How Much Eggnog Per Person?

Eggnog with cinnamon for Christmas and winter holidays
Eggnog with cinnamon for Christmas and winter holidays

If you are hosting a big Christmas event, then one of the staple drinks that you will need is eggnog. It is the perfect drink to bring holiday cheer, so let’s dive into how much eggnog you will need per guest.

In order to account for each guest, plan to have one and a half cups of eggnog per person. Even if not every single guest takes a cup of eggnog, it allows other guests to have multiple cups to drink. When serving eggnog, only pour half a cup into each glass, as this is the recommended serving size.

Eggnog is a fun, tasty holiday drink, so make sure that you plan accordingly so your guests get as much eggnog as they want. Keep reading to see what ratios will work best for your next holiday that you are hosting or catering.

Eggnog to Person Ratio

According to a popular event caterer in Southern California, it’s important to get a general headcount of the number of guests before preparing any dishes, or in this case, glasses. In order to to have a generous amount of eggnog per person, the caterer suggests one and a half cups of eggnog per guest.

According to consumer reportsOpens in a new tab., the serving size for a glass of eggnog is just one-half cup. This festive drink is high in fat and calories, which is why it’s half of the normal serving size of most drinks. It would be hard to limit yourself and your guests to just half a cup of eggnog, which is why caterers recommend 1 and a half cups of eggnog per person.

Another reason why you should have one and a half cups of eggnog per guest is that some guests might not drink any while other guests might help themselves to several servings. Remember, it’s always important to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared.

Take a look at the table below to see how much eggnog you should have available depending on your group size.

Number of PeopleAmount of Eggnog in CupsAmount of Eggnog in US Fluid OuncesAmount of Eggnog in QuartsAmount of Eggnog in Liters

Now that’s a lot of eggnog, but it’s important that you know how much eggnog you would need for a large group. The reason that the fluid ounces, liters, and quart amounts are included is because almost every carton of eggnog is measured in one of these ways rather than in cups. If you are going to be purchasing eggnog, it’s extremely important to know how much eggnog you need in exact measurements rather than just “guesstimating.”

How Many Eggnog Cartons Should You Purchase?

If you are going to purchase cartons of eggnog, then it’s important to know how many you will need in order to keep all of your guests’ holiday thirsts quenched. Just buying a half-gallon isn’t enough to serve a group of 10, so it’s important to make a plan ahead of time to know how many cartons you will need to purchase. Not only do you need to know how many cartons you will need to purchase, but you might also want to know how much this will cost altogether.

If you plan on purchasing eggnog, make sure that you know how much you plan on spending. Half cartons of eggnog can generally range from $4.59Opens in a new tab. to around $7Opens in a new tab., all depending on the brand, location, quality, ingredients, etc. Whatever you plan on spending is completely up to you, but it would be nice to know how much you are going to spend ahead of time. Take a look at this table to know how many half-gallon cartons of eggnog you will need to purchase depending on your group size.

Number of PeopleAmount of Half Gallons Cartons NeededPrice Range
102 Cartons$9.18-$14
153 Cartons$13.77-$21
204 Cartons$18.36-$28
5010 Cartons$45.90-$70
10019 Cartons$87.21-$133
20038 Cartons$174.42-$299

In the table above, there are instances where you won’t use a full half gallon. For example, for a group of 10 people, you would technically need .94 gallons of eggnog, which is almost 2 full half gallons of eggnog. For the purpose of this table, if the amount didn’t add up to an exact amount needed for a group of people, the number was just rounded up. You might have a little bit of extra eggnog, but remember, it’s always better to be a little bit over-prepared!

Of course, not all cartons of eggnogs will be in half-gallon measurements. They could be in quart, liter, or even gallon sizes (although gallon sizes are not as common as the half-gallon sizes). If this is the case, be sure to refer to the preceding chart to see how many quarts or liters you will need to purchase for your group size.

Whether you are hosting or catering a large event, buying large quantities of eggnog can be quite pricey. If you are hosting a large event, you can have multiple guests bring cartons of eggnog so that you aren’t burdened with the financial responsibility. If you are catering the event, you can price the holiday drink so that it can cover both work and material costs.

How Much Eggnog Should You Make?

If you want to go for a more home-cooked or gourmet feel, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make lots and lots of batches of eggnog. There are hundreds of eggnog recipes out there which can range from 7 cupsOpens in a new tab. to 3 quartsOpens in a new tab.. Whatever recipe you choose, you just have to make sure that it yields enough servings for each of your guests.

