One of several French "mother sauces", Hollandaise is the base for several other sauces, including bearnaise sauce and paloise sauce. Hollandaise sauces are typically served lukewarm, reheating can cause them to curdle. A recipe for Hollandaise is below:


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 eggs yolks
1 tablespoon cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Melt butter in small saucepan. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Remove impurities from butter (One method is to: pour melted butter into plastic bottle with nozzle and stand the bottle upside down into a cup, the impurities will settle in the nozzle).

Remove the thick white piece that sometimes adheres to the egg yolks, put yolks and water into heavy pan. Heat on low on rangetop and beat continously with a wire whisk until a thick custard forms (if the mixture is cooking too fast, remove from heat and set pan in cold water).

When the mixture is thick, gradually add the butter into custard drop by drop, beating constantly. Leave white residue in the bottom of the butter pan. Once butter is added, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Pour sauce into serving dish, keep dish in warm water at the same temperature as the sauce.

Does your hollandaise always curdle? Are you hopeless with a double boiler? Never fear, you don't need to resort to those insipid hollandaise mixes, you just need this recipe for blender hollandaise. It's a little paler and a little less flavourful than the recipe above, but it still tastes great and it doesn't take eight tries to get it right. It is virtually impossible to ruin. (Even I, who once burned jello, have not managed to ruin a batch of blender hollandaise.)


-1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
-3 egg yolks
-2-3 T (30-45mL) lemon juice
-pinch of salt, pinch of cayenne pepper
-1 T (15-20mL) boiling water


1. Melt the butter in a frying pan on low heat. Heat it until it's bubbling, but don't brown it.

2. If you're using a glass blender, heat it up by putting in a tablespoon or two of boiling water and running the motor for a few seconds. If you're using a hand blender, don't worry about it as long as your bowl isn't colder than room temperature.

3. Put the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in the blender or bowl. Blend for a few seconds. Now, very slowly at first, pour the hot melted butter in while running the blender on a low setting so it doesn't spray everywhere. Keep the blender running for about 10 seconds after all the butter is in. Tada! You should now have a yummy batch of hollandaise. If it doesn't seem consistent, you might not have cooked it enough - you can usually fix this by melting another tablespoon of butter and blending it in.

Important note! While this recipe doubles or triples easily, don't try to halve it. If you make less than 3 eggs worth, your butter won't have enough heat to cook the egg yolks fully. If you can't eat the whole cup of hollandaise in one sitting, you can freeze the unused portion and warm it up later.

I thank The Joy of Cooking, from whom I adapted this recipe.

Using clarified butter will prevent the curdling of hollandaise sauce. I make mine by melting the butter, adding the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the butter. Whisk the mixture. Whisk the yolks. Temper the yolks by adding a small amount (1 tbsp) of the hot butter to the yolks. Whisk. Repeat this addition of the hot butter into the yolks 4x. Then, simply pour the yolk mixture into the butter, whisking continuously. Done. Do not cook it at all.

When you’re in a restaurant, considering the items on the menu, you might want to think twice about ordering anything with Hollandaise or Béarnaise sauce. They need to be kept warm for service, but below 140°F (60°C) or they curdle. Such sauces can be kept safely at these temperatures for an hour and a half, at the most.

Airborne bacteria grow best at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), known as “the danger zone” in the food preparation industry. Bacteria are also most happy fed a combination of moisture, air, and protein (i.e. eggs). The airborne bacterium that finds its way into the Hollandaise sauce sitting in a warming bath in the kitchen can double in number every 15 to 30 minutes. And given the chaotic nature of restaurant kitchens, it’s doubtful that anyone remembers exactly when that bowl of Hollandaise sauce was made.

While it is possible that the chef would stop what he or she is doing to make up a fresh batch of sauce just for your order…it’s highly unlikely.

From: The Thorough Good Cook

Sauces: 32. Hollandaise

As in the Sauce Blanche, mix a dessertspoonful of flour and four ounces of butter. Moisten with two-thirds of the water necessary to make the sauce. Let it boil for a few minutes, and take the saucepan off the fire. Mix, while stirring, five yolks of eggs well beaten with a little water. Put the sauce back on the fire, so as to cook the eggs, and as soon as these are done, take the saucepan off again. Then you must proceed as when making the Sauce Blanche, adding the juice of one or two lemons, eight ounces of butter, and the rest of the water. To make this sauce well, you must prepare it in a shallow saucepan which holds double the quantity which you need, so as to be able to stir quickly. when the sauce is ready, you shift it into a smaller saucepan to keep it warm, leaving the spoon in it, so as to stir from time to time. At the moment of serving, if too thick, add a little water and fresh butter.
Flour in a Hollandaise? Pardon my French, but jamais! Escoffier and Carême would both spin in their bain marie. May I offer still another recipe for Hollandaise that's a bit more authentic and which doesn't have that cooked flour taste? It seems that many people on E2 have their favorite way of making the Sauce and here is mine. In the top of a double boiler ( = bain marie, by the way) whisk together egg yolks and lemon juice. Place pot into the bottom part of the double boiler, which is over low heat with the water barely moving. Cook until yolk mixture bubbles at edges and thickens slightly. Stir in butter, 1 piece at a time, until melted and sauce is thickened. Whisk into the mixture the hot water (from the bottom of the double boiler is easiest) Stir in seasonings. Remove from heat.

If anywhere along the way the mixture curdles (separates), beat in the smallest amount of milk to bring the mixture together again. If the procedure seems too daunting, here's a false Hollandaise. Into a goodly amount of sour cream beat in a couple or three eggs. Heat the mixture in that double boiler and season to taste!

As Julia would say, bon apetite.
BE CAREFUL!!! Excessive eating of hollandaise sauce can be DETRIMENTAL to your dentures. Just listen to this anecdote.

My grandmother is one of those mature women who just can't change their ways. She always cooks delicious, but terribly fatty, foods, and she especially loves to include hollandaise sauce in any meal.

Well, five years ago, my grandfather lost a few teeth up front. He got dentures, but after a month of grandma's cooking, the plates were completely corroded. Thinking this was due to his purchasing cheap dentures, he was embarassed, and went to another dentist to buy the most expensive dentures there were.

It didn't work.

Finally he went to his initial dentist and told him about how he wasted so much money on two sets of plates. The dentist spent quite some time asking questions and ruling out possible causes. Only after 30 minutes did he think to ask,

"By any chance, do you eat a lot of hollandaise sauce? At least three times a week?"

"Well yes," answered grandpa. "My wife loves the stuff and uses it in nearly half of her dishes."

"Hmmm, well, I think the only answer is to get you some chrome dentures"

"But won't they be a little unsightly?" objected grandpa.

The dentist answered, "Possibly. But really, There's no plates like chrome for the hollandaise ."

Oh come on, with all of that build-up, you had to know a really bad pun was on its way.

Hol`lan*daise" sauce, or Hol`lan*daise" (?), n. [F. hollandaise, fem. of hollandais Dutch.] (Cookery)

A sauce consisting essentially of a seasoned emulsion of butter and yolk of eggs with a little lemon juice or vinegar.


© Webster 1913.

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