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Boiled Custard vs Eggnog: Differences and Recipe Comparison

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you’re probably craving for delicious eggnog this season… or is it boiled custard you’re looking for? There’s always been a debate between boiled custard vs. eggnog. While we know both are great, it’s not always clear what the difference is. Let’s explore this so you can decide which one to make.

Two glasses of eggnog with cinnamon in them.
Homemade Eggnog. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Tis’ the season to be jolly, and nothing makes us jollier than delicious holiday food. Whichever dessert drink you choose is sure to be great. Celebrate because this season comes only once a year!

What’s the Difference Between Boiled Custard and Eggnog?

It’s easy to see why people get these two holiday treats mixed up. They look similar. They’re both creamy, and they’re both an addictively delicious dessert. Let’s break down boiled custard and eggnog and see what sets them apart from each other.

Flavor Profile and Texture

Both custard and eggnog have a base of egg and cream. Because of this, the base flavor is nearly identical. However, the main difference between the two is that boiled holiday custard offers hints of vanilla, while eggnog delivers a warming and spicy flavor. Both are classic sweet drinks, but boiled custard is noticeably more sweet and mild.

The flavor of eggnog comes with spicy flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon. It can stand on its own, or if you’re feeling extra special, you can add eggnog to holiday lattes or even baking recipes. Some people also add alcohol to their eggnog recipe for an extra kick of joy. Feel free to adjust the level to your preference until your eggnog tastes better for your liking.

As for boiled custard, the best way to describe its flavor profile is that it tastes like a creamy dessert—almost like a partially melted vanilla milkshake. Since not everyone likes the taste of nutmeg and cinnamon, boiled custard is the perfect alternative! On the other hand, everyone I know loves the taste and smell of vanilla, so it never fails to impress, especially during holiday parties.

Lastly, boiled custard doesn’t have alcohol content in it, making it a popular choice for a dairy-based beverage. As for the texture, custard is typically thicker. On the other hand, eggnog is more liquid and has a frothy texture.

Two martini glasses with eggnog.
Eggnog in martini glasses. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Serving and Presentation

This is where things get a bit confusing because both festive drinks are traditionally served cold, in pretty glassware like a cup or mug. Since boiled custard and eggnog look very similar, it’s hard to tell which is which just by glancing at them on a table.  However, the most notable distinction is that classic eggnog gets an added dash of cinnamon and nutmeg as garnish before serving. This is one of the key differences in telling them apart at a buffet table.

Nutritional Value

Both drinks can be homemade from scratch or purchased at the store. It’s best to check the specific daily values of a recipe or carton if exact measurements are important to you.

For example, if you’re on a calorie diet, it’s worth looking into how both fare in terms of nutritional value. Here’s a general nutritional comparison of boiled custard vs. eggnog per 100g:

CustardEggnog
Calories15388
Fat6.1g2.9g
Protein4.6g3.4g
Carbohydrates20.3g9.9g

Storage Life

Eggnog can be stored in your refrigerator for five to seven days. On the other hand, boiled custard can only last as long as five days. Make sure to store both in a clean container if you’re making these at home. 

Store-bought eggnog and boiled custard can last longer because they are pasteurized and have preservatives, but this varies from brand to brand. Make sure to check the ‘best before’ tag before buying.

A glass of boiled custard next to some eggs.
Homemade Boiled Custard. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Which Is Better?

One doesn’t have to be better than the other. They’re both great desserts! 

If you’re the one cooking, then I’m sure you’ll appreciate the difference between these sweet treats. I think it’s fascinating to see how the preparation can change the chemistry of ingredients even though they start off more or less the same.

The biggest difference between these holiday drinks lies in how they’re prepared. Why not make both this holiday season and pick your favorite? Here are homemade recipes you can try.

How To Make Boiled Custard

For something mild and great for all members of the family, go for this simple boiled custard recipe. There are just a few key ingredients you need.

Ingredients

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 5 large raw eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add the milk to a double boiler and bring the water to a simmer. Stir the milk occasionally until it is heated throughout, about ten minutes over medium heat.
  2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl for 60 seconds on medium-low speed until they are light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well. 
  3. Temper the eggs by ladling some hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Do this until the eggs are warm and the liquid thins out.
  4. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the hot milk remaining in the double boiler. Add it slowly while whisking.
  5. Leave the liquid to continue cooking over medium heat for about ten more minutes. The custard is thick enough and done cooking once you can coat the back of a spoon. An instant-read thermometer helps a lot in this recipe. The custard is done cooking when the thermometer reads 180F.
  6. Remove the liquid from the boiler and stir in vanilla.
  7. Transfer it to a heat-safe container and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Expert Tips For Homemade Boiled Custard

  • Once the custard is cooked, remove it from the heat immediately. Overcooking risks yielding a clumpy texture.
  • Pay close attention to the temperature. I don’t suggest making boiled custard while doing other chores or any sort of multitasking. This dish requires constant attention because the egg and milk are sensitive to temperatures. Hopefully, you have the bulk of your holiday chores organized and can relax while exploring new recipes.
  • Having an instant-read thermometer by your side is going to be very handy for the final step. I highly suggest buying one if you don’t have this tool already.

