Classic Bearnaise Sauce Easy With These 3 Delicious Ways

A rich, creamy, classic French sauce, Béarnaise elevates steak, roast fillet, fish or shellfish to a special occasion dish with just a drizzle.

The rich butter sauce is an elegant accompaniment.

It has a reputation of being difficult to make but that’s an opinion I don’t think it deserves.

Béarnise is one of the rich, butter sauces derived from the classic Hollandaise. So you have a little Hollandaise left over from the Sunday morning eggs Benedict, adapt and put to work with your steak.

We have 3 recipes here; the classic way to make Béarnaise and the ‘cheats’ version for when you’re in a hurry. And we’ll show you have to turn left-over Hollandaise into a Béarnaise.

You’ll love this ‘no whisk’ method (and so will your wrist!)

‘Just a little Béarnise with salmon is delicious – my family loves it.’

What does emulsified sauces mean?

Béarnaise, Hollandaise and Paloise sauce are emulsified sauces. This simply means they’re thickened with an emulsion of egg yolks and butter to which an acid is added, like vinegar, white wine vinegar, vermouth or lemon juice. The acid helps stabilize the sauce so that it retains the creamy texture and pleasing mouth-feel we’re after.

Egg yoke is an important component so the taste of the yolk is everything. Make them farm-fresh if possible.

What’s the difference between Béarnaise and Hollandaise sauce?

Taste and strength of flavor. Lemon juice is the acidic component in Hollandaise sauce and it’s seasoned with a little salt and white or cayenne pepper.

When we make a Béarnaise sauce, the lemon juice is replaced by a reduction of wine vinegar or dry vermouth. Flavor is built with the addition of eschalots (shallot or spring onion) pepper and tarragon.

Tarragon is a key flavor in Béarnaise sauce.

And Paloise sauce is derived from Béarnaise, but instead of tarragon, mint is the important ingredient.

perfectly cooked steak with a drizzle of béarnise sauce

Sauce success tips

  • Use a double boiler
  • Don’t let the water in the bottom pan boil or touch the bottom of the top pan
  • Butter should be added just a little at a time
  • Thoroughly incorporate each portion of butter before adding more
  • Stir continually
  • Butter sauce like Hollandaise can be kept over a pan of lukewarm water or a faint flame for up to 1 hour.  But, if the heat is too warm sauce will curdle.
  • What if sauce curdles? In a clean saucepan, off the heat, place an egg yolk. Add curdled mixture gradually while whisking
  • Use fresh farm eggs if available.

Béarnaise Sauce


  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or dry vermouth
  • 1 finely chopped eschalot (shallot)
  • 4 crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tarragon spring (finely chopped)
  • 1 thyme sprig (finely chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf (crushed)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter (125g/4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon or parsley extra (optional)
  • pepper (freshly ground) to season


1  Make reduction. Place white wine vinegar or vermouth in a small pan and simmer over medium/low heat with shallot, peppercorns, tarragon, bay leaf and thyme and reduce to 1 tablespoon. Cool

2  Add reduced mixture to egg yolks and place in the top of a double boiler. Whisk until egg yolks have slightly thickened.

3  Add butter in small pieces. Gradually add, whisking the sauce in between additions until thoroughly combined and the consistency is similar to whipped cream. Stir in tarragon or parley (optional) and season to taste.

Blender Béarnaise

How to make Béarnaise sauce using a stick blender

This is a really fast way to make the sauce.


  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or dry vermouth
  • 1 finely chopped eschalot (shallot)
  • 4 crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tarragon spring (finely chopped)
  • 1 thyme sprig (finely chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf (crushed)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon or parsley extra (optional)
  • pepper (freshly ground) to season

1  Make reduction (as per classic method) by placing white wine vinegar or vermouth in a small pan. Simmer over medium/low heat with shallot, peppercorns, tarragon, bay leaf and thyme and reduce to 1 tablespoon or about 1/2. Cool

2. Separate egg yolks and leave to de-chill for around 10 – 15 minutes.

Use clarified butter

This process removes water and milk solids from the whole butter leaving a more concentrated and intense, buttery flavor. Left over clarified butter can be stored in the refrigerator. Use for Hollandaise, Potato Rosti or curries where you want a deep buttery flavor in your cooking.

Process to prepare Clarify Butter

3. Add butter to a heatproof jug and microwave until just melted.

Separate solids. Leave melted butter to sit for 30 seconds and you’ll notice solids separate. The sediment settles at the bottom of the jug (which will be about 10% of the solution). The clear clarified butter rises to the top. Measure out 1/2 cup of clarified butter to use and discard remaining solids.

4. Blitz yolks, infused white wine vinegar or vermouth.

5. Drizzle in clarified butter, very slowly so it properly emulsifies (meaning binds and thickens) rather than splitting.

6. Blitz until smooth. If consistency is too thick, it can be adjusted by adding 1 tablespoon of water, a little at a time until you achieve the texture desired.

Add herbs and seasoning as needed.


Fresh is best. It’s better to make and use it immediately. Although Béarnaise can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days but you do need to be careful and it is not ideal. Restraint is the key when reheating. You don’t want to cook and partially set the eggs, which is easy to do if the pan is too hot.

The sauce turns to solid in the fridge and needs to be reconstituted when ready to use.

