Traditionally, homemade eggnog is made with uncooked eggs. But for many, the thought of raw egg in a beverage raises some food safety concerns. Happily, there’s a way to prepare safe eggnog that still satisfies the holiday tradition.
Photos via CakeSpy
Safe homemade eggnog boils (or rather, simmers) down to pasteurizing the eggs.
Basically, you want to raise the heat of the eggs to a “Goldilocks” temperature — hot enough to kill bacteria, but not so hot as to cook the eggs before they’re added to the eggnog. This method can be helpful when creating other desserts featuring raw egg, as well!
Here, we’ll detail the process of pasteurizing your eggs so that you can incorporate them into your favorite homemade eggnog recipe. Don’t have a favorite recipe? Fear not: We’ll also share one of our favorites, which further ensures food safety by heating the cream mixture before incorporating the eggs.
Easy (and safe!) homemade eggnog
Makes about 1 pint (recipe can be doubled)
- 2 eggs
- 3½ tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 10 ounces whole milk
- 6 ounces heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 2 ounces bourbon (more or less, to taste)
Step 1: Pasteurize the eggs
Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to submerge them. Either affix a candy thermometer to the side, or have an instant read thermometer handy.
Heat on medium, carefully monitoring the temperature. You want to heat the water to a steady temperature of 140 F (60 C) for about 2-3 minutes. Once completed, remove from heat, remove the eggs from the water, and let them cool to come back to room temperature.
Step 2: Separate the eggs
Set the whites aside for now (we’ll use them at the end). Place the yolks in a large, heatproof bowl with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk by hand for about 2-3 minutes. The yolks will be lightened in color.
Step 3: Temper the eggs
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon (if using) over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
Remove from heat, and pour about a third of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour. This incorporates the hot and cool mixtures immediately, reducing the chance of the eggs scrambling!
Step 4: Combine it all
Pour the egg-and-cream mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture, and put the saucepan over medium heat again. Once it comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Stir in the bourbon, if using. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Once it’s no longer piping hot, perform the next step.
Step 5: Make a meringue
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and remaining ½ tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the eggnog mixture, stirring to incorporate fully. If desired, you can reserve a small amount of the egg white mixture to spoon on top of your finished eggnog, as well.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Don’t let your eggnog get lonely!
Make it an extra holly jolly dessert experience by pairing a small glass of eggnog with a slice of eggnog pound cake! Oh, and should you find yourself with eggnog leftovers, consider using them to make this extra-special eggnog bread pudding.