Eggnog is a holiday staple for many of us. The creamy drink starts with milk that is thickened with eggs, sweetened and flavored with nutmeg and vanilla. While some versions are uncooked, the majority – especially store-bought versions – are cooked so you don’t have to worry about drinking raw eggs. The flavor of eggnog is distinctive and immediately evokes the holidays, so it is natural to want to incorporate it into all kinds of desserts, as well as serving it up as-is.
Yes, you can use eggnog in baking, substituting it directly for buttermilk or milk in many recipes. Most storebought eggnogs are about the same consistency as buttermilk, which makes it very easy to substitute one for the other to give a cake (for instance) some holiday flavor. When substituting eggnog for regular milk, you may need to add in a few additional tablespoons because it is thicker. There is no exact ratio of substitution, however, because eggnog can vary quite a lot in thickness from one brand to another. That said, in the vast majority of cases, eggnog can be substituted 1:1 for milk, buttermilk and cream in baking recipes. When substituting eggnog into a cake, pie or bread pudding recipe, you probably won’t need to adjust the sweetness or other flavorings of the recipes (unless it is to add nutmeg or vanilla to play up the eggnog flavor). After all, eggnog itself is slightly sweet and you’ll want your desserts to maintain that creamy sweetness.
I have all kinds of wonderful eggnog treats to choose from and I highly recommend starting here before venturing out on your own! Your favorite brand of eggnog will work just fine in these recipes and you can use either full fat or lower fat/fat free ‘nog. Non-dairy “eggnogs” can be played around with, but the don’t have the consistency of regular eggnogs and will generally produce a dessert that is not as rich.
Here are a few from the archives to get you started!