Secret ingredient makes the best keto low-carb eggnog recipe for the holidays

Breaking news! While working out the best keto low-carb eggnog recipe, I came up with a completely novel secret ingredient to make it creamy, thick, delicious, and golden.

Here in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, even ordinary grocery stores might carry fine nogs crafted by local family dairies at this time of year. Even though we’re lucky enough to be able to get eggnog made with only wholesome ingredients, low-carb they ain’t. 

I’ve made egg nog at home many times, from many different recipes. From Cook’s Illustrated (or Country? I don’t recall which) to the 1952 Slovak-American Cookbook, all were either too fussy, or too thin, or both.

Many of the low-carb and keto recipes for egg nog that I found shared those problems. Some relied on flavored sugarfree syrups for flavor. 

I wanted to make an egg nog that was wholesome and easy with the best features of a good storebought kind. Thick and rich with the goodness of eggs and cream. Sweet, but not liquid candy sweet.

This recipe, I think, fills the bill. Unlike with all the other recipes I saw, you don’t need to separate the eggs and beat the whites stiff. Just beat it enough to combine the yolk and white, and put it right in.

Cream makes for a rich, satisfying base, and almond milk brings its own delicate sweetness — with zero net carbs!

Two generous teaspoons of vanilla added a nice velvety flavor. I also used cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. 

By the way, if you don’t have whole nutmegs, put them on your shopping list right now! During egg nog season, we leave the jar of these little marble-sized nuts out on the kitchen counter, near where we keep the microplane, our favorite ultrafine grater. We just grate a little directly over the glass, dusting the surface. It’s very pretty, and smells so good. As you drink, the fragrance mingles with the flavor. A lovely way to elevate the experience instantly.

Grated nutmeg that you buy in a jar is expensive, and tastes like bitter dust, 
because the flavor compounds are so volatile that they die away soon after grating. Look for a little big of these brown, marble-size nuts wherever your grocer sells cellophane bags of spices and herbs. Usually this will be on a freestanding rack or against a wall in or near the produce section — not near the spice jars. You will definitely taste the difference.

The beauty part is, even though grated nutmeg hardly lives out the week, whole nutmegs last for years and years and years. I bought a little sack of maybe a dozen nutmegs at an Indian grocery a couple of years before my son was born. He’s in high school. I still have a nutmeg and half left.  

Egg nog is really a thin, stovetop custard. That’s why it thickened to silky perfection easily as I whisked the cream, almond milk, and egg over a medium heat. With some erythritol, xylitol, and stevia powder, along with vanilla and spices, it was getting close. But the flavor lack depth and heartiness. Also, it was a cold, uninviting gray.

I rummaged through my spice racks trying to work out the solutions to these problems. Then it hit me. The secret ingredient!

I ran down to the basement and procured a jar of pumpkin puree. One of the last that we canned from my son’s bumper crop from last year. Half a cup broadened and deepened the flavor, without making it taste pumpkiny. The pumpkin’s starch thickened the drink enough that I was able to cut out the xanthan gum I’d originally included. And, as a bonus, it warmed up the color!

Now I had a straw-gold hued beverage, lightly sweet, thick and creamy, and darn close to zero net carbs. (I’ll add the counts later, after I work them out.) And easy to make. 

If you don’t have these exact sweeteners, you can substitute whatever you have at hand. I like erythritol and xylitol because they don’t have the sour aftertaste that so many others have. A tiny pinch of stevia is all it takes to amplifies the sweetness without overpowering it.


  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup almond milk (I used Costco’s)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (you can freeze the rest)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg, plus some for dusting at the end
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon erythritol
  • 2 teaspoons xylitol
  • 0.1 gram stevia powder (use a little corner of a spoon to get a pinch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Use a coffee grinder to grind together the erythritol and xylitol.

Break the egg into a heavy  saucepan. Whisk it enough to mix it up well.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the vanilla. Cook over medium high heat, whisking all the while. It will get thick and steamy all at once, right around when it gets to 160 F.

Whisk in the vanilla now — earlier, and the flavor would have cooked away.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dusting of nutmeg on top.

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