Eggnog Emulsification and Pasteurization using Ultrasonics

Eggnog is a creamy beverage mainly consisting in dairy and egg yolk. In order to obtain a homogeneously blended and long-term stable eggnog beverage, a reliable and efficient emulsification technique is required. Ultrasonic homogenization and emulsification provides the necessary mixing energy to produce a uniformly eggnog blend. Additionally, sonication helps to improve microbial stability by ultrasound-assisted pasteurization.

Eggnog Emulsification using Ultrasonication

Eggnog can be emulsifed and stabilized by ultrasonic homogenizationEggnog is a creamy beverage made from eggs, egg yolk, sugar, milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract. The alcohol-containing version of eggnog is typically made with rum, brandy or bourbon. Eggnog production requires a powerful mixing and homogenization technique in order to produce fine fat droplets throughout the eggnog liquid. Small droplets are important for the stability of the eggnog. Eggnog is an emulsion system consisting of fat droplets of milk and egg lipids in an aqueous base liquid. Since fat and water are immiscible, a powerful emulsification technique is needed in order to reduce the fat and water droplets to such a small droplet size that both, water and fat, become blended into a stable homogeneous mixture. Ultrasonic homogenisation is a powerful mixing technique, which is widely used for the production of food and beverage emulsions.
Find out how sonication can improve your eggnog production!

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Ultrasonication is a powerful and highly efficient method to homogenize and pasteurize liquid eggs as well as eggnog.

Ultrasonic probe UP400ST for the homogenisation and pasteurization of liquid eggs and eggnog.


In this video, we demonstrate how sonication improves quality and shelf life of eggnog. The video unfolds with a fascinating experiment demonstrating how a commercial eggnog, prone to separation, transforms through the intense sonication of a Hielscher UP200St probe-sonicator with a glass flow cell reactor. Witness the ultrasonic cavitation breaking down particles, resulting in visually appealing, well-integrated eggnog.

Ultrasonic Eggonog Stabilization - Avoid Eggnog Separation by Homogenizing Eggnog using Ultrasonication for Better Homogeneity & Texture

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Ultrasound-Assisted Emulsification and Stabilization of Eggnog

Ultrasonic emulsification is a superior technique for producing nano-sized emulsions that can help achieve mechanical stability in egg nog. When whisked, tiny pockets of air are introduced into egg nog, which are synergistically stabilized by the proteins and lipids present in it. Ultrasonic cavitation treatment has been found to be effective in improving the emulsifying properties of food emulsifiers such as proteins and polysaccharides, making it an ideal technique to stabilize egg nog.

Ultrasonic emulsification and stabilization can improve eggnog production in several ways:

  • Enhanced Emulsification: Eggnog is an emulsion of milk or cream, eggs, sugar, and flavorings. Ultrasonic emulsification can break down the fat globules present in the mixture into smaller droplets, resulting in a finer and more stable emulsion. This process helps to distribute the fat more uniformly throughout the beverage, leading to a smoother texture and a creamier mouthfeel.
  • Improved Stability: With the ultrasonically enhanced emulsification process a stable emulsion is obtained. The improved eggnog stability is achieved by promoting better interaction between the emulsifiers and the oil or fat droplets. This improved stability helps prevent the separation of the emulsion over time, extending the shelf life of eggnog and ensuring a consistent product quality.
  • Reduced Particle Size: Ultrasonic emulsification can also reduce the particle size of ingredients, such as spices (e.g. vanilla, nutmeg) or flavourings, that are added to eggnog. Smaller particles disperse more evenly throughout the mixture, enhancing flavor consistency and preventing ingredient settling. By creating smaller spice and flavour particles, sonication promotes the extraction of flavour and aroma compounds resulting in a more pronounced and elaborated eggonog aroma whilst the addition of added spices can be reduced.
  • Reduced Pasteurization Time: Traditional eggnog production often involves pasteurization to ensure product safety. Ultrasonic pasteurization is a non-thermal process, which can intensify the microbial inactivation and reduce the time required for pasteurization by improving heat transfer. Since ultrasonic pasteurization can be achieved at lower temperatures than conventional pasteurization, the nutritional profile and flavour of eggnogs preserved.
  • Textural Improvements: Ultrasonic treatment can contribute to a smoother and creamier texture in eggnog by homogenizing the mixture more effectively. It helps in breaking down any potential protein aggregates or clumps, resulting in a more desirable texture and mouthfeel.
  • Reduced Fat Content: Ultrasonic emulsification can enable the creation of eggnog with a lower fat content while maintaining a creamy texture. By using ultrasonic processing to create finer fat droplets, a desirable mouthfeel can be achieved even with reduced fat levels.
Ultrasonic homogenizer for the continuous mixing and pasteurization of liquid eggs as well as eggnog.

Industrial ultrasonicator UIP6000hdT for the inline homogenization and pasteurization of eggnog

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High power ultrasound is a mild non-thermal homogenization technique. Sfakianakis et al. (2011) show the impressive ultrasonic homogenization effect on milk.

The micropscopic images show diminution of milk fat globules by ultrasonic homogenization at various energy inputs. (Click to enlarge!)

Study and images: ©Sfakianakis and Tzia, 2011

Flavour and viscosity (consistency or thickness) of eggnog can vary between brands as it is a matter of individual preference.
Stabilizers or emulsifiers are used to obtain a higher viscosity and to stabilize the fat droplets. Common stabilizers for eggnog are vegetable gums such as carob gum, guar gum or carrageenan. Ultrasonic homogenizers are compatible with any emulsifying agent and eggnog formulation.
Ultrasonic emulsification improves eggnog in several product characteristics. The specific sonication parameters can be adjusted individually to eggnog recipes and formulations, and desired outcomes.