How To Make Eggnog

Eggnog is a popular traditional holiday drink, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. It’s hard for my family to go through the season without having a sip of it at least once.

Follow this homemade eggnog recipe when you’re ready to cheers with this creamy beverage in your home. I’m sure you’ll also love a splash of homemade eggnog creamer to your coffee in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, garnish
  • Alcohol, optional

Directions

  1. Whisk the yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl until they turn light and creamy.
  2. Place a small saucepan on your stove over medium-high heat. Combine the cream, nutmeg, milk, and salt in the pot. Stir until the mixture starts to simmer, but don’t let it simmer hard.
  3. Temper the egg mixture by adding one ladle of hot milk at a time while whisking consistently. Continue until the eggs are warm.
  4. Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan.
  5. Whisk for a few minutes until you get a thicker texture. If you have a thermometer, continue cooking until it reaches 160F.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. You can also turn it into a winter cocktail by adding alcohol. Consider one ounce per serving and adjust to your preference.
  7. Sift the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-safe container. 
  8. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon before serving.

Expert Tips for Homemade Eggnog

  • If you’re planning spiking eggnog with alcohol, use rum, brandy, or bourbon.
  • Create two batches of eggnog – one for the adults and one for the kids!
  • Like boiled custard, making eggnog requires your full attention. You’ll also want to have a thermometer on hand for the best results when making eggnog.
  • Although vanilla is typically for boiled custard, you can still add it to eggnog for a mild and sweet flavor.

What Do You Love More?

Who says you have to embrace the showdown of boiled custard vs. eggnog? Enjoy them both! 

‘Tis the season to be jolly why not serve one of these treats along with a cookie platter filled with spicy chai earthquake cookies and naturally green sugar cookies to really put you in the mood?

Enjoy this printable recipe card for boiled custard and if you like the recipe, please leave a 5-star review.

A glass of boiled custard next to some eggs.

Easy Homemade Boiled Custard

Jessica Haggard
Discover the joy of boiled custard—a creamy delight that adds a touch of luxury to your holiday celebrations. Its rich and velvety texture makes every bite a decadent experience, perfect for savoring the festive spirit.
5 from 36 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 35 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 8 (1-cup) servings
Calories 217 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Add the milk to a double boiler and bring the water to a simmer. Stir the milk occasionally, until it is heated throughout, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl for 60 seconds on medium-low speed until they are light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well. 
  • Temper the eggs by ladling some hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Do this until the eggs are warm and the liquid thins out.
  • Pour the egg and milk mixture into the hot milk remaining in the double boiler. Add it slowly while whisking.
  • Leave the liquid to continue cooking over medium heat for about 10 more minutes. The custard is thick enough and done cooking once you can coat the back of a spoon. An instant-read thermometer helps a lot in this recipe. The custard is done cooking when the thermometer reads 180F.
  • Remove the liquid from the boiler and stir in vanilla.
  • Transfer it to a heat-safe container and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 8gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 97mgSugar: 31g
Keyword boiled custard recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




amy liu dong

Monday 4th of December 2023

Wow! This custard treat looks incredibly yummy and so tasty! A perfect treat for this Holiday festivity! Totally a great addition to our menu! Loved it!

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 11th of December 2023

Happy to hear it was a happy addition to the holiday vibe. Thanks, Amy.

Moop Brown

Monday 4th of December 2023

I'm a big fan of eggnog, especially around this time of the year, but I don't think I've ever tried boiled custard. This post has me intrigued and wanting to try though.

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 4th of December 2023

It's another delicious holiday must. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Lauren Harris

Sunday 3rd of December 2023

I simply adore both custard and egg nog, but may have to recreate this showdown just so I can have more reason to have both!

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 4th of December 2023

Showdown, lol. It's a fun one to recreate, that's for sure.

Amy Liu Dong

Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Wow this is brilliant! Like eggnog and custard? I never knew you can combine these two!

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 4th of December 2023

Certainly, Amy. Glad you found the post of interest.

Jeanine

Friday 1st of December 2023

Boiled custard is a new one for me! I love eggnog, so my curiosity is peaked.

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