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We Tasted 9 Store-Bought Eggnogs & This Is the Best

Here's what to stock for the holidays.

Eggnog is synonymous with holiday celebrations but it is a polarizing beverage, i.e. you either love it or you hate it. A traditional recipe for eggnog can be terrifying from a food safety and health perspective, requiring a half dozen raw eggs and lots of cream and sugar. But for those that love it, a cold December evening just isn't the same without a cup of creamy eggnog, spiked or not.

For those of you who crave that cinnamon-nutmeg peppered drink when celebrating the holidays, we tasted nine store-bought eggnogs to determine the best one you should include at your holiday fiesta.

Two tasters tried the drinks blind and graded them on three things:

  • Texture: A too thick or thin eggnog is no one's idea of a party, but a slightly thicker eggnog could stand up to a glug of rum or bourbon, so that wasn't an immediate markdown.
  • Ingredients: Some of these store-bought egg nogs have a plethora of unsavory ingredients when examined up close. We spied extra colors on the ingredient list used to mimic the orange glow of real egg yolks and thickeners to replace real cream.
  • Taste: Obviously, this is always the most important. Was this a one-sipper or a creamy concoction that we could go back to again and again? Were the spices balanced or did one completely take over the beverage?

We combined all of these aspects, along with our personal observations into final scores to determine the best eggnog you should buy this holiday season. Cheers! (Plus, come back to check out We Tasted 10 Vanilla Ice Creams & This Is the Best One!)

9

Almond Breeze Nog

Courtesy of Almond Breeze
PER 1/2 CUP: 70 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Rice Starch, Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Fruit And Vegetable Juice (Color), Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Spice

We wanted this one to taste good. It has less than half the calories of the other nogs and a fraction of the fat. But, alas, some things are too good to be true. First of all, this beverage had an unappetizing grey color, which didn't start things off on the right foot. Both tasters were unanimous in disliking this beverage, noting that it was very thin and had an unpleasant, chalky flavor. If you cannot eat dairy, stay tuned for a better option on the list.

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8

Southern Comfort Traditional Egg Nog

PER 1/2 CUP: 190 calories, 9 g fat (- g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Cream, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Egg Yolks, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Spice, Fat Free Milk, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Mono And Diglycerides, Annatto And Turmeric (Color), Salt And Disodium Phosphate.

The traditional eggnog flavor from Southern Comfort was not bad, in fact, after the Almond Breeze, all of the eggnogs were very good. In the end, final scoring came down to the balance of spices and thickness. The Southern Comfort was very thick, and we admit this could be because—obviously—they want you to add some SoCo!

This drink was thick, mild, and slightly tangy. It was very orange and almost eggy in flavor. This would be a perfect mixing eggnog, you can almost feel where the orangey fragrance of the whiskey would sit between the eggy vanilla flavor of the nog and how it would thin out the drink just enough.

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7

Lactaid Eggnog

PER 1/2 CUP: 170 calories, 9 g fat (- g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Egg Yolks, Fat Free Milk, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Lactase Enzyme*, Salt, Carrageenan, Mono & Diglycerides, Spice, Yellow 5 & 6 And Red 40. *Ingredient Not In Regular Eggnog.

Kudos to Lactaid for keeping high fructose corn syrup out of their blend, they do, however, use artificial colors and flavors. The thickness of the Lactaid eggnog was a point of contention, one taster liked the less creamy texture but the other thought it was too thin. On the flavor front, however, we were in agreement. We praised the pleasant flavor with one likening it to melted Breyers French Vanilla ice cream. Lactose-intolerant revelers rejoice, this is the drink for you.

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6

Hood Pumpkin Eggnog

PER 1/2 CUP: 180 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cream, Egg Yolks, Sugar, Whey, Pumpkin Puree, Modified Corn Starch, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Annatto and Turmeric (for Color), Guar Gum, Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan, Mono & Diglycerides, Salt, Yellow 6 and Ground Cinnamon.

The only pumpkin nog we tasted had a great texture. One taster called it 'velvety' and the other praised its balance. If you love pumpkin pie, this is your drink. It literally tasted like liquid pumpkin pie. This beverage could stand on its own, but it's thick enough and spicy enough for a good glug of whiskey or rum.

