Shelf Life of
Egg Nog

How Long Does Eggnog Last?

How Long Does Eggnog Last?

Egg Nog Shelf Life

How long does eggnog last? The shelf life of eggnog is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the processing method and carton date, exposure to light and heat, and how the eggnog is stored. Eggnog is a very rich dairy product made with eggs, milk, sugar and cream (and usually alcohol in the homemade varieties). And it is almost always garnished with grated or ground nutmeg. Most common are the regular and reduced fat varieties, but best tasting is a rich frothy homemade recipe. We have never seen a non-fat eggnog, there probably is one but it just doesn’t make sense because if you stripped all the fat there wouldn’t be much left!

Although it does contain calcium and vitamin D, eggnog is not usually consumed for it’s health benefits but rather for it’s rich and intense flavor indulgence enjoyed mostly during the holidays. In fact, most grocery stores only carry the product during the season from Thanksgiving until New Years.

So, how long does eggnog last? When properly stored at or below 40° F, containers of eggnog last for the time periods indicated in the table below:

(Unopened) Refrigerator
Canned Eggnog lasts for 4-5 Months
Eggnog lasts for 5-7 Days
Homemade Eggnog lasts for 2-3 Days
Reduced Fat Eggnog lasts for 5-7 Days
(Opened) Refrigerator
All Eggnogs last for 5 Days

Of course, all types of eggnog last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember, egg nog, like a lot of other dairy products, usually has a sell by date which is simply the last date the product should remain on the store shelf. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite meals even after its sell by date has lapsed.

How to tell if eggnog is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent food borne illness. Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your eggnog has gone bad. Some common traits of bad eggnog are discoloration (which you will have to have noted your original eggnog color to begin with because it can range from very white to beige to very yellow in color), a lumpy texture and a very distinctive sour smell (which you will notice when removing the lid) which occurs from lactic acid producing bacteria. 
There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled food and drink, so always remember to practice proper food safety and enjoy it prior to its expiration.
If your egg nog has gone bad, check our substitution page.

How to store eggnog to extend its shelf life?

Proper food storage is the key to extending the shelf life of eggnog.

You can help eggnog keep fresh longer by keeping it away from light and by placing it in the back in your refrigerator immediately after use. Store eggnog on an interior refrigerator shelf rather than in the door, where the temperature fluctuates with frequent opening. In addition, opened eggnog should be stored tightly in its original closed container as the containers were specifically designed for this purpose.

Freezing is not recommended for eggnog, the freezing process destabilizes the structure and once thawed the texture and consistency of the product is altered (formation of small clumps that will never stir in). If you must freeze your eggnog, you can safely do so for 3 months beyond the sell by date – that is if you don’t mind the changed consistency.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

 Interesting facts about the shelf life of eggnog:

  • Most eggnog is made with raw eggs, which pose a salmonella threat. So, when making eggnog always use the freshest eggs and be sure to carefully clean the egg shells before use.
  • One cup of eggnog contains about 342 calories and 167 of those are from fat.
  • Although you may be able to find eggnog at your specialty store year around, it is generally only carried in stores from just before Thanksgiving until just after New Years.
  • The ingredients in eggnog remain fairly consistent (eggs, cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) but the alcohol, if added, usually varies by country. In the United States bourbon is the most common additive while in Europe white wine is the most common addition.

  • How long is eggnog good for when prepared in a dish?

    That depends. How long do eggs last? In general, food and drink only lasts as long as the quickest expiring ingredient that they are mixed with. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

    Search the Shelf Life Guide!

    What are our shelf life resources?

    Our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scour the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of eggnog.

    *An important note about expiration dates …

    Although the egg nog shelf life information provided by Eat By Date is generally reliable, it is not intended to substitute for the advice of your qualified health care provider. Please drink responsibly!