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The Best Eggnog for the Holidays, According to Our Extensive Taste Test

With the holidays around the corner, we have one of winter’s most divisive drinks on the brain: eggnog. For the uninitiated, eggnog is a creamy, custardy drink made from cream, sugar, whipped egg whites and egg yolks that’s traditionally served during the Christmas season. Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and other winter spices can be added as well. It’s commonly spiked with alcohol—usually whiskey, rum or brandy—to create a milk punch that’s popular in the U.S., Europe and Canada, although there are countless versions consumed elsewhere around the globe. To find out the best eggnog for every need, we rounded up a slew of them from popular brands to narrow down the list. (Our picks include plenty of dairy-free options as well, BTW.)

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The Best Store-Bought Eggnog, at a Glance

Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.

The Methodology

Before we dive into our favorites of the season, here’s how we determined the best eggnogs for every palate:

  • Value: Is the eggnog worth the money given how it tastes and what’s in it?
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: Does the packaging lend itself to easy, spill-proof pouring? Will it hold up against an hours-long holiday party? Does it sport a seasonal design?
  • Quality: Are the ingredients high quality? Does the eggnog contain any weird preservatives or additives?
  • Consistency: Is the eggnog runny or thick? Is it overwhelmingly rich and hard to drink? If it’s a dairy-free eggnog, how does it compare to the original’s texture?
  • Flavor: Does the eggnog taste good? Does it taste like the package claims it does?

Read on for the 11 best eggnogs, according to our taste test.

1. Hood Golden Eggnog

Best eggnog overall

  • Value: 20/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 18/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 19/20
  • Flavor: 20/20

TOTAL: 94/100

This pick from Hood is creamy and custardy with the nostalgic decadence of melted vanilla ice cream. You can’t miss the nutmeg flavor, but it doesn’t bash you over the head either, so this nog can pair with basically any partygoer’s palate. Made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks and high fructose corn syrup (along with a few artificial dyes that give it its signature golden hue), it’s easy to drink despite its richness, and we’d argue that its flavor is approachable enough to convert even the staunchest eggnog haters. Even better, you can get a half-gallon of the stuff for under $6 (or 9 cents per ounce), so you can effortlessly serve a crowd without spending too much. The big carton is a little clunky and likely more prone to spills than one with a cap, but it’s worth it if you’re doling out nog to many people at once or making a big-batch bowl of milk punch.

2. Ronnybrook Eggnog

Best extra thick eggnog

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Consistency: 19/20
  • Flavor: 18/20

TOTAL: 93/100

This Hudson Valley gem is the richest and creamiest of the bunch. Its flavor is a bit more nuanced, thanks to nutmeg and natural flavors. (We appreciate that the spices are visible in your glass; it gives the bev a more rustic, homemade look.) A much shorter ingredient list than some of its competitors, this nog is made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, nutmeg and common thickeners, like guar gum and carrageenan. Its eggy sweetness would pair beautifully with vanilla whiskey or aged rum. At $4 for a 12-ounce bottle, it’s a tad more expensive than others on this list, but we’d pay a premium for farm-fresh quality.

3. Southern Comfort Vanilla Spice Eggnog

Best flavored eggnog

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 18/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 18/20
  • Flavor: 19/20

TOTAL: 90/100

Made with milk, cream, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, egg yolks, natural and artificial flavors and thickeners, this offering from Southern Comfort is pretty on par with other big-brand eggnogs. But what sets it apart is its heavenly flavor (hello, vanilla and nutmeg) and its silky, lush consistency. It’s, of course, prime for mixing cocktails (in case you want to do its namesake justice, mix one quart of nog with one cup of Southern Comfort, or substitute whiskey, rum or brandy). At just over 10 cents per ounce, this is a tasty twist on plain eggnog to offer at a holiday party, and it’ll likely be better received than any pumpkin spice-infused one you see on shelves.

4. Farmland Premium Eggnog

Best eggnog for lattes

  • Value: 19/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 18/20
  • Flavor: 18/20

TOTAL: 92/100

Creamy, sweet and ice cream-like in flavor, this option from Farmland is essentially impossible to dislike. When warmed and frothed, it takes on a fluffy, soothing consistency that begs to be poured over a double shot of espresso. It’d provide flavor and lusciousness to a latte without overpowering the java, so we’d make a beeline to it in the dairy aisle if you’re a fan of eggnog lattes. It consists of milk, liquid sucrose (or water and sugar), cream, corn syrup and sugared egg yolks, along with a few thickeners and both natural and artificial flavors. There’s no nutmeg or cinnamon in it, so feel free to dust some over your latte before sipping. It'll also cost you about 9 cents per ounce, which is a Christmas miracle, if you ask us. 

5. Turkey Hill Eggnog

Best eggnog for cocktails

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 18/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 19/20
  • Flavor: 16/20

TOTAL: 88/100

We’d argue that this Turkey Hill eggnog is a bit of an acquired taste; there’s something ever so slightly astringent about it, but we think adding liquor (preferably something with notes of vanilla, caramel or cinnamon) would round out the nog’s flavor. It’s creamy and lush in mouthfeel without being too overwhelming, which we find ideal. Made with milk, sugar, cream, high fructose corn syrup, egg yolks, nutmeg and thickeners, the eggnog costs an affordable 5 cents per ounce, so if a bargain is your top priority, look no further.

