Old Fashioned Eggnog: The Classic Homemade Eggnog Recipe
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It's easy to have a love affair with this creamy, classic homemade eggnog recipe – after all, it's delicious, it's nourishing, and it's truly, deeply joy-inducing.
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My new book, The DIY Pantry, is due on bookshelves in just a few days, so this week I'm publishing a few recipes from the book here on the blog, merely because I can't contain my excitement! Today it's Old-Fashioned Eggnog's turn in the spotlight.
Eggnog is undeniably one of my favorite beverages during the Christmas season, particularly at New Year's. Eggnog is one of winter’s delights and since the Middle Ages has served as a toast to prosperity and good health.
I eagerly and lovingly whisk a double batch in a big bowl each year, just because it's like drinking ice cream that's silky and sensuous and everyone always wants seconds.
And I must admit that I can't bring myself to buy it anymore. Even though we could easily drink eggnog every day during the holiday season, ever since I discovered the long list of undesirable ingredients in most store-bought brands (and since I took my first creamy sip of classic, old-fashioned, homemade eggnog), I simply make a point to make this homemade version once or twice every year. On each occasion, we savor it heartily.
Plus, on the years when we can get them, it helps us drink more raw milk and eat more raw egg yolks – and that's always a good thing. (If you can't or don't want to consume raw egg yolks, fear not – there are directions for how to cook homemade eggnog below too.)
A Word About Raw Egg Yolks
I *must* do my due diligence and remind everyone that whenever you're eating raw egg yolks, it is imperative that they are as absolutely as fresh as possible and that they are from pastured hens. If you can't find absolutely fresh eggs, make the cooked eggnog recipe below. It's just as delicious.
This isn't just a nutritional thing, as we discuss regularly here, but this is for your safety. While raw egg yolks contain a gorgeous amount of potent vitamins and minerals, they can also contain salmonella. If the eggs are super-fresh, those pathogens typically haven't had sufficient time to grow into large enough quantities to make you ill, but the longer they sit – even refrigerated – the more the pathogens can grow.
Conventional supermarket eggs typically sit for several weeks before they find their way into your shopping basket, and even eggs at the farmers market might have been laid a week or two ago, so while they might be fine for your breakfast scramble, more often than not, they won't be fine for raw consumption.
“So how do I find fresh eggs?” you ask.
Well, start by searching on Craigslist for people who have chickens in their backyards or small farms in your area that sell direct to consumer.
Next, check at your local farmers' market. If you don't know where there is one in your area, find one via Local Harvest, Eat Wild, or Sustainable Table.
You can also check at your local health food store for local farm fresh eggs. If need be, call the farm and ask what their typical timeline is for getting eggs to the store and ask the store how long eggs typically sit in the back.
But after all that, just sit back and enjoy this scrumptious, delicious, absolutely delightful, old-fashioned eggnog.
Here's to a healthy, blessed new year!
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 9 egg yolks, as fresh as possible
- ¼ cup maple syrup, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- lots and lots of fresh ground nutmeg, (I typically grate in at least 1/2 teaspoon, usually more)
How to Make Traditional Homemade Eggnog
- Place all ingredients in a blender or a large bowl. Blend or whisk until very smooth and a bit frothy.
- Set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight to chill thoroughly and allow flavors to blend.
- Serve chilled. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
How to Make Cooked Homemade Eggnog
- Whisk together the egg yolks and the milk (but not the cream) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan if you have one.
- Cook the mixture very gently over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 160°F, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle AND so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. This is very important (and requires both patience and a strong arm). Remember: the eggs need to be cooked to 160°F to be safe, but they curdle at 170°F, so whisking is essential.If the eggs do curdle, it's not the end of the world: simply press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before chilling. It won't be silky-smooth, but it will be sufficiently close.If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell the mixture has come to temperature when the mixture thickly coats the back of metal spoon and retains its shape when you drag your finger through the mixture on the spoon without filling in the gap.
- When the egg mixture has reached 160°F, remove from the heat and chill the mixture completely. Pour in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving to allow flavors to mingle.