Hielscher ultrasonicators can homogenizes and pasteurize liquid egg products (whole eggs, egg whites, yolks) to ensure food safety and mechanical stability. Hielscher ultrasonic homogenizers deliver intense cavitation and high shear forces to kill microbes. Ultrasonic pasteurization is a very effective and efficient low-temperature pasteurization alternative. Liquid egg pasteurized by ultrasonication shows less protein denaturation, lower flavour loss, improved homogeneity and significantly higher energy-efficiency.

Liquid Egg Homogenization and Pasteurization Applying Power Ultrasound with the Ultrasonicator UP400ST

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Sonicator UP200St with sonotrode S26d7D and flow cell FC7GK for the inline homogenization of eggnog

Sonicator UP200St with sonotrode S26d7D and flow cell FC7GK for the inline homogenization of eggnog


The desktop ultrasonic homogenizer UIP1000hdT is a food processor used for emulsification and stabilization of liquid eggs and the creamy beverage eggnog.

The ultrasonicator UIP1000hdT (1000 watts) for emulsification, stabilization and pasteurization of liquid food products

High-Performance Ultrasonic Homogenizers for Eggnog Stabilization

Hielscher Ultrasonics industrial ultrasonic processors can deliver very high amplitudes. Amplitudes of up to 200µm can be easily continuously run in 24/7 operation. For even higher amplitudes, customized ultrasonic sonotrodes are available.

Design, Manufacturing and ConsultingQuality Made in Germany

Hielscher ultrasonicators are well-known for their highest quality and design standards. Robustness and easy operation allow the smooth integration of our ultrasonicators into industrial facilities. Rough conditions and demanding environments are easily handled by Hielscher ultrasonicators.

Hielscher Ultrasonics is an ISO certified company and put special emphasis on high-performance ultrasonicators featuring state-of-the-art technology and user-friendliness. Of course, Hielscher ultrasonicators are CE compliant and meet the requirements of UL, CSA and RoHs.

The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch VolumeFlow RateRecommended Devices
0.5 to 1.5mLn.a.VialTweeter
1 to 500mL10 to 200mL/minUP100H
10 to 2000mL20 to 400mL/minUP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L0.2 to 4L/minUIP2000hdT
10 to 100L2 to 10L/minUIP4000hdT
15 to 150L3 to 15L/minUIP6000hdT
n.a.10 to 100L/minUIP16000
n.a.largercluster of UIP16000

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Ultrasonic homogenizers are a highly efficient and reliable method to homogenize and stabilize eggnog.

Eggnog samples before (left vial) and after (right vial) sonication


Industrial Process Steps of Eggnog Production

Eggnog is a traditional Christmas holiday beverage that is typically made by combining milk, cream, egg yolk, eggs, sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. Often, eggnog contains alcohol such as rum or whiskey. The recipe can be adjusted to special blends and flavours and industrial manufacturing methods are adadpted in accordance to the final eggnog product and the facility circumstances. The following gives a general overview of the industrial production steps for eggnog:

  • Mixing: The first step in the industrial manufacturing of eggnog involves mixing the base ingredients. Milk, cream, and a combination of eggs by egg yolks are combined in large mixing tanks, e.g. using a paddle mixer. The proportions of these ingredients may vary depending on the desired consistency and flavour of the final product.
  • Pasteurization: To ensure product safety and increase shelf life, the mixture is pasteurized. Pasteurization involves heating the eggnog mixture to a specific temperature for a specified period to kill any harmful bacteria and extend the shelf life of the beverage. The temperature and duration of pasteurization may vary depending on local regulations and the manufacturing specifications.
  • Homogenization: After pasteurization, the eggnog mixture may go through a homogenization process. Homogenization is a mechanical stabilization procedure and helps to distribute fat particles evenly throughout the mixture, preventing separation and providing a smooth and creamy texture. Ultrasonication is very efficient homogenization process that offers the capability of creating even nanoemulsions, which are characterized by excellent long-term stability.
  • Flavoring and sweetening: Once the mixture is homogenized, flavourings and sweeteners are added. This typically includes sugar, vanilla extract, and spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. The addition of spices and flavours can be also added during the ultrasonic homogenization process. The ultrasound-assisted mixing provides a uniform blending. The exact combination and quantities of these ingredients depend on the specific recipe or the desired flavour profile.
  • Stabilization and emulsification: To prevent separation of the ingredients and improve the product texture, stabilizers and emulsifiers may be added. Similarly to the addition of spices and flavours, stabilizing agents can be added during sonication. These additives help maintain the smooth consistency of the eggnog and enhance its overall stability.
  • Packaging: After the eggnog mixture is prepared and properly mixed, it is packaged into bottles, cartons, or other suitable containers. Depending on the manufacturer and market preferences, the packaging can vary in size and material.
    Quality control and testing: Throughout the manufacturing process, quality control measures are implemented to ensure the product meets safety standards and maintains consistent taste and texture. This includes regular testing for bacterial contamination, flavor consistency, and other quality parameters.

Since industrial manufacturing processes of eggnog can differ depending on the production facility and recipes, the versatility, small foot-print and simple retro-fitting of ultrasonicators make sonication an attractive process improvement for eggnog production. As demonstrated above, ultrasonic blending, homogenization and pasteurization are process-enhancing steps, which allow for improvements in eggnog production.

Sonicator UP200St with sonotrode S26d7D for the batch-type homogenization of eggnog

Sonicator UP200St with sonotrode S26d7D for the batch-type homogenization of eggnog


Ultrasonic high-shear homogenizers are used in lab, bench-top, pilot and industrial processing.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for mixing applications, dispersion, emulsification and extraction on lab, pilot and industrial scale.

Literature / References

High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to industrial size.

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