6. Hood Light Eggnog

Best light eggnog

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 18/20
  • Flavor: 19/20

TOTAL: 92/100

It’s no secret: Eggnog is generally high in fat, calories and sugar. Luckily, there are a few better-for-you options on the market for people who want to save their calories for peppermint bark and holiday fudge. (Just us?) This variation from Hood boasts 55 percent less fat and 26 percent fewer calories than its competitors at 140 calories and 4 grams fat per 4-ounce serving, but it’s still pretty packed with sugar at 21 grams. (It contains basically all the same ingredients as Hood’s Golden Eggnog, except it uses nonfat milk in place of cream and nixes a few of the artificial colors.) At 11 cents an ounce, this eggnog tastes pretty darn identical to the full-fat version (think French vanilla soft-serve), and even better, it has a creamy, rich mouthfeel that won’t tip your guests off one bit.

7. Lactaid Lactose-Free Eggnog

Best eggnog for dairy-sensitive drinkers

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 17/20
  • Consistency: 18/20
  • Flavor: 18/20

TOTAL: 91/100

You’re not an oat or almond milk girl, so you (and your lactose intolerance) were planning to just deal with the dairy…but why not avoid a mean stomachache if you can? Lactaid’s lactose-free eggnog is a solid option. It’s made with real milk and cream (plus sugar, egg yolks, thickeners and artificial colors), but the addition of lactase helps break the lactose—the sugar found in dairy foods—down into galactose and glucose, which are easier to digest and less irritating to those with dairy sensitivities. (If you’re looking for a vegan option, scroll down.) Despite this extra work to make it safe for lactose-intolerant folks, the nog is still affordable at $5 for a 32-ounce carton. It’s also more nutmeg-y in flavor than some plainer picks on this list and has a traditionally creamy consistency your relatives can get behind.

8. Almond Breeze Almondmilk Nog

Best nut-based vegan eggnog

  • Value: 18/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 18/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Consistency: 17/20
  • Flavor: 18/20

TOTAL: 89/100

Almonds are the base, so it’s of course decidedly nutty in flavor, but this alternative nog is surprisingly similar to the real thing. Made with almond milk, cane sugar, sea salt and natural flavors, its taste is easy-drinking and very lightly spiced, making it a great option for kids or people who aren’t typically fans of eggnog. We can likely chalk its light-yet-creamy consistency up to thickeners and emulsifiers, like guar gum and sunflower lecithin. This pick from Almond Breeze is also a relatively cheap option for non-dairy drinkers, since it clocks in at about 6 cents per ounce.

9. Elmhurst Oat Nog

Best oat-based vegan eggnog

  • Value: 17/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 18/20
  • Quality: 20/20
  • Consistency: 17/20
  • Flavor: 17/20

TOTAL: 89/100

You always ask the barista for oat milk in your coffee, so why rule out oat nog? Free of gluten, dairy and cholesterol and vegan-friendly, this ingenious invention from Elmhurst stole our heart at first sip. It has the shortest ingredient list of all these products (filtered water, whole grain oats, cashews, cane sugar, natural flavors and salt—that’s it). It’s free of gums and emulsifiers, so expect a thinner consistency and a bit of separation once the nog has been sitting in your glass for a while. It’s way lower in fat, sugar and calories than authentic eggnog, but still boasts the nutmeg-kissed flavor you crave, although it’s notably less indulgent both in taste and texture.

10. Chobani Oatmilk Oat Nog

Best nut-free vegan eggnog

  • Value: 17/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 19/20
  • Consistency: 17/20
  • Flavor: 18/20

TOTAL: 91/100

For an alternative nog that’s free of nuts (in other words, one that’s allergy-friendly), turn to Chobani’s limited-batch option. Its ingredient list is pretty short, as it only contains water, whole grain oats, cane sugar, rapeseed oil, natural flavors, sea salt and gellan gum for thickening. Of course, that leads to leaner stats that standard eggnog: 90 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 9 grams of sugar per 4-ounce serving. Despite this, it’s very sweet both on the nose and tongue, and tastes similar to oat milk yogurt (like sweet cream but with some tang). It’s silky in consistency, but thinner than regular nog.

11. Califia Farms Holiday Nog

Most kid-friendly eggnog

  • Value: 19/20
  • Packaging and Aesthetic: 20/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Consistency: 17/20
  • Flavor: 16/20

TOTAL: 90/100

Kids are notoriously picky every day of the year. Throw in holiday chaos and menu items they aren’t used to, and you’ll likely be resigned to making an individual pot of hot cocoa for the kids’ table—unless you serve this nog by Califia Farms instead. Its flavor is very neutral and mildly spiced, plus its consistency is close enough to milk that it won’t feel totally foreign to your kids as it goes down. For a little under 10 cents an ounce, you can savor this almond-based alternative made with cane sugar, natural flavors, thickeners and fruit and vegetable juice for color. Best of all, it’s pretty low in sugar at 8 grams per four-ounce serving compared to real eggnog (which can contain 20 or more easy), but your kids won’t be able to tell the difference. Oh, and you can totally use it in place of milk if they’re still feeling that hot cocoa.

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.