Cooked eggnog: a true holiday treat. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I’m so pleased with results of the cooked eggnog I wrote about long ago, I wanted to repost an official tested recipe. I’m a fan of raw-egg eggnog, as well as aged-for-two-years raw eggnog. I don’t believe anyone should be afraid of eating raw eggs (especially if you buy organic or well-raised eggs). Raw yolk on raw ground beef is a delight, a kind of ready-made sauce. I love a homemade mayo, a runny poached egg. Indeed, raw or warm egg is one of the great pleasures of cooking and eating.

But there are those who may be concerned or have reason not to take any chances. There are also those who may simply love the richness of the cooked egg and the clean flavor the vanilla bean gives it (I also love the creaminess of the meringue—remarkable how sweet and smooth protein can be!). And there are still others who make cooked eggnog because, my favorite reason of all, they simply love to cook.

This eggnog uses the same technique used to make vanilla sauce, and almost the same ingredients. The following is a delicious rich beverage, with alcohol or without. In fact, you could omit the additional milk and freeze it into eggnog iced cream and it would be fabulous (a word I intend to keep using well into the New Year). Scale this recipe up or down as much as you like by weighing the yolks, using an equal weight of sugar and six times that amount of milk/cream (in other words, a 6: 1 : 1 ratio of liquid : yolk : sugar—I’ll have to add this to my own notes in the new iPhone ratio app!). If you’re truly concerned about salmonella, then skip the frothy egg white (use whipped cream if you wish instead).

All best wishes to all for a bountiful stress-free holiday filled with wonderful food and all the things that come from making it and sharing it (which means, just about everything).

Fabulous Cooked Eggnog

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
  • nutmeg as needed
  • 4 eggs, separated (reserve two whites for another use; they freeze great)
  • 2 ounces sugar (¼ cup), plus 2 tablespoons for the meringue if you’re making that
  • 12 ounces (or as much as tastes good!) rum, brandy, or bourbon
    1. Combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, and vanilla bean in a pot, bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. Add plenty of nutmeg shavings. Let the bean steep for 10 minutes, then removed the pod, scrape the inner beans out of the pod, and return them to the milk
    2. Combine the 4 yolks and the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisking the yolks continuously, add the milk and cream.
    3. Set a bowl big enough to contain the yolk-cream mixture in a larger bowl filled with a 50/50 mix of ice and water. Put a strainer in this bowl.
    4. Return the yolk-cream mixture to the pot and stir it with a flat-edged spoon or heat-proof spatula over medium heat until the mixture thickens, a few minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon (you can take it as high as 165°F/75°C if you want to measure). Pour it through the strainer into the bowl set in ice. Add the remaining milk and stir to combine and  fully cool the mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    5. Optional: make a meringue by whipping 2 egg whites till frothy, then adding 2 tablespoons sugar and whipping to very soft peaks (do this shortly before serving for the best consistency).

To complete:

  1. Combine 4 ounces eggnog with 2 ounces rum, brandy, or bourbon; add more nutmeg to taste, then add ice, top with meringue as desired and more gratings of nutmeg.

This recipe should give you about 20 ounces of eggnog.


The shopping links and last week’s cocktails and holiday punch:




17 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Eggnog”

  • Edsel

    Michael, have you tried the cream and milk from Snowville Creamery? Heinen’s, Mustardseed, and Whole Foods carry it. Wonderful stuff.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I’ve never cooked my eggnog but I’ve volunteered to bring holiday treats to a retirement facility and yes, they want the eggnog cooked…so thanks for this.

    My own personal ratio is making sure the amount of booze is enough to balance any threat of salmonella. Yeah, probably not too scientific but so far so good. 🙂

  • Auntie Allyn

    Can’t believe this would be better than your original uncooked recipe, but I’m willing to try it!

  • Mantonat

    This year I tried making egg nog with coconut milk instead of cream. A different flavor certainly, but very tasty and rich. And excellent with rum!

  • Greg Van Pelt

    You’re an evil man, Michael. I usually put on about ten pounds during the holiday season – at least five of which is directly attributable to egg nog. With this incredible, rich recipe, I can tell its going to be an especially gainful year . . . best wishes for a wonderful holiday to you and Donna.

  • Paul C

    I’ll have to try this since I never got around to putting down some eggnog to age this year. A few years ago I made your aged eggnog and kept a bottle through to the next year, It was amazing! I really need to put some down soon for next year 🙂

  • BillWest

    My wife and friends have a weird aversion to raw egg nog. I could make the cooked version, but that would mean less for me!

  • Allen

    That picture. It should be a screensaver, desk top. Wall art.

    Is that a real fire in the background?
    The colors. I don’t want to talk trashy and swear, but goddam fucking amazing! You can’t learn that. You can teach a dummy to cook, but that is pure art. I want a giant picture that takes up a side of a building. Stare at it forever.

    Thank you Donna.

    I’ll go chew on a bar of goddam fucking soap now.

  • John

    I can’t drink alcohol because the sulfites give me massive migraines. Also empty calories from alcohol and cholesterol from cream not good to drink — even at Christmas….

  • Brian

    I have been making, and enjoying, the Good Eats eggnog recipe for years. And while the dairy ratios are fairly similar, I always felt it needed more “kick”. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe as it has about 4 times more booze (my preference is bourbon). Ho ho ho indeed!

  • Scott Lilley

    @Barbara, it turns out that it IS scientific. NPR ran a story a few weeks ago on Science Friday about a microbiology lab at Rockefeller University that’s been making their own eggnog for years (start the batch at Thanksgiving for the holiday party 4 weeks later). They even inoculated it with salmonella (they are microbiologists, after all). Germ free after 3 weeks, as long as there’s enough booze in there. Kicking myself for not starting a batch of my own at Thanksgiving!


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