If you are making eggnog for all of your guests, just make sure that you are making enough for each person. Take a look at the tables above to know exactly how much eggnog you need to make. If you have a recipe that yields 3 quarts of eggnog, but you need to serve a group of 20, you’ll need to do more than double your recipe in order to serve all of your guests. Just make sure to look at the tables to know how much eggnog you need to make!

If you do plan on serving homemade eggnog to guests, it would be best to make it ahead of time so that the eggnog can sit for at least 24 hoursOpens in a new tab.. This gives the eggnog some time to “age” and will give it a better flavor. You can also opt for more quality (and perhaps a bit more pricey) dairy ingredients to really give your eggnog a “wow” factor. Your eggnog will be the talk amongst your friends, family, and colleagues! But be careful, because they might want you to make your homemade eggnog every year!

If taking on over 3 quarts of eggnog or more is a little overwhelming, ask other guests to make some of their own eggnog so you don’t have the responsibility placed on yourself. Perhaps you can even make some type of incentive, like an eggnog-making contest, so people are more willing to make homemade eggnog.

Serving and Presenting Eggnog to Guests

Eggnog with cinnamon for Christmas and winter holidays
Eggnog with cinnamon for Christmas and winter holidays

Whether you are doing a self-serve station or you are having people serve the glasses to guests, have glasses that will fill about 1/2 cup. This way, people aren’t overfilling their glasses and you won’t run out of eggnog before the end of the festivities.

While you are serving your eggnog, you will want to keep the drink cold. To do this, you can put unused eggnog cartons in the fridge while they are not being used. If you don’t have access to a fridge at your venue, you can always use large coolers with ice to store the cartons of eggnog. If you are serving homemade eggnog, then it would be best to keep the drink in a container that can be kept in the fridge or in a cooler.

If you want to make a more aesthetically-pleasing look for the way you present your eggnog, you don’t have to just keep cartons of eggnog sitting in the fridge or cooler. You can use large decorative bowls to place ice in, and then you can store eggnog in smaller bowls that rest on the ice. Use a ladle to scoop out the eggnog, and you’ll have a cute and decorative area to serve the festive drink.

You can even add little garnishes around the bowls like garlands, wreaths, winter foliage, dried fruit, ornaments, etc. if you don’t have decorative bowls to serve your eggnog in. To really add a wow and yum factor to your eggnog, you can sprinkle a little nutmeg over each glass to make the eggnog look and taste amazing.

Things to Remember When Serving Alcoholic Eggnog

This festive drink doesn’t just need to be a heavy cream and egg white concoction—add a little bit of rum or cognac to give the eggnog an adult revamp. However, there are some laws to keep in mind if you are serving boozy eggnog at a holiday party or catered event.

Eggnog Served on Festive Decorated Christmas Table.

Depending on where you are, there are “wet,” “moist,” and “dry” areas. You can look up the laws in your location to see what type of area you are in. If you are in a “wet” area, that means that you are in a “county that allows all forms of retail alcohol sales” (linkOpens in a new tab.). If you are in a “moist” area, that means that your “county allows limited types of retail alcohol sales” (linkOpens in a new tab.). Lastly, if you are in a “dry” area, that means that “all forms of retail alcohol sales are limited in your county.”

Most US states don’t have dry territories except for Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. (Take a look at this documentOpens in a new tab. to see all of the wet and dry areas in the US). If you do live in a dry area, and you are hosting a private party with boozy eggnog, then you are legally not allowed to serve any of that eggnog to any of your guests (but you can drink it by yourself).

If you are catering an event in a dry area, you still are not allowed to serve any alcohol whatsoever unless the host has purchased the alcohol from a caterer in a wet or moist area (linkOpens in a new tab.). If you are a caterer, you must also be serving food as well if you are serving alcohol.

If you are serving eggnog, make sure that you have alcohol-free alternatives to give to your guests. Make sure that guests drink responsibly and have designated drivers!

Eggnog Alternatives

If you or some of your guests have a dairy sensitivity or allergy, there are alternatives to the traditional eggnog drink. Some of these alternatives include:

  • Oat-Nog
  • Lactose Free Eggnog
  • Soy-Nog
  • Almond milk-nog
  • Vegan Nog

There are endless possibilities to make a more inclusive holiday get-together. Eggnog alternatives tend to be more expensive than the traditional stuff, especially since they are normally sold by the quart rather than a half gallon. Even with this higher price tag, just think that all your guests will be able to enjoy some delicious eggnog together.

If you do plan on using one of these eggnog alternatives, be sure to follow the same ratio as if you were serving traditional eggnog. About one and a half cups per guest will be the perfect amount so that you will be prepared for your holiday get-together.


Being part of a really big family, cooking for big groups of people is just how we do things. Cooking, baking, and outdoor cooking have all been huge parts of my life, and I love sharing what I've learned with you.

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