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Escoffier's Hollandaise Sauce

Escoffier’s Hollandaise Sauce

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 10 or so peppercorns, cracked
  • a crumbled bay leaf (parsley, thyme if you have some)
  • a three-finger pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup good vinegar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • lemon juice to taste (1 to 3 teaspoons)
  • 8 ounces (two sticks) butter melted in a vessel you can pour a thin stream from
  • cayenne to taste (optional)


  1. First make the reduction, which is the step that gives the Hollandaise its unique flavor (otherwise it’s just lemon butter, which is good, but not traditional Hollandaise). Combine the shallot, cracked pepper, bay leaf, salt, and vinegar in a pan and simmer it till it’s dry (you’ll sometimes see this referred to as sec, the French term).
  2. All the strong acidity is gone, leaving only the flavors, and a little caramelization in the pan. Now you need to capture those flavors by adding the amazing ingredient we call water to the pan, about ¼ cup. Bring it to a simmer, and strain it into a saucepan. Taste this, so you know what you’re talking about. Add the egg yolks to the reduction.
  3. Next step is to cook the yolks. This gives them volume and changes their flavor (it should kill any bad bacteria, too, if you’re using industrial eggs; I highly recommend organic if they’re available). Eggs are best cooked over simmering water, but any heat will do—just keep it low. You don’t want scrambled eggs. I hold a pan in a pot filled with simmering water; this allows me to control the heat easily. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice here.
  4. The eggs are done when you can see that if you cooked them more, they’d be hard, not creamy. Don’t overthink it and don’t worry about undercooking the eggs. (You can overcook them, though.)
  5. Traditional Hollandaise uses clarified butter. I simply melt my butter in the microwave, spoon off the froth at the top, and pour all the clear butter fat directly into the cooked yolks off the heat. You don’t need to cook this sauce any more.
  6. As with a mayonnaise, you need to first add just a few drops of the melted butter, whisking it in quickly to establish your emulsification. Once it’s going you can pour the butter in a steady stream, whisking continuously, till all the butter’s in. Don’t worry if some of the watery whey goes in as well; it can only help (I discard what’s left when all the butter’s in).
  7. If the sauce has become rough on the surface, this is right before it’s going to break. When I see this, I dribble in some cool water. The sauce immediately smooths out. Again, if it breaks, put a teaspoon of water in a clean bowl and start whisking again. I’ve never lost a best of three with an emulsified sauce.
  8. When the butter is in, taste it, add some more lemon (it should be distinctly lemony), and I add a pinch of cayenne.
  9. If you have leftover Hollandaise, you can refrigerate it and reuse it. To reuse, melt it in a microwave, then simply re-emulsify it into a little bit of water, just the way you would fix a broken sauce.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours


  • Calories: 446.44 kcal
  • Sugar: 0.36 g
  • Sodium: 48.73 mg
  • Fat: 48.71 g
  • Saturated Fat: 30.11 g
  • Trans Fat: 1.86 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.59 g
  • Fiber: 0.32 g
  • Protein: 2.24 g
  • Cholesterol: 231.49 mg
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