How do you make store-bought egg nog better?

Egg nog is a creamy, rich holiday drink made with eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and usually spices like nutmeg and vanilla. While you can make homemade egg nog from scratch, store-bought egg nog provides a convenient shortcut for enjoying this tasty beverage. However, the flavor and texture of store-bought egg nog can sometimes be lacking compared to homemade versions. Luckily, there are several easy ways to improve store-bought egg nog and make it taste more rich, creamy, and delicious.

Add More Cream

One of the biggest differences between homemade and store-bought egg nog is the amount of cream. Homemade recipes often call for heavy cream or half and half to provide a lush, velvety texture. Store-bought egg nog is usually made with milk and contains less fat. For richer egg nog, stir in some heavy whipping cream or half and half. The higher fat content will make the drink creamier and more indulgent. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cream per quart of egg nog and adjust to your desired consistency and flavor.

Include an Extra Egg Yolk or Two

The egg yolks in homemade egg nog impart a signature rich flavor and color. Store-bought versions can seem thinner and paler in comparison. Boosting the egg content enhances the creamy texture and makes the nog taste more eggy. For one quart of store-bought egg nog, try whisking in 1 to 2 extra egg yolks. The yolks contain much of eggs’ fat and flavor. Be sure to temper the yolks first by slowly whisking in a bit of the cold egg nog before adding to the full batch.

Splash in Some Spirits

For an adult twist, add a splash of brandy, rum, or bourbon to your egg nog. The spirits cut through the rich dairy notes and provide a subtle boozy flavor. For a basic spike, add 1 to 2 ounces of your preferred spirit per serving. Taste and adjust the amount to your liking. If you want a stronger punch, stir in up to 1/4 cup or more per quart. Keep in mind the alcoholic content will inhibit freezing, so drink any spiked egg nog within a few days.

Top with Whipped Cream

Whipped cream makes an easy topping to take your egg nog over the top. The cloud-like cream provides even more richness and a pretty finishing touch. Use an electric mixer or whisk to whip chilled heavy cream to soft peaks then dollop on top of egg nog. Garnish with a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. Store any leftovers with the whipped cream topping in the refrigerator, separating it if needed.

Sweeten Up

If you find store-bought egg nog is not quite sweet enough for your taste, stir in a little extra sugar or vanilla to heighten the sweet flavor. White granulated sugar or brown sugar can both be used. Start with an extra tablespoon per quart of egg nog and taste as you go until the desired sweetness is reached. Real vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste also complement the creamy flavor. Add 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach your optimal vanilla taste.

Try Flavored Liquors

For a fun twist, add flavored liquors like vanilla vodka, spiced rum, hazelnut liqueur, Irish cream, or coffee liqueur in place of plain brandy or rum. The flavor infusions can take your spiked egg nog to the next level. Start with 1-2 ounces flavored liquor per serving and adjust according to your preference. Top with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, or ground cinnamon to complement the added flavor.

Make It Thicker

Homemade egg nog often has a thicker, more luxurious texture than thin, runny store-bought versions. For thicker egg nog, try adding just a touch of cornstarch slurry. Whisk together 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water or milk to form a slurry. Slowly whisk the slurry into your quart of egg nog. Chill for at least 2 hours to allow the cornstarch to impart its thickening power. The egg nog may continue to thicken more over time.

Fold in Whipped Egg Whites

For lighter, fluffier egg nog, beat 2-3 egg whites until stiff peaks form then gently fold into the finished nog. The whipped egg whites will provide extra volume without thinning the consistency. Make sure any raw eggs you use have been pasteurized to avoid potential food safety issues. Pasteurized egg whites can be found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores.

Mix in Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon are classic companions with creamy egg nog. Their notes of sweet spice pair beautifully. For more intense flavor, whisk in ground nutmeg and cinnamon along with a touch of vanilla extract. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each spice for one quart of egg nog. Taste and add more spice as desired. Top individual servings with an extra shake of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Make Quick Homemade Whipped Cream

While you can always use store-bought whipped cream, homemade can be even better tasting. Simply chill a metal mixing bowl and beaters along with 1 cup cold heavy cream until soft peaks form, adding 1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar if you want it sweeter. Dollop on your egg nog and enjoy the fresher flavor.

Infuse Whole Spices

Whole spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice, and cloves infuse warming flavor when steeped right in the egg nog. Place the spices in cheesecloth or a tea basket and let steep for at least 30 minutes as the egg nog chills. Remove before serving for clearer, spice-infused nog. Adjust the steeping time to control the intensity.

Make it Boozy with Multiple Spirits

For an extra spirited kick, experiment mixing multiple liquors like brandy, rum, bourbon, Irish cream, coffee liqueur, peppermint schnapps, etc. Choose 2-3 complementary flavors, adding 1-2 ounces of each per serving. Taste as you go until you achieve the perfect medley of holiday spirits. Top individual portions with extras like chocolate shavings, crushed candy canes, or marshmallows.

Blending it Up

Turn your egg nog into a decadent holiday milkshake by blending with ice cream. In a blender, combine 2 parts store-bought or homemade egg nog with 1 part ice cream like vanilla, caramel, peppermint, or egg nog flavor. Blend until smooth and pour into chilled glasses. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings for a festive frosted effect.

Amp Up the Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the quintessential egg nog spice, providing warming notes of sweet spice. Don’t be afraid to really amp up the nutmeg level if you love its flavor. Add 1/2 to a full teaspoon per quart of egg nog, taste, and continue adding more to your liking. Freshly grated nutmeg has the most intense, nuanced flavor. Top each serving with an extra shake or sprinkle of nutmeg.

Make an Eggnog Latte

For a comforting spin, mix up eggnog lattes. Heat up some coffee, espresso, or strongly brewed coffee. Mix together 1 part hot coffee and 1 part cold egg nog, adjusting the ratio to taste. Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg. For an adult treat, add a shot of whiskey, rum, or peppermint schnapps.


With a few simple tweaks and additions, store-bought egg nog can be transformed into a beverage just as delicious as homemade. The rich, indulgent flavor makes it ideal for holiday celebrations through the winter. Experiment with different mix-ins like cream, eggs, spices, vanilla, and alcohol to create your own signature nog. Topped with whipped cream and fresh nutmeg, improved store-bought egg nog will impress guests and get everyone in the holiday spirit.

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