To reconstitute, separate into small amounts and add into a saucepan. Heat over a very gentle heat and vigorously whisk. Try adding a little cold water (a few drops) if sauce starts looking like it’s separating as you reheat.



Paloise Sauce

A variation of Béarnise sauce that works really well with grilled lamb and poultry.

The secret is to swap out the herbs tarragon, thyme and parsley for chopped mint leaves. We all know how well mint sauce works with lamb. Well the creamy texture of Paloise sauce adds a luscious, entertainers touch to classic grilled lamb.

Béarnaise is derived from Hollandaise sauce

If you have some Hollandaise left over from your Sunday morning Eggs Benedict, why not impress and turn in into a Béarnaise to accompany grilled meat or fish.

it can be turned into a Béarnasise.

Here’s how

  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1 finely chopped eschalot (shallot)
  • 2 teaspoons chervil
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Hollandaise sauce

1.  In a small pan, combine wine, vinegar, tarragon, chervil, shallot, parsley and pepper.

2.  Reduce: Bring to boil and let ingredients boil rapidly for 3 minutes until reduced by about half.

3.  Prepare Hollandaise in a blender (or use a stick blender) and very slowly add wine mixture. Blend throughly.

 If you’re using left-over Hollandaise you will need to adjust quantity of wine mixture so you achieve the right taste balance.

Hollandaise Sauce

A rich, delightfully delicate sauce to complement salmon, fish, egg dishes and an exquisite accompaniment to vegetables like asparagus. Hollandaise is French for ‘Dutch sauce’. It has interesting roots, seeped in history, and whether the foundations are from France or Netherlands, it’s had a huge impact on the food we enjoy throughout the world.

The 5 Mother Sauces

19th-century French chef Augustine Escoffier made a list that he called the 5 French mother sauces of French haute cuisine (rich, elegant cuisine using the highest quality ingredients).  The 5 mother sacues are béchamel, hollandaise, velouté, espagnole and tomato. But can the French claim Hollandaise as their own?

History of Hollandaise

1 theory has it’s origins in France’s Normandy region, a town known for producing high-quality butter “Isigny-Sur-Mer’. As history has recorded, during World War 1 France could not produce butter, which meant butter had to be imported from Holland, leading to the name Hollandaise for the sauce.

But we know that the origins of Hollandaise sauce actually reach much further back in history. Possibly at least to the 16th century and the French Huguenots who introduced Hollandaise sauce to French cuisine fon their return from exile to the Netherlands.

The Huguenots were a religious group of French Protestants who were persecuted for their faith and exiled to Holland. They believed in the reformed Calvinist movement of the protestant church and at time in history when opposition to catholicism meant exile; or to stay in France a worse fate.

So whether from the Netherlands or France, Hollandaise sauce is a gift to the world that we all appreciate.

  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4oz (125g) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops of lemon juice

In the top of a double boiler, place water and egg yolks. Don’t allow the water in the bottom pan to boil.

Whisk over hot water until light and fluffy.

Add butter in small increments to the egg yolks, whisking well until butter is melted and sauce begins to thicken. Keep adding butter, stirring constantly until all butter has been added.

Add small pinch of salt and a little lemon juice to taste..

Caution: Too much lemon juice will overpower the sauce and ruin it

How to make blender Hollandaise Sauce

Use sauce to accompany pan fried fish, ham steaks, grilled or barbecued lamb chops or steak, Hot vegetables like brocdoli, asparagus, new pototoes.

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 125 g butter
  • cayenne pepper or white pepper and salt to season

These quantities make 3/4 to 1 cup.

Place eggs yolks, lemon juice and water in blender and blend on a high speed for a few seconds.

Melt butter in a saucepan until hot and foaming.  Don’t let it brown.

Gradually add melted butter to blender, blending at top speed after each addition.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve warm or cold depending on desired consistency and dish that Hollandaise sauce is accompanying.

Troubleshoot sauce that won’t thicken

If blender Hollandaise sauce refuses to thicken, pour out of the blender and return, drop by drop, as you blend continually.

If sauce separates:

In a clean pan, whisk an egg yoke. While whisking, add the Hollandaise in a thin stream to the egg yolk. Reheat gently

As butter cools it starts to cream and form a thick sauce.

Herbs of choice can be added to the basic receipe.

How to make Eggs Benedict

English Muffin

Bacon, preferably ‘eye bacon’.

This is the round piece of the bacon which generally doesn’t have the rind attached. It’s the leanest cut bacon, having just a thin layer of fat.

This cut is a health-conscious choice if you still want to enjoy the flavor of bacon, but cut down on the calories. Because it has a lower fat content, you’ll find it doesn’t shrink as much when cooking.

Bacon can also be substituted with ham, proscuitto, smoked salmon

poached eggs

Hollandaise sauce.

Eggs Florentine swaps ham or bacon for spinach

Add mustard and herbs  to top asparagus with Hollandaise

Heat a pan to a medium, low heat. Add the strips of bacon.

Blender Hollandaise Success Tips

  • Eggs should be fresh Using free-range and cage free is preferable to caged eggs
  • Eggs should be at room-temperature
  • Allow melted butter to cool slightly before adding
  • Lemon juice should be freshly squeezed (not bottled)
  • Butter sauce like Hollandaise can be kept over a pan of lukewarm water or a faint flame for up to 1 hour.  But, beware, if the heat is too warm sauce will curdle.
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