Pregnancy Articles

Holiday Eggnog Safety

You Don't Have to Give Up this Holiday Tradition

Millions of people sample eggnog around the holidays and enjoy this versatile drink. Traditional homemade eggnog contains eggs, sugar, cream, and whiskey, brandy or rum, with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Unpasteurized eggs and alcohol are not recommended during pregnancy, so homemade eggnog is not recommended.

Although your traditional eggnog recipe may be a family favorite, it may be unsafe for your loved ones. Making eggnog with raw eggs can be dangerous and deadly because raw eggs may contain the bacterium salmonella, which can cause food-borne illness. Anyone can fall victim to food borne illnesses, but some people (infants, young children, pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems, such as HIV or cancer patients) are at an even higher risk.

To continue with your holiday eggnog tradition, use one of the following substitutions:
  • Use commercially-prepared eggnog, which contains pasteurized eggs that have the harmful bacteria removed. Also, store-bought egg nog is usually free of alcohol. These versions are safe to drink during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
  • In place of raw eggs, use an equivalent amount of pasteurized (frozen or refrigerated) egg product that has never been opened. (Because of the risk of bacterial contamination after opening, any leftover egg product should be used only in cooked products.)
  • Use cooked eggs in your eggnog recipe. Combine the raw eggs with 1/2 of the milk and sugar in a 4-quart double boiler. Cook and stir over medium heat, approximately 10-15 minutes, until the mixture coats a metal spoon and the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue preparing your recipe as directed.
  • Try the safe Holiday Eggnog recipe below!
Holiday Eggnog Recipe
  • 5 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pasteurized refrigerated egg product
    1 cup pasteurized frozen egg product (thawed in the refrigerator)
    4 eggs
  • 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
  • 1 pint low fat frozen vanilla yogurt, softened
  • Ground nutmeg to taste
NOTE: If using eggs, follow recipe steps 1, 2, 3, and 4. If using pasteurized egg product, follow steps 1, 3, and 4 only.
  1. In a 4-quart double boiler, combine milk, sugar, and egg product (or eggs).
  2. Cook and stir over medium heat, approximately 10-15 minutes, until the mixture coats a metal spoon and the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the evaporated skim milk, vanilla extract, and run extract (if desired). Cover and chill 4-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. To serve, place softened frozen yogurt in a punch bowl. Gradually whisk in chilled eggnog mixture until smooth. Sprinkle with nutmeg to taste.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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