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Homemade Maple Eggnog

This Homemade Maple Eggnog is smooth, lightly thick and creamy with a hint of nutmeg, and sweetened with pure maple syrup. And it’s cooked, so there’s no raw eggs to worry about with your cup of cheer!

‘Tis the season for eggnog, the quintessential holiday drink. I look forward to it every single year. And if you’ve never had homemade eggnog, you’re in for a real treat. It’s easy to make and absolutely delicious!

And it’s so much better than the store-bought stuff, which often has quite a few mystery ingredients on the label and which, to me, can sometimes be cloyingly sweet and rich and a little too thick.

When it comes to eggnog, there’s nothing better than homemade. Yes, you can taste the difference. It tastes real. You know it’s homemade. And you know exactly what’s in it.

So, this year, I wanted to share with you how to make it, because I think it’s totally worth it!

You’ll need eggs (of course), milk, heavy whipping cream, salt, vanilla extract, rum extract (optional but highly recommended), nutmeg, some maple syrup to sweeten it all up and add an extra layer of flavor, and…

A little patience, which is maybe the most important ingredient of all!

Why? Because you will have to stand at the stove for about 25 minutes gently stirring your eggnog base constantly over very low heat until the temperature reaches 160 to 165°F (the temperature for making the eggs safe).

You can’t try to rush it or walk away. Just put on some holiday music and enjoy the process.

When it’s ready, serve it as-is for a delicious non-alcoholic eggnog, or feel free to add one of your favorite spirits (see below). And don’t forget that yummy final sprinkle of nutmeg on top!

homemade maple eggnog being poured into a glass mug with another mug of eggnog in the background and whole nutmeg and a grater on the side

Ingredients you need:

  • Eggs
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Whole milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Rum extract (optional but recommended)
  • Nutmeg (freshly grated is the best)
  • Heavy whipping cream

If you want to add alcohol…

You certainly can! To make a spiked eggnog, omit the rum extract and stir in your alcohol of choice after the eggnog has chilled (right before you stir in the whipped cream).

Some of the most common to add are rum, whiskey, bourbon, brandy or even something like amaretto (my favorite!) or Kahlua. Each will add its own distinct flavor to the eggnog.

Since everyone’s tastes differ, I recommend starting with a small amount, tasting it, and adding more, a little at a time, until you get it to where you want.

Here’s a look at how to make Homemade Maple Eggnog:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one of eggs, syrup and salt combined in a pot with a whisk with text that says whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan; the other of milk added to the pot with text that says stir in half of the milk, keep the other half cold
2 images; one of the egg mixture in a pot on the stove being stirred with a wooden spoon with text that says cook over low heat stirring constantly until...; the other a close-up of a kitchen thermometer in the pot with text that says temperature is 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20 to 25 minutes
2 images; one of the cooked egg mixture in a bowl with a fine mesh sieve with text that says strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl; the other of milk being stirred into the egg mixture with text that says stir in the cold milk
2 images; one of vanilla extract, rum extract and nutmeg being added to the bowl with text that says add the vanilla extract, rum extract and nutmeg; the other of the egg mixture stirred together with a wooden spoon with text that says stir until well combined
2 images; one of a refrigerator with text that says cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours, I prefer overnight; the other of cream being whipped in a bowl with a hand mixer with text that says whip heavy cream to soft peaks
2 images; one of the whipped cream stirred into the egg mixture with a whisk with text that says whisk the whipped cream into the egg mixture until combined; the other of a glass mug of eggnog topped with nutmeg with text that says serve cold with a sprinkle of nutmeg, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • The egg mixture must be cooked to 160°F. This is the temperature required for the eggs to be safe according to both foodsafety.gov and eggsafety.org. But don’t take it past 165°F, because you then run the risk of the eggs cooking too much and curdling (i.e. turning into scrambled eggs).
    • You’ve got to do this low and slow while stirring constantly, and it’ll take 20 to 25 minutes. Don’t try to speed up the process by increasing the heat, and don’t get bored and walk away or stop stirring, because the mixture will just get ruined and you won’t be able to use it.
    • Never allow the mixture to come to a boil. In fact, it shouldn’t even come to a simmer.
  • Even doing it correctly, you’ll still likely end up with a few tiny pieces of cooked egg. Eggnog needs to be super smooth, so don’t skip the step of straining the mixture after cooking.
  • I prefer to use freshly grated nutmeg because I think it has so much more flavor than ground nutmeg from the jar (but you can use either).
  • The rum extract is optional, but I highly recommend it. The eggnog is very good without it, but it’s so much more delicious with it. You get a hint of that rum flavor that eggnog is known for without having to add any alcohol. You can add more or less to suit your own tastes.
  • If you don’t have or don’t want to use maple syrup, use ¾ cup of regular white sugar instead (you can add more or less of either to adjust the level of sweetness to what you prefer).
  • Best served cold; keep it chilled until ready to serve.
  • Store in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 4 days. The cream might separate and rise to the top, so just give it a gentle whisk to recombine before serving.
top-down view of 2 glass mugs of homemade maple eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg and surrounded by silver tinsel and small silver and gold ornaments

