Basic hollandaise

Basic hollandaise

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(24 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 yolks
  • 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, questions and tips

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6th Apr, 2014
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!
26th Mar, 2014
First time making hollandaise and was a little nervous but it was really easy and turned out perfect! I didn't bother reducing the vinegar so it was quick and simple to make. Would definitely recommend for beginners, gorgeous on a bit of poached salmon!
26th Dec, 2013
So much better to use the traditional method. Everything is so controllable that curdling is a thing of the past. Not only was the recipe easy to follow, it gave my arms a good work out, and tasted sublime. Made the sauce to go with Gordon's eggs benedict and with a glass of champagne, it was a fantastic meal - it really is worth the effort.
1st Aug, 2014
That sounds fab!
nynaeve2k's picture
31st Aug, 2013
Thank you, Gordon, for a great, basic hollandaise the with good instructions & tips for rescuing! After trying (& failing miserably) with a food processor technique, I decided an old fashioned, whisk approach would give me more control. The result, after averting scrambled eggs with a little iced water, is a deliciously silky smooth sauce!
22nd Nov, 2012
This was an excellent tasting sauce, however I didn't get to enjoy it atop my english muffin. I had made the sauce which turned out perfectly, set aside while I made the rest of the dish, but the time the dish was ready for sauce, it was cold. I set the bowl of sauce over a pan of water once again just to warm and it turned runny and split. Stirring in iced water did not help at this point. This was the first time making hollandaise for me, so I undoubtably made a rookie mistake. How are you suppose to warm the sauce for re-use? Josh
24th Oct, 2012
You can make Hollandaise in the food blender which is quicker
30th Apr, 2012
Personally, I think Mr. Ramsay is the best chef because of the precision he has taught himself and others while attaining the ability to show the art of mastering cuisines. Although not a fan of his imprecational ways, I do believe that he 'fires' on-screen and if you are adament about learning the proper way of fine cooking, he would be my number one choice. I use this recipe all the time and it is the easiest way to make a stunning breakfast affaire! :)
1st Feb, 2012
Poached eggs sometimes seem to work perfectly for me. Other tomes they are a disaster, though they always taste just as good. Can I suggest Lakeland's pochette's for when the need to look good. I know it's cheating, but the are foolproof! And you can do more than one at a time.
4th Aug, 2011
I found a Delia version a few years ago and TOTALLY swear by it. There's no excessive reductions and the only complex element is the requirement of owning a tiny wee blender. You won't split the mixture because you only heat the egg yolk through the warmed vinegar/lemon juice and then again with the frothy butter. I'd pop a link here to it but the moderator probably won't allow it. Use google with Delia Hollandaise! Enjoy


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