Down to Basics: Hollandaise Sauce

One of the five mother sauces of classical French cuisine, hollandaise is a must-have when it comes to solid (nearly foolproof) recipes. It’s perfect on a hearty eggs benedict or even some vegetables. So here you go. Enjoy!

Recipe (Inspired by Laura in the Kitchen):


  1. Difficulty: Not easy at all (but don’t be intimidated!)

  2. Length: 5-10 minutes

  3. Keep in mind: Don’t feel bad if you break the sauce a couple times–it’s difficult.

  4. Why we made it: We felt fancy. And we wanted to make eggs benedict.

  5. Why you should make it: It’s great on eggs benedict or any vegetables you might have

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  1. 1 egg yolk

  2. ⅙ cup butter, unsalted

  3. ¾ tsp lemon juice


  1. Double boiler (or use a makeshift one with a saucepan and bowl)

  2. Whisk

Melt your butter in the microwave in 15 second increments, making sure to check on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. When adding the butter, you want it liquid but not hot.

Separate out an egg yolk and whisk it well with the lemon juice until it turns a pale yellow.

Once the egg mixture is pale, set over a double boiler. (Tip: If you don’t have a double boiler, place a heatable bowl over a saucepan filled with some water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water.)

Slowly add melted butter to the mixture in a slow and constant stream while whisking continuously.

Ways the sauce may break:

The butter was poured in too fast (make sure you see all the butter disappear before adding more)

The whisking was too slow

The eggs cooked (this may happen if the water in your double boiler touches the bottom of the bowl)

The sauce was cooled down (it’s difficult to reheat beyond a certain point)

Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from double boiler. Add salt to taste.

And that’s hollandaise sauce, in a nutshell!