Eggnog (also sometimes called milk punch) is a delicious holiday treat. Some of its ingredients, like cinnamon and other spices, can even have some benefits while pregnant.
However, there is some essential safety information you need to know before you can drink eggnog safely when you’re pregnant.
Eggnog during pregnancy is safe as long it is pasteurized and doesn’t contain alcohol, raw dairy, or raw eggs. Prioritize store-bought brands that have been heat-treated correctly to avoid any risk of salmonella, and choose eggnog that is alcohol-free and lower in sugar.
There are some ingredients in eggnog that are more beneficial than others, and some items that you will want to avoid altogether – especially if the eggnog is homemade.
Can You Drink Eggnog While Pregnant?
You can safely drink eggnog while pregnant as long as it is pasteurized and alcohol-free.
This article is about the classic holiday drink, but all the safety information here also applies to similar drinks like:
- Advocaat (a Dutch egg-based alcoholic drink) and Ponche Crema – both of which should be avoided during pregnancy as they contain alcohol
- Coquito – sometimes called ‘Puerto Rican eggnog’, made with coconut milk
- Eierpunsch – a German drink very similar to eggnog
- Kogel Mogel or Zabaione – A type of dessert with similar ingredients
If you drink unpasteurized eggnog, you increase the risk of salmonella, which can be dangerous during pregnancy.
Any unpasteurized foods with raw eggs are to be avoided – choose commercial eggnog products that use pasteurized eggs (Source: CFP).
Fortunately, most commercially made eggnogs are made with pasteurized eggs and are therefore safe to consume while pregnant (Source: FDA).
Homemade eggnog often contains raw egg and is usually alcoholic. If you didn’t make the eggnog yourself, ask about the ingredients first. Also bear in mind that some people like to “spike” store-bought eggnog with more alcohol!
You can also make your own eggnog at home if you use pasteurized eggs. These eggs have been heat-processed to kill harmful bacteria and are labeled ‘pasteurized’.
You can buy several types of pasteurized eggs:
- Fresh eggs in the shell (found in the refrigerator section)
- Liquid egg products (found in the refrigerator section)
- Frozen egg products (found in the frozen food section)
- Powdered egg whites (found in the baking section)
One hot drink to be wary of, however, is eggnog latte. Eggnog lattes usually are made with espresso coffee which contains caffeine.
Although commercially-made and coffee shop eggnogs are likely to contain pasteurized ingredients, you should check how much caffeine is in them.
During pregnancy, you should try to keep your caffeine intake down to 200-300mg per day, or less (source: WHO).
Some eggnogs are also high in calories: one 16-ounce eggnog latte from Starbucks packs 450 calories and contains two shots of espresso or 150mg of caffeine (Source: Starbucks).
Does Eggnog Contain Alcohol?
Traditional eggnog contains alcohol: typically, either brandy, cognac, bourbon, whisky, sherry, rum or even grain alcohol, none of which are recommended while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding (Source: CDC).
Many brands of store-bought eggnog don’t contain alcohol, particularly the brands in the refrigerated section (as opposed to the liquor section!). However, check labels for fat and sugar content.
Here are some popular brands of store-bought eggnog that don’t contain alcohol:
- Organic Valley Eggnog
- Hood Golden Eggnog
- Califia Farms Nog
- Lactaid Eggnog
- Hood Pumpkin Eggnog
Alcohol-free eggnog is safe to drink during pregnancy as long as it is pasteurized, as mentioned before.
Does Eggnog Have Raw Eggs In It?
Homemade eggnog often does have raw eggs in it and should be avoided during pregnancy as the eggs aren’t usually heated up enough to make them safe.
Whereas store-bought or factory-made eggnog is almost always pasteurized to conform with FDA regulations (Source: USDA).
If you are buying eggs from producers with 3,000 or more laying hens (so large companies rather than local farm shops), your eggs will have been pasteurized to combat egg-associated illness caused by salmonella which is considered to be a serious health problem (Source: FDA).
Another option if you don’t want to make your own eggnog is to buy vegan brands that don’t have any eggs.
Some brands to try are:
- Califia Farms Nog (almond milk)
- Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Nog (almond milk)
- Trader Joe’s Almond Nog (almond milk)
- Silk Nog, Dairy Free, Original (soy milk)
- So Delicious Dairy Free Holiday Nog (coconut milk)
You can read more about the suitability of drinking soy milk while pregnant here and almond milk here.
A Pregnancy-Safe Eggnog Recipe
To enjoy eggnog during the holidays, you can make your own. Here’s how:
One quart of low-fat milk (your choice, cow or plant-based)
6 pasteurized eggs (or egg powder, or pasteurized liquid egg)
Pinch of salt
½ cup xylitol, date syrup, or 3 drops stevia (or ½ cup sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1 cup coconut cream, oat cream, or whipping cream
Sprinkling of nutmeg (for serving, optional)
Heat the milk in a saucepan till hot (don’t let it boil). Meanwhile, beat the pasteurized eggs with a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
Add in your chosen sweetener and mix well. While continuing to stir, slowly pour in the hot milk.
Put the milk mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly using a whisk until the mixture thickens slightly. Make sure the milk reaches 160° F (71° C), then stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon (if using), and remove from heat.
Now you want to cool your milk quickly so that bacteria cannot form. Do this by setting the saucepan in a large bowl of very cold water or ice water (or in your sink) and stir for 10 minutes to let the air help it cool down.
Once your eggnog has cooled, cover the bowl and let it refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.
Just before serving, stir in your chosen cream. Dust each mug with ground nutmeg, if desired.
If you enjoy the taste of alcohol in your eggnog, you could easily add alcohol flavors that contain little to no alcohol.
You can find oils and flavorings that simulate the taste of rum, brandy, Grand Marnier, sherry, Kahlua, amaretto, bourbon and more.
The best brands I have found for this are Bickford Flavors and Bakto Flavors.
You now know how to safely drink eggnog during the holidays, as well as how to make your own, find plant-based eggnogs, and add flavorings to create new holiday tastes. Happy eggnog drinking!
You may also be interested in:
- The safety of turkey (including Thanksgiving turkey cooking during pregnancy)
- The benefits from cinnamon if you sprinkle it on your eggnog
- A guide to eating food cooked with alcohol when you’re pregnant
This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.