- Serve chilled. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What do you mean by “pasteurized” hens? I have my own hens, but we have never eaten their eggs raw before….How do I pasteurize my hens?
Nope, you don’t have to do anything to your hens. 🙂 This calls for eggs from PASTURED hens, not pasteurized. All this means is that the eggs are from hens who run around outside eating grass and bugs rather than being stuck in cages or in closed barns. So, I would assume from your comment that yours are already pastured. 😉
Thank you for the recipe. Any idea on what to do with eggs whites afterwords?
Oh, goodness – anything you want! Use them as a meringue in a pie, make marshmallows, make a cheese and egg white omelette, use them as glue on a child’s creation, use an an egg wash on homemade bread or other baked goods… they’re versatile! 🙂
I LOVE eggnog and I also love to make things myself so I know exactly what is going into them. Today was my first time making homemade eggnog and it was delicious. I did use fresh eggs, milk, and cream from locals here in Wyoming. YUMMY!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
My pleasure! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s definitely one of our favorite parts of winter. 🙂
Hi, I live overseas and don’t really trust the eggs here enough to eat them raw. Would this recipe still work if I heat it up?
Yes, you absolutely may! And it’s as simple as making a cooked egg base, similar to how you would make a custard or ice cream.
Here’s how to make a cooked egg base for homemade eggnog:
Whisk together the egg yolks and the milk (but not the cream) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pan if you have one.
Cook the mixture very gently over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 160°F, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle AND so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. This is very important (and requires both patience and a strong arm).
If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell the mixture has come to temperature when the mixture thickly coats the back of metal spoon and retains its shape when you drag your finger through the mixture without filling in the gap.
After cooking, chill the mixture completely, then add the remaining ingredients at least two hours before serving to allow flavors to mingle.
I hope that helps. Enjoy!
Yes it does, thank you!
How long would you leave this in the refrigerator if you used to modified “cooked egg” recipe? I would love to make this for my husband, but he is the only one that drinks it in our house.
I would leave it in the refrigerator the same as any other cooked custard or pudding, usually 2-3 days.
I hope that helps! 🙂
Hi. I’m really excited about this recipe! Just one question, what type of cream should I use, 1/2 and 1/2 or whipping cream? I don’t have access to raw whipping cream but thought I could just skim the cream off the raw milk. Would that work?
Thanks again for sharing this recipe.
Definitely full cream, not partial cream, like half-and-half. Any cream labelled as “whipping cream,” “heavy cream,” or “old-fashioned cream” should be fine. And your idea of skimming the cream off raw milk would work really well, provided you’ve got enough milk to skim that quantity of cream. 🙂
Full cream is better than half-and-half, but if that’s all you have, then go for it. 🙂 And yes, skimming the cream could definitely work, but you’ll need a good quantity of milk. If you’re purchasing cream, anything over 30% will be simply luscious (and the cream you would skim would fall into this category too).
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful Christmas Eggnog drink.
When I live in the USA Eggnog was one of my favourite drink along with Christmas,
and I remember when I first had Eggnog it was back in 1970, grow up in Australia we never had Eggnog so thank you so much. And have wonderful Christmas.
Can I add alcohol to this recipe or will it water it down? If so, how
Much and when should I add it?
Yes, you absolutely can add alcohol! Simply make the recipe as written and when you’re ready to serve, add the alcohol when you pour it into glasses. The amount is totally up to you (I would do perhaps a 1/2 shot in each glass, but again, that’s totally customizable).
My husband and I have a different flavor homemade protein drink every morning using eggs from my own chickens. I have tons of eggs I need to use up so when I came across your recipe it was a double score. I just made it in my stand mixer and it is absolutely delicious! This will definitely go into my flavor rotation. Thank you!
Soooo yummy. Made this so my husband wouldn’t buy junk-filled nog. I definitely recommend using a blender though so you don’t get bits of egg. I’m also thinking the cooked version might actually be better since you could cook the spices as well and they’d be more incorporated into the drink? The one I made required stirring while drinking to disperse the spices. Nog damn delicious tho