Does Eggnog Go Bad? (Shelf Life & Expiration Signs)

Eggnog is a drink that contains the ideal mixture of sugar, milk, cream, and eggs. It’s a delightful seasonal drink that can be purchased from a store or homemade.

Not only is eggnog tasty, but it contains Vitamin D and calcium. Some may be inclined to purchase multiple bottles, leaving the question of how long it lasts, unanswered. 

All non-alcoholic last up to 5 days in the refrigerator once opened, and homemade eggnog lasts 2-3 days. Canned eggnog has a shelf life of 4 to 5 months unopened any eggnog containing alcohol can last up to 18-months under the right conditions. 

There are more types of eggnog than you may think, which could make it difficult to figure out how long it lasts in and out of the refrigerator.

The biggest concern when it comes to eggnog is the eggs. Eggs are tricky and in the wrong conditions, can spoil very quickly causing some unwanted health issues. 

If you’re concerned about the expiry of your eggnog, we’ll go over how long different types of eggnog last in certain conditions. 

Canned4-5 Months5-7 days32℉
HomemadeN/A2-3 days32℉
Alcohol18 months5 days32℉
Reduced-Fat5-7 days5 days32℉

How Long Does Eggnog Last?

Eggnog can last five to seven days in the refrigerator. When it’s opened, it lasts five days and then needs to be discarded.

If the eggnog is homemade, it can only last two to three days in the refrigerator. If the eggnog contains alcohol such as brandy or rum, it can last up to 18-months in the refrigerator when unopened. 

If you have leftover eggnog or unopened eggnog laying around and want to take a swig, make sure it hasn’t expired. 

Eggnog Expiration Signs

It’s not difficult to decipher whether or not your eggnog has spoiled. Ensuring your eggnog is safe for consumption greatly reduces the risk of foodborne illness.

We’ve tried eggnog after just a couple of days sitting on the counter unopened and there were definitely some strange smells coming from the bottle. 

The first thing you’ll notice is a strange smell. If the eggnog smells sour, it’s time to discard it. You can’t miss the odd and pungent scent of rotten eggnog. 

Next, take a look at its appearance. The eggnog should start out as a whitish color and if it’s expired, it will have a completely different hue.

Anything different from white means it has gone bad and needs to be thrown away. It may turn yellow, beige, and even blue.

The color change is due to lactic-acid-producing bacteria. When we see any color other than white, we throw our eggnog out immediately. 

Lastly, pour some. The texture of eggnog should be smooth. If it’s lumpy or clumps together, this is a clear indication that the eggnog is unsafe for consumption. 

If you still can’t tell whether or not it’s expired, give it a taste. Eggnog should taste sweet and creamy.

If it tastes sour and unpleasant, it’s time to toss it. We’ve found that spoiled eggnog is too bitter to even pass through our throat. 

The Risks of Drinking Spoiled Eggnog

Remember that scene in Christmas Vacation where Clark’s cousin Eddie offered to refill his eggnog for him, get him something to eat, and drive him in the middle of nowhere and leave him for dead?

We kind of thought he was going to give him spoiled eggnog and leave him to suffer. If Eddie were to have served Clark spoiled eggnog, it wouldn’t have ended well for Clark. 

Since eggnog contains raw eggs, it can carry Salmonella bacteria. As the eggs expire, that bacteria will stew and multiply.

Consuming Salmonella-infected eggnog can lead to a common bacterial disease that takes over the intestinal tract.

Some people will have no symptoms while others can develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within eight to 72 hours. 

The dangerous thing about diarrhea from Salmonella is that it can lead to severe dehydration that may require medical attention.

Additionally, if the infection spreads beyond your intestines, there could be life-threatening complications.

It’s best if you discard the eggnog if you have even the slightest suspicion that it has expired to reduce your risk of Salmonella poisoning. 

Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can extend its shelf life after it has been opened to 

Extending Eggnog Shelf Life

As with any other dairy product, eggnog has a “best before date” in its package.

The date indicated is how long manufacturers expect the nog to last on the shelf. Anything beyond that date is your responsibility. 


You can help keep your eggnog fresher for longer by placing it in the very back of your refrigerator once it’s opened.

Never put the eggnog on the door because it will then be constantly exposed to warm and cold air. This will make the eggnog spoil quicker than if it were in the back where it’s always cold. 

In addition to leaving it in the back of the fridge, you’ll want to keep it in its original container and sealed tightly.

The containers that eggnog comes in are specifically meant for that, whether from a can or bottle.

This is to prevent cross-contamination of the drink during transfer. What we like to do is place a bag clip on the carton to keep it tightly closed. 

This only applies to bottles. You should never store a carton of nog anywhere else other than in the refrigerator. 

This leaves a discussion open for whether or not you can freeze eggnog to preserve it longer. 

Freezing Eggnog

It’s not recommended you freeze it because the freezing process will destabilize the structure. Once it thaws, the consistency and texture are then altered.

You’ll find small clumps in your eggnog that won’t go away no matter how much you stir it.

However, if you’re unfazed by this issue, you can freeze it safely for three months beyond the sell-by date. 

If you feel the need to freeze your eggnog, you obviously won’t be able to be frozen in its original glass bottle, so you should transfer it to another resealable container.

To avoid cross-contamination, ensure the container is thoroughly cleaned and sterilized. We like to leave some space on top so the drink can expand when it reaches freezing point. 

Once placed in the freezer, it has to maintain a 0 degree Fahrenheit temperature to avoid spoilage. 

There are certain eggnogs, however, that will last much longer than traditional or homemade eggnog when unable to freeze. 

Types of Eggnog

There are seven main types of eggnog that you can enjoy during the holiday seasons or all-year-around if it’s homemade. 

  • Bottled Eggnog: Classic bottled eggnog, such as Evan Williams or Pennsylvania Dutch, contains egg yolk, heavy cream, and bourbon or rum. Since it contains alcohol, it can be stored in a dark, cool place for up to 18 months, but only five days if opened. 
  • Canned Eggnog: It seems strange, but eggnog does come in a can and may be difficult to track down since most companies switched to cartons. Canned eggnog has a shelf life of four to five months and lasts around five to seven days if opened. 
  • Homemade Eggnog: Since homemade eggnog doesn’t come prepackaged in a bottle or can, it only lasts around three days. If it contains at least 5% alcohol, it can last up to a week.

No matter what type of eggnog you have, there’s most likely a way to use your leftovers if you don’t want to drink it anymore. 

Uses for Leftover Eggnog

There are quite a few ways you can use leftover eggnog if you’re sick of drinking it plain. We enjoy using it in hot chocolate and oatmeal.

Eggnog in a cup

This is a great way to sweeten your drink or food without adding sugar since the eggnog already contains it.

Additionally, you can pour it into your ice cream maker if you have one! It makes very sweet ice cream. 

We tinkered with it a little and found that it makes a fantastic soak for bread when making french toast.

If your eggnog is thinner than others, you can whisk a couple more raw eggs in it and use it to make bread pudding.

It can also be substituted for buttermilk in waffles. With all of these substitutions and altered recipes, there’s no reason to toss your eggnog in the trash before it expires. 

Final Thoughts

Eggnog is supposed to be a wonderfully smooth and delicious drink. If it no longer tastes good or has a pungent odor to it, it’s time to toss it.

Remember, once you open it you only have less than a week to finish it off. If you’re egg nogged out and can’t seem to fathom one more swallow, use it in another recipe and don’t let it go to waste. 

It’s important to understand that consuming bad eggnog can make you sick.

The symptoms could be as mild as some nausea and diarrhea, but the dehydration that comes with it can be life-threatening. So when it doubt, throw it out. 

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