Stay Connected

Friday, December 1, 2023

Leftover November Whipping Cream Becomes December Eggnog

We always have some leftover heavy whipping cream after Thanksgiving. And what perfect timing, too. As Thanksgiving in the US is just before the beginning of December.

I'm fussy about consuming raw or undercooked eggs, so the eggnog I make is a cooked egg version, using a double-boiler on the stove.

The other day I made a quart and a half of eggnog, using the leftover whipping cream, milk, sugar, whole eggs, vanilla, and spices. The whipping cream itself is just cream, no carrageenan or tore stabilizers in the brand I bought. So my homemade eggnog was made without preservatives, stabilizers, gums, corn syrup, or additional colorings. Compare my homemade ingredient list to Kroger's eggnog ingredient list as printed on their label: pasteurized homogenized milk, cream, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, egg base (egg yolks, sugar, guar gum, carrageenan, salt, artificial flavor), spices, natural  and artificial flavor, annatto and turmeric extracts (for color).

I filled 3 pint containers with the finished eggnog. I offered one pint to my son and daughter-in-law, put one pint in the fridge, and froze the third pint. Both commercial and homemade eggnog freeze well. If it separates upon thawing, I simply run it through the blender (immersion or pitcher blender) and all is good.

My family's recipe for eggnog:

4 whole eggs, or the equivalent in egg beaters

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar 

2 cups milk

2 cups whipping cream or half and half

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3/4 teaspoon rum extract)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I like the full amount of nutmeg)

up to 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon in my eggnog, but a small pinch does enhance the flavor, I use just under 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon)

optional extras: 1 to 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (to taste), and an extra pinch each of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger for pumpkin eggnog


medium mixing bowl or top of a 2-qt double boiler

2 quart saucepan or bottom of a double boiler

electric mixer or blender

candy or all-purpose cooking thermometer (very important)

spoon for stirring

rubber spatula


mesh strainer

large pitcher

Fill your saucepan or bottom of double boiler 2/3 full of water and set to a boil on stove.

Meanwhile, break eggs into mixing bowl or top of double boiler. Add sugar. With an electric mixer, beat well. Scrape sides of bowl and beat again. Mix in milk, scraping sides of bowl.

Place bowl or top of double boiler onto pan of water. If using a non-instant read thermometer, place it into the milk mixture and hang on the side of bowl. If using a digital instant read thermometer, just keep it handy. You will need to cook this mixture to 160 degrees F (71.11 C). This is important. According to this is the temperature needed to kill bacteria in egg dishes. I typically allow the mixture to cook to 165 degrees F, just to be on the safe side. USDA's recommended 160 degrees F is a minimum temperature for egg dishes.

Cook mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping sides down with rubber spatula until egg and milk mixture reaches 160 to 165 degrees F. Stir the liquid well then test the temperature in several places in your bowl/double boiler. The mixture will thinly coat the backside of your spoon.

When all is 160-165 degrees F (this should take about 20 - 30 minutes of occasional attention), remove from heat.

Whisk in cream or half and half. Add spices and extracts. Taste and adjust the sugar or spices, blending again until thoroughly combined.

If adding pumpkin/spices or alcohol, use a mixer to incorporate.

Set a mesh strainer over a large pitcher. Pour cooked mixture through the strainer.

Cover pitcher with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight. Homemade eggnog thickens with chilling. 

The whole process goes very quickly with little hands-on work. I typically have other things I'm doing in the kitchen while I wait for the egg, sugar, and milk mixture to reach the right temperature. This time I was folding laundry while the mix heated. 

Food safety and homemade eggnog

  • Homemade eggnog should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below up to 3 days for optimal food safety.
  • Make smaller batches if you don't think you can consume an entire batch within 3 days. (I often make a half batch at a time. We drink small portions, about 3 to 4 ounces. It really doesn't take that long to make another batch when we run out.)
  • Don't leave eggnog out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. If serving at a party, you can fill one large bowl with ice, then set a smaller punch bowl with the eggnog PLUS add an ice ring to the eggnog. Your ice ring can be made of milk and sugar flavored with a bit of nutmeg, if desired. Take the temp of the eggnog every half hour. It should remain at or below 40 degrees. If you don't think you can keep a punch bowl at 40 F for the duration of your event, it is much safer to have a couple of smaller pitchers of eggnog. Bring 1 pitcher out of the fridge at a time, making sure no pitcher remains unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. 

Final notes

How thick and creamy your eggnog turns out will be determined by whether you use whipping cream or half and half, whole milk or 2 % milk, or adding additional eggs. If you're attempting to make a skim milk version of eggnog, you may want to add a thickener to the egg, sugar and milk. Beat in a bit of corn starch or arrowroot with the eggs and sugar. And, of course, eggnog can be made with soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and alternative creamer for a non-dairy version. I do this for myself, making a 1/4 batch, since I'm lactose intolerant.

Leftover eggnog makes great holiday eggnog scones, pancakes, waffles, muffins, coffee and tea creamer, stovetop pudding and bread pudding.

Anyway, just a way to use leftover whipping cream before it sours.

Happy December, everyone!


  1. I'm sure your family will appreciate your efforts in making the eggnog. My father loved eggnog and we always had it at Christmas. However, no one else in the family liked it so he never had to worry about finding an empty carton in the fridge. :)

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Lucky for your father, never thinking the eggnog might be gone right when he had a craving for it. My family is like your father -- they love eggnog. They went through that first batch quickly. Yesterday I used the rest of the whipping cream to make a smaller batch, and now that is nearly gone, too.

  2. Hi, Lili! I love eggnog, and like you, don't like to consume raw eggs. I've done a number of cooked eggnog recipes, and not been super-satisfied with the results. I'll have to try yours. The carton kind tastes fine, with a little nutmeg and rum extract :), but I like to control my ingredients more, when I can. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and we've used leftover whipped cream by spoonfuls, like Cool Whip (which my mom often kept frozen) out of the freezer in the past. Not fancy for company, but has worked out okay for family. Take care over there! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      I've frozen dollops of whipped cream, too. That works very well, even if only adding to a smoothie or topping a dish of fruit crumble. Have you ever frozen whipped up heavy cream in a container and not in dollops? I wonder if it that would work. It would make the freezing process easier and one-step instead of freezing in dollops on a tray and then transferring to a container.
      I loved eggnog as a child. When I started having tummy troubles with dairy I was sad to not enjoy it anymore. These years, about once a year, I make a small batch of non-dairy eggnog for myself. So delicious, but also so rich.

    2. Actually, Lili, the whole-container method was what we've done, and just scooped some out with an ice cream scoop or heavy spoon as someone wanted some. It's not fancy/pretty, but seemed like it worked fine. Like you, I don't tolerate eggnog as I once did (the dairy or the sugar content), but the little bit I sneak now and then is a joy. Here's a question, though.... are you guys all cold eggnog people? DH is, but I grew up with eggnog warm ALWAYS. (Maybe a New England thing? I don't know.) I love it both ways, but my go-to is warm. Happy to hear your holiday festivities/decorations are continuing. Love, Sara


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post