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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27th Apr, 2011
I'd never made a hollandaise before and it worked really well, I guess I have no basis for comparison, but it didn't split and it tasted lovely.
rmitter3's picture
16th Apr, 2011
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
31st Mar, 2011
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.
9th Jun, 2010
surely you should in infuse the butter with the herbs as fat absorbs more flavour??
27th Aug, 2009
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.
21st Apr, 2009
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.
24th Feb, 2009
Made some enquiries and you can buy tarragon flavoured vinegar so that would same some time/money!
24th Feb, 2009
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?
12th Feb, 2009
How can any of you question "the man"?!?!
5th Feb, 2009
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.


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