Egg Yolk–Thickened White Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield:

    1 quart

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

A traditional sauce allemande is prepared by finishing a sauce velouté with egg yolks. Egg yolks can also be used to thicken reduced stocks for lighter-textured modern sauces. One method of using egg yolks as thickeners is discussed in Chapter 13, “Hot Emulsified Sauces”. The other method is given here. Remember that egg yolk–thickened sauces must never be allowed to boil unless they contain a large amount of flour.


full-flavored white stock 3 cups 750 ml
egg yolks 10 10
butter, cold 4 oz 120 g
salt and white pepper to taste to taste


  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Be sure to skim off any scum or froth that floats to the surface.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks for about a minute in a 2-quart (2 liter) mixing bowl, until they turn from orange to pale yellow. If you’re working with a large number of egg yolks, you may want to stabilize the yolks by cooking them sous vide at 140°F (60°C) for 30 minutes before you use them.
  3. Pour half of the hot stock over the egg yolks, whisking quickly until thoroughly combined. Remove the saucepan containing the remaining half of the hot stock from the stove. Whisk the egg yolk–stock mixture into the rest of the stock.
  4. Heat the sauce over a medium flame and stir gently with a wooden spatula or spoon, being especially careful to reach into the corners of the saucepan to prevent the egg yolks from overheating and congealing. Continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Egg yolk–thickened sauces do not thicken as dramatically as starch-thickened sauces do. The best way to check the sauce’s consistency is to lift the spatula out of the sauce, hold it sideways, and draw a horizontal line with the tip of a finger. If the sauce clinging to the spatula runs together, immediately obscuring the line, the sauce is not ready. If the line remains, the sauce should be removed immediately from the heat.
  5. Whisk in the butter. Continue stirring the sauce after removing it from the heat to keep it from setting and to prevent a skin from forming on its surface.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine chinois.