So I was making a little holiday drink. Little nutmeg, cinnamon, a shot of brandy, and eggnog.

The eggnog was brand new, but when I poured it, I noticed it was chunky =/

I did not shake it before first pouring. Was this the cause of the chunky eggnog? Is the eggnog bad? What causes eggnog to be chunky?

End result for those curious: I threw it out and bought more without trying any. Why bother, right? Not worth getting sick. Am now happily enjoying non chunky eggnog.


No, eggnog should not be chunky. Yours has probably gone off.

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  • The thing is that it smells fine. I shook it very well and it seems to have stayed together. I tested some from a spoon and it tastes like eggnog. Do you still think it has gone off? – Travis J Dec 25 '13 at 3:30
  • I cannot think of another reason for chunks... is there anything on the label that would indicate that this eggnog is not the typical product? – SAJ14SAJ Dec 25 '13 at 3:32

It should definitely not be chunky unless you've heated it above a 160 degrees. This website has more:

"I usually turn off the burner when the thermometer says about 160, and by the time I've removed the pan from the heat, it's getting up to 165 or slightly higher. Eggs boil at 180 degrees, so you want to stay below that at all costs or your egg nog will be chunky, no matter how much you whisk it, both during and after heating."

This one has a similar tip:

"It also can’t cook to a temperature over 160 degrees F, or the eggs will overcook and make the eggnog chunky...... Grab your candy thermometer."

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  • Wow I've never heard of heating eggnog, but I guess I've never tried to make non-alcoholic eggnog. – Pointy Dec 25 '13 at 15:02
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    Traditional eggnog is in fact uncooked. It does have raw eggs, which some people consider an issue. However, as this is a commercial eggnog (almost certainly pasteurized), this should not apply. – SAJ14SAJ Dec 25 '13 at 15:16

What exactly do you mean by "chunky"? Eggnog should be a homogenous thin custard. If there are lumps, then something is badly wrong.

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  • While pouring the eggnog, I noticed that it was causing the rest of the drink to splash a few times. After the second one I began examining the eggnog. – Travis J Dec 25 '13 at 4:19

Eggnog should be an emulsification of eggs and dairy. That emulsification should persist because of the binding agents in egg yolk--contrast with salad dressing which invariably separates for lack of such binding agent. That means eggnog should be smooth and consistent.

Eggnog is also typically pasteurized, so it is brought to a high heat and then chilled. If the eggnog is not well mixed, the cream may separate, and in the cooling process, it may clot. This is technically safe, and would result in what you describe.

There's no confirmation of this explanation. It's better to be safe than sorry. Salmonella is a faint, odorless bacteria and it's present in eggs. It's well worth the insurance to buy another carton, and maybe the market will give you a refund, who knows.

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