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Tea Nog - The Latest Egg Nog!

Updated on January 9, 2018
Elyn MacInnis profile image

Elyn spent the last 30 years in China, coming home in the summer to cook American food and have fun doing craft projects with her family.

Egg nog alternative from the land of tea

Perhaps where you live you can buy egg nog, but I live in China, the land of tea. I guess you could call me a tea geek. Tea freak? Tea connoisseur? Yes, I live in Shanghai, and it is a great city to live in if you like tea. But there are drawbacks when it is time for the holidays. There is no egg nog in sight!

That is when I whip up a batch of tea nog. Tea nog is a great way to feel the holiday spirit without worrying about getting sick from the eggs or feeling sick from too much cream. Maybe you are not living in a country with egg nog and are sad? Tea Nog is a fantastic egg nog alternative that will not leave you feeling yucky or over full.

The richness in the flavor comes from a different source. It comes from flavored teas. You can use various flavored teas, but I think the best flavor is Earl Grey. If you don't like Earl Grey, you can try Constant Comment, or just plain old English Breakfast. Or you can get really inventive and use whatever appeals to you. I have tried rose tea, and it makes a lovely tea nog. But if you really want a special flavor, I recommend you move to loose tea. More on that later.

tea nog with cornstarch
tea nog with cornstarch

Do you like the thick creaminess of egg nog?

It doesn't have to come from cream...

Tea nog achieves its creaminess by the addition of either eggs or a starch powder. In the US people seem to like cornstarch. In China they have all sorts of starches, including lotus root starch (lovely), sweet potato starch, white potato starch, tapioca powder, various rice powders, and also corn starch. Corn starch, what seems to be most commonly used in the US, works perfectly, but you might want to investigate other starches some time too. You will be able to find them at Asian grocery stores if you live near one.

You can add an egg yolk to the nog as you cook it for additional creamy texture, then beat the white with some sugar into peaks, whisking it in at the end to increase the foaminess too. If you add both starch as well as an egg, you will have creamy foamy heaven.

Look below for the recipe.

Tea nog is easy. But it needs tweaking to make it perfect for you and your taste. So the ingredients below are listed in approximate amounts. You should first try smaller amounts of thickeners and milk, because you can always add more if you prefer a richer version.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: Maybe 15 minutes?

Serves: Adjust amounts as you need them


  • 2 cups of water or a mix of 1 cup water and 1 cup milk.
  • 4 bags tea or 2 teaspoons of loose tea
  • 1 -2 eggs-separated
  • 1 -3 teaspoons of cornstarch or other starch powder mixed with a tiny amount of water.
  • honey or sugar as desired
  • whipped cream if you want to really go overboard
  • a sprinkling of nutmeg or two


  1. Tea nog can be made in its plainest form with just tea made from mostly water, a little milk, with a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it. But that is pretty plain, and I wouldn't be excited about drinking it. I am going to tell you how I made it today - but this is one of those recipes that you should try several times until you get it the way you like it.
  2. Boil one cup of water, and make tea using 2 teaspoons of loose tea or four teabags. Let it steep.
  3. Pour the tea in a saucepan, and add one cup of milk.
  4. Beat the egg yolk into the tea-milk mixture, and add however much sugar or honey you like, with a sprinkling of nutmeg. Then add 3 teaspoons of cornstarch to a tiny bit of water. You can add this to the mixture too, and heat it all to boiling, but stir carefully. If the tea nog isn't thick enough for you, let it cool a bit and then add another teaspoon or two of cornstarch with water and bring it to boiling again.
  5. Remove it from the heat, and let it cool while you beat the egg white.
  6. I like to beat the egg white with a tablespoon of sugar until it makes soft peaks. You can then add them to the slightly cooled tea nog. Beat in the egg whites. You can return it to the heat, but it should be a very small heat, and it is better if you don't boil it, or else it will have cooked egg white blobs in it. The rules for cooking eggs and the science of it are below.
  7. Make sure you correct the flavors, using more sugar if you want. .Adding a few spoons of whipped cream adds richness if you like that. More nutmeg makes it even more like eggnog. A sprinkling of cinnamon on top is nice too. You could add a candy cane, or a sprig of mint leaves.
tea nog
tea nog

Cooking eggs destroys bacteria, but how do you cook an egg without having it turn into a scrambled egg?

Some good science here too...

Here are the rules about cooking eggs from

Even light cooking will begin to destroy any Salmonella that might be present, but proper cooking brings eggs and other foods to a temperature high enough to destroy them all. For eggs, the white will coagulate (set) between 144 and 149° F, the yolk between 149 and 158° F, and whole egg between 144 and 158° F. Egg products made of plain whole eggs are pasteurized (heated to destroy bacteria), but not cooked, by bringing them to 140° F and keeping them at that temperature for 3 1/2 minutes. If you bring a food to an internal temperature of 160° F, you will instantly kill almost any bacteria. By diluting eggs with a liquid or sugar (as in custard), you can bring an egg mixture to 160° F. Use these temperatures as rough guidelines when you prepare eggs.


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