RELATED: The Best & Worst Pumpkin Spice Creamers in 2021—Ranked!

5

Hood Golden Eggnog

PER 1/2 CUP: 180 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 5 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Egg Yolks, Fat Free Milk, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Mono & Diglycerides, Spice, Yellow 5 & 6 And Red 40.

Hood Golden essentially tied with the pumpkin flavor. The same pleasant, smooth texture carried through, though the pumpkin was a touch more velvety, due to the addition of pumpkin. The flavor was well balanced between vanilla, spices, milk, and egg. We could knock Hood Golden down one point for the three different artificial colors that it used to get the golden color. The Yellow 5 & 6 And Red 40 used to achieve the advertised golden color was sort of cheating. We may be cheating on our diet with eggnog, but we don't want to cheat on our health!

RELATED: The Single Best Way to Make Eggnog You've Never Tried

4

Ronnybrook Egg Nog

PER 1/2 CUP: 170 calories, 8 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 5 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Skim Milk, Egg Yolks, Natural Flavors, Nutmeg, Guar Gum, Carrageenan And Annatto-Tumeric (For Color).

Ronnybrook is the most natural of the bunch, with no artificial flavors or colors. One taster praised the 'robust texture' of the eggnog, while the other did not like the slightly chunky texture. Again, the flavor split the tasters with one loving the good balance between egg and cream, but the other thinking the flavors were too bold, citing way too much nutmeg. If you like a traditional, thick, nutmeg-forward eggnog, this is the drink for you. This thick beverage could definitely use a shot of whiskey.

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3

Turkey Hill Egg Nog

PER 1/2 CUP: 190 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Egg Yolks, Nonfat Milk, Whey, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Nutmeg, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Annatto & Turmeric Extracts for Color

The Turkey Hill nog got high marks from both tasters for thickness and flavor. The drink had a balanced vanilla flavor and a pleasant aftertaste. Like the Lactaid eggnog, this one tasted like melted French vanilla ice cream. We didn't have anything negative to say about this beverage. This is a good buy and a bit lower in sugar than our winner.

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2

Natural by Nature Oat Nog

PER 1/2 CUP: 180 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 1 g protein

Ingredients: Organic Oat Base (Water, Organic Oat Flakes), Organic Rapeseed Oil, Organic Cane Sugar, Egg Nog Flavoring, Salt, Guar Gum, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Turmeric, Gellan Gum

The pleasant, tangy taste of this thinner eggnog rocketed it to the top of the pack. For an oat-based drink, this beverage stood up surprisingly well to the dairy-based nogs on the list. While the yellow color was a bit too yellow to be natural—ironically—and the spices were very forward, there was something very sippable about this drink. One taster noted that it was less creamy than some of the others, but it made up for it with pure flavor. And the other praised the lack of cloying aftertaste while still having a good mouthfeel.

The cinnamon flavor in this drink verged on being a little too spicy, but again, for an oat-based eggnog, this is a clear-cut winner. We're not sure what magic made this just as good as the dairy ones, but the nutrition information is surprisingly close to the others in terms of fat and calories which could have contributed.

RELATED: The Best & Worst Oat Milk Brands to Buy, Say Dietitians

1

Southern Comfort Egg Nog Vanilla Spice

PER 1/2 CUP: 210 calories, 9 g fat (- g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 4 g protein

Ingredients: Milk, Cream, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Egg Yolks, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Spice, Fat Free Milk, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Mono And Diglycerides, Annatto And Turmeric (Color), Salt And Disodium Phosphate.

We didn't want to love you, SoCo Vanilla Spice, but you made it impossible. This is the highest calorie drink of the bunch and it includes high fructose corn syrup but it is so good. Both tasters gave this drink the stamp of 'delicious,' noting the balance of cinnamon, vanilla, and spices. This could be sipped on its own or mixed with your favorite spirit, but please, watch the serving size. A half-cup is really all you should be drinking of this sweet holiday quaff.

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Meaghan Cameron
Meaghan Cameron is senior editor of Eat This, Not That! overseeing food content for MSN.com. Read more
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