Egg Nog Shake · GF (serves 4)

I originally shared this recipe for my column on Serious Eats. You can read more about the terrifying ingredients found in a McDonald's Egg Nog Shake, but I’ll give you the short story: there are thirteen ingredients in the cherry alone. Not kidding.

So, skip the drive through and make something you don’t have to be scared of.

What gives this egg nog its distinctive flavor is chopped, not grated, nutmeg. Whether with pre-ground nutmeg from the jar or freshly grated as needed, most people only use nutmeg in its smallest form. Now imagine if you only used garlic that way in cooking. No sliced garlic. No whole cloves smashed open. No chopped garlic. No minced garlic. Only garlic paste.

Yeah. More than vampires would die in the aftermath, that’s for sure. Used like that, garlic would often overwhelm rather than enhance many dishes.

Same thing here. Grated nutmeg is…great. But sometimes too intense. Chopping it releases the same flavor, but in a much more gentle way. Meanwhile, a little bit of cinnamon steeped into the base rounds out the flavor and delivers spot-on McDonald’s perfection.

McDonald's Style egg nog shake

Egg Nog Shake

12 ounces whole milk
8 ounces heavy cream
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split and scraped; seeds reserved
1 cinnamon stick, about 3” long
3 whole nutmegs, roughly chopped
3 ounces egg yolks (from about 4 eggs)
7 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (use only 3/4 teaspoon for authentic McDonald’s sweetness)
2 ounces Frangelico
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Mix-In

12 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces brown sugar
Optional: 4 Maraschino cherries

Especially awesome with Molasses Ginger Cookies (gluten free)

In a medium pot, bring the milk and cream to a simmer together with the vanilla bean, cinnamon and nutmeg. When the mixture simmers, shut off heat and cover. Steep one hour.

Meanwhile whisk the sugar gradually into the egg yolks. It’s a lot of sugar, so don’t dump it in all at once or it will be difficult to incorporate. Whisk in the salt.

Return dairy to a simmer and fish out the vanilla bean and spices (don’t worry if any nutmeg chunks slip past; you’ll strain them out later). Use a spatula to scrape out the heavily flavored cream from inside the vanilla pod.

Temper the hot cream into the egg yolks, one ladle-full at a time. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the cream. Turn heat to medium low. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape all along the bottom of the pot to avoid curdling.

Normally, ice cream recipes entreat you to cook until the mixture is “thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon,” but with this recipe, that’s harder to judge. Instead, cook until a thermometer registers 145° F. If you’re more cavalier about these things, just cook until it is extremely hot to the touch.

Immediately shut off the heat and strain the custard through a sieve and into a large bowl. Discard any bits of nutmeg that remain. Stir in the Frangelico and vanilla extract. Cool in an ice bath and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; about six hours.

Shake it up

To make it a proper “shake” you’ll need to super-cool the mixture and fluff it up a bit. The best way is to do this with an ice cream machine. Process the chilled ice cream base in ice cream maker just until it begins to thicken, about 15 minutes; you want it just a little softer than soft serve. If you don’t have a machine, you can skip this step. Your shake will have a thinner body, but will still be delicious.

While the shake base churns, combine the brown sugar and whipped cream in a medium bowl. Whip on medium speed until the cream holds stiff peaks. Transfer about four ounces to a pastry bag, fitted with a large star tip.

If you haven’t wrangled a pastry bag into submission before (or if you have and found it frustrating), these 12 tips for using a pastry bag will make the process mess and stress free.

Once you’ve filled up the bag, refrigerate the bagged whipped cream until needed.

Shut off the ice cream maker and pour or scoop the thickened base into the bowl of whipped cream. Fold gently with a rubber spatula to combine. If you’d like to add some extra booze, now would be the time.

Pour the shake into four glasses and top each with a swirl of whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry. Put some Molasses Ginger Cookies on the side and consider your halls decked.

Happy Holidays!


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Any questions?

Dec 18, 2011 ·  3:38 AM

Oooh this sounds like the ultimate eggnog shake. I didn’t know that about nutmeg but I will have to buy some in the whole form next time. I am also intrigued by the whipped cream with brown sugar…definitely will be trying that soon!

 · BigFatBaker ·

Dec 18, 2011 · 11:46 AM

I wonder how long this will keep at the chilled stage? I was thinking of making this at my house on Thursday, loading up the car and the cooler, heading to the in-laws’ house and brewing some up on Christmas evening to fight off some of the food coma bound to set in after a long day of the Christmas menu developed long before my birth. (Beef dip. Really?) Is 3 days too long to have this waiting around in the fridge? Maybe would have a shake as part of our Jew food fest on Friday? (Nothing like interfaith celebrations.)

Thanks for all you do… your posts are always a highlight in my Google Reader!

 · bobbieb · 

Dec 18, 2011 ·  2:07 PM

@BigFatBaker, it’s such a little change, but brown sugar whipped cream is at least 900% more delicious than plain. Try it out for sure!

@bobbieb, it keeps amazingly well once chilled. For at least a week. If you do make it ahead, you can leave the vanilla bean floating in the mix. It’s continued presence gives it a bonus vanilla flavor. Your holiday celebration sounds spectacular! You’ll have to let me know how the shake turns out for you. Cheers!


Dec 19, 2011 ·  8:08 PM

Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices, but I’ve never tried slicing it. Any recommendations on how to do this and still have 10 fingers to tell the story?

 · michaela ·

Dec 19, 2011 ·  8:52 PM

@michaela, Ooof, I definitely didn’t explain that well, did I? You definitely won’t slice it, or even dice it; really just a rough chop. Cut the nutmeg in half (don’t hold it steady with your fingers! Just kinda pin it down with your knife) first. It won’t cut in half cleanly, rather it will probably break into two pieces and some crumbled up bits. Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to cut each section in half or in thirds. You want the nutmeg in large chickpea sized pieces. Hope that helps!


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