Classic hollandaise sauce is something every home chef should have in their rotation. And yes, it can be tricky to make (believe me, I get it. I still mess it up once in a while to this day). But it's so worth it - a beautiful, velvety luxury that goes well with just about anything. And, we're making it easy with step-by-step photos, instructions, and video! We got you!
My favorite way to enjoy hollandaise is with anything I'm eating for brunch, obviously. But if you're looking for a way to make any vegetable side dish gourmet: use hollandaise sauce. It just has the ability to elevate pretty much anything you put it on effortlessly.
Hollandaise sauce is the ultimate sauce for anyone who loves rich and creamy flavors. It's the perfect mix of tangy and buttery goodness that takes any dish to the next level.
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
- Rich and creamy texture: The velvety texture is hard to resist and adds a luxurious feel to any dish.
- Tangy flavor profile: The combination of egg yolks, lemon juice, and butter creates a tangy and flavorful sauce that perfectly balances richness and acidity.
- Versatile: it's a staple in many classic dishes, like eggs Benedict, but it can also be used in a variety of other dishes, such as grilled vegetables, steak, or fish, to add an extra layer of flavor.
- Adds an extra layer of decadence to any meal: Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it elevates any dish and makes it feel extra special and indulgent.
- Incredibly delicious: With its creamy texture and tangy flavor, it's this sauce is a favorite among many people. The deliciousness is sure to leave a lasting impression and make you want more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hollandaise sauce is typically made with egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Hollandaise sauce is not considered a healthy food due to its high fat and calorie content.
Hollandaise sauce can last for up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container.
Hollandaise sauce can be frozen, but its texture may change upon thawing. It's best to make fresh hollandaise sauce when needed.
Hollandaise sauce is typically made by whisking together egg yolks, lemon juice, and melted butter over low heat. It is then seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
What is Hollandaise Sauce?
It's one of the most delicious and versatile sauces out there! The sauce is made with a combination of egg yolks, lemon juice, and melted butter, giving it a tangy and creamy flavor. It's often used in classic dishes like eggs benedict and adds a luxurious feel to any dish it's used in.
Where did it Come From?
It's believed to have originated in France and is considered one of the five "mother sauces" in classic French cuisine. It's been around for centuries and has remained a staple in many kitchens.
In classic French cuisine, five sauces are known as the "mother sauces" that form the foundation for many other sauces. They are:
- Béchamel sauce: A creamy sauce made from a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) and milk.
- Velouté sauce: A smooth and creamy sauce made from a roux and a light-colored stock, such as chicken or fish.
- Espagnole sauce: A rich, brown sauce made from a brown roux, stock, and various aromatics such as onions and garlic.
- Tomate sauce: A sauce made from puréed or crushed tomatoes, aromatic vegetables, and various seasonings.
- Hollandaise sauce: A rich and creamy sauce made from egg yolks, lemon juice, and butter.
These sauces are considered the "mother sauces" because they serve as the base for many other sauces, which can be made by adding various ingredients to each of these five sauces.
The list is short, sweet and simple. Which is great - the hard part comes in with the technique. But don't worry, you can do it.
- Egg yolks: The egg yolks provide the creamy base for the sauce and help to emulsify the sauce so that the ingredients are well combined.
- Butter: The butter adds richness and flavor to the sauce, making it creamy and indulgent.
- Lemon juice: The lemon juice adds a tangy flavor to the sauce and helps to balance the richness of the egg yolks and butter.
- Salt: Salt is added for flavor and to help enhance the other flavors in the sauce.
- Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is added for a hint of spiciness and to bring out the other flavors in the sauce.
How to Make Homemade Hollandaise Sauce
Step 1: Fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
Step 2: In a heat-proof bowl that fits snugly over the saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
Step 3: Melt the butter - I usually just do it in the microwave. No need to complicate things.
Step 4: Place the heat-proof bowl with the egg yolk mixture over the saucepan of simmering water. Slowly start to whisk the egg yolk mixture, making sure to keep it moving constantly to prevent it from scrambling.
Step 5: Gradually add the melted butter to the egg yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, while continuing to whisk constantly. As the sauce thickens, you can add the butter more quickly.
Step 6: Once all of the butter has been added and the sauce has thickened (it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, see photo below), remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk for another minute or two to make sure the sauce is well combined.
Step 7: Taste, and adjust the cayenne pepper and salt if necessary. If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out by whisking in a few drops of warm water.
Step 8: Pour the sauce into a serving dish and serve immediately. If you're not using it right away, you can keep it warm over a double boiler for up to 30 minutes.
Note: It's important to keep the heat low when making the sauce to prevent the egg yolks from scrambling and to ensure that it emulsifies properly. If the sauce does start to break, you can try to rescue it by removing it from the heat and whisking in a small amount of cold water or another egg yolk.
Want it Even Easier? Here's the Blender Method
If this seems like to much work/time/effort, I hear you. Here's how you can make hollandaise in a blender in five minutes.
- Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and Dijon in a high-powered blender. Combine until thickened slightly.
