A quick and easy Hollandaise sauce

Few small things seem to impress dinner guests more than a good Hollandaise sauce. Perhaps this is because the guests think it is difficult to execute. This recipe disproves that notion; it makes it simple to produce a consistently good Hollandaise sauce. Use it over asparagus, to dip artichokes, with steak and rice, or for anything you can imagine. The original recipe comes from Julia Child & Company.


(1 1/2 cups)


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. It should be warm, but not bubbling hot.
  2. Combine the lemon juice and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, adding the salt.
  3. Meanwhile, place one egg and the yolks of the other two in a smallish saucepan. Vigorously beat the egg and yolks with a wire whip for a minute or so, until they are pale and thick.
  4. Set the yolk mixture over moderately low heat and whisk in the hot lemon juice by driblets. Continue whisking, not too fast, but reaching all over the bottom and corners of the pan, until you have a foamy warm mass. Remove from heat just as you see a wisp of steam rising. (Do not overheat or you will coagulate the egg yolks.)
  5. Immediately start beating in the warm butter by driblets, to make a thick, creamy, light yellow sauce.
  6. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste.


This sauce is really so easy to make, you should leave it to the last minute. It doesn't keep terribly well. Any egg yolk and butter sauce can be kept only warm, not hot, or it will curdle. Also remember that sauces with egg yolks are prime breeding grounds for sick-making bacteria.

Copper or stainless steel saucepans are best, as they transmit and hold heat better than anything else. I often make this solely in CorningWare pots, and find that sometimes the sauce will not set after removing from heat and adding the butter. In this case, return the mixture to very low heat, whisking vigorously until the sauce achieves the desired thickness. Too much heat will either curdle the egg yolks or cause the butter to separate from the mixture.


Difficulty: easy to moderate.
Time: 5 minutes.
Precision: approximate measurement OK.


Chris Kent 
DEC Western Research Laboratory, Palo Alto, California, USA decwrl!kent 
Recipe last modified: 17 May 87

Original header

Path: decwrl!recipes
From: (Chris Kent)
Newsgroups: alt.gourmand
Subject: RECIPE: Hollandaise sauce
Message-ID: <10904@decwrl.DEC.COM>
Date: 17 Jul 87 06:07:14 GMT
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Organization: DEC Western Research, Palo Alto, CA, USA
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