Do you love hollandaise sauce but are scared of making it?
This version can be made by the traditional method, with easy step by step instructions. However, it can also be whipped up in a few minutes in the blender, for stress free preparation.
Either way, this sauce is so delicious as it is, or used as a base for another sauce.
It's absolutely perfect drizzled over fresh asparagus for a simple dish!
Read on for plenty of serving ideas, variation, hints and tips.
You have probably come across hollandaise sauce deliciously dolloped over poached eggs, ham and muffins in the form of Eggs Benedict. This sauce has always had a reputation as being a tricky sauce to master, but there is really nothing complicated about it. And, once you have mastered the technique, there are endless variations and plenty of hollandaise sauce uses.
According to the Michelin Guide Antonin Careme described the four French mother sauces, or sauce basis. The sauces are Béchamel, Velouté, Allemande and Espagnole.
By the 20th Century, Chef Escoffier had demoted Allemande as a daughter sauce of Velouté and instead added in Hollandaise and Sauce Tomat. All of these mother sauces are thickened with a roux, a mixture of flour and fat (usually butter), except for Hollandaise. It is actually the quickest sauce to make, and is an emulsion using the simplest of ingredients that you will likely always have available at home.
- Butter - salted or unsalted butter.
- Eggs - large egg yolks
- Vinegar - white wine vinegar
- Lemon juice - fresh lemon juice to taste
- Seasoning - flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Saucepan with a heat proof bowl.
- Small saucepan
There are two ways to make Hollandaise sauce according to your preference.
However, I actually prefer the traditional method as there is less clearing up and I think that is a big factor when you are making something at home!
Method 1 - Traditional
For the traditional method you will need to set up a bain marie, also known as a double boiler.
Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or 2 centimeters of water.
You will need a heatproof bowl that can sit snugly in the saucepan so that it doesn't actually touch the water.
In this way the contents of the bowl are warmed but don't get a direct heat. This will help to make the egg yolks increase in volume when they are whisked over warm air.
Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the white wine vinegar then set the bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl.
Now, whisk the mixture over the heat for 2-3 minutes until pale and thick. The mixture will have increased in volume.
Melt the butter in a pan and gradually whisk in to the egg mixture. If the mixture is too thick add a little lemon juice until you find the right consistency. Season to taste.
💭 Top tips for how to separate eggs
- It makes it easier to separate the eggs if you put them in the fridge for 30 minutes before using them.
- Use 2 ramekins or small bowl and separate one egg into them before adding to your mixing bowl. This makes it easier if you have dropped a piece of shell or if one egg is bad it won't contaminate the rest.
- Crack the egg and break in half carefully, keeping the whole egg in one half. Now, pour the egg yolk into the other half of the shell, letting the white go into the ramekin or bowl. Repeat this process until there is just yolk left in the egg shell.
Method 2 - Blender method
Put the egg yolks and vinegar into a blender and combine on a medium speed.
Melt the butter, then add in a steady stream with the blender on. It's easiest to use a jug for this.
Add lemon juice and seasoning as before.
🥗 Serve with
Hollandaise sauce uses
There are lots of French sauces and here are some uses for hollandaise.
- Serve as a warm sauce on top of poached eggs for eggs benedict.
- Pour over steamed asparagus for a simple starter.
- Perfect with fish such as baked salmon.
- As a side dish poured over broccoli or green beans.
- Vinegar - use an equal amount of lemon juice instead.
If you are not keen on the taste of vinegar you can substitute lemon juice instead in equal amounts. Beware of adding extra lemon juice at the end.
- Easy bearnaise sauce - Béarnaise sauce is a daughter sauce of Hollandaise made with with a reduction of white wine and vinegar and the addition of chervil and tarragon. In France Bearnaise sauce is often served with steak but it goes equally well with fish. To make a quick version add some chopped fresh tarragon.
- Olive oil - replace the butter with olive oil to make a more mayonnaise based sauce. The oil needs to be warmed slightly or it won't emulsify with the eggs.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.
- Freezer - freeze in a covered container for up to one month. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
- To reheat - this sauce is normally eaten at room temperature so there is no need to reheat.
Sometimes, the consistency of the sauce is too runny.
To correct this whisk an egg yolk and whisk slowly into the sauce over the bain marie. The combination of heat and egg will thicken the sauce.
Because a Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of butter and egg there is a chance that the mixture can split. To avoid this serve the sauce warm immediately or keep warm in the bowl over the simmering water as in the traditional method. It is also possible to rescue a split sauce by whisking in a few drops of hot water.
Keep the sauce in the bain marie over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
More sauces to try
Easy Hollandaise Sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 120 g melted butter
- 1 dessert spoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- lemon juice to taste
- Traditional Method: Whisk 2 egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with 1 dessertspoon of white wine vinegar.
- Set the bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl. Whisk the mixture over the heat for 2-3 minutes until pale and thick.
- Melt the butter in a pan and gradually whisk in to the egg mixture a little at a time. If the mixture is too thick add a little lemon juice until you find the right consistency.
- Season to taste.
- Blender Method: Put the eggs and vinegar into a blender and combine on a medium speed.
- Melt the butter then add in a steady stream with the blender on.
- Add lemon juice and season to taste as before.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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