Making Hollandaise

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 cup


Appears in

La Varenne Pratique

By Anne Willan

Published 1989

  • About

A heavy pan is important for hollandaise so heat is evenly distributed and the eggs cook to a close-textured mousse; copper is the ideal metal.


  • ¾ cup/175 g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp/45 ml water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • salt and white pepper
  • juice ½ lemon (or to taste)

  • Non-aluminum saucepan


  1. Melt the butter, then skim the froth from the surface with a spoon. Let it cool until tepid.

  2. In a small heavy saucepan, whisk the water and egg yolks with a little salt and pepper for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and light in color.

  3. Set the pan over a low heat and whisk for 3 minutes or until the mixture leaves a ribbon trail for 5 seconds.

  4. Take from the heat and whisk in the tepid butter, a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce thickens, then pour in a steady stream. Leave the milky whey at the bottom of the pan.

  5. Stir in the lemon juice and season. The consistency of hollandaise should be light enough to pour easily from a spoon. If it is too thick, add more water or lemon juice.

Emulsified Sauces by Machine

Machine-made sauces tend to be thinner and less creamy, but curdling can be dealt with by processing the sauce again.


Follow the basic recipe. Process the water, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for 10 seconds (blender: low speed). While the machine is running, add the hot butter in a slow, steady stream until the mixture emulsifies and becomes creamy.


Follow the basic recipe, steps 1 and 2. Strain the liquid into the work bowl or blender. Add the egg yolks, salt and pepper and process for 10 seconds (blender: low speed). While the machine is running, add the hot butter in a slow, steady stream until the sauce emulsifies. Add the tarragon leaves and parsley.


Follow the basic recipe. Process the egg yolks, salt and pepper, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard (if using) and 3 tbsp/45 ml oil for 10 seconds (blender: low speed). While the machine is running, pour the remaining oil into a bowl or blender in a thin stream until the mixture emulsifies.


Orange Hollandaise (Sauce Maltaise)

To accompany vegetables, particularly asparagus. Blanch the zest of half a blood orange, cut in julienne strips, place in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain. Flavor 1 cup/250 ml hollandaise to taste with juice from blood oranges. Stir in the julienne. If using a sweet orange, sharpen the sauce by adding lemon juice.

Chantilly Hollandaise (Sauce Mousseline)

To accompany fish, chicken, sweetbreads and vegetables. Fold ¼ cup/60 ml stiffly whipped crème fraîche or heavy cream into 1 cup/250 ml hollandaise. Season to taste and serve.

Mustard Hollandaise (Sauce Moutarde)

To accompany eggs and fish. Stir 2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste, into 1 cup/250 ml hollandaise.

Brown Butter Hollandaise (Sauce Noisette)

To accompany eggs, vegetables and savory soufflés. When making the hollandaise, use brown butter instead of melted butter.

Mock Hollandaise (Sauce Bâtarde)

To accompany poached fish and vegetables. Makes cups/430 ml sauce. Bring 1 cup/250 ml water to a boil. In a heavy saucepan heat tbsp butter until foaming. Off the heat, stir in tbsp flour until mixed. Whisk in boiling water; the sauce will thicken at once. Whisk in 1 egg yolk. Mount the sauce with 6 tbsp/90 g cold butter, cut in pieces. Flavor the sauce to taste with lemon juice or vinegar, (or capers for poached fish), salt and pepper. Keep warm in water bath.

Tomato Béarnaise (Sauce Choron)

To accompany steak, fish and eggs. Add tbsp tomato paste to 1 cup/250 ml sauce instead of tarragon leaves.