I hope you try this Homemade Maple Eggnog recipe and love it as much as I do. For me, it’s not Christmas without it!

And if you have any leftover (or you might want to make extra just for this), use it to make some of my Eggnog French Toast. It’s perfect for any holiday breakfast or brunch!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope your days are filled with love, joy, laughter, and lots of delicious food. See you next week!

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2 glass mugs of homemade maple eggnog surrounded by silver tinsel and small silver and gold ornaments

Homemade Maple Eggnog

This Homemade Maple Eggnog is smooth, lightly thick and creamy with a hint of nutmeg, and sweetened with pure maple syrup. And it's cooked, so there's no raw eggs to worry about with your cup of cheer!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 8 (approximately ¾ cup each; recipe makes about 7 cups total)
Calories: 314
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract, optional (but recommended)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for topping each serving
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I use a 3-quart pot), whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and salt until well-combined.
  • Stir in 2 cups of the milk and whisk until well-combined.
    Keep the remaining 2 cups of milk in the refrigerator so it stays cold until ready to use; this will help cool down the hot egg mixture later.
  • Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring slowly and constantly, just until the temperature reaches 160 to 165°F (you must cook it to 160°F for the eggs to be safe), about 20 to 25 minutes.
    I switch to a wooden spoon for this step, so I can constantly scrape the bottom of the pot while stirring so that the egg mixture doesn't scorch.
    Please don't try to speed up this process by turning up the heat. Don't let the mixture come to a boil (in fact, it shouldn't even simmer). and don't walk away/stop stirring. The end result will be something that resembles scrambled eggs, which you won't be able to use.
  • Immediately strain the egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl (this will remove any small bits of cooked egg; the mixture needs to be very smooth).
  • Stir in the remaining 2 cups of cold milk, the vanilla extract, rum extract, and nutmeg.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours (I like to let it sit overnight; I think it tastes better).
  • Place the heavy whipping cream in a bowl and whip to soft peaks (you can do this with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk).
    You have reached soft peaks when you pull the beaters out of the cream and peaks form but they quickly fold over on themselves or lose their shape.
  • Add the whipped cream to the egg mixture; stir gently with a whisk until combined.
  • Serve cold; garnish each serving with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
  • If not serving immediately, keep the eggnog covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. The cream will often separate and settle on the top, so be sure to give it a gentle whisk to recombine before serving.

Notes

  • If you don’t have or don’t want to use maple syrup, use ¾ cup of regular white sugar instead. You can add more or less of either to adjust the level of sweetness to what you prefer.
  • The rum extract is optional, but I highly recommend it. The eggnog is very good without it, but it’s so much more delicious with it. You get a hint of that rum flavor that eggnog is known for without having to add any alcohol. You can add more or less to taste.
  • I prefer to use freshly grated nutmeg because I think it has so much more flavor than ground nutmeg from the jar (but you can use either).
  • Store in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 4 days. 
  • If you’d like to add alcohol such as rum, whiskey, bourbon, brandy, or amaretto (my favorite), omit the rum extract and stir in the desired amount after the eggnog has chilled and right before adding the whipped cream. I suggest starting with a small amount at first and adding more, a little at a time, until you get it to where you want. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!

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