolks, skip this step entirely. Heat this to just below boiling temperature. Probably around 170 degrees. You shouldn’t be able to keep your finger in it.
- To temper the yolks, slowly drizzle in a cup of the hot liquid into your eggs. Keep mixing the yolks while you do this.
- Then once your cup of hot liquid is mixed in with your yolks, your yolks will be up to temperature and you can slowly add them back to your saucepan.
- Return to medium-low heat until it reaches 160 degrees. Keep whisking it and it will only take a minute or two. You can then be assured that your eggs are safe. Add in your brandy if you are using it and stick the mixture in the fridge to chill out.
- Meanwhile, whisk egg whites until light and fluffy. They should hold stiff peaks. Whisk in an extra tablespoon of sugar to help them out.
- Fold egg whites into the yolk base.
- Serve chilled eggnog with cinnamon.