Hollandaise and Bearnaise Sauce

I won’t lie to you, the first time I tried making bearnaise sauce, it was a complete and utter failure. and had me wishing we’d brought the packaged stuff from home. But Dad was determined that we would make it work, so I looked for recipes that had a different method for making it, and despite mini-failure, I have to say it turned out incredibly well. The mini-failure actually made the sauce better in the end, so here is the recipe and video I followed, and then the addition that both saved the day AND made it incredible. Serve on everything and enjoy!


Basic Hollandaise Sauce
Total time: 10 minutes
Yields: 1 cup sauce (approx.)

1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
juice of half a lemon (approx. 1 1/2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt & pinch cayenne)

In a small pot on the stove, melt the butter. Allow it to bubble but do not let it brown.

Meanwhile, in a blender or large food processor (or using a hand-held blender), mix egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt. When butter is hot, slowly add to blender while blender is on medium-high. (Yes, it will splatter. Use the small hole in the top of the lid to minimize the mess.)

Blend until thick – this is your basic hollandaise sauce. To make this into a bearnaise sauce, follow the instructions below.


Bearnaise Sauce
Total time: 5-10 minutes

2 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp minced shallots (or red onion)
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp heavy cream

Simmer white wine, white wine vinegar, tarragon, shallots and black pepper in a small pot on stove. When liquid is reduced to half, turn on blender with hollandaise sauce to medium speed, and slowly add bearnaise mixture. Blend for a minute or so until well combined. Transfer to serving dish and stir in 1 tbsp heavy cream (I would warm it in microwave for 15 seconds prior to adding.)

If you need to warm the bearnaise prior to serving, I recommend the microwave. Usually I hate using microwaves for anything (even popcorn) but when you heat bearnaise or hollandaise on the stove you are in danger of having it curdle and separate.

**IF IT CURDLES – The trick to saving curdled bearnaise sauce is to add 1 tbsp cream. I did this last night (yes I curdled the sauce when trying to warm it up on the stove), and I just warmed the cream in the microwave for 15 seconds and added my “ruined” bearnaise sauce by the spoonful to the cream, stirring well after each addition, and voila, it was saved AND tasted even better than before. Next time I will add the cream at the end (as directed above), since it made everything so much better.

I used this video to help make the sauce, and I found this article with many tricks to save curdled bearnaise.

Lobster & Steak dinner, this time with Bearnaise sauce

Lobster & Steak dinner, this time with Bearnaise sauce


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