Basic hollandaise

Basic hollandaise

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(20 ratings)

A challenge

Makes about 300ml (enough to serve 4-6)
This sauce, from Gordon Ramsay, takes some time to prepare, but think of it as a workout with a whisk

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: nutrition per serving (for 6)

  • kcal336
  • fat36g
  • saturates22g
  • carbs0g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein2g
  • salt0.02g
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  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp peppercorn
  • bunch tarragon



    A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…

  • 3 large free-range egg yolk
  • 200ml melted and skimmed unsalted butter (see Secrets for success, below)
  • squeeze lemon juice


  1. Boil the vinegar together with peppercorns and tarragon, reduce by half. Strain and reserve (see Secrets for success on storing, below).

  2. Boil a large pan of water, then reduce to a simmer. Using a large balloon whisk, beat together the yolks and 2 tsp of the reduced wine vinegar in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan.

  3. Beat vigorously until the mixture forms a foam, but make sure that it doesn’t get too hot. To prevent the sauce from overheating, take it on and off the heat while you whisk, scraping around the sides with a plastic spatula. The aim is to achieve a golden, airy foam (called a sabayon), which forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted.

  4. Whisk in a small ladle of the warmed butter, a little at a time, then return the bowl over a gentle heat to cook a little more. Remove from the heat again and whisk in another ladle of butter. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated and you have a texture as thick as mayonnaise. Finally, whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste plus a little warm water from the pan if the mixture is too thick.

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Comments (36)

rmitter3's picture

agree with all above comment about too much vinegar... no need for so much. complex but worth it, need to learn to thicken the sauce more

sallyrayner's picture

To make hollandaise sauce - one you don't need tarragon - two you can add two teaspoons of cold water instead of vinegar and three - you don't need melted butter - the sauce is less likely to split if you incorporate small lumps of butter into the sauce and whisk each time - result - lovely sauce with less of the hastle - works every time.

trainee1's picture

surely you should in infuse the butter with the herbs as fat absorbs more flavour??

hiccup42's picture

The man in the "How to" video said you would use water if you weren't using the vinegar reduction. I haven't tried it out yet though. Perhaps using non - reduced vinegar is better than water.

sieske's picture

I love this recipe!! Really!! The only problem I have is poaching the eggs, I can't get really fresh eggs around here and I never seem to get the eggs like in pictures, but the sauce is really really really mmmmmmhhh, and the combination of the sauce, eggs, muffins, ham is great. Can't believe it's almost not known in Holland.

cakeanyone's picture

Made some enquiries and you can buy tarragon flavoured vinegar so that would same some time/money!

cakeanyone's picture

So, is there an answer re the vinegar issue? What would happen if you just used 2 tspn of white wine vinegar without reducing it? Another thought - if the reduction with the tarragon is just for the tarragon flavour, couldn't tarragon could be added elsewhere in the recipe perhaps. Any suggestions?

mondisaqt's picture

How can any of you question "the man"?!?!

lexobbc's picture

And M Stevenson is also right - there's not much point in boiling down half a litre of vinegar if you're only going to use a couple of teaspoonsful. Why would you need all that reduced vinegar? How often are you going to make this sauce? This is a restaurant recipe which hasn't been translated into home cooking terms.

lexobbc's picture

I agree with Ruskieray - if it's vinegar, egg yolks, butter and tarragon then it's Bearnaise, not Hollandaise. Although strictly speaking Bearnaise should also include chopped shallots in the initial reduction (you chuck them out after you've boiled down the vinegar).

ruskieray's picture

Isn't this the recipe for Bearnaise sauce?

stigmundo's picture

Great recipe, my effort split twice while adding the butter, but with a a spot of water from the fridge the final result was rich, creamy and delicious. A perfect accompaniment to the white asparagus we had it with.

One slight qualm I have is the 500ml of vinegar specified in the recipe when only a couple of teaspoons are needed. I had already got the vinegar boiling away before realising that I'd be stuck with having to bottle 200ml of tarragon and pepper flavoured reduced vinegarr.

cosmiccharlie's picture

Cheffy sauce without the hassle, spot on for brunch, with ham and ciabatta

melly5's picture

Does anyone know how to make quick hollandaise with a bamix hand blender??

marsomarso's picture

Hollandaise can be tricky but I think I've found a way to make it a bit easier for us novices. I use a glass jug in a pot of boiled water, not on the heat. Using an electric hand whisk the whole process is much quicker. After making the initial foam with the egg yolks and vinegar I drip the melted butter in slowly and constantly (from another jug) whilst constantly electronically whisking. As the heat is not on there is no need to take the jug out of the pot so it removes the extra fuss that can result in it splitting. I've had about a 8/10 success rate with this method, compared to my previous scrambled egg covered walls. If you are making eggs benedict it helps to poach the eggs in advance and keep them warm on a plate in the oven at a low heat while you make the hollandaise, or vice versa. Good luck, it's such a yummy sauce to make and it makes your friends feel special!

veronikak's picture

Hollandaise sauce made easy!


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