- Melt the butter, and ensure it's hot, but not boiling. It can't just be melted, this is an important part of the emulsifying process. Slowly drizzle it in while the blender is running, until the sauce is quite thick.
- Add your cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Add hot water to thin it out, if necessary.
And that's it!
How to Fix It
Not that this is going to happen, but on the OFF chance that something goes wrong - here's what to do.
If the Sauce Separates or Breaks
- Emulsify the sauce: Whisk together an egg yolk and lemon juice in a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a double boiler and continue to whisk while gradually drizzling in the separated sauce. The heat will help re-emulsify the sauce, and the egg yolk will help stabilize it.
- Start over: If the sauce is beyond saving, simply start over with fresh egg yolk, lemon juice, and butter.
- Add a starch: If your sauce has broken, you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch or flour to the sauce and whisk it in over low heat until the sauce thickens and stabilizes.
These tricks should help you get your hollandaise sauce back to its smooth and creamy state. Just remember to work slowly and be patient, as the process of fixing a broken sauce can take some time.
I Scrambled the Eggs 😬
How shall I put this delicately...you're screwed. Sorry, there's just no way to fix this one (and EVERYONE has done this, I don't care who you are, so don't feel bad).
The best course of action is to start over with fresh ingredients. To avoid scrambling the eggs, it's important to heat the sauce gradually over low heat, whisking constantly, and to remove it from the heat immediately once it starts to thicken.
To this day, whenever I make hollandaise, I make sure I have double the ingredients I need in case I screw it up.
What to Serve it With
- Eggs Benedict: A classic brunch dish consisting of poached eggs, ham or bacon, and a toasted English muffin, all topped with hollandaise sauce. (Check out my full step-by-step guide to eggs benedict).
- Asparagus: Roasted or steamed asparagus is the perfect partner.
- Salmon: Grilled or baked salmon is a great option. The rich and creamy sauce complements the delicate flavor of the fish.
- Steak: A grilled steak is a hearty and satisfying main dish that a drizzle of hollandaise sauce would elevate.
- Potatoes: Whether they're roasted, mashed, or baked, potatoes are a versatile side dish that would be amazing.
- Artichokes: Steamed or boiled artichokes are a delicious and unique side dish that would be made even better with a generous serving of the sauce.
- Vegetables: A medley of roasted or steamed vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, green beans, and Brussels sprouts, would be a tasty and nutritious side dish.
Classic hollandaise is great on its own - but it's equally delicious with different flavor combinations. Here are just a few you can try:
Herb Hollandaise: Add a handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, or chives, to the finished sauce for an extra burst of flavor.
Mustard Hollandaise: Stir in a spoonful of Dijon mustard for a tangy and piquant taste.
Chipotle Hollandaise: Add a teaspoon or two of chipotle in adobo sauce for a spicy and smoky aroma.
Lemon-Caper Hollandaise: Stir in a tablespoon of lemon zest and a handful of capers for a bright and tangy bite.
Garlic Hollandaise: Add a clove or two of minced garlic to the sauce for a garlicky and savory dish.
Roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise: Blend roasted red peppers into the sauce for a sweet and smoky flavor.
Wasabi Hollandaise: Add a teaspoon or two of wasabi paste for a spicy and zesty flavor.
Storage & Reheating
- Store hollandaise sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To reheat the sauce, transfer it to a heat-proof bowl and place it over a double boiler. Stir continuously until the sauce is smooth and heated through.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it out by adding a little bit of warm water or lemon juice.
Making it Ahead of Time
So, hollandaise sauce is typically made fresh, it can be made ahead of time with some modifications. Here are a few options:
- First, prepare the sauce, transfer it to an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, transfer the sauce to a heat-proof bowl and place it over a double boiler, stirring until heated through.
- Or, prepare the sauce and transfer it to a squeeze bottle. Refrigerate the sauce in the squeeze bottle until ready to use. To serve, simply squeeze the sauce over your dish.
However, hollandaise sauce is a delicate sauce, so making it ahead of time can be a bit tricky. If possible, it's best to make the sauce just before serving for the best flavor and texture.
Other Awesome Sauces
Classic and Easy Hollandaise Sauce (with No Cream)
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ C butter melted
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
- In a heat-proof bowl that fits snugly over the saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, cayenne and a pinch of salt.
- Place the heat-proof bowl with the egg yolk mixture over the saucepan of simmering water. Slowly start to whisk the egg yolk mixture, making sure to keep it moving constantly to prevent it from scrambling. Keep an eye on the water beneath to make sure it doesn't start getting too hot.
- Gradually drizzle the melted butter to the egg yolk mixture, while continuing to whisk constantly. As the sauce thickens, you can add the butter more quickly.
- Once all of the butter has been added and the sauce has thickened, remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk for another minute or two to make sure the sauce is well combined.
- Add salt to taste. If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out by whisking in a few drops of warm water.
- Pour the hollandaise sauce into a serving dish and serve immediately. If you're not using it right away, you can keep it warm over a double boiler for up to 30 minutes.
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.