Operation Eggnog: 24 Splendid Recipes That Use Eggnog as an Ingredient
Love eggnog? This holiday season, think beyond the carton and embrace recipes with eggnog! This versatile, multitalented beverage produces luscious creme brûlée, fluffy pancakes, and so much more.
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When I was a kid, eggnog didn’t stick around the house long. No sooner did my mother bring a carton home than my brother and I cracked into it, guzzling giant glasses of the thick, sweet treat while watching after school TV. Ahh, the good old days! Eventually onto our seasonal addiction, mom started buying the marginally leaner, more processed “holiday nog” — not nearly as alluring, but better than no nog at all.
As an adult, I embrace eggnog as an ingredient, rather than a beverage. It’s a shortcut to rich, luscious desserts: cookies, custards, frostings … you name it. There are only so many days of noggy goodness every year. Here’s a bounty of recipes to make the most of our precious Eggnog Season. I’d say use leftover eggnog, but if your family is like mine was, there is no such thing. So roll up your sleeves, pour your own tall glass of eggnog, and peruse these dazzling recipes starring eggnog as an ingredient.
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Buying, keeping, and freezing eggnog
Read these eggnog basics to ensure your eggnog is optimal for your recipe.
How to buy eggnog
Not all nog is created equal. Some are plant-based, some are low-fat, and some are full of artificial flavors. Look at the label to be sure of what you’re getting, and stick with a brand you trust.
How long does eggnog last?
Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized, and should be good about a week after opening. Consume homemade eggnog within 2-3 days.
Can you freeze eggnog?
You can, with caveats. After thawing, the eggnog will be lumpy and not good for drinking. It’ll be fine for baking, though.
Eggnog cakes, cupcakes, & quick breads
Holiday baking is merrier with eggnog! Cake recipes using eggnog are rich and tender.
This stunning cake is a winter wonderland! Add a full cup of eggnog and a little extra ground nutmeg to the batter to really nail that holiday flavor. Frost with whirls of eggnog buttercream.
For the smoothest batter and best texture in your pound cake, make sure the eggs and butter are all at room temperature. Baking as a bundt cake makes it extra pretty. Drizzle with an eggnog glaze for the crowning touch.
So maybe the pandemic squelched your holiday party plans. Celebrate in snackable style — cupcakes to the rescue! Use eggnog and powdered sugar in a buttercream to pipe over tender gingerbread.
Calling this glorious loaf mere “bread” is selling it short. Packed with classic eggnog flavor, it’s spiked with bourbon in the batter and rum in the glaze. Planning ahead? Dense, cakey breads like this freeze well. For the best presentation, glaze after thawing.
Eggnog desserts & custards
Eggnog makes the tastiest, silkiest custards and fillings for showstopping dessert recipes.
A graham cracker and gingersnap crust offers crunchy contrast to the smooth, heavenly filling. Garnish with a piping of eggnog whipped cream. This recipe comes with an option for steaming in the Instant Pot, which lets you skip that burdensome water bath step!
Don’t tell anyone how easy this light eggnog pie is. Beat eggnog into instant vanilla pudding mix, then fold in some Cool Whip. Pile it into a prepared crust, chill, sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg, and dig in!
Want recipes using eggnog leftovers? Try this speedy yet lovely centerpiece dessert. Make an eggnog cream by beating heavy cream with a little eggnog. Layer with cubes of store-bought pound cake, raspberries, and sliced almonds.
Think of this as a golden version of the classic chocolate pudding layered dessert people rave about. This one calls for white chocolate pudding and swaps Golden Oreos for classic. Eggnog factors into the cream cheese and pudding layers. Divine!
Make a base using egg yolks and all manner of dairy goodness, from milk to cream to eggnog. For the best caramelized topping, chill the baked custards overnight.
Breakfast & brunch eggnog recipes
Start your day the noggy way by making favorite breakfast recipes with eggnog as an ingredient!
Imagine welcoming Christmas morning with one (or two or three) of these beauties! To avoid a crack-of-dawn wakeup, let the rolls rise overnight in the fridge so all you need to do is preheat the oven. The icing is to die for, with cream cheese, brown butter, and vanilla extract. As for the dough itself, it swaps milk for eggnog to add holiday flair.
It can’t get much simpler than dipping bread in beaten eggnog and eggs. The recipe calls for brioche, but any soft white bread should do. Pour on the maple syrup and it’s dreamy!
Pancakes are a staple of chilled-out weekends in cozy pajamas. Here’s a winning formula to keep Christmas feels going strong after the big day: leftover eggnog + all-purpose flour + baking powder, plus a few dibs and dabs — including rum extract, though you could omit that and still have swoon-worthy pancakes.
Break out your doughnut pan for breakfast treats that put any coffee cake to shame. A powdered sugar dusting calls snowfall to mind, but adventurous bakers could make a glaze with bourbon and powdered sugar instead.
Call it French toast casserole or bread pudding. We’ll call it delicious! This dessert/breakfast casserole is a terrific way to use up stale bread in the name of all things sweet.
Eggnog cookies & treats
Eggnog lovers and cookie fanatics are in for maximum holiday flavor.
Soft, spiced sugar cookies with a cream cheese and eggnog frosting are guaranteed to keep the cheerful vibe rolling into the new year.
Make this for gifts (it keeps well), or afternoon pick-me-ups with your eggnog lattes. Biscotti are for dunking, so take it to the max and dip them in … more eggnog!
Combine shortbread with cheesecake and you have these cuties, with all the appeal of cheesecake but so much less labor. If you’ve had your fill, freeze extra for later. They should last up to a few months.
Snickerdoodles often have nutmeg, so they’re a natural canvas for incorporating eggnog flavors. Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa on Christmas Eve!
These perky cake bites utilize shortcut ingredients (cake mix, prepared frosting, and — natch — eggnog!) and get a sprinkling of sea salt on top to cut the sweetness. If that’s not your bag, top with nutmeg instead.
White chocolate chips and marshmallow cream are secret weapons in making foolproof fudge. Use walnuts or pecans, and add dried cranberries for an enhancement of jewel-like color!
Recipes for eggnog drinks & frozen eggnog
Whether frosty or steamy, these eggnog specialties get you in the holiday spirit.
Who wants to spend half an hour idling in the Starbucks drive-thru when you could be relaxing at home in yoga pants? This has two ingredients (eggnog, and coffee or espresso); nutmeg is helpful, but not required. Let the hunkering down begin!
Here’s an icy cocktail with a kick of bourbon for those who prefer recipes for eggnog with alcohol. Make a batch of spiced cold brew, then mix the drinks as needed.
A no-brainer, true, but we wanted to remind you of this simple, brilliantly obvious use for eggnog. Blitz it with vanilla ice cream, add some spices, and you’re merrily on your way.
The coolest of all recipes using eggnog! It’s literally a quart of eggnog and some sugar. That’s it. Makes perfect sense, because the ingredients in eggnog are identical to those in custard-based ice creams. Let the eggnog makers do the hard work so you can get down to what matters: eating ice cream!
More inspiration for holiday baking
Want to jazz up your holiday season baking repertoire even more? Check out these collections of fun, creative recipes that include everything from classic traditions (Bûche de Noël) to ingenious updates (Biscoff Explosion Cookies).