It's festive, delicious, and oh so easy!


I might not drink eggnog as a beverage, but I do stock up on nog during the season, and with good reason. It is a terrific base for holiday ice cream! Yes, technically you can just pour chilled nog into your ice cream churner and end up with ice cream, but it won't be that super premium luxurious ice cream you really want to serve your holiday guests or top your holiday pies

I start with eggnog, which is essentially a custard, and then zhuzh it up to make versions of ice cream that will give you all the satisfaction of a premium pint, with the added benefit of being super simple.

How to make eggnog ice cream

For starters, my nog ice cream base uses two parts nog to one part buttermilk. Store bought eggnog is super sweet, so it needs some balance before you start adding flavor.

Second, since store bought eggnog does not contain booze, I add a high proof liquor to help prevent the ice cream from freezing too solid. If I just want eggnog flavored ice cream, I will add either brandy, rum, or whiskey, depending on what you put in your preferred nog. If I don't want a boozy flavor, I will use vodka.

Eggnog Ice Cream
Credit: Getty / Drbouz

My easy eggnog ice cream recipe

For basic eggnog ice cream for a 1 ½ quart churner:

1 ½ cups eggnog

¾ cup buttermilk (can sub whole milk)

½ cup white chocolate chips, melted

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons liquor (rum, brandy, bourbon, or vodka)

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Mix the melted white chocolate chips into the eggnog until smooth.

2. Add the other ingredients and blend well.

3. Taste for flavor and seasoning. A note on flavor: First, every store-bought eggnog is different. Some are sweeter than others or have more spice. Add up to 3 extra tablespoons sugar if your nog mixture isn't sweet enough (it should taste very sweet, as the flavor will mute on freezing). Add more cinnamon or nutmeg if you like it spicier.

4. Chill base for 24 hours before churning according to your machine instructions. 

5. If you like mix-ins, some great ones are toffee brickle bits or toasted pecans.

Fun variations on eggnog ice cream

You've got a whole holiday season (and winter!) to play around with fun variations, so go for it! Here are some ideas:

To make a chocolate version:

Swap out the white chocolate chips for bittersweet chocolate chips, and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon of instant espresso powder, and use vodka for the liquor.

To make a coquito version:

Swap out the honey with cream of coconut (the canned stuff for making pina coladas), use dark rum or coconut rum for the liquor, and add ½ teaspoon of coconut extract. Use toasted coconut or toasted sliced almonds as a mix-in.