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Egg Nog Recipe

Also called milk punch or egg milk punch, egg nog can be used to toast others during the holiday season. Many people add alcohol to this festive drink, but it is still delicious even without the addition of alcohol. 

Egg Nog Recipe

April Freeman
Typically only consumed during the winter holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, egg nog is a creamy, delicately spiced drink that features eggs, cream, and the delicious flavors of cloves and nutmeg. Many people buy this drink at the grocery store each winter. However, if you know how to make it yourself, you do not have to wait for it to show up on the store shelves. With our recipe for Egg Nog, you can enjoy this tasty, rich, creamy drink all year long. 
Prep Time 20 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings


  • Whisk/Electric Mixer
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Metal Spoon
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Quart canning jar


  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp rum. or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp rum extract if not using rum


  • Using a whisk and a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are a bit thickened and lighter in color. 
  • Slowly, add the sugar, beating it well until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Continue whisking until the mixture is fluffy.  You can also use an electric mixer for this if you like.
  • In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, heat the milk with the cloves over medium heat. Stay close and keep an eye on the milk as you heat it because milk will scorch very easily. Heat it until it is steaming and hot. However, you do not want to bring the milk to a boil.
  • Add the cinnamon to the milk mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Next, you will temper the eggs. To do this you will take one or two ladles of the hot milk mixture and spoon it into the bowl that contains the egg mixture.
  • Stir this well. This will bring up the temperature of the eggs so they will not cook into large blobs of an egg when you add it to the hot milk.
  • Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk, stirring and whisking to combine the two mixtures.
  • Cook the egg nog over medium heat, stirring it constantly until it begins to thicken a bit. If you are not sure what that looks like, dip a metal spoon into the mixture. The egg nog is perfect if it coats the back of the spoon. 
  • If you have a candy thermometer, you can cook the egg not until it reaches 160 degrees.
  • Remember, the key to making a successful egg nog recipe is to never allow it to come to a boil. Boiling the mixture will make the egg nog curdle, and it will not have the correct texture.
  • When the egg nog is fully cooked, you should remove it from the heat.
  • Stir in the cream. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any bits of overcooked egg and the whole cloves.
  • Put the egg nog into a quart canning jar and chill it in the refrigerator. Let it cool for at least an hour before serving.
  • Stir in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and rum or rum extract. Serve.


While food historians are unclear on the exact origins of egg nog, most of them agree that it originated with a recipe called posset. Posset was made with hot milk in the Middle Ages. Often this food was used as a treatment for those who were suffering from colds and flu.
It was in Great Britain that the beverage posset made a shift with the addition of eggs and milk, along with some sherry. These ingredients were only used by the wealthy, who used the drink to toast one another. 
During the 1700s, the drink was brought across the Atlantic to the North American continent’s British colonies. At that time, ingredients like wine and brandy were highly taxed, so the colonists improvised. They substituted whiskey, rum, and bourbon for the other alcohols that were frequently used in egg nog. The drink became quite popular in the New World since farm products like eggs, milk, and cream were much easier to access even for the poor. 
Through the years, egg nog has become a festive part of the holiday season. Things like brandy, cognac, whiskey, sherry, and rum are often added. However, if you are not a drinker or if you are serving children, you can omit the spirits and still enjoy this sweet, creamy drink. Our recipe allows for the flavor of the rum without the alcohol by including rum extract if you want to make this beverage alcohol-free. 
Some egg nog recipes call for the addition of whipped egg whites to make an egg nog that is frothy and lighter in texture. However, when you do this, you increase your risk of food-borne illness since the egg whites are left uncooked in the drink. If you choose to try to add whipped egg whites to your recipe, you should consider using pasteurized egg whites, which are heat-treated to prevent the growth of bacteria that can make you sick.
Keyword Dessert, Eggnog, Recipe

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