Growing up, eggnog was something we really didn’t have around the house. It was far too sweet, too expensive, and too full of ingredients that family members were allergic to — like high fructose corn syrup. So it just wasn’t present in my childhood.
But when you get married, traditions merge. After a lengthy search to find corn-syrup-free eggnog, my husband eagerly introduced me to his tradition of eggnog. I was instantly hooked.
And of course, I immediately set out to make my own.
For health reasons, commercial eggnog is pasteurized — meaning the eggs have been cooked. Traditionally, “true” eggnog involves eggs in a raw state. Even though I’m comfortable using raw eggs in mayo, I still find it hard to choke down raw eggnog (especially if I’m enjoying eggnog at a party and don’t know where the eggs came from).
And thus began my hunt for cooked eggnog.
I found a recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine that I liked. So I halved the recipe and cut the sugar waaaaaaaaaay down. But the recipe was a little bland and involved laboriously standing over a stove and constantly stirring. I’m a busy parent of young kids. Let’s just say that “continually stirring” isn’t exactly something that happens easily over here!
So I give you MY special way to make eggnog, inspired by Katie’s method of making yogurt. It’s a fool proof way to make eggnog WITHOUT burning the milk (or creating odd messes). You can walk away and ignore it — HALLELUJAH! And best yet? It’s simple enough that even beginning cooks can help you make it.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and milk.
- Pour into two quart-sized mason jars (wide mouth recommended).
- Line a large, deep pot with a washcloth.
- Place filled mason jars into the deep pot.
- Fill with cool water to the top of the mixture line (if your water is too warm, it could crack your jars.)
- Turn the heat to medium-high. (Feel free to use a clean fork to stir your mixture, though it is not necessary. I completely ignore mine.)
- Allow milk mixture to warm to 160F. You'll know you're getting close when the water begins to boil.
- Carefully remove jars from the pot and set on a cooling rack.
- Use a clean whisk or fork to stir in vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The eggnog may stick at first to the sides of your glass, but a whisk will easily set it free and help liquefy it.
- (NOTE: If you have divided your eggnog into two jars, you'll want to divide your vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon, too. Although, in my opinion, you can never have too much vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon...)
- If lumps are a deal-breaker for your family, feel free to use an immersion blender to finalize the smoothness.
A Few Notes About My Eggnog
- You’ll be using Katie’s yogurt method of glass-jars-in-a-large-pot to make this eggnog. Which means that it is virtually mess free! If you need a step-by-step visual tutorial of what this looks like, you can head here. Essentially, you’re creating a lazy chef’s version of a double boiler. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you don’t have to babysit your eggnog or stir it.
- If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, I highly recommend you get one. But if that isn’t an option, you’ll know your eggnog is ready when the water hits a large boil.
- When your eggnog has come to temp, carefully remove the jar and set it on a cooling rack. You’ll find that the eggnog has settled a bit and the bottom may look a little solid. DON’T PANIC. 🙂 A quick whisk will dislodge your eggnog goodness.
- Don’t forget to stir in the vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The nutmeg is the secret ingredient. Don’t forget that you have divided your jars into two. If you decide to stir the vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon into your cooling jars, be sure to divide it appropriately.
- Part of what makes eggnog unique is the liquor base. We personally like our eggnog “virgin” style, but you can certainly add in your favorite alcohol.
- If your eggnog is too lumpy, simply give it a whizz with an immersion blender or run it through a strainer.
- We like our eggnog thick. But if you need it thinner, simply add a little milk before serving.
- If it’s not sweet enough for your preference after you finish making your eggnog, drizzle on some maple syrup (or honey) for easy sweetening. Need a more egg-noggier taste? Increase that nutmeg!
- If you are wanting to increase your kids’ intake of eggs, this recipe is great! Or you could also use it as a base in your favorite smoothie.
- Serve warm (my personal favorite) or chill and serve. Garnish with a little extra nutmeg for extra yumminess.